Category Archives: Projects

Learn about what I’ve been working on.

DevOps-to-Things with macOS Shortcuts

If you’re a Things user like me, and have to deal with Azure DevOps for working on software projects, I wouldn’t doubt that you’ve thought that there must be some way the two can be linked–some way to get the work items you’re focusing on from DevOps into Things. Up until now, I’ve been adding my important work items to my Things inbox manually, either by copy and pasting their titles, or re-typing their titles in their entirety–both methods of which are frustrating and time consuming. In my opinion, entering items into your task manager shouldn’t force you into a mental ‘context switch’, and switching into Things to paste/type in long-winded work items from DevOps typically leads to this happening, at least for myself.

Trying to solve this, I decided to automate the process with the new Shortcuts app in macOS Monterey. It’s my first ‘big’ shortcut, and whilst I am a software developer and could’ve very well written a fully-fledged script in a language of my choice for this, I settled on Shortcuts for this for two main reasons; it easily integrates with the applications I needed it to integrate with, and it’s easy to share the automations I create with others. The Shortcuts app is the future of automation in the Apple ecosystem, so I very much enjoyed this opportunity to properly dive into it.

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SerenityOS

For the last few months, I’ve been absolutely fascinated with the SerenityOS project and it’s awe-inspiring rate of progress. For every day that goes by, new features and bug-fixes get merged in, and development screencasts from the creator Andreas Kling are an almost daily occurence. The operating system itself follows a design philosophy that has all-but-disappeared from computing in the last 15 years or so – a philosophy that I, along with every other fan of this project, want so badly to reappear in the modern computing landscape. See below for a screenshot as of November 2019 —

Screenshot of SerenityOS as of November 2019

It could be nostalgia, real productivity value, or both that drives my want for a return this kind of desktop computing metaphor. No animations, superfluous UI trinkets, padding or dark patterns. I’d describe it as a snapshot of the personal computing metaphor where the utility value for software developers was at it’s highest; right before a seemingly general pivot from what I’d call ‘focus-on-productivity’ computing to ‘focus-on-consumption’ computing. What we left behind in the early 2000s was, in my opinion, the perfection of the desktop metaphor for computing professionals.

In a spot of boredom last night, I attempted to get SerenityOS running in a virtual machine on my Surface Book 2. This proved harder than I’d had expected, so I’ll quickly outline the steps I took to get the development build working – in case anyone else can derive some value from my learnings.

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Open Live Writer, Blogger and Google Drive now working

docklands-laptop

Photo: Open Live Writer running on Windows 10, taken at Docklands Melbourne. This image was published to this Blogger blog with Open Live Writer.

Beginning from the next release of Open Live Writer (0.6.3), Blogger users will now be able to successfully post images to their blogs again. After being affected by the issue myself in my own usage of the software, I took it upon myself to develop and deliver a fix. Today, Open Live Writer will, instead of uploading to Google Photos using the now non-functional Picasa API, upload to Google Drive, publicly link-share the photo, and then embed the direct URL to the image within your post. This all happens automatically from within Open Live Writer, there are no work-arounds or hacks at play.

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