Much has been written, tweeted and complained about the new MacBook Pros released by Apple last week. Complaints about the 16GB limit, all-in switch to Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C), the removal of the SD-card and MagSafe, the new keyboard, the aged CPUs, the slow GPU, dongles, that they are not “Pro” level machines, and more. More and more influential folks are writing that Apple has forgotten the Mac, that the Mac is doomed or dead.
Last evening a package arrived from Amazon. A package that neither I nor my wife had ordered. A mysterious, enigmatic package. From the outside, there was no indication of its content or providence. We discussed where it could have come from. What could it be. Should we open it. Maybe Amazon sent the package to the wrong person. Yet the delivery address was certainly mine. Finally, I opened it. It contained a bubble wrapped box, a bunch of packing bubbles and three slips of paper.
At work, we write a lot of code. In order to remain productive, we reuse the same proven dependent libraries and tools over and over again. Which is fine. Until we start seeing end-of-life notices, vulnerabilities, deprecations, performance improvements and bug-fixes passing us by. At some point we need to update our dependencies for performance and security. But its not that easy. Take some of the libraries we use: Google’s Protocol Buffers are amazing.
Just short of six months ago, I wrote about how I was transitioning to Minimal Project Management as my team was growing at work. So, how did it go? Did it work? Any Problems? In short, after a few false-starts getting our heads around the intent of the Statement of Work document, it went — and continues to go — very well. Projects we used to start and never finish are now completing and shipping.
I often need to embed SQL statements in C++ code. Unfortunately, many of mine are long and complex. Even the simple ones are wide. This leads to the following ugly code: std::string s8("SELECT id FROM lst_quotes WHERE route_id = $1 AND lst_request_id = $2 AND quote_id = $3;"); … which means I need a massively wide screen to view it (and it violates my 80-column rule), its not formatted legibly and even with wrap, its hard to understand — and this is a simple example.
The Apple Watch turns 1 year old next week. If you follow the popular press, you’d think the device was rubbish and a complete failure. I vehemently disagree. It may be a limited version one, but it is a flawlessly engineered timepiece that is conducive to small, yet significant, life hacks. I wear, and continue to wear my Apple Watch every day. I have done so since the day it arrived, the result of a late night wake-up alarm, a few taps on the Apple Store app and a return to sleep on opening night.
I think one should review one’s productivity tool load-out every once in a while. Operating system updates, other productivity tool updates and your own work practices change over time. Your tool load-out should too. Changing the muscle-memory, it turns out, is surprisingly simple, quick and easy. And your productivity usually increases. I am a huge fan of keyboard launcher/productivity applications like LaunchBar, Alfred, and back-in-the-day QuickSilver. They were amongst the first applications installed on any new system, and I believed I could not work productively without them.
This post presents how I have set up Keyboard Maestro to replace basic text expansion from TextExpander … so far. This post covers (More to follow at some point.): Basic text expansion When to use copy vs typing Limiting to applications Basic variables Basic Text Expansion The basic text expansion macro looks like the macro on the right. It is triggered when a string is typed, in this case ;gma It has a single action, Insert text by Typing, containing the text to be typed, in this case git pull; make clean; make -j 8.
Apple turned 40 this week, and it got me thinking about the past 40 years of our individual computing experiences. In many ways, my own journey to now parallels that of Apple. And I’m willing to bet your journey is the similar. The 1980s - Youthful Experimentation In the early 1980s, Apple was young, surrounded by a wide range of competitors and the Apple II was it. Everybody who could, had one.
TL;DR: Beware of libraries you need to compile yourself and copy-pasted code, the performance, maintenance and other hellscapes you create are not worth it in the medium and long run: Do not use dependencies that have dependencies that you have to compile. Do not use libraries depended on by dependencies anywhere else. Solve your own problems and understand the solutions. Do not copy-paste from the web. Always write your own code where performance and maintenance is critical.