Update Your .App With Sparkle

Sparkle is a framework many OSX apps use in order to allow easy updating, automatically if desired. By default it effectively downloads the latest version of the .app package, checks authenticity with certificates, and finally replaces the previous .app with the newly downloaded package.

You can check out the project and download the lastest version from the projects website.

Then you’ll find the documentation to get the basic setup instructions over on github.

It does take a little more work to integrate than some other frameworks, but then this one is doing quite a bit more than just adding a library and some header files. It involves copying the framework into the app, adding a copy build phase, modifying the main window .xib, configuring the appcast (which is an RSS feed), and finally testing everything out. The documentation is good, but the lack of screenshots sort of fits. I’m sure I’ll run into issues so I’ll post them here as they occur.

Cocos2d-x uses GLFW3 for all of it’s platform window creation needs and by default creates its own menu so I had to add an extra menu item by calling into an Objective-C++ platform specific implementation.

Alfred is a better Calculator


Alfred is a tool that allows easily and quickly launching of applications typing only the first letter or two as well as quick access functionality like a calculator, search files, or reveal a folder in the finder. Yosemite was released with similar functionality in its improved Spotlight UI. I tried to use Spotlight for a week (my standard testing duration) and found that there were small aspects that didn’t fit into my workflow and I wasn’t willing to see if there were any workarounds or hacks.

Quick calculation is something I use surprisingly often whether for programming, game development, or figuring out how much I’ll pay in a year for Netflix. I used to open a new tab (a browser is open 99% of the time) and type in the math to use Google’s search calc, but it’s one less step with Alfred.

⌘+SPACE type in “=sqrt(33+44)” and hit [ENTER] and “5” is copied into the clipboard ready to paste wherever I please, even back into Alfred.

Spotlight has improved a lot with the latest upgrade, but Alfred makes many actions I want to make with less hassle, even if just slightly. It thinks more like I do and that’s why I continue to install and use it. I’ve recently bought the power pack and am looking into further expanding the level of automation by combining both the new capabilities it offers along with integrating it with scripts I have written.

There are other similar utilities, and they may be more powerful, but for the main essential functions Alfred is my launcher de jour.

Alternatives I’ve used


Finder is Better with XtraFinder


This is a great utility that enhances OS X finder to support better ordering, cut/paste, and Tabs! Who doesn’t like tabs? Essentially it brings it closer to the excellent Windows Explorer I got very used to in my earlier life. The underlying Unix foundation provides the excellent command line file management where XtraFinder brings a similar power to Finder.

Features I like:

  • Tabs. Obviously.
  • Sort folders at the top
  • Cut and Paste files or folders
  • Sometimes useful side-by-side tab view to easily compare or drag
  • ⌘+⇧+G to go anywhere by typing Unix path
  • New Terminal Here
  • New File Here

It’s been rock solid for me since the latest update 0.25.1 and makes working with the GUI much less painful. Terminal is still close by, but now I need it less often, especially in tandem with a launcher like Alfred, which I’ll talk about tomorrow.


How To Securely Manage Your Online Identity

Today we use hundreds of websites on a daily or weekly basis. Many of these require us to create and login with a password. Over time managing all of your identities is a serious challenge. I have decided to give an initial look at the problems and some solutions that you are likely already using to help in this regard.

Problem with Passwords

We’re Human

(credit: https://dilbert.com/strip/2007-06-14)

People use simple passwords that are common words, names, or are patterns of keys such as ‘qwerty’ or ‘asdfasdf’ because they are easier to remember. Many people also use a small number of passwords to login to hundreds of websites that they visit each day. I would also guess that many people use the save password feature with their browser in order to save from typing their passwords in each time they visit a site that requires it. Anyone can walk up to your computer and login to any website for which you have a saved password. So we use simple passwords, and reuse them, and store them in our browsers. How can we prevent ourselves from this inherently insecure behavior?

How secure is your password? Find out.

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