Hackerific

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Programming ligatures are font glyphs designed to improve the readability of code. If you spend a lot of time staring at a terminals or text editors you might* find that ligatures can hugely decrease the time it takes you to read, understand and locate code, which if you’re doing any kind of maintenance work is awesome. (*I say “might” above because I’m not aware of evidence, but I’m also not aware of any studies.

This month saw the release of macOS Sierra, the one with the name change. Along with that came some pretty hefty changes to iTunes Music. Some of these changes are cute, like curated playlists, but others, like the removal of most lists of new music, are not so nice. I’m still trying to work out the best way to discover new music, now that I can’t view lists of all new albums, but I’m sure I’ll think of something.

Not long ago, I joined the O’Reilly Security Newsletter (which I highly recommend by the way), and was given the choice of one of several free eBooks. I went for Network Security Assessment (3rd edition) and wasn’t disappointed. This book is a short review, listing some of the things I enjoyed about it. Despite being unfinished, this is a mature and captivating book about examining networks for vulnerabilities. I work daily on the concepts covered in this book and I can imaging that when it’s finished it will be a go-to book on my shelf (yeah, I’ll probably buy a physical copy).

Music in August

I’ve seen a couple of miserable sounding posts suggesting that there’s not been much good dark music this month, and I have to say that I disagree! For me, the month started with Supernormal festival, where I saw some amazing bands, like Ashtray Navigations, The Cush, Tomaga and Heather Leigh, and then when I got back from that cool bands kept releasing cool albums. This post is about a few of them.

The ubiquitous git (no, not a person) provides several tools for managing repositories, but most of them operate at a fairly low-level.This means it’s often necessary to hack together quick scripts when there’s something you need to get done. I needed to remove a load of old, but merged, branches from some remote (centrally hosted) repositories, so (in the words of the slingshot channel) “Let me show you what I came up with!

I’m at the end of a trial of Contexts an interesting window switching app for macOS (ooh, new style naming!), and I’m enjoying using it so decided to write a review. From its homepage, the core idea of Contexts is to improve Command + Tab functionality and make it a lot more flexible. In my view it definitely succeeds on both counts, but at the expense of being a little confusing, and maybe having a few too many features.

Music in July

For me, July has been completely dominated by Gojira’s Magma. Having not been a fan in the past, the fact that I’m enjoying this so much came as something of a shock… Especially the vocals, which seem a bit cleaner than on their previous albums. Overall, this seems a bit more progressive on past albums, as well as less aggressive. Check it out. Listen on: Apple Music CD from Amazon MP3 from Amazon (also on Amazon Prime Music) Next up, I’ve been loving Inter Arma’s Paradise Gallows.

This is a short and hopefully sweet post with a quick tip I use in Pinboard all the time, but which as far as I can tell other people don’t really know about. I’m also always surprised when I try pinboard apps and they don’t support this feature. You may already know about the Popular page on the barebones-and-yet-super-awesome bookmarking site Pinboard, but did you know you can also drill down by tag?

Music in May

Early summer seems to be a great time for new releases. It’s traditional for touring bands to release new material before the summer of festivals and live shows begins, and this May has been no exception. Here are a few new releases I’ve been enjoying, from throughout May and some of June. Starting at the top, there’s Katatonia’s The Fall of Hearts. While Katatonia’s last few albums were on the softer side, this album really shakes things up a bit.

Well, it’s taken an embarrassingly long time to finish writing about it, but here’s the final post on my Exist plugin for Slogger. If you’ve not seen the other sections, you’ll want to start by reading Part 1 and Part 2, as this article just pulls the parts of the previous two together and into a Slogger plugin. Writing plugins is pretty straightforward, and there’s a template to help too. I started turning all my hackery from the previous two parts in this series into a plugin by copying that into the plugins directory, and picking a name for it.