VisualEffectPlayground in Swift

When searching for information on implementing vibrancy effects and NSVisualEffectView, developers often find references to the VisualEffectPlayground sample code presented by Apple at WWDC 2014. However, they soon quickly discover that Apple pulled the sample code from the Apple Developer site. Perhaps the application was thrown together for WWDC and didn’t meet the usual standard for Apple sample code; however, to date Apple has not seen fit to post any replacement. And so the search continues.

During my own search, I discovered that a Xamarin engineer named Oleg Demchenko had ported the sample code to Mono and posted it to the Xamarin samples site. In order to get a working sample application, I decided to port this code back to Swift and posted it to GitHub.

DISCLAIMER: I don’t know C# and I’m still learning Swift. Nevertheless, the resulting application appears to perform as expected (although I haven’t made an exhaustive test). I will certainly consider any pull requests.

Blocking autoplay videos on Macworld

I hate ’em, you hate ’em; even the writers hate ’em as well.  I finally got fed up enough to figure out how to completely block the autoplaying videos on the Macworld website.

Most instructions tell you to disable Flash, but I don’t even have Flash installed on my main computer (outside of the player embedded in Chrome, but I primarily use Safari).  It turns out that the Macworld website will then load a video player from Brightcove, so you have to block that too.

I’m using AdBlock, so I click its toolbar icon, choose Options, and go to “Manually Edit Your Filters”.  Click “Edit” and insert this text:

! Block autoplay videos on Macworld/PCWorld (need to block Brightcove as well)[class="video-wrapper small-player"][class="video-wrapper small-player"]

That seems to be the lowest common division; higher level entities are named “how-to” or “security” or some such. Might as well get PCWorld while we’re in there. Don’t forget to click “Save”, and you’re done. (Also don’t forget to pay for AdBlock; I’m doing that right now…)

Downloading Office 2011

What do you do when it turns out that your downloaded disk image of Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac is on the 3TB Seagate drive that failed last week, and you didn’t back it up because you thought all that was on it was archived TiVo recordings?

Turns Out™ TJ Luoma knows what to do. Thanks, TJ.

(Next time: recovering data from a 3TB Seagate drive…)

Update 2016-01-21: Also Turns Out™ that if you already have Office 2016 installed, you can log into your Office account and go to the Install page; there is a link that says “Install previous version”.  Clicking this will download a disk image file containing an Office 2011 installer.  (The creation date of this installer is November 20, 2015, and the contents appear to be version 14.5.9; the most recent update as of this writing is 14.6.0, so remember to run Check for Updates after installing.)

Hold your calls…

I believe we have a winner. Still wrapping up a few details, but it looks like I’ll be starting a new position that fits my interests and experience, cuts down my commute by a significant measure, and hopefully will be more stable to boot. (Two layoffs within a twelve-month period make for interesting times.)

Here’s to the future!

Looking for work redux

As a result of a change of direction at my current employer, I am once again open to a full-time position as a software developer — preferably on Apple platforms, i.e. OS X and iOS, using Objective-C or Swift with Xcode. View the “Résumé” page (linked above) for links to my current résumé, my LinkedIn profile, etc.