Monthly Archives: December 2014


Frustrated with the lack of QuickLook support for Markdown files on the Mac, I stumbled on this TidBITS article which pointed me to the open source QLMarkdown project. It’s simple to install, and it worked right out of the gate for me.

I believe iA Writer includes a QuickLook preview generator when you install it, but since I use Byword instead, I’m missing out.

Songs Perverse and Songs of Lament: Reflections on Cursive’s Accidental Masterpiece, ‘The Ugly Organ’

I remember the crowds, there was a very interesting mix of audience members. It was a weird time for rock and punk where you could have two bands like ours tour and there would be some kind of crossover there. We had done opening tours like that in the past that on paper seemed to make a lot more sense and we’d get brutalized for seven weeks, every night. But their crowds were very receptive, or at least polite. Like when we opened for Glassjaw, for example. You’d think there was more mutual interest in the fanbases. But the reception we got on the Cursive tour was far and away better than the one we got on the Glassjaw tour.

The Ugly Organ was a staple of my sophomore year of college. I remember catching the Cursive/Blood Brothers tour in Detroit.

Contacts Cleaner

I keep a recurring task in Omnifocus that reminds me to clean up my address book every six months. Previously I’ve done this by hand, and I’ve also used the built in Look for Duplicates… command.

I think I first heard about Contacts Cleaner on the Mac Power User podcast, but I finally gave it a try. It worked incredibly well, fixing a ton of mistakes that I’ve been living with for a decade (in some cases). It shows you a preview of the way it will clean up a contact:

Contacts Cleaner Resolution Interface

It sounds like I’m not alone in recommending it:

SMS Spam Reporting Service

I had no idea this existed, but my wife recently started receiving spam via SMS on her phone. To report the spam, you can just forward the message to the number 7726 (SPAM), and then the service responds to ask for the number it came from.

Apple also has a support article on how to report spam sent via their iMessage service. You’re supposed to send a screenshot of the spam to and include the full email address or phone number, and the date and time you received the message.

GTD and Siri

A few weeks ago I watched the Lynda.com1 GTD video David Allen put together. It’s a very solid introduction to GTD and why you might want to put the system to use, but it’s not as comprehensive as the book. Still, it was a good refresher course for me.

While I was watching it, I was trying to capture thoughts that were bouncing around my head. When my hands are tied up (as when I’m driving, or in this case, at the gym) I usually use Siri to capture my thoughts in Omnifocus. I asked Siri to “Remember to schedule meeting with Tobe”. She recognized what I was saying, but didn’t quite parse it correctly:

“I didn't find any meetings with Tobe about ‘Remember to schedule’ in the next three months.”

This is the kind of glitch that makes Siri so frustrating to use. It was so close to correct, but didn’t even capture a reminder, since it was searching the calendar.

  1. Yes, I know I’ve been watching a lot of Lynda videos - this has become what I do when I hit the gym. I’ll use the elliptical (decent head stability) while learning something with Lynda on the iPhone. 

OS X and Storage

I was beginning to run low on hard drive space the other day (I was down to ~50 GB on a 480 GB SSD), so I shifted about ~50 GB of data off to another drive. After moving it and running a backup of the external drive, I deleted the data from my internal disk.

I was watching iStat Mini in Notification Center, and I was surprised when I didn’t see my disk use drop by 10%:

iStat Mini showing 85% disk use

I pulled up both the Finder and Disk Utility to see what they were reporting for free space. Finder reported that I had just over 100 GB available, which is what I expected. iStat Mini and Disk Utility were both reporting just about 50 GB available.

I started to panic, worried that something terrible had happened with the drive (John Siracusa has me terrified of HFS+). After the panic subsided, I remembered to check the Storage pane of the About My Mac tool:

Storage reporting 51.96 GB free of 478.77 GB, with 54.43 GB in use for Backups

And that was the clue: the OS was being too smart for me, holding onto 54.43 GB of data I had deleted as a local backup. Once I connected to my Time Machine disk for a backup, the OS cleaned that up and Finder, iStat Mini and Disk Utility all agreed that I had ~100 GB of free space. I still ran Verify Disk to make sure nothing terrible had happened… and all was ok.

Bottom line: OS X is pretty smart about backups, but Finder obscures this a bit for you. The Storage pane in About My Mac will show you how much of your drive is currently consumed by local backups.