100 Days of Swift

A couple of days ago, I chose to start learning the programming language Swift, and committed to practice it every day for 100 days, following Hacking With Swift‘s 100 Days of Swift course plan. While I do have some previous, minor experience with it, I chose to just start from scratch following a well-structured course, as to hopefully build some solid foundations.

Since many of these medium- to long-term commitments often end up being unresolved, I am posting my daily exercises on this website, on the aptly-named page 100 Days of Swift. This means that they will not clog up the blog’s front page and RSS feed, so that you don’t have to watch a newbie developer struggle every day.

Do feel free to check out my playgrounds, however, and do feel free to @me on twitter if I slack for a day. I will have deserved it.

A Beginner’s Guide to RSS

A screenshot of the app Reeder in action, showing some articles.

In this post I will tell you what RSS is, why you need it, and how to set it up.

What’s RSS?

Imagine being able to see your favorite blog posts, podcasts, YouTube videos, news, and any other kind of Internet media from your outlets of choice in one single, solidified, consistent feed. This is what RSS allows you to do. You can think of RSS as a sort of Twitter feed, but instead of only following other Twitter users, you can follow pretty much anything on the Internet.

Indeed almost every blog, forum, YouTube channel, and news source has an RSS feed. What this means is that whenever something is added to their website or channel, if you have chosen to add it to your list of followed websites, you’ll see it pop up as well in your RSS app of choice.

How do I set it up?

The beauty of RSS is that it’s an open format, not belonging to anyone in particular. This means that there’s plenty of choice and a plethora of different apps allowing you to subscribe to and read RSS feeds. My favorite is an app for iOS and macOS called Reeder. On Android, I particularly like the design and usability of Palabre. On Windows, NewsFlow is likely your best bet. For this post I’ll use Reeder on Mac, but all apps are virtually identical for the purpose of what I’m going to be doing here.

After you have downloaded any one of the aforementioned apps, let’s assume you want to add this blog to your reader, so that posts will show up in your feed. Firstly, locate the link to the website’s RSS feed. In this case, it’s in the top navigation bar, and it’s this link. Copy that to your clipboard. Then, navigate to your RSS app and select “Add Subscription,” or that app’s equivalent function.

In the screen that pops up, simply paste the link you copied, and press enter or “Done.” That’s it! You will now see new posts from this blog on your RSS reader whenever you open it. Repeat this process for any website you might want to see.

Here’s some feeds for you of websites kind of like mine but better: MacStories, Daring Fireball, Ctrl blog, David Smith.

Appendix: Syncing your Feed Between Devices

Everything we’ve done so far is cool and all, but it’s limited to one device. In this day and age, where everything is synced between devices, wouldn’t it be nice if we could sync our feed as well? We can! With Feedly.

Quite simply, sign up for a Feedly account. Then, click on the “Add Content” link on the bottom left corner. From there, add RSS links much in the same way we did before. Then, in your RSS app, log in to your Feedly account. Not all apps support this function, but the ones I have linked to earlier do. You’re now set! Whenever you read something on one device, it will be marked as read on another. It’s pretty great.

I hope you find RSS useful. Let me know if there is anything I have missed.

Check Your Mac’s Battery Health with coconutBattery

Back when Apple started throttling devices with degraded batteries, much ado was made around iPhone battery health. So much ado, in fact, that they not only published a very lenghty explanatory page about it, they also added a profusion of battery-related functionality to iOS. Graphs, buttons, statistics: you name it, it’s in the Battery section of the Settings app.

Continue reading “Check Your Mac’s Battery Health with coconutBattery”

How to Effectively Curb Procrastinating on the Internet

You know it. YouTube rabbit holes, Twitter threads, Netflix binges, we’ve all been there. Some, in an attempt to redeem themselves, completely go off the Internet for a while. But that’s like throwing the proverbial baby out with the bath water, not to mention that many of us need the Internet in order to do our work.

Continue reading “How to Effectively Curb Procrastinating on the Internet”

The Archive Custom Theme: iA Writer

The Archive is an outstanding piece of software for personal knowledge management, especially of the kind I spoke about in my last post. Among its strengths1 is its custom theme engine, allowing users who are willing to tweak a few .json files to create new color schemes from scratch. Since I love iA Writer‘s design, I thought: why not make The Archive look like Writer? So that’s what I did, and you can download the results.

To download the themes, right-click on the themes you want below and save the files in a place you’ll remember. Then, open The Archive’s preferences and go to the Theme tab. Click on “Open Theme Manager” then “Open Theme Directory.” Move the files you downloaded there.

Dark ThemeLight Theme

I tried to stick as closely as possible to Writer’s color palette, in both its light and dark mode. I highly recommend using one the same fonts Writer uses, which they graciously release for free to the public.

Changelog

  • 1.0: Initial release
  • Dark 1.1: Fixed the unfocused background selection color. Huge thanks to reader Sebastian for the heads-up!

Learning Regular Expressions

Some other blogs I follow have recently been writing about the beauty and utility of regular expressions. I love regular expressions. Spending a couple of minutes learning them is a great investment, as the time you’ll save later will be many orders of magnitude larger than that. It just makes sense from so many perspectives. You don’t even have to be a programmer to benefit from them, as shown here. They just make you a better computer user.

While the posts do mention some incredibly solid sources to learn regexes from, such as the BBEdit User Manual, they still may be a little too daunting for the “rest of us.” That, for me, is where RegexOne comes into play, which no one has (as far as I can see) mentioned so far.

The whole website is, essentially, one smooth tutorial which will teach you regexes from the bottom up, easing you in one bit at a time, without ever overwhelming you. It’s well-paced, highly interactive, and exactly the sort of thing I’d take on as a little weekend project. I’ve used it to learn regexes back in the day and occasionally come back to it from time to time. It’s great.