Review: Hook by CogSci

I've been playing with Hook, an app I've started hearing about. It’s an interesting bird, and its own docs didn't explain why I should want to use it. That's too bad, because after downloading it and playing around for a few days, I understand why people are excited about Hook. Let me try my own explanation: It makes deep links into apps Hook knows how to talk to a lot of other apps (about 150 as of now) and ask or direct them to do a few things:

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Mastodon apps for iOS

There are several excellent Mastodon apps for iOS and iPadOS. These are the ones I've tried. Criteria: A good app is stable and (at least nearly) crash-free. This rules out a few apps I've tried that I'm not including here. Mastodon evolves with new features like polls. The best apps are updated with support for these new features. I use an iPhone and an iPad. Apps that don't support both platforms are non-starters for me.

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Google v. Oracle - victory!

This morning the US Supreme Court ruled for Google in Oracle's case against them. This is wonderful news for American software engineering as the opposite ruling would have been disastrous for the entire industry. Consider a comprehensive, albeit farfetched, analogy that illustrates how the API is actually used by a programmer. Imagine that you can, via certain keystrokes, instruct a robot to move to a particular file cabinet, to open a certain drawer, and to pick out a specific recipe.

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Favorite apps: Copied

I think Copied is the best clipboard manager available for Apple devices. I use Copied constantly. It lets me copy 3 different things I see on a web page, then quickly paste them into a text editor without bouncing between the two apps several times. It lets me search my history for stuff I've copied earlier, even if I've done other things since then. It's one of the first apps I install on a new device.

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Smart progress bars

Progress bars suck at predicting how long things will take. I'll tell you what I want (what I really really want): a system-wide resource that receives a description of what the progress bar will be measuring and uses it to make an informed estimate the entire process's duration. For example, suppose that an application installer will do several things in series, one after another. Perhaps an explanation of that process could be written in a machine-readable format like this:

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Little League wants all your information

To sign kids up for our city’s Little League baseball program, you have to prove that they’re residents, which is reasonable. What’s not reasonable is the amount of information you have to provide on the registration website. You have to upload scans of a document in each of 3 categories: Proof of Residency 1 Choose one of the following: Driver’s license, School records, Vehicle records, Employment records, Insurance documents

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New favorite command: Zoxide

My favorite new command is zoxide. It's like a faster z, autojump, or fasd. In summary, it learns which directories you visit often with your shell's cd command, then lets you jump to them based on pattern matching. In the event of a tie it picks the one you've used most frequently and recently. For instance, if I type z do then it executes cd "~/Library/Application Support/MultiDoge" for me because that's the best match for "do" in recent history.

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"Let's Fix OmniFocus", indeed

If you use OmniFocus, you should check out Paul Sahner's Let's Fix OmniFocus post: But lately there has been a growing demand for the company to rethink the user experience and interface of OmniFocus. As popular competitors like Things win acclaim for their clean, modern appearance, OmniFocus – for all of its power – appears stuck in another time period. So I wanted to see what it might take to re-imagine the OmniFocus suite of apps.

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Use local Git repos for personal work

I've heard a lot of online arguments about whether you should host your Git-based projects in GitHub or GitLab, but a lot of them miss an obvious option. Is this repo for your own personal work that you don't intend to share with others? Great! You can host unlimited, free, completely private repositories on your own system. Here's the complete process: $ mkdir -p ~/src/myproject $ cd ~/src/myproject $ git init --bare $ cd ~ $ git clone ~/src/myproject $ cd myproject There, you're done.

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Dell doesn't honor warranties

In late August 2020, I bought my kid a new Dell SE2419HX monitor for his birthday. School was starting back and his laptop's built-in screen was turning out to be too small for him to use for remote schooling. (If you're reading about this in the far future, this was the year of COVID.) It arrived a few days later and we plugged it into his computer, sat it on his desk, and watched him happily use it for the next few months.

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