This post is part 1 of 6 in the series Bash to Zsh

During their 2019 World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC 2019) Apple announced that the default command shell for their next OS release (macOS Catalina) from the Bourne Again Shell (Bash) to the Z Shell (Zsh). Not only will Apple be switching the default in Catalina, they will be removing Bash completely in an as-yet unspecified future update. Apple’s advice is clear — make the switch now so you’re ready!

Never being one to try hold back the tide, I dove right in and made the switch within 5 minutes of reading about the announcement. This series will document my experience of making the change.

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This post is part 2 of 6 in the series Bash to Zsh

Apple recently announced that it’s moving the MacOS from the Bourne-again Shell (Bash) to the Z Shell (Zsh), and advised developers to make the change now, so they’re ready when they remove Bash altogether in some later version of the OS. Since I’m a big believer in not swimming up-stream, I decided to take their advice and switched to the Z Shell immediately.

The first thing I noticed was that the default prompt Apple provides for Zsh on their OS gives a lot less information than their default for Bash did. This is a sample of their old Bash prompt:

bart-imac2018:Documents bart$

That tells me the machine I’m on (bart-imac2018), the folder I’m in (Documents), and the username the shell is running as (bart), and whether or not I have super-user privileges ($ means no, # means yes). These are all very useful things, particularly when you SSH around a lot and su/sudo to different accounts. Also, IMO showing only the top-level folder rather than the full path gives a nice balance between the prompt getting too big, and not knowing where you are. I’ve never felt an urge to change the Mac’s default Bash prompt.

I can’t say the same about the Mac’s default Z Shell prompt! This is what I get on the same machine with the Z shell:

bart-imac2018%

It only shows the machine name (bart-imac2018) and whether or not I have super-user privileges (% for no, # for yes)!

Thankfully getting back to the old Bash-like prompt is easy — the TL;DR version is that you simply need to add the following line to your ~/.zshrc file:

PROMPT='%m:%1~ %n%# '

If you’d like to understand how exactly that works, and what other choices you have, read on!

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Due to a problem with the File::HomeDir Perl module on recent versions of MacOS, the usual one-step instructions for installing Crypt::HSXKPasswd from CPAN don’t work on Macs ATM (June 2019).

TL;DR

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Note: This is an improved version of my original solution to this problem.

As a reminder, the problem to be solved is to have screenshots automatically appear in Yoink as they are taken. Again, as a reminder, on macOS, screenshots are saved to the desktop as files with names of the form Screen Shot YYYY-MM-DD at HH.MM.SS.png, e.g. Screen Shot 2017-11-22 at 22.30.10.png. And one final reminder — Hazel is an app that watches the filesystem for events, and executes actions in response. Hazel rules are added to folders.

My original solution was to add a Hazel rule to the desktop folder with the condition Name starts with Screen Shot and a single Shell script action which used the open terminal command to send the screenshot to Yoink. The good people at Hazel replied to my tweet about the original post with a suggestion: I think you can do the same thing without a script. Try using the “Open” action.

Unsurprisingly, the Hazel suggestion proved to be spot on.

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Note: based on feedback from Hazel via Twitter I’ve improved on this original Hazel rule, described separately here.

One of my favourite app discoveries of 2017 has been Yoink — a Mac an iOS app that revolutionaries drag-and-drop by simply providing a shelf where you can temporarily store anything drag-and-dropable as you switch between windows, apps, and even spaces. I reviewed Yoink on episode 496 of the Chit Chat Across the Pond podcast.

Anyway, I use the Yoink all the time, but, it’s missing what I believe would be a fantastic feature — the automatic addition of screenshots to the Yoink bar as you take them.

I contacted the developer to suggest/request this as a feature, and he didn’t seem all that interested in adding it, but, he did make two suggestions for how I could go about getting the functionality I wanted indirectly. He made two suggestions — buy a different app of his, ScreenFloat, which is specifically for managing screen shots, or, build an automator script to take screenshots and send them to Yoink.

This week I finally found a simple solution I’m happy with — Hazel combined with a simple terminal command.

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This post is part 37 of 37 in the series Taming the Terminal

Since we covered SSH in parts 29 & 30, Apple have changed how their desktop OS deals with the passphrases protecting SSH identities (key pairs). This provides us a good opportunity to have a look at the SSH Agent in general, and, how things have changed on the Mac in particular.

The good news is that while things have changed on the Mac, with a small amount of effort, you can get back all the convenience and security you had before.

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Earlier this week I posted a review of the Mac window tiling app Magnet which is currently on sale in the Mac App Store for €0.99. @DriesDeRoeck replied on Twitter to point me nice free and open source alternative – Spectacle.

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Magnet – A Mac Window Tiler

Filed Under Computers & Tech on March 28, 2017 | 2 Comments

Magnet App IconMagnet is the first Mac app I discovered organically on the front page of the Mac App Store. I wasn’t looking for anything, I just opened the Mac App Store app to run some updates, and there, on the front page, Apple were featuring Magnet, and it caught my eye and then my interest enough to hand over €0.99 to there an then!

What does Magnet do? It’s a macOS app that allows you to quickly and easily re-size and re-position windows to a number of useful presets so you can easily lay out your windows. You can instantly adjust any given window so it takes up the left half of the screen, the bottom-right quarter, and so on. The app is clearly inspired by the built-in feature that has shipped with the last few versions of Microsoft Windows that allows you to snap windows into a few pre-defined arrangements by bouncing them off one of the edges of the screen, but Magnet takes that idea farther than Microsoft have, and it does so in a very Mac-friendly way.

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