jsTaskPaper: Display Taskpaper Todo lists as HTML using Javascript

Posted on December 23, 2013 by David Hilowitz

For the longest time I’ve wanted to set up a giant billboard-style to-do list in my office–something that would be so big that it would be hard to ignore.  I was tempted by Panic’s gorgeous Status Board iOS app, but I didn’t know how easy it would be to integrate my daily Taskpaper-based todo lists with Panic’s widgets. (Also, the thought of tying up my iPad for this project was a no go.) We have tons of old computers lying around here, all perfect for powering a read-only browser-based status board, so it seemed like a no-brainer to throw something together.

Surprisingly, there didn’t seem to be any Javascript-based TaskPaper formatters out there.  So, using Jim King’s tp_to_html.pl script as a starting point, I created jsTaskPaper, a Javascript library for rendering TaskPaper files as HTML. Here’s what the output looks like:

Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 3.21.45 PM

Usage is pretty simple. You create a div in your HTML like so:

<div id="scratchTasks"></div>

and then you invoke the Javascript lib as follows:

<script type="text/JavaScript">
$(document).ready(function(){
new TaskPaperPanel('#scratchTasks', '<url-of-taskpaper-todo-file>', 4000);
});
</script>

That’s pretty much it. Once you’ve got it set up, you can style it using the taskpaper.css file.

Check it out here: jsTaskPaper

–Dave

Adorno Media is now Decidedly

Posted on by David Hilowitz

That is all. 🙂

TIP: How to sync your entire Sublime Text project over to your dev server with a single keystroke

Posted on September 21, 2013 by David Hilowitz

If you do all of your web coding on your laptop, but don’t run a local PHP stack, you may be searching for a quick way to sync your files over to your dev server. Well, my friends, look no further than rsync. Not only is it fast and secure, but you can actually set it up to be a build tool in Sublime Text 2. Here’s how to set that up:

1. Select the ToolsBuild System → New Build System… menu option.

Screenshot 2013-09-21 12.55.38

2. A new window will pop up with the a blank template for your new build system. Here’s what mine looks like:

{
   "cmd": ["./devsync", "${project_base_name}"], 
   "working_dir": "/Users/dhilowitz/code/"
}

As you can see, I don’t run rsync directly, but rather point Sublime Text to a shell script called devsync that lives in my ~/code directory. I have this file saved as devsync.sublime-build.

3. Finally, here’s what that ~/code/devsync script looks like:

#!/bin/bash

if test -z "$1"
then
     echo "Missing folder name argument."
else
     RSYNC_TO="user@dev.decided.ly:/mnt/www/$1/"
     echo "Syncing from `pwd`/$1 to $RSYNC_TO"
     rsync -avz --delete --exclude '.git' -e ssh ./$1/ $RSYNC_TO
fi

That’s it! Of course, your development setup is probably not identical to mine, so you will have to play around in order to get things working properly. rsync can be a finicky thing to get working if you don’t have experience with it. You may want to do some trial and error on the command line before moving your commands into the shell script. It should be noted that it is possible to actually invoke rsync directly from Sublime Text (i.e. without a shell script). It’s also possible to set it up on a per-project basis so that you use different settings depending on which project you are working with. Here’s an example of a project file that invokes rsync directly:

{
     "folders":
     [
          {
               "path": "."
          }
     ],
    "build_systems":
    [
        {
            "name": "rsync",
            "cmd": [
                 "rsync",
                 "-avz",
                 "--delete",
                 "--exclude",
                 "'.git'",
                 "-e",
                 "ssh",
                 "./site/",
                 "user@fakesite.com:/var/www/"
            ]
        }
    ]
}

Good luck!

–Dave

PHP TIP: A quick, non-RegEx way of replacing an IMG tag’s SRC= attribute

Posted on June 25, 2013 by David Hilowitz

It’s often useful to be able to swap out the src= attribute of an HTML IMG tag without losing any of the other attributes. Here’s a quick, non-regex way of doing this. It uses the PHP DOM API to create a tiny HTML document, then saves the XML for just the IMG element.

function replace_img_src($original_img_tag, $new_src_url) {
    $doc = new DOMDocument();
    $doc->loadHTML($original_img_tag);

    $tags = $doc->getElementsByTagName('img');
    if(count($tags) > 0)
    {
           $tag = $tags->item(0);
           $tag->setAttribute('src', $new_src_url);
           return $doc->saveXML($tag);
    }

    return false;
}


Note
: In versions of PHP after 5.3.6, $doc->saveXML($tag) can be changed to $doc->saveHTML($tag).

TIP: How to Play a Sound Whenever You Commit to Git

Posted on June 12, 2013 by David Hilowitz

Writing code alone at home can be an isolating experience. There you are, day in day out, quietly making magic with your mind (sarcasm, obv.) only to silently commit the fruits of your labor into the void of your source control repository, appreciated by no one. If only a crowd of children could be retained for the sole purpose of cheering you on every time you complete something.

Amazingly, Brandon Keepers over at Collective Idea had the same exact same thought (almost; he was substantially less melodramatic in his blog post about it).  Anyway, here is what my version of his script looks like:

#!/bin/sh

toplevel_path=`git rev-parse --show-toplevel`
afplay -v 0.1 $toplevel_path/.git/hooks/happykids.wav > /dev/null 2>&1 &

I put this in a file called .git/hooks/post-commit.playsound. I then trigger this from the main .git/hooks/post-commit script as follows:

#!/bin/sh

toplevel_path=`git rev-parse --show-toplevel`
$toplevel_path/.git/hooks/post-commit.tweet
$toplevel_path/.git/hooks/post-commit.playsound

Where the post-commit.tweet script is the script from this blog post. If you aren’t also tweeting your commit posts, you’ll want to delete that line.

If you want this to work for every single Git repository from now on, add these scripts to your git-core templates. You’ll have to figure out where these are (it’s different for every setup). For my Mac, they’re located here: /opt/local/share/git-core/templates/hooks/post-commit.

–David

TIP: Turn WordPress Page Titles On or Off Using Custom Fields

Posted on April 25, 2013 by David Hilowitz

Most WordPress themes display page titles for every page. This is usually what one wants, but sometimes it’s useful to be able to easily turn off WordPress page titles for individual pages but still keep them on by default. This is easy to do with custom fields. For simplicity’s sake, I am going to base these examples on the default WordPress Twenty Twelve theme although the same principle should apply to almost any theme.

The first step is to find where the page title is being generated. In the Twenty Twelve theme, this is in the content-page.php file. Go into content-page.php and find the block of code that looks like this:

<header class="entry-header">
<h1 class="entry-title"><?php the_title(); ?></h1>
</header>

and change it to this:

<?php if (get_post_meta($post->ID, 'show_title', true) != "no") {?>
<header>
<h1><?php the_title(); ?></h1>
</header>
<?}?>

As you can see we’ve wrapped the <header> tag in an “if” statement. This checks for the presence of a “show_title” custom field for this particular page. If one is present and its value also equals “no,” we don’t show the title. Otherwise, the page title is shown.

The only step left is to open up the editor for the page you want to modify. Go to the bottom of the page to the “Custom Fields” section. (If there is no “Custom Fields” section, you may have to go up to the top, click “Screen Options” and check the “Custom Fields” box.) In the “Name” box, type “show_title.” In the “Value” box, type “no.” Hit “Update.”

That’s it! Your page title should be gone from that page.

–Dave Hilowitz

How to Relay your Git Commit Messages to Twitter in 16 Easy Steps

Posted on April 2, 2013 by David Hilowitz

A while back I started using Twitter as a micro-journaling platform. I created a private Twitter account, and every few hours as I worked on code, I would jot down a private tweet to myself about what it was that I was doing. This private Twitter stream was then archived using Momento App for iPhone. After a while, it occurred to me that another stream that I would love to have archived in Momento is my Git commits as it often says more about what I’m up to than it would occur to me to write in a journal.

I set up a Git post-commit hook that posts to my private Twitter account each time I make a local commit on my development repository. Here’s what I did:

  1. Prerequisite: Create a Twitter account. It doesn’t have to be private, but it can be.
  2. Register an application with Twitter. Here’s how you do that:
    1. Go to http://dev.twitter.com. You may need to sign in again.Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 5.12.18 PM
    2. Hover over your avatar in the top-right, and choose “My Applications” from the menu that appears.Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 5.22.26 PM
    3. Click on the “Create New Application” Button.Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 5.23.14 PM
    4. Fill out the next however you’d like. The website address can be anything. The name of the app can be anything. Leave Callback URL blank. Agree to the agreement, enter the CAPTCHA and you’re good to go.Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 5.36.56 PM
    5. Next, you’ll be taken to a screen with a bunch of keys. Copy all of those down into a text editor.
    6. Click the “Settings” tab. Change to “Read and Write” for Application Type. Click Update.Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 5.36.42 PM
    7. Go back to the Details tab. Scroll down to the bottom and click “Create my OAuth Access Token.”
    8. Wait a few seconds, refresh the page, wait some more. Eventually, at the bottom of the page a section should appear that says “Your access token.” Copy these codes down.
    9. That’s it for your Twitter App setup.
  3. Open up a shell on the machine you are planning to be commit to (and tweet from).
  4. Install http_post. You will have to compile this from source. (make and make install). Make sure it’s accessible from your PATH.
  5. Install oauth_sign. You will also have to compile this form source. (make and make install) Make sure it’s accessible from your PATH.
  6. Finally, save the following script into .git/hooks/post-commit in your Git repository.
    #!/bin/sh
    
    # PATH modification needed for http_post and oauth_sign
    export PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/bin
    
    toplevel_path=`git rev-parse --show-toplevel`
    toplevel_dir=`basename "$toplevel_path"`
    
    branch=`git rev-parse --abbrev-ref HEAD`
    subject=`git log --pretty=format:%s -n1`
    hashtags="#code #$toplevel_dir"
    tweet=$hashtags' ['$branch']: "'$subject'"'
    
    # truncate tweets that are longer than 140 characters
    if [ ${#tweet} -gt 140 ]
        then
            tweet_trunc=$(echo $tweet | cut -c1-137)
            tweet=${tweet_trunc}...
    fi
    
    consumer_key="<Put your computer key here>"
    consumer_secret="<Put your consumer secret here>"
    access_token="<Put your access token here>"
    access_secret="<Put your access token secret here>"
    url="https:api.twitter.com/1.1/statuses/update.json"
    
    http_post -h Authorization "$(oauth_sign \
    $consumer_key $consumer_secret \
    $access_token $access_secret \
    POST "$url" status="$tweet")" \
         "$url" status="$tweet"
  7. Make sure that you make the file executable. (chmod a+x .git/hooks/post-commit)
  8. That’s it! If you want to have this automatically added to any new repositories you make, modify the git-core templates. You’ll have to figure out where those are (it’s different for every set up). For me, they’re located here: /opt/local/share/git-core/templates/hooks/post-commit.

This is all based heavily on scripts at the following two links:

Good luck!

–David

 

How and Why I Switched Away From Doit.im

Posted on March 1, 2013 by David Hilowitz

Why

This evening, I migrated away from doit.im. I had been using it for over a year and liked it quite a bit, but increasingly I found myself reverting to a TaskPaper-formatted text file for my daily tasks, which defeated the purpose of having all of my big stuff in Doit.im.

Ultimately, I’m looking for a system that will be able to accomodate little daily lists that I make as well as my grandest long-term plans. Doit.im was really good with the latter, but really just OK for the day-to-day tasks.

Overall, doit.im is pretty well designed. My biggest complaint is that you can’t reorder task lists manually. Why does this matter? Well, one of the biggest questions (if not the biggest question) I am looking to have answered is “What should I do next?” I answer this (in theory, at least) by staying on top of all my lists, by making decisions early and often, and by ordering and reordering every project’s task list over and over throughout the day. The operative principle is that I could then move from project-to-project, effortlessly checking off the next task from each one, before going back to the beginning of the list and starting over. Real life isn’t so perfect, but that’s the concept at least.

Even if three or four tasks could potentially be done to move a project forward, I still need to make a decision about which one to start with. In other words, I’m not interested in what can be done next, I’m interested in what will be done next. The difference between these two things is the difference between my moving forward in a project and just staring bewildered at the 568 tasks in my list.

In summary, manual ordering is essential.

How

Leaving Todo.im was technically much harder than I had expected. I had migrated onto their service using their wonderful API. At the time I had been using Remember The Milk, so I wrote a script that parsed RTM’s RSS feed and inserted the tasks from that one-by-one via Doit.im’s API. Pretty straightforward.

Things were quite a bit harder this time around, though, as Doit.im have disabled their API. To make matters worse, they have no functionality for exporting task lists. This isn’t the sort of feature one notices when deciding to use a task management system, but it probably should be. (I should add, at the risk of sounding paranoid, that it’s hard to see their decision to discontinue their API or any kind of export functionality as anything other than an anti-competitive move.)

This left their web app. If you go to any of their list views, you can see that all of the tasks are in divs with the class “link-title.” This means it’s fairly easy to scrape this data into a JavaScript variable, and then into a the clipboard buffer. Here goes:

1. In Chrome: open up the Doit.im website

Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at 9.16.26 PM

2. (optional)  Make a custom filter that will show you all tasks

Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at 9.15.53 PM

3. Open up a list view for your custom filter (works with any list view really)

Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at 9.19.41 PM

4. Open up the Developer Console (option+command+i on the Mac).

Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at 9.17.06 PM

5. Paste this snippet…

var taskString = ''; var tasks = $('.taskList .task .title .link-title').text(function(index, value) {
  taskString = taskString + '- ' + value + "\n";
}); console.log(taskString); copy(taskString);

…into the console and hit enter.

Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at 9.17.18 PM

6. Go into your favorite text editor and paste.

Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at 9.18.35 PM

How To Find (and Delete) Silent Audio Files

Posted on February 6, 2013 by David Hilowitz

The Problem

If you’re anything like me, you have a ton of audio files on your hard drive. When I’m working on music (or an audio synthesis project), I will export out songs that I’m working on in one piece of software in order to import them into another. I keep the intermediary tracks in my Dropbox so that I can use and reuse the little snippets when I’m building my compositions. Life has gotten much easier for me in the past few years as most modern audio sequencers (Cubase, Live, PreSonus Studio One) now offer the possibility of exporting all the component tracks of a composition. The problem is, if you have 12 tracks in your song file and only 4 of them are actually being used in the section of song you are exporting, you’ll end up with 12 audio files—8 of which will be blank. If only there were some easy way of find and deleting those blank files so that they didn’t take up so much of my valuable Dropbox space…

The Solution

Luckily, if you’re using a Mac/Linux box, it’s possible to find (and yes, delete) silent audio files en masse using the command-line. It’s undoubtedly possible in Windows, too, using Cygwin, but I haven’t tried it. NOTE: This is very much a use-at-your-own-risk solution. When I do this, I never delete the files directly. I always just use this system to generate a file list. Then I drop the list of files into Winamp and have a relaxing “silent file listening session.” In other words, I check to make sure they are, in fact, actually silent.

OK, so how does it work?

For starters, you will need to install a super useful tool call SoX. SoX is a command-line tool which can be used to perform conversions from one audio file format to another, to apply filters to your files, as well as to generate useful statistics about your audio. In OS X, you can install it via MacPorts (simply type “sudo port install sox” at the Terminal) and on Linux via apt-get. You can also go the old-fashioned route by downloading the source files and compiling it.

Once you have it installed, try it out. Open up a Terminal window, cd into a directory that contains some audio files, and type this:

sox <name_of_audio_file> -n stat

You should get a response that looks like this:

~/loops $ sox <name_of_audio_file> -n stat
Samples read: 2596058
Length (seconds): 13.521135
Scaled by: 2147483647.0
Maximum amplitude: 0.848263
Minimum amplitude: -0.943067
Midline amplitude: -0.047402
Mean norm: 0.083552
Mean amplitude: -0.000062
RMS amplitude: 0.120734
Maximum delta: 0.157007
Minimum delta: 0.000000
Mean delta: 0.024596
RMS delta: 0.034412
Rough frequency: 4354
Volume adjustment: 1.060

We can see from the output that this .wav file is definitely not silent. If it were silent, the Max, Min, and Midline amplitudes would all be 0.000000.

OK, now that we’ve seen what SoX provides us with, how do we find the silent files?

Open up your favorite text editor and paste this into a text file:

#!/bin/bash

## A quick hack like script to list all the files that have
## a low amplitude.
##
## Input is a bash file list or glob.
##
## $ find_silent_audio_files *.wav
##
## Each time the script runs it will remove the output list
## and regenerate it. Stderr will output each file and it's
## amplitude.

Max=0.0 # Any amplitude greater than this will NOT be listed
OutList=~/output.list # The name of the file that contains a
# list of file names only of all the
# low-amplitude files.

# rm $OutList
for each in "$@"
do amplitude=$(sox "$each" -n stat 2>&1 | grep "Maximum amplitude" | cut -d ":" -f 2 | sed 's/ g')
if [[ $(echo "if (${amplitude} > ${Max}) 1 else 0" | bc) -eq 0 ]]
then echo "$each --> $amplitude" >&2
echo "$each" >> $OutList
fi
done

Save this as find_silent_audio_files somewhere in your PATH (maybe in /usr/local/bin or a ~/bin directory if you have one). chmod it so that it’s executable (chmod +x ./find_silent_audio_files).

Great. You are now ready to use this tool. Run it as follows:

dave:~ dhilowitz$ cd ~/wave_files
dave:wave_files dhilowitz$ find_silent_audio_files *.wav
202_what_you_working_on_chorus 13-Audio.wav --> 0.000000
202_what_you_working_on_chorus 2 - 12 C HEND.wav --> 0.000000
202_what_you_working_on_chorus A-Return.wav --> 0.000000
202_what_you_working_on_chorus B-Return.wav --> 0.000000
202_what_you_working_on_chorus MIDI Tracks.wav --> 0.000000
202_what_you_working_on_chorus MOOG.wav --> 0.000000
202_what_you_working_on_verse 13-Audio.wav --> 0.000000
202_what_you_working_on_verse 2 - 12 C HEND.wav --> 0.000000
202_what_you_working_on_verse A-Return.wav --> 0.000000
202_what_you_working_on_verse B-Return.wav --> 0.000000
202_what_you_working_on_verse MIDI Tracks.wav --> 0.000000
202_what_you_working_on_verse MOOG.wav --> 0.000000

The output of the command will be echoed to stdout as well as to a file in your user directory called ~/output.list. As you can see from the code listing above, this file name can be changed. Once you know the names of the files, it should be pretty easy to delete them. Obviously, changing “echo” to “rm” in the script above will accomplish this, but, as I said before, I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have backups or really don’t care.

OK. That’s about it. Good luck! I hope this is useful to someone out there.

–David

TIP: Cubase SX 3: Getting TubeBooster to work in Windows 7 64-bit

Posted on February 12, 2012 by David Hilowitz

I spent most of my day yesterday getting my new music recording PC set up (my new PC is a Mac Mini i5 2.3 Ghz running Windows 7 64-bit). After installing Cubase SX 3.1.1 on my PC, and installing all my most essential VST plugins, I discovered that the song that I have been working on most recently wouldn’t load. Cubase itself would start up just fine, but when I tried to load the song itself it would just hang for hours. Whenever this would happen, Process Explorer would show that the CPU was running at about 25%. The only way to get out of these hangs was to kill the process.

I did a lot of research on what might cause this sort of a problem.  A few other people had had similar issues in the forums, and responding posters had suggested that the problems might be related to one of the plug-ins they had running. I went into C:\Program Files (x86)\VstPlugins and removed all of my plugins, storing them in a folder on my desktop.

I started up Cubase, I loaded my project, and presto, it loaded up almost immediately.

One by one, I added the plugins back in. Each time I did, I would close Cubase, copy the plug-in back to the VstPlugins folder, and relaunch Cubase (ugh). Then I would open the project to see if it loaded.

Finally, when I got to Wurr Audio‘s fantastic TubeBooster plug-in the program began to hang. Uh oh. This plug-in is used *everywhere* in my projects. Like, maybe in every single project I’ve done for the past two or three years. It’s central to my vocal sound. I tried fooling with the settings in Cubase’s *Plug-in Information* window (the ones with names like “Old Host Behavior” and “Lock VST Automation”), but nothing worked.

Finally, after reading about people who had problems with running 32-bit plug-ins on 64-bit hosts, I discovered jBridge. jBridge is a program that allows you to run 32-bit plugins on 64-bit hosts and vice-versa. It does this by “wrapping” the plug-in in another plug-in. Now, bear in mind that while I am running 64-bit operating system, I am running a 32-bit version of Cubase and a 32-bit version of this plug-in. This should not be an issue. And yet…

I downloaded jBridge, wrapped TubeBooster, and it worked! My project loaded like charm. All the settings I had in TubeBooster were preserved as well. Without hesitation I paid the 15 euro fee for the full version jBridge.

Hope this helps somebody out there.

—David

 

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