Launchd Daemon to block Social Media on macOS

September 26th, 2017

Years ago I had an anacron job that would automatically block the forums I tended to want to read during my work day, and then automatically unblock them when the workday was over. By “block”, here, I mean redirect to local – so that when I went to those websites by typing them into my browser, I’d get just a DNS error saying the page couldn’t be found. I used anacron (instead of cron) because the tasks would “run” even if no user was logged in, even if the computer was asleep, or off… etc. Anyway – I did this as a little productivity hack.

After a week off twitter recently, I decided I wanted to bring this hack back – except updated for social media, not Something Awful. But it turns out … macOS has deprecated cron / anacron and launchd has adopted their functionality.

What follows is a tutorial on how to schedule a launchd daemon to block, and unblock, social media on your computer from 11am to 2pm and then 3pm to 8pm.

there’s more »

Lumpy Space Princess’s Ringtone

August 30th, 2012

Molly wanted the Lumpy Space Princess “Hey, Girl!” ringtone for her iPhone. So I made it for her. Here it is if you wants it. If you’re using an iPhone, just open it with iTunes and it will add to your “ringtones” playlisty thing. Sync your phone and then BAM – you’re set.
iPhone m4r
Standard aif

Digitech Whammy v4 User Manual

June 9th, 2012

I bought myself a 4th Gen DigiTech Whammy this weekend and when I went to go find the User Manual, found all the links on the Digitech Site were broken. A quick perusal of a bunch of forums showed that many people found the same thing; people are learning about some of the more complex features of this beast through oral tradition. 🙁

Anyway. A quick wget of the digitech site managed to grab the manuals. So… HERE THEY IS.


Whammy Calibration Guide

4 Thoughts on Copyright, Economy, Consumerism

December 26th, 2011

“The overwhelming belief that everything should just be FREE now is as pervasive and intractable as it is unrealistic and unsustainable.” – Videogum.

This is simply not true. I wont argue that the lack of cost associated with downloading is not a huge factor in people’s decisions to download media “illegally” but I would never agree that anything close to a majority of people engaged in downloading and torrenting think “everything should just be free.” I would not ever describe this attitude as “overwhelming’.

In my experience, which I like to think is vast – and I don’t get to claim vast experience in many things, so perhaps thats why I take this so personally – the “freeness” of the downloaded products is almost never discussed. A user rarely exclaims YES! THANKS FOR UPLOADING THIS NOW I DON’T HAVE TO PAY FOR IT in earnest. It is rather more frequently a question of artificial scarcity: it is simply easier to download “illegally” than it is to purchase legally. Downloading is a symptom of a cause: inconvenience.

What is un-sustainable is the stubborn business practices of the media distributors who refuse to release their dead-man’s grasp on old models. If anything, the proof-pudding has indicated a less-scarce, reasonably price alternative to current models is EXTREMELY sustainable.

“…or one thing, that works for Radiohead and the world’s most popular stand up comedian of the moment, but a “pay what you will” structure isn’t going to work for a band you’ve never heard of, or a Television show” – Videogum.

I’d be curious to see the numbers on this. Says who? My guess is the system would work just as well for a smaller band as it does for Radiohead. Sure the “band you’ve never heard of” isn’t going to make a million dollars but they weren’t going to make a million dollars with a record deal either. Doesn’t it seem like a better plan for everyone if the consumers who like their music get to pay less per record and the band gets to see more $$ per sale?

For the record, services like the Humble Bundles and Bandcamp see people more-often-than-not willingly paying more than the minimum and/or average price for products.

Additionally, I fail to understand why this model would not work for a television show.

“8 million dollars isn’t even that good of a budget for a movie” – Videogum.

Yes it is. $8M dollars is a lot of money. Many, myself included, would argue that $200M is too much to spend on a movie. When did we decide actors and performers are worth millions upon millions of dollars for their appearances in movies? Bill Murray has famously said he doesn’t even “leave the driveway” for $50k. If anything, we need a redefinition of the appropriate budget for a movie and not a new funding model to make sure every movie which is going to get made gets its “neccesary” $200M or whatever would be considered a “good budget.”

“That means that for a $1.29 download from iTunes, after Apple takes its standard 30 percent fee, the artist would be paid 13 or 14 cents; for five million downloads, that amounts to about $650,000. As one of five writers of the song, Cee Lo would also make about $45,000 in publishing royalties on those downloads.” – NY Times

Cee Lo Green makes an estimated ~$700k a year from songwriting alone. And we are still complaining about the state of the music industry. “That leaves him a long way from the $20 million he is estimated to make this year”, this article reads. As if this is what he is entitled to and it is a shame he has to work so hard touring and shaking hands in order to meet his quota.

Maybe I am reading this wrong, being on the pro-reform side of the argument but the point remains – ~$700k a year and we talk about the decline of record sales and the plight of the recording artist.


One Way to Facebook Safely

November 30th, 2011

After facebook’s most recent update I’ve noticed an increase in the number of items on my newsfeed which tell me exactly what my friends are doing. This includes stuff they’re reading, videos they’re watching, and in one case even items which they have purchased. Unfortunately, my friends are not actively sharing these items. These items are being shared for them by Facebook’s pervasive connection to every major website out there.

I’m not saying you should be hiding all these things from your pals; you don’t have to be embarrassed by how often you watch old Hanson music videos… or the number of Yahoo! articles you read about what LiLo is up to. But, you should be miffed and maybe even a little scared that FB knows these things about you, and is displaying them, and probably saving them. And probably selling them.

So. It is on this occasion I provide one – of many – ways to facebook safely (on a mac). This is the method I prefer because it provides an easy quicksilver / spotlight shortcut to FB. It involves sequestering Facebook into its own little program, independent of the browser you use and by extension the other websites you visit, so it can’t snoop as effectively.

Put Facebook in the Corner

  • Sign of out facebook in your main browser.
  • Delete FB cookies. Here’s one way to do it on FF. Google around for other browsers, the info is plentiful.
  • Download Fluid
  • Open fluid and make a new fluid app for
  • Run FB ONLY as a fluid app, and NEVER in your browser