Keyboard Adventures

The best utility for making custom keyboard layouts on Mac OS X has long been Ukelele (sic). Sure, Apple came up with an XML format for keyboard layouts, but when you want a variant of an existing keyboard, it’s a lot easier to just copy the existing keyboard in Ukelele and modify the keys you want to change.

A few years ago I took a class on Phonetics and Phonology, and found myself needing to type in IPA quite often. So I fired up Ukelele and made a copy of the standard Dvorak keyboard and got to work. I didn’t…

rm vs. Time Machine

Public Service Announcement: if a Time Machine backup fails, it will leave behind a file with an extension of inprogress. (It’s actually a folder.) If you have a hard time deleting it, do not use rm! It will erase files from all backups, instead of just the one in progress. Instead, trash the inprogress file from the Finder and Empty Trash as usual. It might take a while, but it will Do The Right Thing.

You could also leave the file alone and just try to backup again; Time Machine will clear out the failed inprogress file when the next backup succeeds.

Priorities

From Effective UI:

The point of software isn’t necessarily to engross your users in the experience of using the software, it is to keep them focused on the ultimate goals they’re trying to accomplish in using the software, rather than on the actual use of the software itself. […] To be truly and unobtrusively useful, software must clear the straightest, most frictionless path to the accomplishment of the user’s goals.

Effective UI is a very good book, one of the few instances where a discussion of UI (or UX, “user experience”) doesn’t drive me up a wall. This is…