Slack Bots for Work

In a previous post, I mentioned how I get notified of the restaurant menu via a Ruby script. Recently I’ve moved to a totally different product area and the main communication channel we use is Slack. Naturally enough, I ported the Ruby code I wrote, and it now posts the menu every day to our Slack channel. This also got me thinking of what other information would be handy to have.

Run Command on SSH Login

Do you need to run a command on SSH login? There are a lot of solutions on the web for this, but most of them are very complex. I stumbled across this easy method of using the authorized_keys file, simply add command="ls -l" (replacing ls -l with something a bit more useful like tmux or screen) in front of the key fingerprint. This also means you can have different commands for different keys if you choose.

iOS Shells, Prompt vs. Mosh

I’m a big fan of the shell and the productivity it brings, you can have a text editor, command to run a server and more within easy reach. I use a shell at work, at home and on the go. On the go could be using my iPad or iPhone. One of the first SSH clients on iOS was iSSH, which I used many years ago. After this, Panic released a professional class application called Prompt.

Plain Text Accounting

For the last few years, I’ve always wanted to budget properly and see where my money was going. But like all habits that are good for you, looking after your finances takes time, care and attention. I started off by researching the market for budgeting software. A lot of the prepackged software out there was very US-centric, including Quicken, Microsoft Money and Mint.com. I eventually settled on and bought a license for You Need a Budget, because: it had a budgeting methodology, very good Euro support and was cross platform with Adobe Air.

Newsfast MSc Project in UCD

As part of my masters degree in University College Dublin, we undertook a group project which focused on building a technology product. I’m very proud about how we ran the project, so I’d like to give an overview of it here! The product is a technology news application, which personalised your news feed based on your interests. I like to think of it as Facebook meets Techmeme meets your favourite RSS news feeds!

Automatic Newsletter Cleanup in Gmail

If you haven’t tried Google Apps Script, I found a really nifty use for it: smart filtering for email. Wait, shouldn’t I just use Gmails' built-in filters? As it turns out you can’t - my filter needs to act on email that matched that filter in the past. So in other words: a filter can only act on email it actually “filters”, which kinda makes sense! I’m a big fan of automation (and email is ripe for automation), as you can see from my post on meetings in Outlook.

iPad Pro Review

After some thought initially on a new laptop, I decided to spring for an iPad Pro 12.9". So far I am really glad I did, the computer comes with me everywhere. I bring it to work, to visit family, on trips and everywhere in between. It’s the ultimate work computer in many ways, always with you, light enough and comfortable enough for real work™. The keyboard shortcuts in iOS have improved massively from iOS 8 to iOS 9 to the point of actually being useful and the split screen view is actually rather nice to use (I never “got” it on a Mac).

Remote: Office Not Required

I recently read Remote: Office Not Required by David Heinemeier-Hansson (who created Ruby on Rails) and Jason Fried (who co-founded 37 Signals with Heinemeier-Hansson). This book is really a case study in why the future of work will be remote, of which the book did convince me (but I would say, I already believed). The book is really structured to convince those who do not believe in the premise of the title.

Mechanical Keyboards

Early last year, I purchased two Code Keyboards (one for work and one for home). The Code Keyboards are designed by Jeff Atwood (who founded Stack Overflow). Mechanical keyboards are “old style” in that the switches are from an era where everything was mechanical, unlike today where everything is glass. So mechanical keyboards have ardent fans and people who don’t really care for them. I did a lot of research before I purchased, talking to various people in work who are very knowledgeable about mechanical keyboards (The best community for advice, discussion and group buys is /r/mechanicalkeyboards on reddit.

Ulysses App

I recently purchased Ulysses Mobile after a recommendation from Macstories. My first impression was how expensive it was priced and what really makes a premium writing application? Needless to say, I’m not a huge writer. But I do have a real fondness for plain text (it will survive the apocalypse) and by extension, Markdown by John Gruber. The problem for Ulysses is this: there’s lots of really great Markdown applications for iOS, two of which I have written about: Editorial (my favourite) and Byword (not so keen on this app).

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