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Edenwaith 2017

25th March 2017 | Edenwaith

2017 will be a year of renewal, which will focus on rebuilding the website and certain products.


The last major set of website improvements date back to 2009, well before responsive design was a standard to address the browsing capabilities for smart phones and tablets, in addition to their desktop counterparts. I've been researching a number of new methods for the fourth major redesign of the Edenwaith website. I've been heavily favoring some form of static site generation to display the various projects hosted here, plus allow for a decent blogging solution. This is still in the early stages and will require some experimentation to determine what will work best for this site's needs.

Until the day that Edenwaith 4.0 is live, I have introduced a couple of new design elements to the current site to try out a couple of new ideas.

  • Removed the Company section and replaced it with the About section.
  • Updated the Products and Downloads pages.
  • Redesigned the home page so it is more responsive and readable on mobile devices.
  • Added GitHub, Twitter, and Contact icons in the page footer. Makes use of FontAwesome.
  • Added higher resolution graphics for a better appearance on Retina-level displays.

EdenList for iOS 2.0

EdenList for iOS began as my first project for the iPhone back in 2009. In the past eight years, a lot has changed in the realm of iOS development. I have incrementally improved this app on a yearly basis, but its development has finally reached a point where the original foundation is too unstable and archaic to be viable in this rapidly mutating environment. Gone will be the Objective-C, XIBs, and manually managed memory, which will be replaced by Swift, Storyboards, and ARC (amongst many of the various other refinements).

Permanent Eraser

There are still a handful of features I'd like to complete during the 2.x lifespan of Permanent Eraser. Version 2.7.1 was released last December and plans are in the works for PE 2.7.2 and 2.8. After that, things are very much up in the air, but there are some interesting paths which Permanent Eraser might travel in the future.

Organization + Clean Up Tips for iOS Developers

29th January 2017 | Programming

The following are a collection of useful tips and tricks I've developed over the past year to help keep things neat and tidy in my development environment.

Free up space taken by Xcode

The problem: Xcode is a huge space hog, not only in the size of the app, but with all of the detritus which is left about from old archives, simulators, and derived data. This often results in my work computer displaying low space warnings.

  • Run a disk sweeper to find where the most space is being taken and then delete files from:
  • Archives: ~/Library/Developer/Xcode/Archives
  • Derived data: ~/Library/Developer/Xcode/DerivedData
  • Device logs: ~/Library/Developer/Xcode/iOS Device Logs
  • Old simulators: ~/Library/Developer/Xcode/iOS DeviceSupport
  • Really old simulators: ~/Library/Application Support/iPhone Simulator
  • Old documentation: ~/Library/Developer/Shared/Documentation/DocSets
  • Remove old simulators and devices from ~/Library/Developer/CoreSimulator/Devices with the command: xcrun simctl delete unavailable
  • Reboot your computer to free up memory

Clean up old local git branches

The problem: Without regular maintenance, your local git repository will become a cluttered mess of old branches. Before cleaning your local git branches, your repository might look like this:

$ git branch --merged
* develop

Using a git/grep/xargs concoction, you can quickly clean this up. Delete all local merged branches, except for the branches named master or develop.

git branch --merged | grep -v '\*\|master\|develop' | xargs -n 1 git branch -d

This will result in local branches being deleted, with output similar to this:

Deleted branch Bugfix/FOOBAR-1000 (was ab382ed).
Deleted branch Bugfix/FOOBAR-1007 (was 493b17b).
Deleted branch Bugfix/FOOBAR-1015 (was e7e1f6a).
Deleted branch Bugfix/FOOBAR-1026 (was 19b6d62).
Deleted branch Bugfix/FOOBAR-1057 (was 8f06d42).
Deleted branch Bugfix/FOOBAR-1058 (was e285fde).
Deleted branch Bugfix/FOOBAR-1060 (was 96318b5).
Deleted branch Bugfix/FOOBAR-1061 (was a84bcac).
Deleted branch Bugfix/FOOBAR-1062 (was 2b7310c).
Deleted branch Bugfix/FOOBAR-1099 (was 8260dd0).
Deleted branch Bugfix/FOOBAR-1106 (was cf401f2).
Deleted branch Bugfix/FOOBAR-1132 (was 4af883c).
Deleted branch Bugfix/FOOBAR-1139 (was 3f89c9b).
Deleted branch Bugfix/FOOBAR-1141 (was 13763d0).
Deleted branch Bugfix/FOOBAR-1151 (was 6ca43c4).
Deleted branch Bugfix/FOOBAR-1155 (was b020c21).
Deleted branch Bugfix/FOOBAR-1157 (was 903dee7).
Deleted branch Bugfix/FOOBAR-1168 (was abb20b6).

Perform one more check to ensure that your local repository has been cleaned up:

$ git branch --merged
* develop

synx — Organize an Xcode project's file system

The problem: The file system structure of your project does not match up to the project's Xcode structure. If not properly handled early on in a project's life cycle, the organization between the project and it's matching file system will quickly become out of sync and result in a massive dump of unorganized files.

The idea to write a script seemed like a good weekend project, but fortunately this problem has already been solved. Enter synx, a command-line tool that reorganizes your Xcode project folder to match your Xcode groups.

To install: gem install synx

To run: synx /path/to/project.xcodeproj

...and viola!á! No more unorganized file system structure.

Taking a simulator screenshot from the command line

The problem: As of Xcode 8, trying to take a screenshot of the iOS simulator using the keyboard shortcut ⌘-S will result in the simulator crashing. This issue occurs only with OS X El Capitan and Xcode 8, but not with macOS Sierra and Xcode 8.

From the command line, run: xcrun simctl io booted screenshot

I created a small shell script named (short for Take Simulator Screenshot) which switches to the Desktop, takes the screenshot of the running simulator, saves the picture to the Desktop, then switches back to the original directory. I then created an alias so I only need to type tss from the Terminal to take a screenshot.

To make this even easier, create an Automator Workflow service to run the shell script and then attach a keyboard shortcut to it. This method circumvents event needing to go to the command line to call the script. Press ⇧-⌘-5 and a screenshot is taken of the simulator.


Creating a Single Logical Volume Using USB Drives and Core Storage

10th September 2016 | Programming

I recently came across TarDisk, an interesting combination of hardware and software wizardry which uses the often unused SDXC slot on a Mac laptop to increase the total storage space. Considering that I am constantly running out of drive space on my work computer, this struck me as a very useful thing to assuage the perpetual freespace problem, but I was even more intrigued by the associated Pear software which combines the laptop's and the TarDisk's space into one logical unit, much like the Fusion drive in modern iMacs which take advantage of the speed of an SSD and the cheapness and spaciousness of HHD. I have not found any specifics on how Pear manages to merge the SD card with the computer's SSD, but I would not be surprised if it is making use of OS X's Core Storage technology to combine multiple disks into a single logical volume.

This got me wondering if it would be possible to do something similar by combining two connected USB disks into a single drive by using Core Storage. Indeed, this is possible. To do so involves running two commands from the command line using the diskutil utility.

diskutil coreStorage create LOGICAL_VOL_GROUP_NAME DRIVE_1 DRIVE_2
diskutil coreStorage createVolume lvgUUID type name size

LOGICAL_VOL_GROUP_NAME is the name you wish to assign to the new volume. DRIVE_1 and DRIVE_2 are the paths to the drives. Use the command diskutil list to get the path name of the drives (e.g. /dev/disk2). lvgUUID is returned after creating the new group. The output should be similar to the following:

diskutil coreStorage create FusedUSB /dev/disk4 /dev/disk5
Started CoreStorage operation
Unmounting disk4
Repartitioning disk4
Unmounting disk
Creating the partition map
Rediscovering disk4
Adding disk4s1 to Logical Volume Group
Unmounting disk5
Repartitioning disk5
Unmounting disk
Creating the partition map
Rediscovering disk5
Adding disk5s1 to Logical Volume Group
Creating Core Storage Logical Volume Group
Switching disk4s1 to Core Storage
Switching disk5s1 to Core Storage
Waiting for Logical Volume Group to appear
Discovered new Logical Volume Group "BF21D233-99CC-8AD9-853D-4339E765UI09"
Core Storage LVG UUID: BF21D233-99CC-8AD9-853D-4339E765UI09


diskutil coreStorage create FusedUSB /dev/disk4 /dev/disk5
diskutil coreStorage createVolume BF21D233-99CC-8AD9-853D-4339E765UI09 jhfs+ FusedUSB 100%

To revert these changes, run the command diskutil coreStorage delete lvgUUID. Keep in mind that creating and deleting Core Storage volumes is a destructive process and will delete any content that is already existing on the drives.


Newcomer's Guide to WWDC (2016 Addendum)

9th July 2016 | Apple

This year I was finally fortunate enough to attend WWDC, and following the advice of many others, I am including my own thoughts, tips and tricks about attending WWDC for the first time.

Finding a Hotel

Lodging in a large city is not cheap, and San Francisco (already renown for being one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S.) was no different. Trying to find anything even semi-affordable in downtown S.F. is a difficult task, and even more so to find something in a nicer area. Read up on reviews of the various hotels first, and stay out of the Tenderloin district. I will repeat that: Stay out of the Tenderloin district.

The Keynote

Historically, one wanted to line up for the Keynote as early as possible so one could get a seat in the main conference room where the Keynote was being held, otherwise you would be relegated to an overflow room. This year the Keynote was moved to the Bill Graham Civic Center, which was able to seat all 5000 attendees, journalists and special guests. It was packed, but this probably worked a lot better than trying to herd everyone into Moscone West for the Keynote.

I arrived at the Bill Graham Civic Center around 5:55. Just 10 minutes later, a decent sized line showed up behind me. Two lines were formed, one for the ground level and one for the upper level. I ended up on the upper level, but the giant screens helped show what was going on and the acoustics weren’t too bad.


Others have reported that in the past meals were a catered affair. With 5000 people to feed, though, it works best to have the pre-packaged meals so people can just quickly pick up a meal from a table and then find a place to sit and eat. Breakfast generally consisted of pastries, muffins, donuts and bagels with juice and coffee. Lunch often came in three varieties such as chicken, beef or vegetarian (sandwiches, salads, and some form of desert). Snacks and beverages were also available between meals. There was enough food, and sometimes there was enough left over from my lunch that it made for a good dinner. If you want a coffee, there are plenty of Starbucks around, including two just a block away from Moscone West. Interestingly enough, I never came across a single McDonalds during my stay in San Francisco, so no iced coffees from there.


San Francisco's weather is reminiscent of being in the mountains. It tends to be cool in the mornings and evenings, but will warm up during the middle of the day. During the week of the conference, temperatures ranged from 13°C to 18°C (I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to convert those temperatures to Fahrenheit). I was glad I was given an extra jacket when I checked in, since I needed it on Monday morning while waiting in line for the Keynote.

Sight Seeing

Most of my time was spent attending the conference, but I did manage to reserve a couple of hours to check out some of the more interesting and pleasant parts of downtown San Francisco.

  • Apple Store: I visited the new Apple Store off of Union Square, which is certainly quite different from all of the other Apple Stores I've visited.
  • Trolley + Fisherman's Wharf : San Francisco is famous for its trolleys, which are now more for nostalgia and entertainment than an expansive form of public transportation. When I wasn't walking, I tended to either take a taxi or the BART (from SFO to downtown) to get around. Fisherman's Wharf reminded me of Chicago's Navy Pier — pretty much a large tourist trap, but with crab sandwiches.
  • City Bus Tour : This was an excellent way to see most of the highlights of the city, including going across the Golden Gate Bridge. Recommended method of getting around to see the sights.


Attending WWDC was a magnificent experience. I’m not certain if I’ll be able to ever attend again, so it was wonderful to have the chance to attend this conference. Having all of the WWDC sessions available on-line is a great resource, but it just isn’t quite the same as being there in person where you have an entire week dedicated to watching these sessions and (trying to) absorb as much new knowledge as possible. In the past, I might watch a handful of sessions on the internet, but by being at the conference it allowed me to see a lot more of the sessions, including some I may not have bothered watching. Some of the sessions were great, some were surprisingly more interesting than expected, and a few were incredibly deep and complex. The information is invaluable, but the networking is what truly makes WWDC a fun experience. Meet other developers from all over the world (and there is plenty of chance to meet new people when you stand in various lines throughout the day) or perhaps even bump into a semi-famous face or two.

Automating Periodic Scripts With Launchd

22nd May 2016 | Programming

The Goal

Create a reoccurring maintenance task that will move all screenshots from the Mac's Desktop into a designated folder each day.

The Options

I looked at a number of different options to automate this maintenance task. I needed something non-obtrusive, straightforward and flexible.

  • Calendar + Automator — This is the more graphical approach, but the downside is seeing repeating events littering up the Calendar. I prefer to keep the Calendar as clean as possible.
  • Folder Actions — I've used Automator to create a Folder Action on other folders before, such as the Downloads folder to place new files in specific locations, but I needed something that would only run once a day, not every time a new file was added to a folder.
  • cron — Having coming from a UNIX background, I knew of cron. A little research on this topic tended to recommend using launchd, instead for Mac OS X.
  • launchdlaunchd fit the bill for what I was looking for. It had the flexibility to allow me to run a given script on a daily basis.

The Code

In this example, I created a plist list file named local.cleanupdesktop.plist and placed it into the directory ~/Library/LaunchAgents. This particular plist configuration displays just a small portion of what is possible. In this example, it runs the script each day at 9:30. For a more comprehensive list of what options are available, check the comprehensive resources at

The script is a small bash script which searches for any screenshots which are on the Desktop and places them into the Screenshots folder. This particular script will take screenshots from the keyboard shortcut or from screenshots taken from the iOS Simulator.


AppleScript: Counting Open Safari Tabs

19th May 2016 | Programming

On a typical day, I might have a dozen Safari windows open, each replete with its own set of tabs. With each tab sandboxed in its own process, this can result in a bevy of running tasks on the system. As an interesting (and useful) exercise, I wanted to write a small script which would quickly tell me how many open tabs I had in Safari.

The most obvious solution for my needs to be able to interact with Mac applications, yet retain the flexibility of a programming language is AppleScript. AppleScript is just another one of a multitude of languages I've dabbled with over the years, going as far back as the System 7 days. I pick up AppleScript every now and again when the appropriate need arises, but I find myself needing to relearn its capabilities. AppleScript has high readability with its English-like syntax, but it makes for some esoteric writing at times, to ensure that the proper syntax is being used.

The goal is straightforward: Grab every Safari window, total up the number of tabs, and return the result. In this particular example, I had the script print out the result so I could run it from the command line using the osascript command.

The Code

Running the script

osascript CountOpenSafariTabs.scpt There are 112 Safari tabs open.

To further simplify things, I added the following alias to my .bash_profile file, so I only need to type counttabs in the Terminal to get the desired answer:

alias counttabs='osascript ~/Projects/scripts/CountOpenSafariTabs.scpt'


Edenwaith 2016 : Preview + Review

15th May 2016 | Edenwaith

A couple of quick items about the year so far and a brief look ahead.

EdenList 1.2.3

EdenList for iOS was updated in April with several UI and UX improvements. In accordance to recent trends, the App Store approval time for this app had improved over past experiences to just three days. In the past, review times were generally between seven to ten days.

EdenGraph Retired

After ten years of inactivity, the decision has been made to officially retire EdenGraph. The source code for this project is available on GitHub.

The Mysterious Case of the Expired Certificate

Another talk about the fun and joys of dealing (translation: struggling and fighting) with Xcode, code signing and provisioning profiles. The summary of the talk was about the Apple Worldwide Developer Relations Certification Authority certificate expiring on 14 February 2016, which resulted in a number of bizarre behaviors. Delete the old certificate from your Keychain and update to the latest certificate. We'll be all set until 7 February 2023, when the current certificate expires.

Tip : Disabling Auto-launching For Android Phones on a Mac

Whenever I would plug in the HTC One (M7) into a Mac, a couple of apps might try and start up. This became quite annoying, so here are a couple of tips to disable Android File Transfer and Photos from launching when the HTC One is connected.

  • To disable Google's Android File Transfer from auto-launching: Go to your Mac's System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Items tab and remove Android File Transfer Agent from the list. This is a helper app which watches for new devices being connected to the computer.
  • To disable Apple's Photos from auto-launching, type in the following command in Terminal: defaults -currentHost write disableHotPlug -bool YES

2016 : On and On...

The plans for the remainder of this year are fairly slim, but will mainly focus on an update to Permanent Eraser and rebuilding the Edenwaith website.

Permanent Eraser 2.7.0

26th December 2015 | Permanent Eraser

As mentioned earlier this year, the newly released Permanent Eraser 2.7 will (likely) be the final major hurrah for the 2.x line. New features, fixes and improvements in this release include:

  • New contextual menu plug-in for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.
  • Increased app responsiveness while preparing to erase the Trash.
  • Fixed a Retina UI issue on Yosemite.
  • Fixed UI issues for non-English localizations.
  • Tested and verified for OS X 10.11 El Capitan.

The biggest new feature is a new contextual menu plug-in for pre-Snow Leopard versions of Mac OS X. The plug-in has been tested on both Tiger and Leopard (it may work on even earlier versions of Mac OS X, but this has not been verified). Even though Permanent Eraser 2.7 does not run on Tiger, the plug-in can be downloaded and installed into your account's ~/Library/Contextual Menu Items/ folder. If the folder Contextual Menu Items does not exist, create the folder first, then copy the file EraseCMI.plugin into the folder. Then restart your Finder by either restarting your computer or typing the following command into the Terminal: killall Finder

This new plug-in was more of an interesting exercise to create the type of plug-in from that would have been written ten years ago, during the days when Finder was still based off of Carbon instead of Cocoa. The result is a faster and more integrated solution for older versions of Mac OS X, rather than using the slower Automator workflow.

The latest version of OS X (10.11 El Capitan) finally removed the Secure Empty Trash and Erase Free Space features from Finder and Disk Utility, respectively. As detailed in the security note CVE-2015-5901:


Available for: Mac OS X v10.6.8 and later

Impact: The “Secure Empty Trash” feature may not securely delete files placed in the Trash
Description: An issue existed in guaranteeing secure deletion of Trash files on some systems, such as those with flash storage. This issue was addressed by removing the “Secure Empty Trash” option.

CVE-2015-5901 : Apple

Due to the way that Solid State Drives rewrite data to the disk using wear leveling techniques, it is not possible to repeatedly write over data like it is with mechanical hard drives. In 2015, the only Apple computers which even come with the older hard drives (whether stand alone or as part of a Fusion Drive) are the iMac, the Mac mini, and a 3 year old version of the 13" Mac Book Pro. Even the Mac Pro has eschewed the older technology in favor of the faster speeds of SSD. Since a majority of Apple's computers which are sold these days are laptops, there is less and less need for secure file shredders. If you are using an SSD, the recommended way to protect your data is to encrypt the drive by turning on FileVault.

Does this mean that this is the end of Permanent Eraser? Not necessarily. Various ideas and prototypes for the next version of this app have been floating around for several years, but with the shift in storage technology, Permanent Eraser may also need to shift to address new needs — otherwise, the app will slowly become obsolete as it would cater to a continually declining niche market.

Mobile Plateau

2nd July 2015 | Apple

When the iPhone 5s came out, I wanted to love it, to be enamored by its advancements. I really did, but despite my desire to yearn for it, the longing and admiration just wasn't there. The iPhone 5s is a fine phone, but the level of improvements over the iPhone 4S just were not enough to convince me to immediately upgrade. There were some niceties such as the addition of LTE and Touch ID, but those still weren't enough. Much of the low hanging fruit had already been plucked, and the yearly advancements in mobile technologies were tapering off.

Eager to find something fresh, my gaze extend outside of the Apple ecosphere. Many Android phones are slabs of poorly designed plastic, lacking the level of precision and quality which I was accustomed to with Apple products. One product which did catch my eye was the 2013 edition of the HTC One (M7).

I've used two versions of the M7, a silver Google Play edition and a metallic blue Verizon version. Externally, the phones are nearly identical except for the coloring and the addition of a carrier logo on the Verizon phone. The phone is a good size (quite a bit larger than the iPhone 4S), and feels very solid. However, one thing I missed about iOS was having a Home button to wake up the phone. Otherwise, the build quality is excellent.

The Google Play edition resolved one of Android's biggest hurdles by being able to upgrade to the latest version of KitKat (Android 4.4), whereas the Verizon version was restricted to version 4.2.2, with no word that Verizon has any plans on updating the software on the phone. The only work around to get future versions of Android looks like to root the device and upgrade it manually. This may not be the worst idea, since the Verizon M7 comes cluttered with a bunch of their carrier-branded crapware (which can't be manually uninstalled, either), so wiping the device and upgrading might be a worthwhile endeavor. I used these phones as testing devices (no SIM cards), which need to be put into Airplane Mode to get them to work properly with Wi-Fi. On the software front, getting the Google Play version of a device is certainly the way to go. No corporate branding, no unwanted crapware, and an easy upgrade path.

In September 2014, Apple announced the yearly update to the iPhone line: the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The iPhone 6 was Apple phone I was hoping for that would impress me again and make upgrading worthwhile. After using my trusty workhorse of an iPhone 4S for three years, trading up to the iPhone 6 came with numerous perks.

  • Larger 4.7" screen for easier typing and reading
  • 128 GB of storage
  • NFC for Apple Pay
  • Touch ID
  • LTE networking
  • General hardware improvements in the camera, speed, memory

The iPhone 6 line builds upon its predecessors, so some of these features had already been around for a year or few, but the larger screen size and expanded storage space were great additions. The 3.5" screen on the first several iterations of the iPhone looked astounding in comparison to the bevy of phones it supplanted, but it began to look diminutive in comparison to some of the newer Android phones, such as the HTC One's gorgeous 4.7" screen.

The iPhone 6 is an amazing device, one which I hope to be using well into 2017. The two year cycle of replacing phones might become more a thing of the past as the hardware and software improves to a point where these devices' lifespans can reach out to 3+ years (barring the usual accidents). Personal computers in the 1980s had a life expectancy of around three years before they became too antiquated to run the latest software. The computers built in the 21st century have reached a point where they can easily reach 5, 7, or more years of use. The youngest of the three Macs I use regularly at home is 8 and the oldest is now a dozen years in age.

Google's and Apple's developer conferences, Google I/O and WWDC respectively, are used as the platforms to announce their latest advancements and things to look forward to in the coming year. Normally these conferences bring about some interesting changes, especially in the realm of mobile technologies, but 2015 was quite the bust for both conferences. Aside from the Google Photos service, Google I/O elicited not much more than a yawn from me. I was hoping that WWDC would hold more promise.

The potential was there, but it was not met. Aside from the now yearly upgrades to OS X and iOS, there was the introduction of Apple Music, which was only marginally more interesting to me than Google Photos. For the past three years I've been hoping for an upgrade to the Apple TV that would be amazing enough that it would finally convince the rest of my family to cut the TV cable. No announcement yet, but there is always hope that something like this is in the works.

The iPhone in 2007 heralded the beginning of the current generation of smart phones, turning a device with twelve buttons into an amazing computer that fits into your pocket. The biggest shortcomings have been addressed and now Google and Apple are grasping to find interesting and important problems to tackle in the mobile space. We have reached a plateau in this space, where the annual leaps in technology are no longer being met. This is a lull in the storm for the time being, but things will eventually be churned up again, bringing about the next set of technological advancements, whether that is in mobile or another area altogether.

Permanent Eraser + Yosemite

29th April 2015 | Permanent Eraser

Each new version of OS X brings changes, which often prompts software makers to update their own products to ensure that things work properly on the new system. Sometimes the changes are minor and other times they are quite severe. This article will focus on two areas, Gestalt and code signing, which required some additional work to get Permanent Eraser 2.6.3 to work properly with Apple's desktop OS of 2014 — Yosemite.

Gestalt + Yosemite

There have been numerous ways to determine the operating system version on OS X, but it hasn't been until recently that Apple provided a sanctioned way in Objective-C (and Swift) with the inclusion of NSProcessInfo's operatingSystemVersion method. This is a welcome, albeit highly belated, addition to the Cocoa framework.

Before the inclusion of the operatingSystemVersion method, programmers used a variety of methods to determine the operating system's version, including a mainstay which harkens back to the pre-Cocoa days — the Gestalt Manager. Up until Yosemite (aka OS X 10.10), the following code snippet worked pretty well.

SInt32	osVersion;
Gestalt(gestaltSystemVersion, (SInt32 *) &osVersion);	// Set OS Version

if (osVersion >= 0x00001060) { // Snow Leopard (10.6) or later

Unfortunately, with a system version like 10.10.0, we have run out of space using this old format, which results in warnings such as the following to appear:

WARNING: The Gestalt selector gestaltSystemVersion is returning 10.9.0 instead of 10.10.0. Use NSProcessInfo's operatingSystemVersion property to get correct system version number.

The problem which is encountered is when either the minor or patch numbers exceed the number 9, so the version of Mac OS X 10.4.11 would be returned as 10.4.9 or 10.10.3 would be returned as 10.9.3. Years ago, some Adobe installers encountered an error when trying to install on Mac OS X 10.4.10 or 10.4.11, thinking that it was an earlier version of Tiger (Adobe InDesign 4.0.5 does no longer start up). The problem now results in the returned OS version has run out of space to properly represent the system version for Yosemite.

The work around for this problem was to make use of a back port which will use the latest methods, but will fallback to another method for earlier versions of OS X. The replacement for the Gestalt call I used was Jake Petroules' CocoaBackports, which checks if methods like operatingSystemVersion and isOperatingSystemAtLeastVersion are available. If not, swizzle the methods and use the custom methods. The updated code now looks like this:

if ([[NSProcessInfo processInfo] isOperatingSystemAtLeastVersion:(NSOperatingSystemVersion){10, 6, 0}] == YES)	{

Code Signing + Yosemite

A year ago I detailed the process I took to code sign Permanent Eraser to work with Gatekeeper on Mountain Lion and Mavericks. However, when developing Permanent Eraser 2.6.3, I encountered the following error when trying to launch the app on Yosemite.

So what happened?! This was working before! Let's do a quick codesign verification to see what is happening. If your app has been signed with an older version of codesign, you will see the following message if you verify the package with current versions of OS X:

codesign --verify --verbose=4 resource envelope is obsolete (version 1 signature)

If everything is good, then it might look more like this:

codesign --verify --verbose=4 valid on disk satisfies its Designated Requirement

Or for the more succinct version:

codesign --verify -v valid on disk satisfies its Designated Requirement

If the app hasn't been signed at all, then you will see a response like this:

codesign --verify --verbose=4 code object is not signed at all
In architecture: ppc

The short answer is that Gatekeeper has changed in the past year. For apps to be approved by Gatekeeper, they now need to be signed in OS X 10.9.5 or later, which contains the latest signature. Due to changes like these, there's little wonder why I have sprouted at least three grey hairs due to dealing with code signing and provisioning profiles.

Apple Says: Important: For your apps to run on updated versions of OS X they must be signed on OS X version 10.9 or later and thus have a version 2 signature. They also must not contain any custom resource rules. You must sign using OS X 10.9 or later. You cannot just take the codesign utility and move it to an older version of OS X. Mac applications signed with version 2 signatures will still work on older versions of OS X.

Gatekeeper changes in OS X 10.9.5 and later

  • All packages within the app need to be signed, including Automator plug-ins and actions, frameworks, helper tools, shared libraries, etc.
  • Sign with the more modern version of codesign (v2), so when verifying with the command codesign -dvvv, the second to last line should say "Sealed Resources version=2", instead of "version=1".
  • Resource rules are no longer supported.

What to sign

  • Frameworks
  • Automator actions
  • Plug-ins
  • Helper utilities
  • The app

How to sign

  • Sign from the inside out. Sign the inner components before signing the entire application package.
  • Let codesign guide you. It will fail if any components still need to be signed.

Start by trying to sign the main application bundle. If any enclosed subcomponents need to be signed, you will be notified.

codesign --force --sign "Developer ID Application: John Doe" replacing existing signature code object is not signed at all
In subcomponent: /Users/jdoe/Desktop/

In this example, the Automator action named Foo still needs to be signed.

codesign --force --sign "Developer ID Application: John Doe"

In the UNIX world, no news is good news. If you sign this bundle and nothing else comes back after the process is complete, assume everything is good. This works fine for signing Automator actions. If you are trying to sign a workflow, the process requires a little extra work. If you try and sign the top level of the workflow package, you will receive the following error:

codesign --force --sign "Developer ID Application: John Doe" code object is not signed at all
In subcomponent: /Users/jdoe/Desktop/

The correct way to sign a workflow is to first sign the XML file document.wflow, then sign the enclosing workflow file.

codesign --force --sign "Developer ID Application: John Doe"
codesign --force --sign "Developer ID Application: John Doe"

Problem Signing an Old Automator Workflow

Here is an error which occurs when trying to codesign the old Automator workflow plug-in which is intended for Leopard systems.

codesign --force -v --sign "Developer ID Application: John Doe" bundle format unrecognized, invalid, or unsuitable

To work around this issue, an Info.plist file needs to be included into the workflow bundle's Contents folder. An example Info.plist file is below. Replace the CFBundleName's value with the name of the workflow.

Example Info.plist:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "">
<plist version="1.0">


Once the application and all of its subcomponents have been properly code signed, verify using codesign and spctl to ensure that everything is good.

codesign --verify -v valid on disk satisfies its Designated Requirement

spctl -a -t exec -vv accepted
source=Developer ID
origin=Developer ID Application: John Doe


When I was initially packaging Permanent Eraser 2.6.3 as a DMG, I used FileStorm 1.9.5. Unfortunately, this did not package the application correctly, so the app could not be verified properly by Gatekeeper. To work around this problem, I used FileStorm 2.0.2. Zipping the application from the Finder also works.


Permanent Eraser 2.6.3

7th April 2015 | Permanent Eraser

Permanent Eraser 2.6.3 is now available, albeit a couple months later than originally intended, mostly due to resolving issues related to the OS X Yosemite (further technical details on this will be posted later). However, the extra time was well spent resolving various issues (both large and small) and further UI refinements were made (such as Retina-level images).

  • Fixed critical issues where Permanent Eraser failed to work properly on Yosemite.
  • Fixed a warning on Yosemite when checking the OS version.
  • Fixed a Dock icon drawing issue on Retina Macs.
  • Added additional Retina-level images.
  • Added additional UI improvements.
  • Updated the code signing to work properly with Gatekeeper for OS X 10.9.5 and later.
  • Tested and verified for OS X 10.10 Yosemite.

The tentative plan at this point is to work on Permanent Eraser 2.7, which is intended to be one final hurrah for the long-standing 2.x line. Initial work for Permanent Eraser 3 has begun, which will most likely drop support for older versions of OS X, which will include PowerPC compatibility. This is the current roadmap for Permanent Eraser, but it is certainly possible that all, some or none of these plans will come to fruition.

Fashion Is The Design Of Our Products

13th November 2014 | Apple

When Apple Computer was founded, Steve Wozniak was the brains of the company, but Steve Jobs was the heart and soul of the organization. When Jobs left in 1985, an important piece of the company was lost until his return in early 1997. Watch the MacWorld 1997 video to see the distinct difference in presentation style between Jobs and former Apple CEO Gil Amelio. Just several days after Apple acquired Next Computers, Jobs already had a plan to get Apple back on track, while Amelio fumbled through his presentation.

MacWorld SF 1997

Watch the presentations Jobs made in the late 90s, and one will see a man who has clear cut goals. Quite often, Jobs' visions of the future were often over reaching (some ideas would never manage to land), but it's interesting to see how many of these ideas did manage to see the light of day.

Pundits have been crying for years that an Apple without Steve Jobs is doomed to fail. Time will ultimately rule the final verdict of these claims, but three years after the passing of the Apple co-founder, the company is still healthy and immensely profitable. However, Apple is currently riding an enormous wave of inertia from the products which were released while Jobs was at the helm. Eventually, this momentum will begin to falter, and the future of the company will depend upon new innovations.

In early September 2014, a fervor was buzzing throughout the tech circles, similar to that of December 2006, with all eyes turned toward Apple. Breaths were carefully held, only to be released in the zealous joy of another miracle product being born from the depths of Cupertino. A product that will carry Apple forward, that will prove that Apple can stand without Jobs.

Loud whispers predicted that Apple would be releasing a new brand of wearable, something which would formally herald the era of new computing devices. Many attempts have already been made at popularizing this concept, but no one single item has broken out from niche markets and entered the mainstream.

Enter the  Watch.

This new device isn't just of interest to the technorati, but it has also garnered the attention of those in higher fashion and design. It is the embodiment of both form and function. As the press has tried to glean every available detail from the announced (but unreleased) Apple Watch, it has introduced a broader audience to horology, the digital crown, and Milanese Loops.

Comments from Apple CEO Tim Cook and Senior Vice President of Design Jony Ive have indicated that the Apple Watch is the first new post-Jobs product from the company. This is perhaps true, that Jobs did not have direct input on the Apple Watch, but that does not necessarily mean that his vision and spirit did not have some influence over the design and construction of this product.

Let's play the Devil's Advocate and assume that the ethereal presence of Jobs rose from the grave and played a subtle part in the creation of this new device.

Step back sixteen years to WWDC '98 where Jobs presented to a crowd of the Apple faithful, and he espoused the ideas of simplicity, technology, design, and fashion. The original iMac had just been announced the prior week, the first indicator of a new Apple. Gone was the myriad of confusing beige boxes, to be replaced by a simple matrix of four focused products, with the candy-colored Bondi Blue iMac being the keystone of this new strategy.

"As we get more towards consumer products, fashion gets important," Steve Jobs mentioned at the 1998 Worldwide Developers Conference. "For us, fashion is the design of our products. And we think this is really important to consumers." While he was initially describing computers, he also gave an alternative example.

Of a watch.

The Casio G-Shock — the hottest selling watch of 1998. Because of design.

Ten years earlier in 1988, the average American owned only one watch. Jobs continued, "Ten years later today, because of design, the average American owns seven watches."

WWDC 1998

To summarize: Design is very powerful.

Jobs has long recognized this, and it has been a common theme that Apple is at the crossroads of technology and the liberal arts. The marriage of tasteful design and fashion sense with technology. The wedding of Form and Function in the style of Apple.

Perhaps this is merely a coincidence that Jobs had mentioned a watch back in 1998, and Jobs had no hand in the creation of the Apple Watch, but it does provide for plenty of fodder for conspiracy theories. Regardless of where the line is drawn that divides fact and fiction, what we do know is that while Steve Jobs the man is gone, the ideals he presented persist.

JSON Utilities

19th October 2014 | Programming

When working with RESTful services and JSON, there are several utilities which will make it easier to work with this format.

JSON Quick Look Plug-in

Since a blob of JSON data is just text, it can be saved into a simple, flat file. Amazingly enough, though, OS X does not have a native Quick Look plug-in to quickly preview files which end with the json extension. Fortunately, third-party extensions are available, such as the quick look JSON plug-in from sagtau.com2. Installing the Quick Look plug-in can be performed in three quick steps.

  1. Download QuickLookJSON.qlgenerator
  2. Copy the file to the directory /Library/QuickLook/
  3. Restart the Quick Look Server with the Terminal command: qlmanage -r

Text Filter Plug-Ins

BareBones Software makes two great text editors for the Mac, BBEdit and its little sister, TextWrangler. Both can also be extended with text filters which can be written in a variety of scripting languages like Perl, Python, or even a shell script. Text Filters are located in the following directories:

TextWrangler: ~/Library/Application Support/TextWrangler/Text Filters/
BBEdit: ~/Library/Application Support/BBEdit/Text Filters/

Formatting JSON

After receiving an unorganized blob of JSON data from a web service, it would be nice to neatly format the information to make it easier to read for human consumption. An entry at Interactive Logic's1 site details how to create a Python scripts to take an unmanageable blob of JSON data and format it into a neater blob of JSON data.

Compacting JSON

Perhaps you don't like your JSON to be all nice and orderly and prefer a compressed mass of bits. No problem, there is a script for that, as well.

After a little research 3 through Python's documentation, I found that I could easily modify the Format file to strip out the unwanted white space from the formatted JSON.



  1. How to Format JSON in TextWrangler
  2. quick look JSON
  3. JSON encoder and decoder Python documentation
  4. Compact JSON Gist
  5. Format JSON Gist

Swift Factorial

6th July 2014 | Programming

With the introduction of Swift at WWDC 2014, I was eager to begin experimenting with this new language. My initial impression of Swift was that it was like learning a new language which is vaguely foreign, yet inherits enough niceities/commonalities from other languages, (such as C, Scala, Ada, and of course, Objective-C) that it doesn't feel overly strange.

Following up on a recommendation, I decided to design a small Mac application with Swift that would calculate factorials, including non-integer numbers. The result is Swift Factorial. The source code is available on GitHub. The Mac app can be downloaded here.

As simple and straightforward of an exercise this was, it proved useful in resolving an issue in calculating factorials for floating-point numbers on Intel Macs. EdenMath and EdenGraph currently use the following logic to calculate the factorial for floating-point numbers:

lg = lgamma(currentValue+1.0); currentValue = signgam*exp(lg); /* signgam is a predefined variable */

This worked fine originally when EdenMath 1.1.1 and EdenGraph 1.2.0 were introduced in 2004 and Macs were powered by PowerPC processors. However, something doesn't seem to work quite right initially on Intel chips (perhaps the signgam isn't set yet), and the first run of a factorial returns 0. The new solution simplifies the calculation of non-integer factorials down to one line:

newValue = exp(lgamma(originalValue + 1))

This code fix will be incorporated into future versions of EdenMath and EdenGraph.

Permanent Eraser 2.6.2 and Gatekeeper

4th January 2014 | Permanent Eraser

Permanent Eraser 2.6.2 came out at the end of December 2013, fixing some issues related to Gatekeeper and the latest version of OS X — Mavericks. 2013 almost became the first year since the inception of Permanent Eraser that the app was not updated at least once. Since 2003, Permanent Eraser has received at least one or two yearly updates, sometimes even more, depending upon the development schedule. Looking forward to 2014, work on Permanent Eraser 2.7 will begin.

What's new in Permanent Eraser 2.6.2

  • Updated plug-in for Mavericks - On some Mavericks systems, the plug-in was not working. The plug-in has been updated and tested on all versions of OS X from 10.6 through 10.9.
  • Fixed the code signing to work properly with Gatekeeper.
  • Tested and verified for OS X 10.9 Mavericks.

One of the biggest fixes in Permanent Eraser 2.6.2 was to properly code sign the app so it would be identified by Gatekeeper as an app by a trusted source. The article Code Signing and Mavericks by Craig Hockenberry helped reveal some trouble areas to resolve. Even though Permanent Eraser 2.6.1 had been code signed, it was not validating properly with Gatekeeper. If I verified the code signature of the app, I saw the following results:

codesign --verify --verbose=4 Permanent\ Eraser\
Permanent Eraser valid on disk
Permanent Eraser satisfies its Designated Requirement

Looks good so far. For the interest of it, I then tried verifying an earlier version of Permanent Eraser which had not been code signed.

codesign --verify --verbose=4 Permanent\ Eraser\
Permanent Eraser code object is not signed at all

Once again, this is returning the expected results. However, if I used the new spctl utility to verify Permanent Eraser in OS X 10.8+, I encountered a problem.

spctl --verbose=4 --assess --type execute Permanent\ Eraser\
Permanent Eraser rejected

spctl, which manages the system policy security, is a command line utility which first appeared in Mac OS X 10.7.3, but the security system known as Gatekeeper came to prominence with OS X 10.8 "Mountain Lion".

The solution was not to use the Mac Developer signing idenity to sign the app (which is used for signing an app for the Mac App Store), but to use the Developer ID Application one, instead. Now when I perform the appropriate checks in OS X Mavericks, everything is looking good.

codesign --verify --verbose=4 Permanent\
Permanent valid on disk
Permanent satisfies its Designated Requirement

spctl --verbose=4 --assess --type execute Permanent\
../Permanent accepted
source=Developer ID

Oddly enough, after signing this way in Snow Leopard, trying to verify the app returned this result:

codesign --verify --verbose=4 Permanent\
Permanent valid on disk
Permanent does not satisfy its designated Requirement

However, since the other checks appear to be in proper working order on post-Snow Leopard systems, this looks to be the proper route to properly code sign the app and let it verify properly with Gatekeeper.


git-branch-delete : Deleting local and remote git branches in one fell swoop

25th December 2013 | Tutorial

At my work, I build up a large collection of branches in my git repository over time. Eventually the large number of branches gets overwhelming and requires some maintenance to make the project more manageable (AKA less cluttered). Cleaning up the local and remote branches tends to follow this two step process:

  1. Delete local branch: git branch -d name_of_branch
  2. Delete remote branch: git push origin :name_of_branch

After doing some research, I did not find any quick and dirty way to delete both the local and remote branches with one simple command in git on a Mac. However, I did eventually discover a Ruby script named git-branch-delete that someone1 had written which does nicely perform this task.

Installation for OS X

  1. Download the file git-branch-delete
  2. Extract the file git-branch-delete from the compressed tarball
  3. Copy the file git-branch-delete to /usr/local/bin
  4. Set the proper permissions: chmod 755 /usr/local/bin/git-branch-delete


Once this has been set up, open up a new Terminal session and delete old git branches from the command line using the following command: git branch-delete <branch-name>


Edenwaith git-branch-delete Gist :


1) Original source :

Compiling Git for PowerPC Macs

3rd August 2013 | Tutorial

This year I've begun using the version control system Git for managing source control. I've been putting up some of my older projects on GitHub, which were built as Universal Binaries on Xcode 3 (or earlier). Since I've been working on a long-due update for EdenGraph, I began looking around for a Git client for older PowerPC Macs. The results were disappointing, but this may not be too surprising since Git is a relatively new tool and PowerPC Macs were fazed out in 2006.

However, I did come across a blog post on how to compile Git from source for a PPC Leopard machine, but the instructions, while close, didn't work entirely in my tests. When trying to build the source code, it resulted in the following error:

	$:git-master admin$ make prefix=/usr/local
	GIT_VERSION = 1.8.4-rc0
		* new build flags
		CC credential-store.o
	In file included from cache.h:8,
					 from credential-store.c:1:
	gettext.h:17:22: error: libintl.h: No such file or directory
	In file included from cache.h:8,
					 from credential-store.c:1:
	gettext.h: In function ‘_’:
	gettext.h:54: warning: implicit declaration of function ‘gettext’
	gettext.h:54: warning: incompatible implicit declaration of built-in function ‘gettext’
	gettext.h: In function ‘Q_’:
	gettext.h:62: warning: implicit declaration of function ‘ngettext’
	gettext.h:62: warning: return makes pointer from integer without a cast
	make: *** [credential-store.o] Error 1

I found that I needed to create a configuration file first, configure the project, and then build it. These instructions installed git 1.8.2 on a PowerBook G4 running Mac OS X 10.5.8.

  1. Download the latest Git source from
  2. Create configuration file: make configure
  3. ./configure --disable-nls
  4. make prefix=/usr/local
  5. sudo make prefix=/usr/local install

Once Git has been installed, go to the project folder (via the Terminal) and create an empty Git repository with the git init command and then download a project with the command git clone git://path/to/MyProject.git. If you are looking for a GUI-based Git client for PPC Macs, check out GitX.

EdenMath 1.2

31st May 2013 | EdenMath

After a nine year long hiatus, EdenMath has been polished and updated, ready to run on the latest versions of OS X.

New Features

  • Universal Binary - Finally. The last application in the current stable of Edenwaith products to be updated as a Universal Binary so it can run on older PowerPC and newer Intel-based Macs.
  • Massive interface update - Further details below about the evolution of the EdenMath interface.
  • Updated application icon - Improved appearance and higher resolutions.
  • Removed the (skimpy) Help files - Served very little purpose. Might return in a future version.
  • Changed the factorial button from n! to x!
  • Added log2 and 2x functionality - Looking back at earlier versions of EdenMath, these are the first new functions to be added since the original release.


EdenMath was the first Cocoa-based application I wrote for the Mac. Cracking open the time capsule shows how EdenMath has evolved over the years, from an embarrassingly bad and inconsistent user interface in the first version of the application, to the more refined later versions.

  • Version 1.0.0
    The new candy-like Aqua interface in Mac OS X helped give interfaces a shinier appearance, but that didn't solve the problem of inconsistencies between different styles of buttons and poor layout in the original version of EdenMath.
  • Version 1.0.1
    Fortunately, the original interface was short-lived and the buttons were all changed to a consistent style.
  • Version 1.1.0
    In addition to fixing some nasty bugs, this version saw the first overhaul of the interface, which provided for a much cleaner and consistent look.
  • Version 1.1.1
    Small interface changes were made, swapping out the serif font for a sans serif one. A couple of the buttons with superscripts were also given an upgrade with an improved look.
  • Version 1.2.0
    Nine years after the previous release, EdenMath received another major interface update, rethinking the entire layout and design.

The interface for EdenMath 1.1 was a dramatic improvement over its predecessors', but it still had its flaws. Developing for EdenMath 1.2 allowed for the opportunity to rethink the entire interface. The following screenshots are a couple of experimental interfaces which were designed during the process of constructing EdenMath 1.2.

  • Experiment 1
    The first attempts of redesigning the interface took the implementation from EdenMath 1.1.1 and flipped the position of the buttons. Not exactly earth shattering changes.
  • Experiment 2
    This version extended the display across the entire length of the window and introduced the drop down button for the angle types. In this version, the Off button still exists, which would eventually be removed since it is really not needed.
  • Experiment 3
    While trying out different designs, I experimented with a tall interface, which introduced the 2nd button to toggle some of the buttons. However, I never cared too much for this taller interface and reverted back to a more landscape design.
  • Experiment 4
    This was getting close, but I wasn't 100% happy with the placement of a couple of the buttons.
  • Final
    After shrinking the Equals button and moving a couple of other buttons around and adding the new log2 button, the interface was complete (well, for now...).

Source Code

The source code has always been available, but the source is now even more accessible at its own Github repository.

The Future

The original plan was to update EdenMath with several key features and then lovingly retire the program. However, time was running short and not every feature made it into this version. I am tentatively planning a 1.3 version of EdenMath for the future, which might include the following features:

  • Updated mathematical evaluator to properly respect the order of operations.
  • Localize for other languages.
  • Update and re-add the Help files.
  • Other miscellaneous fixes, improvements, and polish.

2013 : Turning The Corner

1st January 2013 | Edenwaith

2012 was intended as a year for cleaning out the old to make way for the new. Some good progress was made, but not everything has been completed yet, which will continue throughout this year, in addition to updating the active projects.

Here is 2012 at a glance:

  • Permanent Eraser 2.5.3, 2.6.0, and 2.6.1 were released
  • Psychomancer 1.0.7 was finally updated after 10 years (and then retired)
  • EdenList for iOS updated to version 1.1.1
  • Updated 33 RPM and made it free of cost
  • Retired the following projects: PIGE, Psychomancer, Untar

The progress is half-way complete in retiring the older programs. In 2013, GUI Tar, EdenGraph, and EdenMath will each receive at least one more update before being retired. This will leave 33 RPM, Permanent Eraser, and EdenList as the remaining Edenwaith projects.

Aside from the plans for application retirement, preparations are being made for the development of Permanent Eraser 2.7 and EdenList 1.2 for iOS.

33 RPM 1.1.8

9th December 2012 | 33 RPM

Today, the long due update to 33 RPM, version 1.1.8, was released.

Features and updates:

  • 33 RPM is now available as a free product.
  • Tested and verified for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion.
  • Minor UI improvements.
  • Minor bug fixes.

The most important change to 33 RPM in this release is that 33 RPM is now free of cost. Since the development of this project has dropped off precipitously in the past two years, it did not make sense to continue charging for a product which was not being continually updated. If you recently purchased 33 RPM and have not already received a refund, please contact us.

33 RPM 1.1.8 has also been tested and verified for the past two releases of OS X — Lion and Mountain Lion, both which have been quickly released since 33 RPM 1.1.7 was released in September 2010. One nasty, but occasional, bug that was squashed was trying to adjust the time slider would not work in Lion or Mountain Lion. A number of other smaller cosmetic and functional issues have also been made.

Psychomancer 1.0.7

2nd September 2012 | Psychomancer

Yesterday, Psychomancer 1.0.7 was released, which coincided with the ten year anniversary of the release of the Linux version of the previous version -- 1.06. As mentioned earlier this year, a number of older projects are being cleaned up and retired. Psychomancer was one of the earliest Edenwaith products, but it has been largely ignored for the past decade as newer Mac and iOS projects took precedence. However, before retiring Psychomancer in its current incarnation, a little love needed to be shown with one more update. Over the course of the past two months, Psychomancer was updated with 150 new features, improvements, and bug fixes. This represents the largest set of changes to the game since the original incarnation of the game in August 1999.

Before sending off Psychomancer, let's reflect on how things have changed since the last significant update. In 2002, Psychomancer was still being developed under Digital UNIX, the same platform where it was born in 1999. 2002 and 2003 extended the range of supported platforms to Mac OS 8, 9, X, Linux (x86), and Windows 9x - XP. Strangely enough, Windows XP is one which is still relevant in its same incarnation as it was years ago, whereas (Mac) OS X has undergone quite a few transitions since then, the most noteworthy change being the switch from PowerPC to Intel processors.

The first early versions of Psychomancer 1.0.7 had been organized under Project Builder on Macs running Mac OS X 10.1 and 10.2. Since I no longer have any computers running those versions of the Mac OS (however, my trusty PowerMac G4 is still running which supports Mac OS 9, Mac OS X 10.3 and 10.4), I had to convert the old Project Builder file using Xcode 2 before upgrading the project to Xcode 3. One primary goal for this update was to create a Universal Binary for both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs. Unfortunately, Xcode 4 dropped this feature, so Xcode 3 was necessary to be able to generate a Universal Binary. This project was built on a 2003 PowerBook G4, running Mac OS X 10.5.8 and Xcode 3.1.4.

Going through this game with a fresh perspective (since it had been so long since the last update), I found numerous areas for improvement from better descriptions, adding new features, and fixing bugs.

Improvements to each of the classes:

  • Sorcerer: The Sorcerer received the least of the changes, but the Aura and Acid Burn spells were fixed and work much better, which makes the Sorcerer quite effective in battle.
  • Elementalist: The Elementalist finds a skeleton key, which is used to unlock the chest in the Apothecary to find the Elixir spell. Before, the spell scroll was just laying on top of the table. Fire Spear now causes random amounts of damage, instead of a flat 7 LP. Fire Wind's minimum amount of damage has been raised from 10 to 15. The Elementalist also knows the Create BloodStone spell at the beginning of the game.
  • Psychomancer: If playing the "short" version of the game, it is possible to re-enter the temple via the Temple With Statues at the top of the island. Fixed a bad bug where getting in a fight would cause an loop where the opponent would just keep casting Psychic Block over and over again.
  • Spirit Mage: The Spirit Mage received the largest set of additions of the four with the addition of the Astral Shield and Death Wish spells. Like the Elementalist, she uses the skeleton key to open the Apothecary chest to get the scroll.

After playing Diablo 3, I took inspiration in adding more random events to increase the playability of the game by randomizing the potions found in the Treasury and adding additional random puzzle locks.

Upon going through the list of old and new bugs, I kept encountering odd issues with the inventory. Sometimes too many health potions would be added. Sometimes an item wouldn't be added. Other times, random items would just disappear from the inventory. I finally sat down and reworked the inventory system, based off of a linked list. This was an interesting (and somewhat fun) exercise to go back to code written thirteen years ago and figure out what wasn't working properly. All things considered, most of the code in this project was quite clean and organized. However, there were a couple of odd issues with adding and removing items from the linked list, which were finally fixed.

The largest bug I quickly encountered was that drinking potions didn't do anything. What the...?! I was quite surprised that issue hadn't been caught and fixed a long time ago. Fortunately, a quick fix, but an issue that should have never stayed around as long as it had.

And so, now, we bid Psychomancer a fond adieu. While this journey has come to an end, it does not mean that a new one cannot begin. One never knows. Perhaps someday Psychomancer will be converted to work on Z-machine interpreters. Perhaps it will be given a long-promised overhaul and be gain graphics and sound. Considering the popularity of mobile development in 2012, it would not be unthinkable to one day see Psychomancer on a phone or tablet. Or perhaps Psychomancer will end up in some other form entirely. Time will tell...

Permanent Eraser 2.6.0

28th May 2012 | Permanent Eraser

On 19 May 2012, Permanent Eraser 2.6.0 was released. The two most important new features are Solid State Drive (SSD) detection and the new DoE overwrite pattern. If a file is detected to reside on an SSD, the file will only be overwritten once, instead of multiple times, due to wear leveling techniques used by SSDs. The next feature is the addition of the 3-pass DoE pattern to erase files.

In order to keep up with the latest versions of Mac OS X, older versions of the OS are occasionally dropped. Permanent Eraser 2.6 was originally intended to still support Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger", but the addition of the new DoE overwriting pattern required a custom build of the srm utility, which unexpectedly failed to run on Tiger. However, we'll look further into this issue to determine if support for Tiger can be returned in a future version. For those who are still using Tiger, Permanent Eraser 2.5.3 is still available for download.

Likely due to the pending deadline which requires all new application submissions to begin using entitlements at the beginning of June, it took nearly two weeks for Permanent Eraser 2.6.0 to be reviewed for the Mac App Store, which is at least double the length I've encountered with an app (for either iOS or Mac) to be reviewed. And in the continuing spirit of inconsistent app reviews, PE 2.6 was rejected since the plug-in is installed in the user's ~/Library/Services/ folder, which is also how Permanent Eraser 2.5.3 handled the plug-in, yet that version had been approved. The work around to this problem is to either remove the plug-in or re-architect the application and build the Service directly into the program. This latter point is already planned for a future release of Permanent Eraser, however it will likely not happen until Permanent Eraser 2.7 or later.

Permanent Eraser 2.5.3

13th January 2012 | Permanent Eraser

Today Edenwaith released Permanent Eraser 2.5.3, an important update for the latest version of Mac OS X — Lion. This update focused mostly on fixing incompatibilities with Lion. Since these improvements focused on Lion, a separate version of Permanent Eraser 2.5.3 was not made for the aging Mac OS X 10.3 Panther, since there would have been no added benefit.

What's new in Permanent Eraser 2.5.3:

  • Fixes for Mac OS X 10.7 "Lion":
    • Erase more than one file at a time using the Service plug-in.
    • Restores "empty trash" sound when erasing is complete.
    • Updated Automator actions.
  • Application icon updated for 32x32 size.
  • Automatically updates to the latest plug-in.

2012: It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)*

1st January 2012 | Edenwaith

"I've always felt that death is the greatest invention of life. I'm sure that life evolved without death at first and found that without death, life didn't work very well because it didn't make room for the young. It didn't know how the world was fifty years ago. It didn't know how the world was twenty years ago. It saw it as it is today, without any preconceptions, and dreamed how it could be based on that. We're not satisfied based on the accomplishment of the last thirty years. We're dissatisfied because the current state didn't live up to their ideals. Without death there would be very little progress."

Steve Jobs

The preceding quote came from an interview with Steve Jobs in 1995. Ten years later, Steve Jobs would echo the idea of death in the speech he gave at the 2005 Stanford commencement.

The premise of Edenwaith was to develop useful software, often to fill in a gap in the application ecosystem. The radical shift from Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X provided the opportunity for a new breed of application developers to create for this new platform. Apple discarded the previous 17 years of Mac OS development in favor of a UNIX-based OS which would provide the Mac OS foundation for the next 15 to 20 years.

During the early years, the software selection was slim, as established developers scrambled to update their own offerings for Mac OS X. It was during this time that two of Edenwaith's earliest products (EdenMath and EdenGraph) were developed. The calculator provided with the operating system was very simple, and the venerable Graphing Calculator, once a staple third party application on Macs, would not make the transition to Mac OS X for several years. Apple has done an excellent job in not allowing Mac OS to atrophy like it had in the 1990s. Each iteration of the operating system has built upon its predecessor, which filled in many of the gaps and cracks which were visible in the earliest versions of Mac OS X.

Over the past decade at Edenwaith, some ideas have flourished while others have languished. As Mac OS X improved over the years, the need for several of Edenwaith's products came to an end. Rather than let them shrivel on the vine until nothing remains but a dried-out husk, I have decided to retire a number of applications to disrupt the illusion of any life that might be left in these old projects. Some projects will likely not be updated any further, but a couple of projects will see a final update before being put to rest.

  • EdenGraph will be updated to version 1.3 and the source code will be made open.
  • EdenMath will be updated to version 1.2 and the source code will remain open.
  • GUI Tar - The kernel of an idea for GUI Tar began in 2002, even before Untar was started. While this is still a useful application, the number of updates in the past several years has been sporadic. If one needs further archiving needs than what is supplied by Mac OS X, I recommend either The Unarchiver or BetterZip.
  • PIGE will be retired. No further updates are expected at this time.
  • Psychomancer will be updated to version 1.0.7 and then will likely be retired.
  • Untar has already been retired.

2012 will be a time for rebirth, by cleaning out the old to make way for the new. Several years ago the decision was made to focus on a select few applications instead of dividing time and effort amongst a plethora of projects. Our time is finite, so we must decide what do wish to wisely spend our time on, instead of wasting it.

  • 33 RPM - 33 RPM hasn't been updated in at least a year, but there is still plenty of potential. Version 1.1.8 is in the works.
  • EdenList - While the original EdenList for Mac was more of an educational experiment than a serious utility, its iOS companion has proved to be much more useful. However, it may end up meeting a similar fate to that of other Edenwaith products as Apple has continued to improve upon its own offerings. The new Reminders app isn't a direct replacement for what EdenList can do, but it might be just enough to eliminate the need for simple list managers. Still, EdenList for iOS just received a recent update and might see further improvements in 2012.
  • Permanent Eraser - Edenwaith's most mature product, with plenty of new ideas in store for version 2.6, 3.0 and beyond. Unfortunately, there is a snag which could bring a premature end to Permanent Eraser. This particular snag is called the Solid-State Drive (SSD). All evidence I've read about how SSDs write data indicates that the SSD write procedure is different from how traditional mechanical hard drives perform their write operation, where SSDs do not write over the old data in the same location, but write out a new version of the data to a new location on the drive. Still, development will continue as long as the application is useful.

* Apologies to R.E.M.

EdenList 1.1 for iOS

15th December 2011 | EdenList

Today, EdenList 1.1 for iOS was approved and made available on Apple's App Store. The biggest addition to this version is native support for the iPad. Other new features include:

  • Optimized for iPad
  • Tested for iOS 5
  • Show All or Unchecked items
  • New options to quickly delete items in a list
  • Usability improvements and minor bug fixes

This app's release was delayed by a few days, due to an app rejection since screenshots for the iPad had not been uploaded through the iTunes Connect website. Note: Make sure to scroll down to be able to see the contents of the entire screen. Apple has gotten a little too happy-go-lucky with the disappearing scrollbars motif in iOS and Lion, such that they have extended the UI paradigm to the iTunes Connect website, as well. A little frustrating, but everything was set right and the app is now available.

Another notable change is that EdenList for iOS now requires iOS 4.2 or later. Fortunately, the churn rate for phones tends to be every two years, so I would assume that a majority of the active iOS devices today can run iOS 4.2 or later. Some recent posts have confirmed this thought that a large majority of iOS users are keeping up with recent trends, as long as they have supported hardware. Despite the iPhone 3GS now being over two years old, I'm glad to see that it can still run the most current version of iOS (version 5.0.1 as of this writing) and this model of iPhone is still being sold as the low-end option.

Permanent Eraser 2.5.2

11th July 2011 | Permanent Eraser

Today, Permanent Eraser 2.5.2 was released, with a focus on updating the localizations for the new Preferences window introduced in Permanent Eraser 2.5.

  • Updated localizations : The Preferences window has been fully localized for Swedish and Dutch, and partial localizations were made for German, French, Italian, and Traditional Chinese. The Last Checked date in the Update pane now respects the local format. In the Plug-Ins pane, the path to the plug-in also displays the proper localization ("Bibliothek" instead of "Library"). Fixed the issue where the Italian Preferences window could not be opened
  • Updated Services plug-in : It had been reported in one case that trying to use the plug-in Service in Mac OS 10.6 was returning an error. The Service has been recreated to be able to accept files from either Finder or other applications.
  • Erasing single file : Erasing an individual file will display the name of the file being erased in the alert dialog.
  • Help : Added new Acknowledgments page. Fixed the issue where clicking on the Help button in the Preferences window would not open the correct help page.
  • System compatibility : Permanent Eraser was tested for all versions of Mac OS X from Mac OS 10.3 through 10.7. No functional problems were discovered in testing with the Developer Preview versions of Mac OS 10.7 "Lion". Due to the latest set of improvements made in the application, it is becoming more difficult to develop a single version to cover all of these version of Mac OS X. A special version of Permanent Eraser has been developed for Mac OS 10.3 "Panther" users, which can be downloaded here. Support for Panther will likely be dropped in the 2.6 release of Permanent Eraser.

Uli Jon Roth Website

7th June 2011 | Website

Ten years since the release of the last major version, the Uli Jon Roth website has been updated to its fifth incarnation. While not directly related to Edenwaith's software products, this site has been hosted under the Edenwaith domain for several years.

The updated Uli Jon Roth website is the culmination of the past seven years of work to redesign the site for the 21st century. The previous version was designed in June 2001, supporting the web browsers of the day, such as Netscape 4 and IE 5. The Web has evolved over the past decade, and while the old site lived well past its years, the time has finally come to usher in a new version.

This site redesign cleaned out a lot of cobwebs, and uncovered a few hidden treasures along the way. Here's what is new:

  • Brand new site design, built from the ground up
  • 15 new tablatures
  • 6 updated tablatures
  • New articles
  • New photos
  • Updated equipment list

Google Chrome

22nd April 2011 | Google Chrome

The first web browser I used was Netscape 3, then soon picked up Netscape 4. During the height of the 90s Browser Wars, I kept a far distance from the other browser, signified by a blue E. When Mac OS X was first released, the choice of native web browsers was fairly limited. While I impatiently waited for Netscape to port their browser to Mac OS X, I searched for alternatives and ended up settling with OmniWeb 4.

This was the beginning of a long relationship with a very functional and flexible browser. I even purchased two licenses for the product, I liked it that much, which is unusual for a product landscape that contains many capable and free browsers. Sadly, the Omnigroup's attention for OmniWeb has waned over the past several years (so they can spend their time on products which actually make money to keep the business alive). I still use OmniWeb as my Power Browser, but as the Web progresses, and new and existing browsers continue evolving, OmniWeb hasn't been able to keep up with the times. I have been experimenting with other web browsers. Safari 5 finally added support for some extensions, but even the extensions seem somewhat limited. Safari is a great browser, which I've used as my Quick Browser when I just want to get in and out, but I miss the flexibility and power that OmniWeb has offered. I then tried Firefox, which is my favorite browser when using Windows. Due to its cross-platform nature, there are a few things which don't feel "quite right". It's a good browser, and the flexibility is good. However, when I upgraded to Firefox 4, I was finding that the browser locked up once a day (an issue I was not seeing with Firefox 3.6). This was getting very annoying, so I took another look at Google Chrome.

I had looked at earlier versions of Google Chrome in the past, but its stripped down, minimalistic appearance initially turned me off. I liked having lots of flexibility and power in my browser. The unified address-search bar seemed to be a step back : that's how OmniWeb 4 used to handle things before OmniWeb 5 added the search bar. However, after using Chrome for the past week, I am greatly impressed. There are many little things which make the browsing experience feel "just right".


  • Fast
  • Minimalistic interface
  • Stable — Not a single crash, yet
  • Google Translation
  • Good HTML5 support — I noticed that OmniWeb 5 was not handling some of the image animations at very well, but Safari 5 and Google Chrome handled it like a charm.
  • Accessing downloaded files — Easier to access the downloaded file options than either Safari or Firefox. Somewhat similar to Transmit 4's new approach for displaying the file transfer window.
  • Paste and Go — This is one feature I really liked from Opera.
  • Adding Bookmarks — Remembers the last folder where a bookmark was saved (unlike Firefox), which simplifies saving many bookmarks.
  • Inline PDF Reader — Viewing a PDF on a Mac should not require opening Preview (like Firefox does). Just view the PDF inside the browser.


  • Somewhat difficult to grab the title bar if there are a lot of tabs
  • Bookmarks didn't import from Firefox 4
  • No separate search field — Despite this, the unified address-search bar works pretty well, especially since half the time I was doing a search, anyway.
  • Tab crunch — If too many tabs are open in one window, the tabs just keep getting smaller and smaller. Safari and Firefox handle this issue better.
  • Built-in Flash — On occasions the built-in Flash plug-in runs amock and takes up more than 50% of the CPU and causes my laptop's fans to go into high gear.
  • Slow to close — If many tabs are open, Chrome can take several minutes to shut down.

EdenList 1.0.1 for iOS

5th March 2011 | EdenList

The first update to EdenList for iOS has been released and is available for download to your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.

EdenList 1.0.1 for iOS now can share EdenList files between the Mac and your iOS device (iOS 3.2 or higher required) via the iTunes File Sharing pane.

Future versions of EdenList for iOS will incorporate a native iPad layout and more advanced features for managing your lists.

10 Year Anniversary

13th February 2011 | Edenwaith

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of

The Past...

Edenwaith started with two small products, a Javascript FTP site and the text-based RPG/Adventure game Psychomancer.

2002 saw the introduction of Edenwaith's first set of Cocoa-based Macintosh applications: EdenMath and Untar. The next several years saw a flourishing of additional Macintosh applications, ranging across utilities for file archiving, security, mathematics, entertainment, and audio.

While the first decade of the 21st century proved to be a revitalizing time for Apple Inc., its largest successes came not in the form of its core strengths of computers and operating systems, but from new lines of popular mobile devices. Whereas the Web and Internet created an explosion of new interest in the technical world, the same is now occuring with a new breed of mobile devices, namely cell/mobile phones and light-weight tablet computers. Even though Macintosh sales are better than they ever have been (more than 4 million Macs were sold in Q1 2011), these numbers pale in comparison to the number of iOS devices which are now in the market. Apple can claim an installed Mac OS X base in the tens of millions, whereas the iOS base (iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad) is well over 100 million and accelerating at a much higher rate than Macintosh sales. Since iOS is an extension from Mac OS X, it has been a natural progression for many Macintosh developers to transition to iOS. While Edenwaith has mainly focused on developing utilities for Mac OS X, our first foray into iOS development came to fruition last year — EdenList for iPhone. This is just the first step for Edenwaith into iOS development. EdenList will continue to evolve and new products will come to the iOS platform in the next several years.

Looking ahead...

Ten years ago at this time, Mac OS X was still in beta, the original iPod had not even been announced, and mobile phones were more a novelty than a commodity. It can be difficult to even see five minutes into the future, much less five or ten years down the line of a quicksilver industry. Who would have thought in 2001 that Apple would have surpassed Microsoft's market value in the coming decade?

If anything has been learned from the past ten years when trying to make predicitions is not to make predicitions. They are almost always wrong. Yet, for the sake of amusement, let's make some far reaching statements and guesses about Edenwaith's future.

For the foreseeable future, Edenwaith will continue to work on its active Mac OS X products for as long as they are useful and needed. Several of Edenwaith's earliest products (EdenMath, EdenGraph) were designed to fill in the gaps found in a young Mac OS X. However, as Mac OS X matured, some of the usefulness our products was lost as Apple improved upon their OS and associated utilities. The future is murky to determine, but if anything is certain, change is inevitable. Already the wind of change is blowing directly into developers' faces as mobile developers are in high demand, indicating where current trends are leading.

Edenwaith has made its first baby steps into the mobile arena, and we will further entrentch into this space in the coming years with several new products. Hopefully we will turn back in the direction which started Edenwaith: games. There are a number of other ideas brewing, so we'll need to evaluate how feasible these ideas might be before dedicating time and effort into new projects.

Just as the Web did not kill the Desktop, neither will mobile devices eliminate the need for personal computers and web pages. Edenwaith's Mac OS X products are not going away any time soon, but our direction will likely lead down many new paths in the coming decade. Just as Edenwaith has gone through numerous changes in the past ten years, we expect just as many changes in the next ten. It is not unfair to consider that Edenwaith might wear a completely different mask in 2021. Perhaps some of our current products will be still around. Perhaps there will be an entirely new set of products. Perhaps there will be no products at all. Time will tell...

Check for 64-bit

29th January 2011 | Tutorial

If you have a Macintosh application and you need to check if the OS is running in either 32 or 64 bit mode, here is a code snippet to make that determination.

/* File: check64bit.c
 * Description: Check if the running version of Mac OS X is 64-bit
 * To Compile: gcc -Wall -o check64bit check64bit.c
 * To run: ./check64bit
 #include <stdio.h>
 #include <string.h>
 #include <sys/utsname.h>
 int main(int argc, char *argv[])
 	int ret = 0;
 	struct utsname uname_info;
 	ret = uname(&uname_info);
 	if (ret == 0)
		printf("Uname Info\n");
		printf("Sysname  : %s\n", uname_info.sysname);
		printf("Nodename : %s\n", uname_info.nodename);
		printf("Release  : %s\n", uname_info.release);
		printf("Version  : %s\n", uname_info.version);
		printf("Machine  : %s\n", uname_info.machine);
		if (strcmp(uname_info.machine, "x86_64") == 0)
			printf("You are running in 64-bit mode!\n");
			printf("You are running in 32-bit mode.\n");
 	return 0;


Edenwaith Gist :

GUI Tar 1.2.4

27th January 2011 | GUI Tar

2011 has started off well with two software updates in January. GUI Tar has been updated to address a couple of issues.

  • Improved calculation of file sizes listed in the compression table. — Updated with code from the FolderSize tutorial, which returns the correct size for applications which contain additional frameworks.
  • Minor UI improvements.
  • Optimizations and clean up for a leaner application. — Instead of using old, custom icons originally designed for Untar, GUI Tar now only uses custom icons (which match the current look of Mac OS X's archive icons) for 7z, rar, and taz files. This reduced the number of custom icons contained within the application, which helped to reduce the overall size of GUI Tar.

At this time, this is the only planned release for GUI Tar this year. GUI Tar is a freeware application which has seen infrequent updates in the past several years, and there are no current plans to heavily continue development on GUI Tar in the foreseeable future. If your archiving needs exceed what Mac OS X or GUI Tar can provide, it is recommended that you look for a more appropriate solution (such as StuffIt, BetterZip, or one of the many other archiving utilities available).

Permanent Eraser 2.5.1

11th January 2011 | Permanent Eraser

A number of people reported having difficulty accessing the new Preferences in Permanent Eraser 2.5.0. Considering that the Preferences was one of the cornerstones for the 2.5 release, this problem needed to be fixed so trying to open the Preferences was not so much of a delicate timing issue. Permanent Eraser 2.5.1 has fixed this problem, so the Preferences window can be opened, even when the initial warning message appears.