Borrowed Book

I borrowed an ebook from my local library for the first time yesterday. I’ve borrowed books from the library, but never an ebook. I wasn’t sure how it would work.

I borrowed Stephen King’s Billy Summers. I’ve read a lot of Stephen King over the years, but never this book. I’m looking forward to it.

I’ve been a fan of E-readers for years. I got my first Amazon Kindle in 2010 and haven’t looked back. E-readers are incredibly convenient. My kindle holds hundreds of books. Being able to borrow an ebook sounds great.  

The process to borrow the book was incredibly easy. I installed the OverDrive Libby app. Then I connected my library card, found a book, borrowed it, then connected my Amazon account. The book was delivered to my Kindle. Easy peasy.

Well. It wasn’t effortless. The first four or five books I looked at have 10+ week waits. One book I tried to borrow has a 26-week wait. Yikes. I requested holds on several books. But once I found a book that was available, it was easy.

I’ve got two weeks to read Billy Summer’s. I’m a slow reader, so I hope I can finish in time. I think I can renew the book loan, but that remains to be seen.

I’m excited to dive into this book.

My Development Toolbox (2022 Edition)

In 2018, I wrote about My Development Toolbox. I thought I would revisit the subject and write an updated post.

These are tools that I use daily. Some of these have changed since 2018, but many remain the same.


Xcode is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) developed by Apple. Xcode is used to build macOS, iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, and watchOS apps.

Xcode was on my list in 2018 and I still use Xcode every day. Xcode is the workhorse for iOS developers. AppCode is an alternative, but I’m not aware of (m)any others.

In the evenings, I have been tinkering with Swift Playgrounds on my Mac and iPad. But this tinkering is on small projects. Our project at work is probably too large and complicated for Playgrounds.

I would like to give AppCode another shot. If only just to try something new. But for the time being, Xcode is my primary development tool.

Xcode is available on the Mac App Store for free.


Tower is a user-friendly Git client.

I’ve tried a few other Git clients since my 2018 post, but I keep coming back to Tower. Tower just works how I want a Git client to work. It’s the best I’ve seen of existing Git clients.

I would love to see Leitmotif GmbH, maintainers of Versions, and Kaleidoscope make a Git client.

Tower is available through their site for $69 (USD) a year.


Kaleidoscope is a file comparison and merge tool.

Kaleidoscope is new to the list, but I’ve been using it for years. It has helped me with countless Git merge conflicts.

Kaleidoscope can handle more than merge conflicts, it can also compare and merge (text and image) files and folders. But I use it for dealing with Git merge conflicts.

Kaleidoscope (the app) has been moved around a bit over the years. It was originally developed by Sofa, then acquired by Black Pixel, and is now maintained by Leitmotif GmbH.

Kaleidoscope is available through their site for $149.99 (USD).

Dash (with Alfred 5 integration)

Dash is an API documentation browser. Xcode has a documentation browser built in and it’s fine. Dash allows you to install more API dockets than just the Apple-provided ones.

Dash (and Alfred) were on my 2018 list. I still use Dash with the Alfred integration. This integration makes searching for API classes and elements incredibly simple. Just trigger Alfred (I use command + space), type dash {search term}, press enter, and Dash will search for the term.

Dash is available through their site for $29.99 (USD) Alfred 5 is available through their site for free. The Alfred Powerpack is available through the site for £34 (GBP).


Reveal is an app I use to inspect an application’s user interfaces at runtime.

Reveal is another tool I’ve used for years but was not on my 2018 list.

Xcode has something like Reveal built into Xcode via the Debug View Hierarchy button. But it’s not great. Reveal is so much better.

Reveal also has a new(ish) suite of Accessibility (A11y) Workspace. I did a lot of A11y work over the Summer and have grown to appreciate these tools.

Reveal is available through their site for $59 (USD) a year.

What’s Missing?

I did not include a note-taking app or text editor. I use both of those classes of apps every day. However, I’m currently testing out new apps for both and maybe switching.

I’ll list what I’m currently using in both categories below.

Note-Taking App

Right now I’m in between Craft and Obsidian. I’m not a big fan of Apple’s Notes app.

In the past, I’ve used Bear, Agenda, and UpNote. All of these apps are great apps. I always seem to be in search of the perfect note-taking app. I’m not sure I’ve found it yet.

I’ve been using Craft for about a year as my personal note-taking app. At work, I’ve been using Obsidian.

Craft has a beautiful interface. I think that’s what originally got me into the app. Every paragraph in Craft is a block, and I’m not sure how I feel about that yet. I do know that I hate trying to copy/paste something quickly on my iPhone in Craft. It takes more steps than I feel it should.

Obsidian is more utilitarian in design. It doesn’t have a beautiful interface. But it’s got tons and tons of plugins. I’ve been able to simplify a ton of my note-taking needs with plugins.

Craft is available on the Mac App Store for free. Craft has in-app purchases.

Obsidian is available through their site for free.

Text Editor

As far as text editors go, I’m currently in between BBEdit and Nova. Both are excellent text editors.

I’ve been using BBEdit since the 90s on Classic Mac OS. The first copy I bought was in an actual box. BBEdit is like an old friend. I love using it.

Nova is the new hotness though. It looks great. It has some features that BBEdit doesn’t have. I do feel like the development of BBEdit slowed down in recent years and I wanted to try out something new.

I would be happy with either of these text editors. I just haven’t decided which one I want to use as my primary text editor yet.

BBEdit is available through their site for $49.99 (USD).

Nova is available through their site for $99.99 (USD).

Supporting Developers

I still believe in supporting developers. There are plenty of free alternatives for most of these apps. But the developers listed above have made some amazing apps. If you like their work, please support them.

In my 2018 post, I mentioned that I planned on posting about my work area/desk setup. I still plan on doing that, I just haven’t yet, but someday soon™.

My First Patent

Ok. The patent isn’t entirely mine. My name is on it though, along with some other really smart folks.

Ten years ago, I worked at Barclaycard. While I was working there, we applied for a patent. That patent was granted last month (on August 23rd, 2022).

I knew patent applications took a while, but I never thought it would be ten years.

What the patent describes is a mechanism for credit card users to view some account details (balance, points, etc) without logging into their accounts. This is the kind of information many users want to see at a glance. If you want the nitty-gritty details, read the patent application.

We developed the feature in a short amount of time. I believe it took us two weeks to build and ship the idea. I could be wrong here, this was ten years ago.

It was a neat experience for me. A handful of us worked very closely in order to design, develop and then correctly document the entire process. It was truly a team effort.

This feature is still being used in the Barclaycard app today. Check out the screenshot above.

I’m not sure anyone who worked on this feature (and patent) still works for Barclaycard.

We worked on a lot of neat features while working at Barclaycard. This is the only one we submitted a patent for. I’m glad it finally came through.

Moved From Jekyll to Ghost

I’ve recently made changes to this site. It was a lot of changes. This post goes through the changes I’ve made. These changes include the software running the site, where the site is hosted, and the domains I’m using.

Blogging Software

The blogging software I previously used was Jekyll. It was nice because I would write the blog posts in Markdown.

I like this because it was free and Jekyll allowed my blog posts to be portable. But this portability added friction to my posting process. This has all been working fine. But I’ve wanted to streamline how I get posts onto the site.

Currently, I will write the post in iA Writer, export the Markdown to a text editor (like Nova or BBEdit), commit the changes to Github, push them up and wait. It’s a bit of a Rube Goldberg Machine.

I almost always make a typo or two during this process and need to push up additional changes.

This process got more complicated on the iPad. I’m not sure if it’s the text editor I’m using there, but I always end up with formatting issues with the post front matter.

I started looking into blogging software that would allow me to streamline things. I like using iA Writer and want to continue to use it. I’ve used Ulysses in the past to write blog posts and could always move back to it.

iA Writer will publish directly to a few blogging services. Those blogging services include Ghost, Medium,, Micropub, and Wordpress. Ulysses also supports Ghost, Medium,, and WordPress.

I looked into, WordPress, Medium, and Ghost.

I wanted to use I like supporting (more) indie developers. I tried to use it, but I did. I imported all my old posts (once I made modifications), but I wasn’t happy with the themes and didn’t want to modify/create my own.

WordPress is good, but I’ve used it before. I tried setting up a site and had trouble importing the posts. I wasn’t interested in doing everything by hand. I gave up.

I looked into Medium for about a minute. I want to use my blog site with a custom domain and Medium doesn’t currently support custom domains. Medium keeps flipping back on forth on whether they support custom domains. Medium also drives me nuts with the paywalls. Medium looks great and has a great editor. However, the lack of custom domain support is a non-starter for me.

Ghost was interesting to me. I’ve never used it before and wanted to look into it. The Jekyll migration/import process was non-existent. I did find an old script online that created a JSON file to import, but it only included the titles and dates (which was helpful). I then had to go through and paste the post content. It was a pain, but it gave me a chance to update my links. I also got to read through all the old posts again. The editor is the most like Medium’s available, it may be slightly better.

I ended up going with Ghost as the blogging software for the site. The editor is great. I like the themes. Best of all, I can publish (a draft) directly from either iA Writer or Ulysses.


I’ve been hosting the site and blog using either Netlify or Github Pages for years.

About a year and a half ago, I moved the site from Github Pages to Netlify. I forget why I moved. There may have been a Jekyll plugin that I wanted to use that Github Pages didn’t support, but I could be wrong.

Once I decided on using Ghost, I had to decide where to host the site. I looked at a few options. Ghost Pro, Do it yourself (DYI) using DigitalOcean and DigitalPress.

Ghost Pro is probably the best option, but it’s pricey. If I want to use the theme I’m currently using (Attila) I would have to go with the Creator plan. I like my site, but I don’t want to pay $25/month for it. That’s steep.

DigitalOcean is a nice way to host sites. It looks easy enough to set up and configure a Ghost site. They have a 1-click install. I’m not sure I want to maintain the server and install updates.

DigitalPress is a service that kept popping up when I was looking for Ghost hosting. They aren’t US-based, but I can live with that. The pricing is much more reasonable. For about $7/month (after the EUR to USD conversion), I get hosting and automatic updates. DigitalOcean was $6/month and I needed to handle the updates myself. DigitalPress even has free hosting options.

I’m currently going with DigitalPress. It was easy to set up and get running. I’ve been using it for about a week, but I have been impressed.

Domain Name

As a part of all this, I’ve switched domains from back to

I started the site/blog out on in 2001. That’s over 20 years ago. It feels nice to get back to using that domain name. I thought was clever, but I had to explain to people that it was .co and not .com.

I am now handling the DNS entries through CloudFlair (again). They have a lot of nice features and helped me get the domains all pointing back in the right directions.

In Conclusion

Getting these changes in place was a lot of work. I’m hoping it was all worth it. I think that it will streamline the posting process and allow me to write more posts.

I have a feeling that in a few years I’ll change everything again. Knowing me, I’ll make a change in a few weeks. 🤣

The Future of Beer Style Guidelines

I shipped the first version of Beer Style Guidelines on Jun 26, 2015.

I’ve been supporting the app in an on and off fashion since then. There was a two-year hiatus when I didn’t ship any updates to the app. That’s over seven years of updates and support on an app I’ve never made a dime on.

I think it’s had a pretty good run.

I want to work on other things. I’ve had a handful of other ideas that I’ve put on hold because I wanted to stick with Beer Style Guidelines. I’m not sure I want to do that anymore.

I don’t homebrew beer anymore. I haven’t in years. Life just got in the way and it got hard to carve out the time to make beer.

I currently have two updates in the works.

The first update will re-add all the style guides I’ve added to the app over the years. This will mean Beer Style Guidelines will have seven guides.

I should have this first update out in the next week.

The second update is much larger. I would like to add a macOS app. I’ve wanted to have a macOS app for Beer Style Guidelines for a while. I’m going to add a Mac Catalyst version of the app and get that working nicely.

For now, I think I’m going to see if I can get the macOS update out sometime this Summer. That will likely be the last major update to the app.

I’m not sure if I’ll continue to add new guides each year. I think that will depend how I feel about the app when the new guides come out.

I’ve started looking at my pile of app ideas that I put on hold. I’m thinking of trying out something small. No details yet, but I’m excited to work on something new.