Monthly Archives: May 2011

Mac OS X Quit Application from Command Line

When doing any type of programming or scripting, I do my best to streamline everything (see this post and this post).  Basically anything I do in the Terminal that can be automated, I try to automate.  In addition to the posts linked above, I also have macros set up to login me into the supercomputer that I do most of my research on.

When I first open Terminal, I have it set to open 4 Terminal windows in specified locations.  For those of you who don’t know how to do this, I will soon be providing a post detailing the necessary steps to accomplish this.

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Beginner’s Guide to Learning Cocoa Programming

I recently decided that I wanted to learn to program in Cocoa. There wasn’t really a good reason for me to learn it, aside from my desire to learn a new programming language.  Also it would be nice to know how to make Mac and iOS apps.

I looked around the net for a good beginner’s guide to learning Cocoa.  I found one that I highly recommend.  But, before I talk about the book I used to learn Cocoa I should give a quick note about my programming experience.

Prior to entering the PhD program here at CU Boulder, I have no experience programming at all.  As my research progressed, I have become rather proficient at programming in Fortran.  In addition to Fortran, I have taught myself scripting languages such as Python, Bash, C-shell, perl, etc.

So basically, before learning Cocoa I had no real experience programming in an Objective-based language.

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iPhone: Control iPod Playback with Volume Buttons

For the past few years, I have basically just been a couch potato.  Sure sometimes I would go rock climbing, snowboarding, hiking, etc. but for the most part I sat around on the couch watching tv or playing video games.  Recently, I decided to take up running.  I have downloaded the C25K iPhone app (couch potato to 5k), which details a beginner’s running plan.  The one problem I have is that I like to keep the app open while running.  However, this makes it difficult to switch songs.

I looked around online and found a few jailbreak tweaks in the Cydia store that allow you to control the iPod playback using the volume buttons.  I tried one of them and it resulted in my springboard booting into safe mode.  I did end up finding a tweak that worked well, and that tweak is External iPod Controls.

Basically, with this tweak you can skip to the next song or skip to the previous song without ever leaving an app.  To do this, just hold down the volume button for a split second.  Holding the volume up button will skip forward, while holding the volume down button will skip backward.  In the preferences for the app you can even control the amount of time that it takes to hold a volume button before the song will change.

Also, with the newest release, you can double tap one of the volume buttons to pause/unpause the music.

If you prefer, instead of using the volume buttons to control the iPod you can use the volume buttons to switch apps using PhySwitch (see this post).

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How To Take a Screenshot on any iDevice

Prior to writing posts for this blog, I never had a reason to take a screenshot of my iPhone/iPad/iPod. When it finally came time for me to take one, I realized that I had no idea how to do it. A quick browse on google answered the question, and I was able to add screenshots to posts such as My Top 10 Jailbreak Apps and Finding Text on any Website.

As it turns out, Apple has made this very easy.  With a single button combination you can take a screenshot and have the image stored in your photos in the iDevice camera.  To save a screenshot, just press and hold the Home and Power buttons at the same time.

After a second or so, just release the buttons.  You should see the screen flash white.  Now just check your photos in the camera roll and…Ta-Da!

Image courtesy of

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A Collection of Programming Cartoons

My previous post about funny programming quotes and cartoons seemed to be a very popular post, so I thought I would post some more funny programming cartoons.

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