zsh is the shznits

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My brother operates a computer better than anyone else I know.  So when he gives me tips and tricks, I listen.   Not only can he type incredibly fast but he has also gone out of his way to learn tools and shortcuts that lead to superior productivity.  The thought process is that spending one hour now can save tens or hundreds of hours later.  Its somewhat like the “teach a man to fish” attage but for computers.  Once, after watching a two hour tutorial on vim he was showing me completely unintuitive but crazy useful features like programming keystroke macros.

The other day my brother and I met coffee to discuss some projects.  Peering over my screen he said that I really needed to get z-shell (zsh).  I said I hadn’t heard of it and asked why I should get it.   The answer, not surprising, was a demo of it in action.  Nothing revolutionary, but a lot of little subtile things that make using it and developing on mac waaaay better.

Install Instructions, easy just CURL command


Really easy install.  Just curl command then a few adjustments to your mac terminal preferences to make sure its the default shell.

Solarized theme, again easy


The theme creator Ethan Schoonover is ridiculous with his rigor.  Just check out his site and you’ll know when i’m talking about.

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Super clean shell, no long paths.  I feel great after typing clear!

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Case insensitive Tab Autocomplete

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Git integration that changes everything!  Repo, branch and status on command line.

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Git Autocomplete.  

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Great color coding and theme support

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Some nice commands that don’t come standard on mac terminal like ‘ll’ for listing files with details.

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The more I use zsh the better I like it, I don’t really understand why everyone doesn’t use this.  I can’t wait to find out more features.

Change default save location of screenshot on Mac OSX

IMAGE SOURCE: http://www.globaldelight.com/blog/

Mac OSX lets you easily capture screen shots of your entire screen or just a specific window using:

Command + Shift + 4

I use this functionally often and got tired of captures being saved to my desktop (the default). To change you simply run terminal and change the system default:

defaults write com.apple.screencapture location ~/Pictures/Screenshots/

Make sure the directory exists first or it will not work.  To have the changes take effect, you then must type:

killall SystemUIServer

Another useful trick is to be able to screen cap directly to clipboard and never store the screen shot on your drive. This makes it really easy to paste into documents or e-mails. To do this

Command + Control + Shift + 4 (not f4).

Its a bit hard to execute the keystroke with one hand so you can use two hands then use the mouse to select the area you want to capture.

Add Syntax Highlighting to VIM on Mac OS X

It is extremely useful to be able to quickly edit code files inline in the mac terminal.  This post assumes you are at least somewhat familiar with the vim console text editor.  On mac by default you simply get plain text which whatever theme you are in.  For the homebrew theme you will see something like this for a simple ruby on rails controller file:

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It is much easier to look at and edit code if it is color coded.  It is quite simple to enable this on mac.  You just need to edit the .vimrc file to contain a few lines.  The .vimrc is usually located at the user root ~/.vimrc, if it does not exist you can create it using vim.

vim ~/.vimrc

Then add the following lines:

filetype plugin indent on

set term=builtin_ansi

syntax on

After adding these lines you should

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If you run into trouble, here is a link: http://vim.wikia.com/wiki/Turn_on_syntax_coloring_in_Mac_OS_X

Adding Flickr Photostream Widget to WordPress (RSS Missing/Broken)

My Goal

The new Flickr interface is sweet and I can’t really complain about 1TB of free storage.  I wanted to add my photostream to my WordPress blog at mikekennewick.wordpress.com by enabling the Flickr Widget which requires your Flickr RSS feed URL.  Check.

I Couldn’t Find RSS in New Flickr Interface

If you are having trouble figuring out how to get the RSS feed for Flickr you are not alone.   I spent 10 minutes hunting around for a little orange RSS icon that is nowhere in the new interface.  Even after Googling I couldn’t easily find it.  Eventually dug into the page source.  I right clicked on the page at  http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikekennewick/ and clicked view source.  Then searched for RSS.  Interestingly in the header there is a link to the photostream RSS feed:

<link rel=”alternate” type=”application/rss+xml” title=”Flickr: Your Photostream RSS feed” href=”/services/feeds/photos_public.gne?id=94802687@N06&amp;lang=Array[intl_lang]&amp;format=rss_200“>

I pasted it into the browser with the root Flickr page and to my surprise it worked: http://www.flickr.com/services/feeds/photos_public.gne?id=94802687@N06&amp;lang=Array[intl_lang]&amp;format=rss_200


If you want to get your RSS Feed you will need to know your ID, you can either get from source or use this service and type in your photostream URL: http://idgettr.com/  when I did this it returnedidGettr

If you want your RSS URL simply take the below URL and replace {InsertYourIDHere} with your ID.


My WordPress Blog with Flickr Widget

After finding and pasting the right URL and enabling the Flickr Widget it worked!  Check it out below.


Eventually I Found RSS Feed but its broken

Later I did find an RSS feed conveniently hidden under You -> Recent Activity.  However at the time of this post it appears to be broken and is pointing to a different URL.



Its likely a bug and will hopefully be fixed soon.  You can contact me at mikekennewick.com or @mikekennewick if you need any help getting this working.

Font Awesome is Awesome



Font Awesome is an open source free font + css that is the Webdings of 2013.  The font contains countless vector based icons that can be used in a variety of applications.  Kudos to Dave Gandy (@byscuits) for coming up with such as clever packaging and sharing it with the rest of us.  There are several reasons why this is truly Awesome:

  1. You don’t need to create and include tons of images with your site
  2. Small sizes mean fast download
  3. You can leverage the full power of CSS
  4. Ridiculously easy to integrate
  5. Cross browser support for free
  6. Standard package will be on CDN for better performance

I look forward to incorporating this simple but Awesome “Font” into my next project.