The random musings of a software developer

Batch Image Processing Slides

Here’s the link to my slides from my presentation on “Batch Image Processing with Automator” at Macstock 2017. Had a blast there this year! Will definitely be back next year – do come and join us!

Ada Lovelace Day 2016 – Honouring Allison Sheridan

It’s October 11, 2016 and it’s still Ada Lovelace Day (ALD) 2016! My honouree this year is Allison Sheridan, host of the first few tech podcasts I ever listened and subscribed to. Allison’s love of all things tech has led her to share her experience and expertise freely through her podcasts: the inimitable Nosillacast (technology with an ever so slight Macintosh bias), and the recently launched Chit Chat Across the Pond and Taming the Terminal podcasts. You can find them at her subscription page.

We met in person at Macworld 2012 and her sheer energy and drive was amazing – especially when doing several video interviews of new and interesting products on the show floor, as well as being a speaker at the convention.

Allison has been proponent for Accessibility and has highlighted the features and third party applications available for macOS and iOS, as well as having guests on her show who have benefited from Accessibility on Apple’s platforms. Allison even went to learn to use her Mac and iPhone blindfolded and presented at Macworld 2012!

Allison has also been a voice for women and girls in technology, through interviews with teachers and other women in the tech field.

So it is with great respect and honour that I feature Allison Sheridan for this year’s Ada Lovelace Day. I count Allison as a dear friend in tech 🙂

You can find Allison on Twitter as @podfeet and her website is Drop by, take a listen, and I promise you’ll stay subscribed! Someone who has two kitties named Ada and Grace, and a doggie named Tesla must be certainly a tech proponent.

Do check out Finding Ada for more information about ALD 2016, and Wikipedia for more about Ada Lovelace.

Tasha and Sassy: In Memoriam

On this day, we bid farewell to Tasha in 2013, and to Sassy in 2014. You have enriched our lives in so many ways. Your little cat paw prints will forever remain pressed gently in our hearts. Love, always… Kirschen and Sarah

Sarah, Sassy, and Tasha

Honouring Jean MacDonald – ALD2015

For Ada Lovelace Day 2015, I’m honouring Jean MacDonald from App Camp for Girls. Jean was a partner at Smile Software and at one of Apple’s Developer Conferences, she noticed that there were very few women developers in attendance. Having been to Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls, Jean decided to start App Camp for Girls in 2012 with the express purpose “to empower girls by providing engaging and accessible educational programs in software development.”

App Camp for Girls kicked off with an IndieGoGo campaign to raise $50,000, and in a month managed to raise over $100,000. Beginning with a beta camp in Portland, Oregon in June 2013, the volunteer driven organization has now spread to provide App Camps for Girls in Seattle, Washington, and Vancouver, British Columbia – truly international!

And so it is truly well deserved that Jean is my honoree this year – she took it upon herself to attend Big Nerd Ranch to learn Apple iOS programming! Oh, and she also plays guitar and the drums in Ruby Calling!

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Ada Lovelace Day 2014: Honoring Brianna Wu, Giant Spacekat

This year I’m recognizing Brianna Wu from Giant Spacekat. She and her team of women software developers created the iOS game Revolution 60. Bri has been in the forefront promoting women in gaming – both as game developers and as game players – in a predominantly male environment. I had the honor of getting her interview on the App Stories for Girls site last year and am in awe of her technical knowledge in computer graphics and her drive to succeed in the gaming business. She wrote a very emotive article for The Magazine entitled Choose Your Character – it was a very heartfelt and insightful look into a part of the development of Revolution 60. And so I celebrate Bri’s achievements, commend her contributions to the field of technology and for being a great role model for other women, not only in STEM, but also in gaming, and business. Thanks Bri!

KickStarter – Nock Cases

Just received my set of Nock pen / pencil / notebook cases. The workmanship is superb with excellent fabric. Do check out their site. Their offering on KickStarter is archived here

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Kirschen’s Carbonara

Servings: 2


3 eggs
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
6 ozs pasta
3 strips turkey bacon
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


Boil water for pasta per directions on packet.

While water is boiling:

Cut stacked bacon strips in half across the long edge. Cut halves lengthwise into strips. Further cut across into small bits.

Fry bacon in the olive oil till crisp, reducing heat.

While bacon is cooking:

Grate cheese in a bowl. Beat eggs in cheese till well combined. Set aside.

When water boils, put pasta in, reduce heat and cook pasta per time on packet or 1 minute less if you like al dente.

When pasta is cooked:

Drain pasta or remove pasta with tongs, and pour out water from pot. Put pasta back in pot and pour cheese / egg mixture on top and stir till cooked with a wooden spoon, under low heat. Pour bacon and olive oil onto pasta / egg / cheese and mix till well distributed.


Nutritional Info: 461 calories per serving

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Olive-Butter Spread

I bemoaned the lack of availability of OliveIt – an olive oil and butter mixed spread. Decided to try my hand and whip up my own rendition. It’s essentially half olive oil and half butter and very easy to make.

Soften two sticks of butter in a mixing bowl. Measure one cup of olive oil into the bowl. With a hand mixer, whip the butter into the olive oil until smooth and uniform. Pour the mixture into containers, such as spread tubs. Put the tubs into the fridge to set overnight. Next day, spread and enjoy!

That’s a great way to get olive oil into your diet. The mixture remains soft in the tubs and is very spreadable. A little goes a long way and it tastes heavenly!

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Orange-Chocolate Muffins With Almonds

Indeed a sumptuous muffin, half orange and half chocolate, that certainly will charm any guest.

2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup toasted, chopped blanched almonds
2 eggs, beaten
¾ cup orange juice
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted
Grated rind of 1 large orange

Preheat oven to 400°. Brush twelve 2½" muffin cups with melted butter or coat with vegetable spray.

In a mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the almonds, leaving ¼ cup to sprinkle over tops of muffins. Combine the eggs, orange juice and butter. Stir into the dry ingredients until just well mixed. Remove half the batter to a second bowl. To one-half the batter add the melted chocolate, mixing rapidly until smooth. To the other half of the batter add the grated orange rind, mixing well. Holding the muffin tin slightly tipped, spoon in the orange batter on one side of each muffin cup. Fill the other side with chocolate batter. By lightly touching the batter you can keep each under control — and they certainly do not have to be perfect. Sprinkle tops with remaining almonds. Bake muffins 20 minutes.

To toast almonds, spread the nuts in a cake tin and place them in a 300° oven. Toast about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Watch carefully to avoid burning.

From Mary Gubser’s “Quick Breads, Soups, and Stews“, Publ. Council Oak, ISBN 0-933031-33-5

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Ada Lovelace Day 2013

This year I’m choosing to honour Adele Goldberg. Her team developed Smalltalk-80 which is the precursor to all modern Object Oriented Languages, and in particular inspired the syntax for Objective-C. I acquired Digitalk Smalltalk/V for Mac OS back in 1989 and tried to understand how it all worked. I marvelled at the simplicity and uniformity of the language constructs in Smalltalk: everything is an object, even integers, and you make objects do things by sending them messages. One thing which stuck in my mind was that you could make changes to the system objects and the environment would morph to the changes you made. The illustration given was painting yourself in a corner with the changes but in Smalltalk, the paint dried instantly! Fortunately you could save virtual machine snapshots and go back to a previous version. Smalltalk lives on as Squeak – do check that out!

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