iOS mail signature woes

This morning I decided to update my company email signatures and synchronise them between the MacBook Pro (Mavericks), the iPhone and the iPad.

A couple of hours later I finally cracked it!

The main issue I had was preventing iOS from automatically converting numbers and addresses into links. This is a particular problem when it gets it wrong and doesn’t provide any obvious means of editing/cancelling the links.

First I used an online HTML editor to make my signature:

Online_HTML_Editor__Real_time_online_with_preview

Then I copied the rendered output to the mail app on Mavericks:

Signatures_and_Inbox

Then I tried emailing myself using the new signature. On Mavericks it looked perfect, but on the iPhone it misinterpreted some of the  information:

2014-01-21_10_22_14-3

In this case just the company number was displayed as a telephone number link. But on one of my other email accounts half of the address was converted to a link while the other half remained as text.

I don’t think it’s possible to suppress this automatic conversion, and I can live with it because usually it works quite well.

My iPhone and iPad problems started when I tried to copy the signature to the clipboard and paste it into the signature box on the settings app:
2014-01-21_10_30_19-3

So, the copy and paste has worked, but it’s not what I want. I’ve lost the font type and size, and nearly everything is blue.

I then tried using the online HTML editor on the iPhone but the rendered output had automatic link conversions on the telephone numbers. Not really a problem but it was still doing things I didn’t want.

Then I decided to try a cunning plan: I sent myself an email with the signature broken into multiple lines, so that no one line appeared to contain a useable telephone number or address:

2014-01-21_10_41_02-2

Then I copied the message to the iPhone’s email signature editor but it lost the font!

Finally, as I was considering giving up, I went back to the MacBook and pasted my signature onto Evernote and split it into multiple lines again. Back on the iPhone I copied the mangled signature  from Evernote to the signature editor:

2014-01-21_10_55_02-2

Progress! Next I edited the signature to remove the line breaks:

2014-01-21_10_58_05-2

And finally an email:

2014-01-21_10_58_44-2

Ok, so the telephone numbers have been converted into links but I suspect I can never prevent that, and since these are telephone numbers then I’m fine with it. But I’ve got my font type and size, and the company number is just a number (not a link), and I’ve roughly got what I wanted.

Then I repeated the last few steps again on the iPad.

There are plenty of iOS apps for making signatures but I really wanted to have the in-built signature working. And now I have it. But there must be a better way, either now or in the future. And once Apple and Google start talking to each other I might even see emails as they arrive without having to restart the mail app on Mavericks.

OS X, Python 3.3, LiClipse

Yesterday I tried to get Eclipse and PyDev installed on my MacBook Pro (running Mavericks). After a couple of hours of struggling I gave up and discovered LiClipse which is a highly recommended system for working with Python and many other languages from the Eclipse framework.

I used a clean OS X Mavericks virtual machine to get my installation nailed down, especially important since I wanted to work with Python 3.x.

Downloads

Download and install:

  1. Python 3.x.
  2. Java 7.
  3. LiClipse: click the Google Drive link, select the latest version (currently 0.9.6), click and download the OS X file (currently liclipse_0.9.6_macosx.cocoa.x86_64.dmg), then install using all default options.

Configuration

Eject all download package (DMG) folders on the desktop.

Use Finder and go to Applications, open the liclipse folder, then drag the LiClipse app to the dock.

Run LiClipse. If a software update prompt appears for Java SE 6 then install it.

Accept all defaults when starting for the first time and restart the app.
 
Select File / New project, then select PyDev/PyDev Project:
ad45e741fc7fadfa78252bb606d55228

Hit Next, then set a project name and click the link to configure an interpreter:

489ed184ec9e6e8b074feccf177fcb78

Select the advanced configuration option:

ff2c2bbde406a0db49eae0d0d91f25e7

Then select python3.3:

32ca7a2249fdaa5c7ab1905a39b37dbb

On the next screen make sure all folders are selected:

378876332975796581d1a1bba04b66ee

Back on the new project screen make any other changes – I opted not to configure the Python path – then click Finish:

04b122222be512f58fe0f7fa062a8801

The Open Associated Perspective prompt may appear – I chose to associate the project with the PyDev perspective:

0a8180c02287ff3b076f068ffd8b3004

These Python and perspective settings will be used the next time LiClipse is started for Python projects.

Quick Python test

Following on from the above new I added a new Python file, entered a couple of lines of code, and ran it:

5b8f1d79fa162facf4e384b1394d0a99

132a82e84ba8b7066edba59927094d74

4a997671f4a90eee79e6c84d6342f354

638b29041e54c6d81427455cf5407130

feb22a04d91362315bae7493317c90ec

Debugging

If the debugger is used, for example by stepping through the code, there’ll be an option to switch to another perspective – this should be used for debugging:

a8a26c331c032792e467e96787890a55

This presents more window areas for examining variables, viewing the editor and console output, etc:

a9b4613df5986bd7bd9915660c715f15

After the debugging session is complete the Debug perspective will still be active. To switch back to the original perspective use the menus:
  • Window | Open Perspective | Other, then select PyDev.

Standing desk (ikea hack)

I’m starting my third week of standing, rather than sitting, at work. There’s been much written on this subject and I’m not 100% sure that it’s the right long term solution but so far I feel more focussed and less like a 12-hour-a-day slob.

My office already had some Ikea Expedit shelves on the wall, and I’d tried converting my table into a simple standing desk. But the table was around 6 inches too low and due to it having just four very extended legs it was also quite wobbly.

2013-12-03 09.15.08

Then I saw this excellent Ikea Hack for an Expedit Standing Desk.

My hack is a variation on the above desk system; I strengthened the front 5*1 unit by retaining the first and last internal panels – this had the advantage of providing a bit more storage as well. The wall shelves came down and formed sides to the desk, and now it’s starting to feel pretty cool (this being day 2 of this configuration).

I modelled the system on Google Sketchup:

i1 i2 i3 i4

Then I built it, and here it is:

2013-12-16 18.37.43 2013-12-16 18.38.12

Once I can lose the bits and bobs on the floor and tidy up the shelves it’s going to be super cool.

OS X Pages 5.0 graphics in header

The latest version of Pages for OS X and iOS is great for iCloud users who want to edit documents on both desktop and mobile with maximum compatibility. But Pages for OS X has lost many features to attain this compatibility.

Yesterday I tried to create a new document with a company logo in the header, so that it would repeat on every page. The process wasn’t intuitive!

First off the Pages 5.0 manual is easiest to find via Pages, rather than Googling for it:

Fullscreen_01_11_2013_11_43-2

Then the trick is discovering master objects.

You can add text, watermarks, logos, or other images that appear in the same place in the background of every page of your document. These repeated elements are called master objects.

So here’s my sequence of events for getting an image into the document header so that it repeats on every page:

  1. New (blank) document.
  2. Turn on Layout View (⇧⌘L). This makes it a little easier to see where the header and body areas of the document are.
  3. Drag and drop the logo to the document body.
  4. Resize the logo and drag to the appropriate location in the header. Caution: if the resized logo fits within the header cell boundary it seems difficult or impossible to re-select it. I made mine slightly larger so that the mouse cursor could just click it.
  5. With the logo selected use the menu Arrange | Section Masters | Move Object to Section Master to make the logo a master object.
  6. If the logo needs to be repositioned use the Arrange | Section Masters | Make Master Objects Selectable to allow this and any other background objects to be selected.

Shapes for header/foot borders

This technique can also be used with shapes to allow the header and/or foot to have a full width border. For example, after setting up the header text try adding a simple shape to the document:

Untitled-2

Resize the shape and add any effects, move it below the header, use the menus again to make it a master object:

Untitled-2

When viewed as a PDF in Preview:

Untitled__1_page_

iPad

This is all possible on the iPad, give or take a few frustrating finger taps and Googling!

The user manual is here.