Monday, June 26, 2017

Missing Emoji: 2017


Thanks to ease and simplicity of PopChar X, now at version 8, I've enjoyed playing with emoji. 

Years back I used to run a server of impossible-to-get music that included techno from Japan. As such, I was introduced to the Japanese versions of 'smilies', called emoticons. I still use a few of them as I prefer their linear design and find them very useful. My favorites are:

(0_o)(o_0) - craziness

(-_-) - sleeping

(^_^) - glee

(^_^)/ - waving

\(^_^)/ - manic glee

There are plenty more.

Then emoji evolved out of the Asian emoticon scene into the font scene. Emoji are in a state of evolution thanks to the expansion of the Unicode Technical Standard (UTS). As a result, there has been an explosion of available emoji as well as a decline in emoticons and smilies. I personally have no trouble mixing them together.

Recently, it has been announced that a collection of new emoji are being officially released and will be coming to the Mac and iOS probably this fall.

Final 2017 Emoji List
Unicode 10.0 is expected to be released in June 2017, and is required for many of the new emojis listed in Emoji 5.0.
The 69 new emoji include magical creatures, steam room, meditation, craziness, shhh, character censored obscenity, monocle face, exploding head, a full range of ages from child to adult, breast feeding, climbing, I Love You hand gesture, brain, winter clothing and sports, new animals, new vegetable, meat, lunch and snack stuff, chopsticks (at long last!), new flags, UFO, yet another heart color and of course vomit.

And yet, despite the already existent, mind boggling collection of now over 600 emoji, there are still many that I consider to be missing. I originally posted most of this list an Apple news website, who chose to censor it. They offered no explanation. I suspect it was my use of humor or my erroneous inclusion of chop sticks. (At last! We have chopsticks!) So I dumped the website from my bookmarks and email, then decided to publish here my list of Missing Emoji: 2017. Please add your own missing emoji in the comments.

My list of still missing emoji, 2017-06-23

Coffee cup, steaming (classic, every coder has one!)

Hula girl (classic)
Grand piano (for dropping, music)
Anvil (for dropping, for blacksmiths)
The rest of the planets. (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) (Yes, Pluto)
Groundhog (Groundhog's Day)
Mole (living in the dark)
Skunk (smelly)
Nuclear explosion (controversial or obvious? You decide. My 6th grade teacher used them as quiz icons)
Donkey (to go with the elephant, of course).
Ice bucket (challenges)
Infinity ribbon symbol 
Ribbons in campaign colors
Wristbands / Bracelet in campaign colors
Mail humans (mailman & mailwoman)
Blimp / Dirigible (advertising, steampunk, Hindenburg disaster)
Goggles (both steampunk and dieselpunk)
Flying car (ever-promised and never delivered futurist icon)
Fan (air cooling and for the things that hit them, such as the poop emoji)
Acorn (the standard nut)
Candy cane (xmas candy)
Cross-eyed face
Chewing (gum, an idea, a victim's brain, whatever)
Broken glass / mirror (bad luck, accident, crash)
Gravestone (the end)
Wreath (for holidays and graves)
White wine glass (to go with the red wine glass)
Cigar, stogie (to go with the equally addictive cigarette)
Vinyl record (because some people still like them, I have no idea why)
International traffic symbols: Stop, Yield, Slow, Corner, Hill, Intersection, children at play, deaf or blind child, etc.

Google have their own proposed emoji for the purpose of reducing gender inequality. You can find them by clicking on either of the missing female emoji symbols on this page.



Friday, October 17, 2014

No Safari Title Bar
In OS X 10.10 Yosemite?!?!
--> A Quick Workaround


Apple has allowed me to be an AppleSeed beta tester for a couple years so far. I offered some bug reports and suggestions regarding OS X 10.10 Yosemite. But Apple has ignored feedback about one really odd change that breaks an eternal Mac standard: Apple removed the Title Bar from several application windows. I totally do NOT understand. This isn't a universal change in OS X. It's mixed into a few different standard applications and is an option for third party developers. Needless to say, my advice to developers is: DON'T DO THAT! 

My favorite example is the mess that has resulted using Safari version 8. I've complained to Apple, as have others! But Apple hasn't listened, so far.

This may not be an issue for casual Safari users. Many may find enough space up there where the Title Bar is supposed to be to grab Safari windows and move them around just fine. But for we fanatical power users, this is a BFD! Removing the simple, wonderful, eternal Mac Title Bar has created havoc.

Check this out:

(Click images on this page to see BIG versions)

Where, exactly, am I supposed to grab this Safari window in order to move it? Tell me! OMG, what hath Apple wrought?!

So I made a workaround.

Concept: Stuff a bunch of 'Flexible Space' items into the area where the Title Bar is supposed to be. This provides a nicely reliable, reasonably sized area for grabbing and moving Safari windows.

I) Right-Click (CTRL-Click) on the Toolbar (where the Title Bar used to be).

Up pops the "Customize Toolbar..." button. Click it.

II) Down drops the Toolbar pallet where you can drag and drop items into the Toolbar. 

We're going to drag in lots of 'Flexible Space' items. We need to put a lot of them in because they are indeed flexible down to a very minimal size of a few pixels. Because we have a traffic jam going on in the Toolbar and no Title Bar, we have to stuff lots of these minimal spaces somewhere in order to create a usable space for grabbing the Safari window.

My choice: I drag in four extra Flexible Spaces to the right of the Address and Search item. Add as many as you like. Pull some out later if you wish. It can be slightly tricky dragging flexible spaces to exactly where you want them. Practice and patience makes perfect.

III) Click the 'Done' button and away goes the Toolbar pallet. Now you can check out your work by trying to grab and drag around the Safari window. Play with adding or removing flexible spaces as you find useful. This is how mine turned out:

The space I created is fine for my utility. My new space is not going to move. It's going to stay exactly that size unless I remove Toolbar items, at which point it will flexibly expand.


I know someone's going to whine about filling up the Toolbar with too much junk. Shut up. I like all that stuff in my toolbar and I use all it. The entire Safari traffic jam problem is due to Apple's decisions, NOT mine. Go blame them. Got it? Good.

It is my fervent hope that Apple sees the error of their ways and stops the madness. Title bars are a Mac mainstay and should NEVER EVER be removed. That's not a Luddite opinion. It's a UTILITARIAN opinion. Usefulness wins. Get back to useful Apple!


Monday, September 1, 2014

Skype: Ready For The Grave


Skype version was released today. It comes with a surprise. Below is an essay on the subject I've been posting around the net:


This POS crapware is to be avoided. It has been turned into a Microsoft product, with the usual crapification. Here is the supreme crapification:

Version 6.19.blah has the following LISTED and wrong system requirements:
All you need to get started is Mac OS X 10.5.8 or above, a webcam for video calls and a microphone.
And yet v6.19.blah requires OS X 10.9.x. FSCK -U Microsoft.

Earlier this week there was a lot of blahblah about Skype only working on 64-bit Macs in the future. And yet, here I am on a 64-bit Mac running 10.7.5 (the highest it will run) and the morons at Microsoft managed to screw up their '64-bit' rhetoric and screw over thousands of 64-bit Mac users. FSCK -U Microsoft.

If you and your friends and relatives use Skype, STOP. Use something else, such as CryptoCat or Apple's Facetime.

Microsoft's DETAILED System Requirements for Skype 6.19.blah, which are WRONG:
Skype for Mac 
1GHz Intel processor. 
Mac OS X 10.5.8+.
100 MB free disk space.
Either USB or regular headset if your Mac does not have a built-in microphone. 
Download drivers if you are using an external webcam.
For voice calls recommend broadband connection with 100 kbps down / 100 kbps up. 
For group video calling everyone on the call needs Skype 5.0 for Windows or Mac or higher plus webcams. For best quality we recommend you use a high-speed broadband connection of 4Mbps down/512kbps up and a computer with a Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHz processor. As a minimum you’ll need a high-speed broad connection of 512kbps down/128kbps up and a computer with a 1 GHz processor.

FSCK -U Microsoft.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How To Play M3U Music In Safari:
2014 Edition



Back in time, circa the middle of 2010, some terrible things happened to QuickTime. I continue to wonder if Apple's QuickTime wunderkind left the company, leaving people who remained to pick up the pieces when QuickTime was made 64-bit. I recall writing to Apple a few times about what followed. To date, QuickTime 10 remains hobbled compared to QuickTime 7. It has no 'QuickTime Pro' option. It has taken years for Apple to finish updating the QuickTime components to 64-bit. It has literally been an incoherent mess, forcing serious QuickTime users to still use QuickTime 7 for full functionality. Explain that to me Apple, please.

One of the casualties of Apple blundering through the QuickTime 10 update has been the total loss of functionality playing M3U files on the web through Safari. Despite the QuickTime Internet Plugin being 100% capable of playing M3U linked audio files, Apple broke the connection ability in Safari 5 and lazily left it that way. Explain that to me Apple, please.


I know someone or other is going to disagree with my assertion above. So here's how you can prove I am correct:

1) Grab any M3U file off a website. Amazon is a great place to find them. They're what Amazon uses to play samples of tunes they sell as MP3s.

2) Drop the M3U file onto TextEdit and view the URL buried within.

3) Copy the M3U URL.

4) Open QuickTime Player 10.

5) Hit Command-L ('Open Location…') to open the URL entry box.

6) Paste in the M3U URL.

7) Click 'Open'. See the linked M3U audio file play perfectly. Shake your head at Apple trying to figure out why they cut access to this functionality out of the QuickTime plug-in. It's beyond comprehension.


When you click on an M3U link in Safari, what you get is an M3U file downloading to your Mac. Double-click the file and it iTunes will open, follow the M4U link and play the tune for you. I find this to be unacceptable. I don't want iTunes running when I'm browsing the Internet, cleaning up after Apple's bungled QuickTime plug-in. I want the tune to play INSIDE Safari, as intended.

So what plug-in can we use instead?

I believe it's still possible to finagle around with RealPlayer plug-in, if you want to bother with it. I don't. I don't know what's the point of RealPlayer any more.

That leaves the Adobe Flash plug-in. Oh no. If you read my Mac-Security blog you know that Flash is the second-most dangerous, insecure plug-in you can use on the Internet, second only to Oracle's awful Java plug-in. But thankfully, some bright and brilliant people at Apple now take OS X security seriously, and have written some excellent plug-in control into Safari. This helps to keep nasty Flash malware off our Macs. But it also means that the old methods for getting Flash to play M3U files has changed. Therefore, here is the new, current, 2014 Edition of…

How To Play M3U Music In Safari

Below, I'm providing a method for setting up Flash to play M3U tunes at Amazon. But this method applies to any website where you encounter M3U files. Simply substitute that website in the first step:

1) Visit an page with MP3s you can sample and buy.

2) Open up Safari Preferences. (Command-comma)

3) Click open the ‘Security’ tab.

4) Go to the bottom and check ON “Internet plug-ins” Allow Plug-ins”.

5) Click the button “Manage Website Settings

6) In the drop-down page, click on “Adobe Flash Player”, likely at the top of the list.

7) On the right of the page, scroll UP to the TOP of the ‘Adobe Flash Player’ sub-window. You should see “Currently Open Websites” as a header with “” listed below (or other web page from step 1).

8) Click the popup menu and select “Allow”. 
(Please never, ever choose ‘Allow Always’ or ‘Unsafe Mode’ as they invite Flash security exploits. And that's a bad thing).

9) Click the ‘Done’ button.

10) Close the Safari Preferences window.

11) Reload the Amazon page (or other web page from step 1)

Tada! The Amazon play buttons will now actually play music within Safari.

You’ll also see a new header menu above the tunes labeled ‘Samples’ as well as a back button, ‘Preview all songs/Pause’ button, Forward button and volume slider.

M3U functionality restored!

Here are a couple images to help illustrate the instructions. Click to blow them up for viewing:

I hope you find this helpful!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

CNET Has Ruined / For Mac Users


Quick Summary: 

It is my emphatic personal advice that you NEVER install the ADWARE 'Extensions' now being foisted on users of / CNET NEVER. Got that? NEVER.



VersionTracker used to be heaven for Mac users! It was one of the top 5 best Mac websites on the Internet! I have net friends who work there! I used to haunt the place every day! ...Then CNET bought them.

I had heard this was coming. It had happened to the Windows side of months back. Windows users hated the changes and complained to me about it at our local PC user group. Then this month it hit the Mac side of, I.E. I learned what the Windows users were complaining about. And I'm not dealing with it. I suggest you don't deal with it either. It's bad.

What Happened:

CNET removed the terrific VersionTracker GUI and changed it to the goofy GUI. Annoying but livable.

CNET has removed direct download links to applications. That in itself is a pain. But I learned to live with their goofy download pages.

CNET reformatted the New Mac Software page so that it no longer tells you the cost of anything, free or otherwise. That's sneaky and bothers me.

CNET reformatted the New Mac Software page so the app entries are huge and clunky. You get maybe just 10 entries per page. Therefore, you frequently have to go through several pages to get through one day's worth of new app versions. Idiotic. But I've put up with it.

CNET bungled the 'Download Now' buttons such that they have overlaying crap text on them, obscuring the letter 'w'. What is this mess?!

CNET is now gradually removing direct downloads entirely. With time, they'll be gone. THAT I don't deal with.

CNET is instead forcing the download of their own installer app, making downloading of the software you actually want FAR more painful. THAT I don't deal with.

CNET is stuffing into their installer app a pile of ADWARE and a menubar that forces you to use Yahoo as your search engine and home page. AND it surveils your behavior across the Internet.  THAT I don't deal with.

Three strikes, you're out CNET! 

As in: Outrageous.

Let's use an example!

1) Go to, get forwarded over to the ugly, dysfunctional page for Mac. Bleh.

2) Flip through the pages. I went through eight pages today to find something from only two days ago. Yawn. Pick something out. For my example I chose the great little app 'A Better Finder Rename' v9.26.

3) Click on the bungled 'Download Now' button. We're sent to that goofy CNET download page... and the download starts. Except  'A Better Finder Rename' does NOT download! Instead, this CNET  installer thing appears: 



4) Double-click the CNET installer thing and we get a window with a generic app in it called "". Is this Trojan Horse malware? Why not? How would we know?! This certainly is NOT what we wanted to download. It's another Bait and Switch and it's scary.

5) Double-click the scary Immediately on my computer, Little Snitch sets off alarms that this CNET installer thing wants to access a bunch of sites on the Internet, including: on port 80 on port 80 on port 80

If I deny these scary call outs, I get an error box that says "Error. Could not download an installer extension"

A WHAT? It wants to download MORE scariness? When I OK the error box, the app quits itself. Gee thanks.

If I approve these scary call outs, I get an app window that looks like this:

Finally we're getting to actually download the file we wanted back at #2. Right? So I click 'Next Step'.

6) What's all this then?

OIC: More scariness!

What we have here is a 'SPECIAL OFFER' with a PRE-checked 'I agree' box for some severe nastiness to which Mac users are almost entirely unaccustomed. ADWARE.

So what's ADWARE?

Here's what says:

Adware, or advertising-supported software, is any software package which automatically renders advertisements in order to generate revenue for its author. The advertisements may be in the user interface of the software or on a screen presented to the user during the installation process. The functions may be designed to analyze which Internet sites the user visits and to present advertising pertinent to the types of goods or services featured there. The term is sometimes used to refer to software that displays unwanted advertisements.
ADWARE analyzes, aka surveils, where its victims goes on the Internet. Based on its surveillance data, it then pushes related advertisements to the victim's web browser.

IOW: You give up your personal privacy rights. Doesn't that sound enticing? Not to me!


Let's check out the license terms that are pre-checked for you:

I agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Install Extensions by Spigot (Domain Error Assistant in GC, Slick Savings, Ebay and Amazon Shopping Assistant extensions in SF, GC and FF). Make Yahoo! my default provider, home page, and startup option in all browsers.

1) There are some Terms of Service and Privacy Policy legal things to which you're agreeing. They're posted below in the window.

2) You're going to have some Extensions installed.

3) These extensions have something to do with GC and SF and FF, whatever they are, as well as 'Slick Savings', Ebay and Amazon Shopping Assistant. Marketing stuff.

4) You're giving over ALL your web browsers to Yahoo! Yahoo! becomes your default 'provider', whatever that means. Yahoo! will become your home page. Yahoo! will be your startup option, whatever that means. Yahoo! is your Big Brother.

VERY slick.

Let me point out some highlights of the 
(Note that these are only personally chosen highlights for my own personal interest. Read the entire agreement for details.)

Almost all of this whopping long agreement is written to protect the Spigot, Inc. and to point out the rights 'You' give up when 'You' install and use their ADWARE. Check this out:

We may make changes, modifications, and amendments to the Terms at any time.... The latest Terms may be posted or be available through, and You agree that You should always review them prior to using the Extensions so that You may always be aware of what has changed, if anything. If any modification is unacceptable to You, You will cease using the Extensions right away. If you do not cease using the Extensions You will be conclusively deemed to have accepted the change(s) and amendments. Except as stated elsewhere, all amended Terms will automatically be effective as soon as they are initially posted by Us....
We are not obligated to provide notice of amendment....

By installing the Extensions... You expressly authorize and request Spigot... to: 
a) act as Your search agent to conduct or process inquiries on Your behalf... and collect relevant information and display information to you; 
b) take actions Spigot deems appropriate to provide the Extensions to You and to act on Your behalf in obtaining information from partners and displaying or otherwise providing that to You; 
c) read and interpret Your search requests and results... offer alternative results and to personalize The Extensions for you; 
d) collect and use information in accordance with Our Privacy Policy.... as amended from time to time.... 
e) start the Extension automatically when you start your computer.... 
f) modify your... browser 
g) communicate with Our servers...
C) Some or all of our Extensions business affiliates or partners may have their own terms and conditions, terms of use, or end user license agreements, and You agree with and to those in connection with those Extensions and business affiliates of partners, however, in relation to Us if there is any conflict between these Terms which would give You greater rights the provisions of these Terms will govern....
. . . . 
You may terminate these Terms by uninstalling the Extensions from your computer and discontinuing your use of the Extensions.
How about we just terminate this 'SPECIAL OFFER' right now!

I suggest you AVOID all such ADWARE installations on ANY computer.


If you dare bother with this CNET installer thing, UNcheck the agreement box. Be certain of this. UNCHECK the box.

It is then safe to click the 'Install' button.

One of two things will happen:

A) Either the CNET installer thing will BOMB (I've had this happen to me) and you get nothing (oh joy)...


B) In Step 3 you get the intended application to actually, at long bloody last, download! Phew. It dumps the downloaded file into your user account's Downloads folder.

You can then, in step 4, 'Install Now' if you so choose. I don't choose. I prefer to install it myself. Therefore, I push the 'Later' button. At that point the CNET installer thing Quits itself. Good riddance to scary rubbish.


A) Other Mac software downloads sites:

1) impresses me a lot these days. They have matured into a very nice site with great reviewing system, plentiful informed and helpful users, improved staff, excellent daily software promotions and rather good MacUpdate installation software that doesn't infect you with adware. MacUpdate's site is FAR easier to use and is FAR more user-friendly and FAR more reliable that CNET's.

2) It tends to be Windows-centric. But the guys there are terrific, they scan for malware, they offer reasonable reviews and features. 

That's my current list of Mac software download sites. But I have provided a list of other Mac friendly websites at the end of the article. Skip ahead...

Occasionally, I still go to / to check if has missed any recent updates. It happens. If I find something I want, instead of using the horrible CNET installer thing, I go DIRECTLY to the developer's website to download every time. The CNET installer thing is NOT allowed on my computers.

B) Apple's Mac App Store

If you have OS X 10.7 and higher, you have the App Store application in your Applications folder. I find the app itself to be clunky with miniscule 'Help'. It also has terrible Apple tech 'support' I'm sad to say, entirely UN-Apple IMHO. I've let Apple know this fact on more than one occasion. But if you can get App Store to work adequately for you, good on ya. It's nice to know that Apple vet all the apps they allow at their store.

C) Use each application's own integrated updater

These days, most applications have integrated Sparkle, the open source application updating system. It's wonderful. It works. I tend to avoid apps that don't use it or an equivalent. Sparkle integration is free!

D) Check the developer's own website

I do this with Adobe and Oracle freeware crap specifically because it's buggy as hell and frequently has security holes. Therefore, I regularly watch for the latest versions, if I bother to use them at all.


Here are further alternative sites for downloading Mac software. I'll leave it up to you to evaluate and read about them on the Internet. The list is in no particular order. All of these sites are up and running today. If you have further suggested sites, please post them in the Comments!



I Use This

App Donkey

FreeMacAppADay (in Japanese)


Mac Downloads (aka DownloadAtoZ)


And of course, if you find any Mac software sites are foisting ADWARE, please post in the Comments! Happy Mac users want to know.

Don't download or install ADWARE. 
You'll thank me.
You're welcome.



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The MacHeist 4 Bundle Is Here
Until October 26th:
$29 for $529 of Kewl Mac Apps


Dear Mac Fanatics,

The MacHeist 4 Mac app bundle is ACTIVE! 

$29 for 12 (to 15) apps, worth $529+

25% of all sales goes to any of a selection of charities!

The bundle offer runs for 10 days, through October 26th at midnight.

This year's apps  include: 

• 1 1/4 year of Evernote Premium
DiskTools Pro
PDF Signer
4 Steam games
... and MAYBE (probably):
Bioshock 2 (!)
Painter Lite

This is THE ultimate, most famous, most money raised for charity bundle on the Mac platform. The more bundles sold, the more apps you get! Deal!

(I get a nice perk app for free if you purchase using the link above!)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The heist games in MacHeist 4 were quite enjoyable, all of them having a steampunk theme. They were held over the course of two weeks, ending yesterday. My nick over at MacHeist is 'zunipus'. My avatar this year was an animated GIF I created of Dr. Mabuse disguised as 'The Aristocrat'. (Last MacHeist I created an animated GIF of Dr. Mabuse as 'Weltman' the hypnotist).

The MacHeist 4 games consisted of a total of 4 nano-missions and 4 full missions. Each game that was solved provided a shiny coin worth 1% off the price of the bundle. I was able to snag 10 of 11 coins. I would have had the 11th but for my lack of talent at solving sliding block wire diagram puzzles! I hate them! Ironic IYAM. All of us playing also snagged a slew of prize apps along the way.

Happily, I forgot to log into the MacHeist website before purchasing my copy of the bundle, paying full price. I'm happy as I am so appreciative of the incredible effort and fun put into MacHeist 4. It was well worth the wait.

I believe all the iOS versions of the nano-missions and full missions are still available at the iTunes store. Simply search for 'MacHeist' for the full list. They are all free and fun. Don't forget the 'Agent' app as well for initial orientation.

For fun, here is the message of appreciation I posted to the MacHeist 4 creators:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I heartily enjoyed every mission! (Except those damnable wiring diagrams. Electricity will be the death of us!) Well done kind sirs and ladies. Well done indeed. 
Please excuse me for reiterating a comment I made in the 'Coins' thread, but I want to make certain that this message reaches those so deserving of great praise: 
I want to state my personal satisfaction at forgetting to log in before purchasing my fine collection of Macintosh apps for $29. My shiny collection of 10 coins would have lowered my purchase price to a mere $26.10, a difference of $2.90! But instead of being a Scrooge, I am gratified to know that I paid full price if only because I highly appreciate MacHeist and all the people who make it possible. I desire to over pay out of gratitude for such fine gaming, web programming, mystery, intrigue and steampunkiness hilarity. It is unusual for me to express passion or affection toward any object or person, due to my strictly proper upbringing; However, I must step outside the bounds of reason to simply and categorically state that: 
I LOVE MacHeist. 
But please don't tell anyone in the banking district I said so. 
With all due respect and appreciation, 
:-Derek Currie, Esq., aka zunipus