Use AppleScript to make Markdown Links


Markdown Link from Safari is an easy to use and incredibly obviously-named script you can run on your Mac to quickly generate a linked-list post to your clipboard so you can get to writing. Here's what the result will look like:

[{ title }]({ url })

>{ selection }

Nothing too fancy, but it's amazing if you can trigger it to run with a keyboard shortcut or some other voodoo on your Mac (if you're interested in a tool like this, you probably have tricks).


You can download the AppleScript and do with it what you will, and I've also created an Alfred action you can install to execute it from the wonderfulness that is Alfred.

NOTE: This script only works with Safari. Google Chrome does not support AppleScript, so I wasn't able to make this browser-agnostic. If there is a trick, I'd love to hear it!

Goodies: November 10

Today is my wife’s birthday, so no extensive update today. Off to work and then a night on the town. See you tomorrow!

New Games

The only games that matter this week at Fallout 4, which is out for PS4, Xbox One, and PC, and Rise of the Tomb Raider for the Xbox One. Fallout 4 is the sequel to one of my all time favorite games, and Rise of the Tomb Raider is the follow-up to the surprisingly amazing Tomb Raider reboot from a couple years back.

I will only be getting Fallout 4 (since Tomb Raider is now Xbox-only), but still, you won’t be seeing me around for a while; I’m off to the wasteland.

Links of Note

The Apple iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus Review - AnandTech

The iPhone 6s in a lot of ways seems like it’s simple enough to review, but it turns out if you dig deep the changes have been significant. Over the course of a review, we’ve found major changes in the SoC, storage solution, camera, touch screen, fingerprint scanner, voice recognition software, cellular architecture, and WiFi chipset.

How I Stay Sane When Life Feels Extra Busy — Shawn Blanc

Sometimes, however, the overwhelming business is a sign that something’s broken. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask yourself if it’s because you’re on the edge of doing something awesome or is it life showing you that something needs to be cut out.

I'm leaving Android for iOS, and I blame late games - Polygon

I don't want to wait for the upcoming Android version of The Room 3 the way I waited for the Android release of Prune. I'm tired of companies like Bethesda announcing games like Fallout Shelter and watching everyone take out their iPhones to download it during E3 while I wait for the Android release.

Almost all of the most interesting games by the developers and designers I care about and follow are released to iOS first, with the Android version coming a few weeks later, if we're lucky. Sometimes it takes months, if it happens at all.

How Did They Do That? The Twitter “Like” Animation. - Medium

By now, you’ve probably seen or heard — the Twitter star has been replaced with a little heart, and the “favorite” has been re-dubbed the “like.”

Regardless of whether you love or hate the change, the new like animation is a great example of how CSS sprite sheets can be used to bring really awesome animation to the web.

Swag of the Week

The KitchenAid Precision Press looks freaking great! Speaking as someone who recently broke his french press, this is of special note to me. The built in scale is the kicker, and I’ve never seen another press with one built in. This thing looks fantastic, and I hope to pick this thing up soon.

Goodies: November 3

You can only focus on so many things before everything starts to suffer. I’ve got a little more stuff I need to balance this week, and I can’t devote quite as much time to writing as I usually do.

But that’s okay. It’s good to explore other avenues now and then to see what you love. This week is more about me learning new skills and creating things for other people. If I learn enough and get enough experience, it could have a meaningful impact on where I go from here in life.

They say that every journey starts with a step in a different direction, and while I don't plan on making any huge life changes in the immediate future, but I know that once I do, I'll be happy that I did the work this week to get there.

On a completely different note, our video this week is this silly fan edit of Jeopardy which I thought was stupid for the first half, and then something clicked and it’s the funniest thing I’ve seen all week. I don’t blame you if you hate it, but it got me.

New Games

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 (ALL) FRIDAY
  • Need for Speed (PS4/XBO)

Links of Note

Why Online Abuse Matters - Richard Anderson

We’re all stuck on a rock, spinning through the endless void at countless millions of miles per second, and we’re all stuck here together, in an ideal case, for seventy or so years a pop. Maybe we can try to make those years as pain-free as possible for each other, yeah?

Test WordPress beta features without installing it yourself

I’m over WordPress in my own work, but this would be nice if I was still using it.

Ignore Everybody - Tobias van Schneider

Ignore Everybody while working on a new idea. If you’re in love with it, chances are 50/50 and NO one other than you will be able to give you the advice you need. Don’t ask for advice, roll with it! Or do it like I sometimes do: If 10 people call you stupid or an idiot, you got your validation, now prove them wrong.

PlayStation Vita May Die Childless, but it Changed Sony in Time for PS4 - Polygon

The PlayStation Vita may not be the bastion for for AAA game developers or Japanese role-playing games that people want, but it was never likely to be. Instead, it has become a platform where newcomers thrive. […] games like Fez, Spelunky, Hotline Miami, OlliOlli and others seem to have convinced owners that indie development is something to be embraced.

Swag of the Week

   <img src="" alt="Image via JetPens"/> Image via JetPens 

Yes, I’m recommending a pen this week, deal with it! There are some things in life that you can spend very little on that make a world of difference, and the Uni-ball Signo 207 pens are one of those things.

These gel pens have a fine tip, a smooth line, and a very satisfying click. These are great for taking notes, and make me feel great on those rare occasions I need a pen.

The best part is that they’re really cheap! You can get a 4-pack for $5 on Amazon. They also come in a bunch of colors if you’re into that sort of thing.

Goodies: October 27

No real update this week, everyone. It’s busy times over here at BirchTree headquarters, so we’re getting straight to the good stuff!

New Games

  • Halo 5: Guardians (XBO)
  • Divinity: Original Sin Deluxe (PS4/XBO/PC/Mac)
  • The Park (PC)

Links of Note

In Defense of the New York Times - Stratechery

The fact of the matter is that The New York Times almost certainly got various details of the Amazon story wrong. The mistake most critics made, though, was in assuming that any publication ever got everything completely correct. Baquet’s insistence that good journalism starts a debate may seem like a cop-out, but it’s actually a far healthier approach than the old assumption that any one publication or writer or editor was ever in a position to know “All the News That’s Fit to Print.”

Why I Ditched Evernote for Apple Notes — and How You Can Too - David Pogue

My suspicion was right: Even with nearly 1,400 pages of notes, Apple’s notes app opens up much faster than Evernote ever did. Searching is instantaneous, the design is clean and simple, and syncing with the phone and tablet is effortless.

And as a handy bonus, I can also search or edit my notes on, from any computer in the world.

Samsung Pay vs. Apple Pay: There's a difference

Though we haven't tested Samsung Pay in the real world yet, it's already clear it requires a couple steps more than Apple Pay. With Apple Pay, you tap your phone to the payment terminal and scan your finger -- even if the phone is locked. This is a huge win for Apple Pay, as there is very little friction during a mobile payment transaction.

With Samsung Pay, you first have to choose your credit card, scan your fingerprint and then tap the phone to the terminal. And unlike Apple Pay, we don't yet know if you'll have to unlock your device before completing these steps.

Social Anxiety - Brent Simmons

I hated school even through my couple years in college. And here’s what that kindergartener’s fear turned into: the conviction that most people are likable, but that somehow I’m marked, and people can tell instantly, just by looking, that I’m not likable.

This feeling of being marked, of being obviously unlikable in some fundamental and obvious-to-everyone way, persisted into my early 20s.

So dumb and wrong.

How the 6s Plus Is Reshaping My iPhone Experience - MacStories

Overall, however, I'm convinced that the 6 Plus was the right decision for me, and the 6s Plus solidifies it in every way. The new Touch ID sensor is a pleasure to use as I can get to my apps (and use 1Password) more quickly than ever. Apps, widgets, and extensions are snappier and I can run my workflows – which include Python scripts, too – without delays and random lock-ups. More RAM means apps I'm using stay active for longer and widgets can load information in a second without glitches. 3D Touch, in its various forms9, is rethinking iPhone navigation and the idea of previewing content and using shortcuts. Apps without 3D Touch actions are already feeling out of place – as if they lack an important new dimension.

Swag of the Week

   <img src="" alt="Image via Studio Neat"/> Image via Studio Neat 

For those of you buying a new Apple TV this week, you may be interested in this nice little $12 stand for your remote from Studio Neat. Is it overkill? Yes. However, after years of having (and losing) the tiny Apple TV remote, I know that it’s a good idea to have a place you always put the remote so you don’t lose it.

Goodies: October 20

Super brief Goodies update today. With new Kanye West music, Tim Cook talking about the future of cars, and a new Star Wars trailer, I’m otherwise occupied at the moment.

I always put my favorite video of the week here, something that I think you may not have seen. I could put some other video here, but let’s be honest, this gives you an excuse to watch this awesome trailer one more time.

New games

  • Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate (PS4/XBO/PC)
  • Guitar Hero Live (PS4/XBO/WiiU/PS3/360)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes (3DS) - FRIDAY
  • Just Dance 2016 (Everything)
  • Sword Coast Legends (PS4/XBO/PC/Mac)

Links of note

Why Twitter’s Dying (And What You Can Learn From It) - Umair Haque

[B]uild a platform rife with abuse, and then turn a blind eye to it, treat it as a non-issue, and you’re already on tomorrow’s list of has-beens…you just don’t know it yet.

What really happens on Twitter these days? People have self-sorted into cliques, little in-groups, tribes. The purpose of tribes is to defend their beliefs, their ways, their customs, their culture — their ways of seeing the world. The digital world is separated into “ists” — it doesn’t matter what, really, economists, mens-rightists, leftists, rightists — and those “ists” place their “ism” before and above all, because it is their organizing belief, the very faith that has brought them together in the first place.

The Apple Watch could soon predict seizures, thanks to Johns Hopkins University - Washington Post

The information gathered from the Hopkins study will help researchers design and launch an app specifically for people suffering from epilepsy, Krauss said. That will give those with epilepsy a way to notify their loved ones automatically when they've had a seizure and to help individuals track the condition and, with luck, make it easier to manage.

How to direct connect an iPhone to an iPad to share photos and videos - iDownloadBlog

Today I learned that it’s possible to directly connect an iPhone to an iPad via a Lightning cable. To create a dual-sided Lightning cable, just take a regular Lightning cable and connect the USB end to a Lightning to USB Camera adapter. This, in essence, creates a Lightning to Lightning cable that can be used to directly connect an iPhone to an iPad.

Goodies: October 13

Whoa, did anyone else forget today was Tuesday? I almost forgot to put this together in time!

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Columbus Day is one of those federal holidays that feel more like a free day off from work than an actual holiday to get worked up about. Besides, giving Columbus his own day feels a little dirty considering all the terrible things that were done by him of in his name.

In light of having a free day and attempting to think about Christopher Columbus as little as possible, Beth and I went out on the town and hiked through a forest preserve. 70+ degree weather in mid-October is a little distressing, but it worked today.

On to the goodies!

New games

  • Minecraft: Story Mode: Episode 1 — The Order of the Stone (all)
  • The Talos Principle: Deluxe Edition (PS4)
  • Yoshi's Woolly World (Wii U) - FRIDAY

Links of note

The Jolt - Shawn Blanc (from June, but still great)

It sounds so “bold” — to quit my job on the cusp of starting a family — but it was one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made. And once I made the choice to quit my job and to start writing my website as my new full-time gig, everything else fell into place.

Do not underestimate the power of decisiveness and action.

What’s worse than paid app updates? - Dan Edwards

So next time you feel the urge to complain about a paid upgrade, consider the people behind it and support them, and if you don’t want to, don’t. But there’s no need to call them greedy assholes, becuase they’re not.

To end this post, I’ll leave you with this:

“When people hope it’s going to be a free update, basically they are hoping Tapbots dies as a company and we go find separate day jobs.” – Mark Jardine, Designer of Tweetbot

The Australian Government Started Tracking Your Online Moves Last Night - Vice

Last night at midnight data retention laws became active across Australia. This step is regarded either as a necessary to combat terrorism, or an incredibly invasive nationwide breach of privacy, depending on who you listen to.

The law requires your telco and internet provider to retain that ubiquitous buzzword—metadata—which is a record of your activity online or over the phone, for up to two years. Leading up to the enactment of the law the Government came under fire for not being able to describe what metadata is.

The Microsoft Surface Book - No#

Surface Book is a great name and clearly explains exactly what this device is. Microsoft advertises it on its site as "The Ultimate Laptop." However, Microsoft also unveiled the Surface Pro 4 today, which they call "The tablet that can replace your laptop." Specs-wise the Surface Book is the more powerful machine, but Surface Pro sounds like it's actually the more powerful one. Couple that with the Surface Pro being a laptop replacement, and Surface Book being "The Ultimate Laptop," it seems like Microsoft is shooting themselves in the foot. Confusing.

An Illustrated History of Mac OS X

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Seriously, go check this one out.

Hello, I’m Gay - Kane Cheshire

While pottering about thinking about my own experience, it dawned on me; although I “officially” came out when I was 13 (if there is such a thing), I’ve never stopped coming out since.

Coming out is made to sound like a one-time, rip-the-plaster-off experience. Often painful, but better to do quickly, right? In reality, that is hardly the case. Sure, I may now find it easier to tell new people I’m gay, but each time I do, I’m still coming out to them all over again.

Swag of the week

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The Design Deck has an unoriginal name, but these cards are too cool to knock for that. This deck promises to help you learn graphic design while playing cards. While I don’t know how much you’ll actually learn, the cards do look really nice and are definitely the pack I’ll be looking at first when it comes time to buy my next deck of cards.

The Design Deck is $16.90.

Goodies: October 6

Good morning! Dust off your plastic instruments everyone, Rock Band is back! I mean, I’m not getting Rock Band 4, but I kind of wish my friends would get it so I can play without the bulk in my living room. Seriously, if you are close and are picking up the game, let me know!

Our video this week is Steve Burns, who played Steve on Blue's Clues telling a fantastic story. Seriously, set aside 17 minutes and watch this whole thing.

New games

  • Rock Band 4 (PS4/XBO)
  • Prison Architect (PC/Mac)
  • Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection (PS4) FRIDAY

Links of note

Podcasting's Ubiquitous Advertisers: Why Every Show Is Brought to You by Squarespace - The Atlantic

Based on that sample, most podcast ads were purchased by companies that bring on new customers and sell products through the Internet, with Squarespace,, and Audible leading the pack in terms of ads bought.

Here's why your bank probably just sent you a new credit and debit card - Vox

In the past few years, US retailers have suffered from a seemingly endless series of security breaches that led to the loss of customers' credit card information. A big reason for this is that our technology for processing credit card transactions — specifically, the magnetic strip on the back of the card — is decades out of date.

The Cost of Mobile Ads on 50 News Websites - The New York Times

The difference was easy to spot: many websites loaded faster and felt easier to use. Data is also expensive. We estimated that on an average American cell data plan, each megabyte downloaded over a cell network costs about a penny. Visiting the home page of every day for a month would cost the equivalent of about $9.50 in data usage just for the ads.

How Steve Jobs Fleeced Carly Fiorina — Backchannel — Medium

In short, Fiorina’s “good friend” Steve Jobs blithely mugged her and HP’s shareholders. By getting Fiorina to adopt the iPod as HP’s music player, Jobs had effectively gotten his software installed on millions of computers for free, stifled his main competitor, and gotten a company that prided itself on invention to declare that Apple was a superior inventor. And he lost nothing, except the few minutes it took him to call Carly Fiorina and say he was sorry she got canned.

Inside Target Corp., Days After 2013 Breach — Krebs on Security

directly shared its lessons learned from the breach, the penetration test reports from Verizon include some useful — if somewhat obvious — findings that should be instructive for all retailers and larger companies.

Swag of the week

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This week’s swag is a little nerdier than average (and they said it couldn’t be done), but I really love it and had to share. If you’re really crazing some new Star Wars action before Episode 7 comes out this December, this new comic is a pretty great way to get your fix.

The 160 page first collection just came out today, or your could subscribe to the series on ComiXology.

Goodies: September 29

Good morning! I have something to admit: I've been meditating every morning for the last couple weeks. I've never done meditation before and I have to admit I thought it was a bogus activity that just made a lot of money for those who sell meditation products. And while that second part may be true, I've actually been surprised by the value I've been getting out of it. I've been using a website called Headspace to guide me through learning how to meditate, and I have to say I'm enjoying it.

I decided I wanted to give this crazy practice a try when I noticed how exhausted I was basically all the time. Managing my family life, job, this website, a podcast, and a semblance of a social life was manageable, but it also meant that all of my time was dedicated to thinking about something. Every moment I was awake was dedicated to consuming or producing something. I never really took time to reset.

I don't know what bigger things meditation can do for me, and I can't even say for certain that I will continue to meditate for much longer. What I do know is that taking 10 minutes at the start of every day to clear my head and think about absolutely nothing is a welcome change that does bring me a little peace to start my day. I proceed to do all the things afterwards, but I feel better going into the day by doing this.

Che k out Headspace if you are at all curious. They have a free 10 day intro course that gets you going. Don't tell them, but I'm just looping through this free course over and over.

On to the news!

New games

  • NBA 2K16 (TODAY - PS4/XBO/PS3/360/PC)
  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 (TODAY - PS4/XBO)

Links of note

  • The Apple bias is real - The Verge
  • I'm Not Signing Up for Apple Music, and Neither Should You - Sanspoint
  • Why iOS Could Become the Enterprise OS of the Millennial Generation - TechPinions
  • WTF is Wrong with Video Games? - Polugon
  • The ultimate iPhone camera comparison: How does the iPhone 6s camera compare to every other iPhone generation? - Snap Snap Snap
  • Wishlist for Swift 3.0 - Jared Sinclair
  • On Acceptable Ads - Dean Murphy
  • The Dad Who Wrote a Check Using “Common Core” Math Doesn’t Know What He’s Talking About - Patheos
  • Christina Warren’s review of the iPhone 6S - Mashable
  • Advance streaming has changed the music industry, but it won't last forever - The Verge
  • My love letter to the iPad - Ryan Plummer
  • I'm 15 and all of my friends use Facebook - Mashable
  • Social Dark - Matt Gemmell

Swag of the week

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I read The Night Circus a couple years ago and I still think about it every once in a while. Everyone has those books that just work for them, and this is one that I simply adored. Author Erin Morgenstern writes with a delightful flow, and if you decide to listen to the audiobook, Jim Dale does a marvelous job of bring the story to life.

The Kindle ebook is $9.99 and the Audible book will set you back $27 (or 1 credit).

Goodies: September 22

It’s so goddamn (can I swear here?) beautiful outside right now! I’m writing this at 6:45 in the morning and the sun is out, the temperature is in the low 60s, and there’s a breeze blowing in the open window. The world is quiet, save for the train station just a few blocks away. I can hear the suburbanites rushing to catch their train to take them downtown.

It’s times like this that I feel very lucky to do what I do. I work for a surprisingly substantial tech company, and I don’t have to move to the big city to do it. Our office is right here in town, a short 5 minute bike ride away. I also don’t need to be in the office until later in the morning, so I get this time to think and to write and to exercise when I can’t write (or I really want to legitimize eating a muffin).

This is a special time for me, and it’s something that I know eventually will be filled with a great many things that take up more of my time. But for now, I’m going to enjoy every moment. Today is Tuesday, and of course that means we’re due for some Goodies!

New games

  • TODAY Soma (PS4/PC/Mac)
  • FRIDAY Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer (3DS)
  • FRIDAY Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 (PS4/XBO/PS3/360)
  • SUNDAY Lego Dimensions (PS4/XBO/WiiU/PS3/360)

Links of note

  • watchOS 2 Review - iMore
  • Ads are dead, long live ads - Marko Savic
  • The Pixar iPhone - Above Avalon
  • Dash, a new feature of Mail Pilot for the Mac - Mail Pilot
  • “We Own You” Confessions of an Anonymous Free to Play Producer - TouchArcade
  • iOS 9 Review - 48,000 words on Apple’s latest release by Federico Viticci
  • What Your iPhone Doesn’t Tell Apple - WSJ
  • The man and the island: Wandering through Jonathan Blow’s The Witness - ArsTechnica

Swag of the Week

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You probably own Dark Sky for the iPhone…wait, you don’t?!?! Go get it now! It’s $3.99, and it’s money well spent. It’s easily my favorite weather app for the iPhone and Apple Watch. Dark Sky also just got updated for watchOS 2.0, so you can get a Dark Sky complication on your watch face and the app is much faster than before.