Pasting HTML from the macOS clipboard

I like to write decision tables in Google Sheets. If you copy to the clipboard, it copies to HTML. Alas, pbpaste doesn’t support pasting HTML, and the text representation throws out too much info.

There’s a nice answer on Stack Overflow on how to do this in Swift.

Can combine this with tidy for nicer formatting:

./pbpaste-html | tidy -xml -q -i
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WARNING: An illegal reflective access operation has occurred

If you’re running a newer version of the JDK (9 or greater), you might have started to see warnings that look like this:

WARNING: An illegal reflective access operation has occurred
WARNING: Illegal reflective access by org.codehaus.groovy.reflection.CachedClass (file:/Users/myname/.gradle/caches/modules-2/files-2.1/org.codehaus.groovy/groovy/2.5.11/4d8f25c5da08af46fb204fd493ec894699a3f4e8/groovy-2.5.11.jar) to method java.lang.Object.finalize()
WARNING: Please consider reporting this to the maintainers of org.codehaus.groovy.reflection.CachedClass
WARNING: Use --illegal-access=warn to enable warnings of further illegal reflective access operations
WARNING: All illegal access operations will be denied in a future release

This warning is harmless, but annoying. From the groovy 2.5 release notes known issues

JDK9+ produces warnings with many libraries including Groovy due to some planned future restrictions in the JDK. Work is underway to re-engineer parts of Groovy to reduce/remove those warnings. Users wanting to hush the warnings as an interim measure may consider using the --add-opens escape clause offered by JDK9+. See commit 92bd96f (currently reverted) on the Groovy master branch for a potential list to add.

Groovy commit 92bd96f has the flags you can pass to the JVM to suppress the warnings, which I’ve reproduced below:

--add-opens=java.base/java.util=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.base/java.util.concurrent=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.base/java.util.concurrent.atomic=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.base/java.util.concurrent.locks=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.base/java.util.function=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.base/java.util.jar=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.base/java.util.regex=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.base/java.util.spi=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.base/ --add-opens=java.base/ --add-opens=java.datatransfer/java.awt.datatransfer=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.desktop/java.applet=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.desktop/java.awt=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.desktop/java.awt.color=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.desktop/java.awt.desktop=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.desktop/java.awt.dnd=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.desktop/java.awt.dnd.peer=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.desktop/java.awt.event=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.desktop/java.awt.font=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.desktop/java.awt.geom=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.desktop/ --add-opens=java.desktop/ --add-opens=java.desktop/java.awt.image=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.desktop/java.awt.image.renderable=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.desktop/java.awt.peer=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.desktop/java.awt.print=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.desktop/java.beans=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.desktop/java.beans.beancontext=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.instrument/java.lang.instrument=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.logging/java.util.logging=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.prefs/java.util.prefs=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.rmi/java.rmi=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.rmi/java.rmi.activation=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.rmi/java.rmi.dgc=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.rmi/java.rmi.registry=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.rmi/java.rmi.server=ALL-UNNAMED --add-opens=java.sql/java.sql=ALL-UNNAMED

Note that this commit was ultimately reverted, which is why you’ve got to do it manually until the Groovy folks come up with a solution.

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Unescaping strings of stack traces

I often find myself copying strings of Java stack traces which have escaped tabs and newlines (\t\n). Those aren’t fun to read. Here’s a quick Python script I rigged up to grab what’s on the clipboard and format it properly. I call it unescape:

#!/usr/bin/env python3

Grab the string on the clipboard and print it to standard out,
interpreting tabs and newlines appropriately

import subprocess
r =["/usr/bin/pbpaste"], capture_output=True, encoding="unicode_escape")

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Stripping leading timestamp from GitHub Action logs

GitHub Action logs start with timestamps. To strip them with sed:

sed 's/^[0-9T:.-]\{27\}Z //'

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Automating Slack status changes on macOS

In these days of everyone working from home, I really liked the approach to setting Slack status that Alex Hidalgo mentioned on Twitter:

I wanted to be able to change status from Alfred. Turns out there’s a handy Applescript bundle by Sam Knight that makes this easy. Here’s how I do it:

tell script "Slack"
	focus workspace "Netflix"
	set status "online" with icon ":wfh-up:"
end tell

I couldn’t get Alfred to invoke this Applescript directly (I imagine it has something to do with Security settings in Catalina), so I saved it to a file (up.scpt), and then invoked it in a workflow as a bash script, where the command was:

osascript ~/dev/slack-automation/up.scpt

My Alfred Slack status workflow looks like this:

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Stomping a local git branch with the remote

When somebody rebases their PR, my local copy of that branch gets out of sync:

➜  keel git:(fix-paused-events) git status
On branch fix-paused-events
Your branch and 'luispollo/fix-paused-events' have diverged,
and have 8 and 16 different commits each, respectively.
  (use "git pull" to merge the remote branch into yours)

I just want my local copy to reflect the remote one.

I created a “stomp” alias that resets my local branch with the upstream:

    stomp = !git reset $(git status -sb | cut -d'.' -f4 | awk '{print 
$1}') --hard

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J-Bob from the Little Prover

The Little Prover book references a companion proof assistant tool called J-Bob. I had a hard time getting it running using Racket’s Dracula package, here’s how to do it:

  1. Install Racket.
  2. Install the Dracula package for Racket. On macOS, I did:
    cd /Applications/Racket\ v6.10.1/bin
    sudo ./raco pkg install dracula
  3. Download ACL2. I ended up grabbing a pre-built binary gzipped tarball which was for 7.1, but the latest is 7.4 if you want to build from source. You can get the binaries at
  4. Unzip the ACL2 tarball somewhere, I put it in my home directory, so it ended up as ~/acl2-image-7.1-macosx.x86_64
  5. Launch the DrRacket IDE
  6. Menu: Language -> Choose Language -> Other Languages -> Dracula -> ACL2
  7. Menu: Dracula -> Change ACL2 Executable Path… -> Point it at the run_acl2 binary in the directory where you installed ACL2.
  8. In the top-left window, paste the following:
    (include-book "j-bob-lang" :dir :teachpacks)
    (include-book "j-bob" :dir :teachpacks)
    (include-book "little-prover" :dir :teachpacks)

    Note: Running these commands  in the REPL in the bottom-left window didn’t work for me.

  9. Click the “Run” button at the top-right of the Dr. Racket window.

You’re now set up to use J-Bob. Verify it worked by typing the following in the interpreter in the bottom-left window of Dr. Racket.

(J-Bob/step (prelude) '(car (cons 'ham '(cheese))) '())

The output should be:

(car (cons 'ham '(cheese)))


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Generating Dash cheat sheets

I’m a big fan of the Dash documentation tool for macOS. In particular, I often create my own Dash cheat sheets to help me remember commands I frequently forget.

I make enough of these that I created a simple Go app named cheat to generate a skeleton cheat sheet. I also created an UltiSnips snippet to make it easier to generate categories and entries in cheat sheets.

snippet entry "cheatsheet entry"
entry do
    name '$1'
    notes <<-'END'

snippet category "cheatsheet category"
category do
    id '$1'

On Neovim, this would go in ~/.config/nvim/UltiSnips/ruby.snippets

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Paste as plain text with Quicksilver

I used to use Plain Clip for converting clipboard contents to plain text before pasting, but now I do it in one step with Quicksilver.

I created the following custom trigger:

Item: Clipbord Contents
Action: Paste as Plain Text
Shortcut: alt-v

Now if I do alt-v instead of cmd-v for pasting, it pastes as plain text.

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Lock screen or sleep from Quicksilver

I recently got a new laptop, and I’ve been transferring over all of my settings. I often use Quicksilver to trigger a screen lock or put my laptop to sleep. Here’s how I do it.

I use a shell script to put my machine to sleep:

pmset sleepnow

In order to be able to trigger the shell script from Quicksilver, you’ll need the “Terminal Plugin” installed.

I use an AppleScript script to lock my screen:


tell application "System Events"
    set ss to screen saver "Flurry"
    start ss
end tell


I use the QuickSilver “Add to Catalog” action to add and lockscreen.scpt to the catalog. That action isn’t enabled by default, to enable it, you need to open QuickSilver preferences, click “General”, choose “Actions”, search for “Add to Catalog”, and enable it.

By default, the “Open” action has a higher precedence than the “Run” action for shell scripts. You can change the precedence order of actions by dragging, I dragged the “Run […]” action (Run a Shell Script [with optional arguments]) above the “Open” action.


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