Thursday, October 19, 2023 is a winner

 I just picked up a tube of Mometasone Furoate from CVS. Cost me $44.21. I came home and checked on It's on $14.15 for the same amount and strength. Next time I'll wait and check and before having my doctor phone it in to CVS.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Best Wordle Words Mathematically

Best Wordle Words Mathematically

TLDR: Best Wordle Words

How to select the best words to guess in Wordle?

Here's my strategy:

1.  Find the frequency of letters in words for five letter words:

2. Now going left to right find words that contain the most frequently used letters.


How to find what words contain AESOR?

We can use the tool "grep" on unix with something like this which finds all five letters words with AESOR.

[Trigger warning: actual unix tools code😱:]

grep "^[a-z]\{5\}$" /usr/share/dict/words | grep a | grep e | grep s | grep o | grep r

One word pops out: “AROSE”.

2. Now look at the letters that are next:


Fortunately one word fits the bill, "UNTIL"

3. Looking at the next letters, we don't have a word that contains "DCYMP", so we get as many as we can and then get the next most frequently used letters:


Which produces "DUCHY".

Then the next word is "GAWKY".


PS: A bonus graphic showing probability of letter distribution within a word.
So when you get a "w", it's usually in the first two letters, and a "y" is near the end.


Saturday, September 10, 2022

How to Programmatically Add Tags to Files in OS X on a Mac Using C# Without Libraries

While working on photos, I wanted to programmatically add tags to photos. The tags would be read from a file. I formally used Finder to do this, but it can be tedious for a large universe of tags and there's no record of the association. Here's my solution which is really awkward and brittle. Surely there is a better way. Please add your comments on that way. Until then, I'll use this code.
using System;
using System.Diagnostics;

namespace ImageDescriptions
    public class Utilities
        public static string? executeShellCommand(string scriptFile, string arguments)
            var processInfo = new ProcessStartInfo()
                FileName = scriptFile,
                Arguments = arguments,
                UseShellExecute = false,
                RedirectStandardOutput = true,
                CreateNoWindow = true
            string? result = string.Empty;
            Process process = Process.Start(processInfo);   // Start that process.
            while (!process.StandardOutput.EndOfStream)
                result = process.StandardOutput.ReadLine();
                System.Console.WriteLine("result: " + result);
            return result;
        /// Sets tags on a file in OS X.
        /// This is really awkward and brittle.
        /// Comma separated list, e.g., "red,black,green"
        /// file to which we add tags
        public static void SetTags(string? tagCsv, string filename)
            System.Console.WriteLine($"SetTags: '{tagCsv}', '{filename}'");
            var tagXmlString = string.Empty;
            if (tagCsv == null || String.IsNullOrWhiteSpace(tagCsv)) { return; }
            var tags = tagCsv.Split(',');
            foreach (var tag in tags)
                tagXmlString += "" + tag.Trim() + "";
            var scriptFile = "/usr/bin/xattr";
            var arguments = " -w"
               + ""
               + @" """
               + @" "
               + tagXmlString
               + @" """
               + " " + filename;
            System.Console.WriteLine($"executeShellCommand: {scriptFile}, {arguments}");

            Utilities.executeShellCommand(scriptFile, arguments);

Here's a program that reads a data file and then calls "SetTags()":
using ImageDescriptions;

public class ImageDescription
    public static void Main(string[] args)
        if(args.Length < 1)
            Console.WriteLine("usage: ImageDescription ");
        string filename = args[0];
        FileStream file = File.OpenRead(filename);

        var lines = File.ReadLines(filename);
        foreach (var line in lines)
            Description description = new Description(line);

A line from the data file looks like this:
2013-01-23-0702-IMG_8252.jpg "Dessert pie with fruit -tags:dessert,fruit,healthy,pie"

Monday, June 06, 2022

How to find Mac OS tags from the command line

 I'm playing with tags for labeling photos and found this MacOs command to search for all files with a tag, like "awana":

mdfind 'kMDItemUserTags == "Awana"'

By the way macos tags are stored in the binary file '.DS_Store' in the same directory as your files, and as an Extended Attribute (EA) of the file.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Fixing EXIF Errors in JPEG files like "Error: Bad format (0) for IFD1 entry 0"

I've been working on my greatgrandmother's photos and find jewels from 1910 like this one:

Unfortunately, many of the photos from 110 years ago do not have any names written on the back.

As I think about how to preserve my family's story for the next 110 or 300 years, I'd like to write the description on the back of my digital pictures by injecting EXIF image descriptions into the photos themselves.

To do this I downloaded the free command line tool "exiftool" for my mac.

Then, I added photo captions into jpeg files with this command:

exiftool -imageDescription="My image description" mypic.jpg

but got errors like this:

"Error: Bad format (0) for IFD1 entry 0"

I purchased the tool "metaImage" from the Mac store to add descriptions into the jpeg, but it wouldn't inject the caption into my files. I contacted their tech support and got a quick solution.

Jérémy Vizzini from (creator of "metaImage") solved the problem for me. The issue was my jpeg files were corrupt. (Some of the photos were from 2003, so the EXIF standards may have changed, or not have been rigoriously followed decades ago). Jérémy gave me this snippet of exiftool code to fix the jpeg:

  exiftool -all= -tagsfromfile @ -all:all -unsafe -icc_profile mypic.jpg

This fixed the problem. Thanks Jérémy! Now my jpegs will be ready for the next 300 years.

How do you archive your photos to preserve them for 300 years?

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

How to Find Duplicate Images on a Mac or Linux Machine

This is how to search recursively all directories on a Mac or Linux machine for duplicate images with a single line of awkward bash script. This method will find duplicates anywhere on your disk below your current directory (try "~"), and find multiple versions.

Many commercial products exist to easily find and delete duplicate images like those reviewed here, but if you are like me, and don't like to download apps willy nilly for a single task, and have a bit of shell scripting experience, you can use the following line of tortured bash script to find duplicate files.

find . -type f \( -name "*.jpg" -o -name "*.gif" \) | awk '{print "\"" $0 "\""}' | xargs shasum -a 256 | sort > checksumAndFilename.tmp && cat checksumAndFilename.tmp | awk '{print $1}' | uniq -D | uniq > checksum.tmp && grep -f checksum.tmp checksumAndFilename.tmp | tee duplicates.tmp && echo "output in \"duplicates.tmp\"" && rm checksumAndFilename.tmp checksum.tmp

The basic idea is to search the current directory and all subdirectories for images files, calculate a hash for each file, then sort the hashes and then list adjacent hashes, which would be duplicates. (If this is too much for your brain, just go to imymac and buy an app.)

Ok, let's go through the command in detail.

  1. Get all the image files in your directory and below. Update "*.jpg" to "*.png" or whatever you need.

    find . -type f \( -name "*.jpg" -o -name "*.gif" \)

  2. Surround the file name with double quotes, since some people still insist on the horrible, dasterdardly, awful practice of including spaces in names.

    awk '{print "\"" $0 "\""}'

  3. Pipe the names of the files into shasum to generate a hash

    xargs shasum -a 256

  4. Sort by the hash value so duplicates will be adjacent and write to a temp file

    sort > checksumAndFilename.tmp

    checksumAndFilename.tmp looks like this. The files with the same hash value would be duplicates.

    ff45b77226369d27b67772e72dfe8dc3387eff06  ./2010-07-04-2224-July4_036.jpg
    ff65e3611973092e61127439af6b3c82d0ee055a  ./2010-12-29-1408-IMG_9638.jpg
    ff680170b0451868a1bda027c801b78f55067366  ./2010-12-24-1010-IMG_9235.jpg
    ff918f6f8230deb3cd2208602dadb5c6f88039dc  ./2010-03-14-2025-IPhone_8146.jpg

    We are almost done, but how to only see hash values that are duplicates?

  5. Get only the hash values that are duplicates

    cat checksumAndFilename.tmp | awk '{print $1}' | uniq -D | uniq > checksum.tmp

  6. checksum.tmp looks like this. This are only the hash values that are duplicated.

  7. We have only the duplicated hash values. Let's match the hashes back with their filenames

    grep -f checksum.tmp checksumAndFilename.tmp

  8. We can see the first two are duplicates, and the next two are as well.

    0526e5586cc1e4d2d97e5cc813c8d9b698bc3df2  ./2010-11-28-0926-IMG_0300.jpg
    0526e5586cc1e4d2d97e5cc813c8d9b698bc3df2  ./IMG_0300.jpg
    075a137c8857c8b38555cf632d906ed0581b9224  ./2010-06-08-photoshoot012.jpg
    075a137c8857c8b38555cf632d906ed0581b9224  ./2010-06-08-photoshoot_012.jpg
  9. Write to the output file and the screen

    tee duplicates.tmp

  10. Let's remind ourselves where the output lives

    echo "output in \"duplicates.tmp\""

  11. Clean up our mess

    rm checksumAndFilename.tmp checksum.tmp

My gut tells me there's some ways to clean this script up. Please add a comment if you can improve the script.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

How to Find IPhone's Unread Messages

 My IPhone has been declaring I have 1 unread message, but I can't find it.

The solution was actually easy.

 "Hey Siri, read me my unread messages." 

Siri read my one message and closed it.