Category Archives: Tech

Reclaiming storage used by Messages on iOS devices

12GB of messages much better

For a while now I’ve noticed that Messages on my phone was using 12GB of space. That seems like a lot, even on my Mac doesn’t use nearly as much space. After a bit of research, I learned that there was a bug in Messages that attachments didn’t get deleted when the conversations were. Somewhere around iOS 6.0 or 6.1, this bug was fixed, but the stale attachments that were saved prior to this fix never got cleaned up. Deleting all the conversations doesn’t fix this as that won’t delete the stale attachments. There are 2 ways to fix this. Obviously, erasing and setting up your phone from scratch is one way. Another way is as follow:

  • Backup the device to iTunes, I recommend encrypting the backup so you won’t have to re-enter passwords
  • Open up the backup archive with a tool such as iBackupBot
  • Duplicate the backup just to be safe
  • Locate and delete the SMS data from backup archive (HomeDomain/Library/SMS and MediaDomain/Library/SMS)
  • Restore device from said backup
  • Enjoy re-claimed space on your iDevice


ref: Stratus Fear‘s post at MacRumors.

Copy – Dropbox alternative with 20GB of free space

I just installed Copy, a Dropbox alternative by the folks behind Barracuda Networks. So far so good. If you use this link to sign up, we’ll both get an extra 5GB, bringing your initial free space to 20GB. There’s really no downside of running both Dropbox and Copy other than getting an extra icon in your menubar. But with Bartender that is not a problem for me.

Day One and Slogger

A lot of us downloaded Day One recently as it went free as part of the 5 Years of App Store promotion. I didn’t think I would write anything1. But after trying it for a few days, I’m really liking it.

If you’re using Day One and you have a Mac that’s always on2, you might want to check out Slogger by Brett Terpstra:

Slogger indexes various public social services and creates Day One ( journal entries or plain text Markdown files for them. It allows you to keep a personal journal that collects your online social life automatically, all in one place.

It was pretty easy to setup, I’m running it with RVM so I had to modify the launchd plist to use the RVM generated wrapper, see this Gist.

  1. I use Timehop to go back in time by the years, it’s one of my favorite apps. 

  2. Or if you’re using Dropbox instead of iCloud to sync your Day One entries, you could possibly run this on any machine/server/cloud instance/droplet/node that runs Dropbox and Ruby. 

Current menu bar

It’s a bit late, but finally jumped on the Bartender bandwagon. What I like most about it is the ability to only show icons when there’s activity. For example, there is no reason to have the Dropbox icon up there unless it’s syncing.



expanded menubar

Alfred 2 Workflows

I was a huge Quicksilver fan until I switched to Alfred. When QS went 1.0 I gave it another shot, but I still preferred Alfred. Alfred 2 got even better with the introduction of workflows. Workflow requires the Powerpack, and it’s definitely worth it.

I’ve been using Alfred 2 for a few months now, and these are the workflows I depend on:


  • prepend to memo. I keep a memo.txt file on Dropbox, I use Drafts in iOS to prepend to it, I wanted to do the same with Alfred so I hacked up this workflow. Edit the script inside the workflow to change the destination. (now it prepends to ~/Dropbox/Notes/memo.txt)
  • quick focus on contact in Messages. It quickly focuses on a contact in Messages, very useful if you have a ton of open conversations.
  • dial with iphone. If you have Prowl on your iPhone, this workflow sends a phone number to your phone so you can dial it quickly with a single tap. You can also integrate it with the Alfred built-in contacts browser.
  • Recent Documents
  • Do Things. Quickly add tasks to Things.
  • Pocket. I switched to Pocket as my *-it-later service a while back, this workflow adds stuff to Pocket quickly.
  • Spotifious
  • Spotify Mini Player
  • Uni-Call. Quickly make all different kinds of phone and FaceTime calls. Very customizable so you can disable all the services you don’t use.
  • NLP currency converter
  • my shortcuts. Hotkeys to launch Finder, Safari, “lr” keyword to launch Lightroom. Modify to suit your own needs.



If you know what any of these things are, you will love these workflows:

Updating workflows

You can find more at and Alfred forum, and it’s very easy to make your own.

Finally closing all bank/brokerage accounts with virtual keyboards

UPDATE: I don’t recommend Schwab anymore

4 years ago I blogged about how much I hated financial sites with virtual keyboards. They are inconvenient, and they encourage shorter, easier to type, less secure passwords. Also 1Password can’t automatically fill them. I tweeted about it once and @tradeking replied and said it was to prevent keyloggers. While that might be true, it certainly didn’t prevent the guy behind me on a plane or at a coffeeshop from knowing my password.

I recently opened a Schwab account mainly because they refund all international ATM fees with no minimum balance requirements, and no fees whatsoever. I love them so much I ACATed my TradeKing account over, and I will also be moving funds from 2 other online checking/savings accounts and then closing them when the transfers complete. So now with HSBC and TradeKing gone, I no longer have to tolerate virtual keyboards.

If you’re not completely happy with your bank, I highly recommend Schwab. Also take a look at Fidelity, they have similar offerings and an AMEX 2% cashback card. Schwab had a 2% visa signature card a couple of years back, but it is now gone.