The great thing about knowing Dr. Drang is that sometimes he will solve technical problems for you just because he’s intrigued by the challenge. (Every Southwest Airlines flight I book gets processed automatically by a script thanks to Drang.)
I was planning on writing a brief article this week about a Shortcut I built over the weekend, while still sipping my tea in bed, to automatically decode ROT13-encoded tweets so I could read a few threads of obscured “Rise of Skywalker” commentary. Instead, it’s my pleasure to report that Dr. Drang has done the work so I don’t have to. Of course, his shortcut is an improvement on mine.
If you don’t know what ROT13 is, well, it’s a dumb cipher that pushes every letter of the alphabet forward 13 letters in order to obscure the content of a post. I first encountered it on Usenet newsgroups, where it was an agreed-upon way to obscure text that you wouldn’t want people to read accidentally. This is how I learned about the concept of spoilers.
But to really embrace ROT13 you need a quick way of decoding the ROT13 letter rotation. The excellent app Text Case provides a ROT13 encoder/decoder, but it was laborious to copy text out of tweets, switch apps, and paste them in. Besides, I do enjoy occasionally creating a bit of user automation as I’m waking up. As Dr. Drang wrote:
During a checkup a year or so ago, my doctor asked if I do puzzles and things like that. It was a more clear indication of my advancing years than a prostate exam or colonoscopy. I’m not sure how definitive the research is on the connection between keeping your brain active and fending off Alzheimer’s, but I guess he thought of it as “it couldn’t hurt” advice. He’d probably approve of this shortcut.
Indeed, user automation sharpens the mind. Thanks, Doc.