Nicholas Riley



Free software I’ve written

This page is a catalog of free software I've written or substantially worked on.

Pester: simple, disposable alarms and timers for macOS

Pester is designed to let you set, dismiss or snooze an alarm or timer as quickly and painlessly as possible, entirely from the keyboard if you wish. Alert options include sounds, speech and desktop notifications.

What other people say: Macworld, Wolf Rentzsch, Daring Fireball.

Shroud: a sensory deprivation tank for your Mac1

Shroud places a solid-color backdrop behind windows or applications to allow you to focus. The backdrop doesn’t come to the front when you click on it, messing up your carefully arranged workspace. Shroud (optionally) also obscures your menu bar until you move the mouse over it.

What other people say: The Guardian, 1Edge Cases.

Hermes: a compact Mac Pandora client

I took over primary maintainership of this app from its original author in 2014, have fixed a lot of bugs, cleaned up the UI and added some features since. Hermes has its own Web site.

NewsBlur: a personal news reader that brings people together to talk about the world

I've made significant contributions to the NewsBlur iOS app. Samuel was kind enough to put me on the About page.

I also wrote a small app which helps NewsBlur to open stories in a new tab in Safari 10 or later, and directs feed: URLs to NewsBlur. You can find it on GitHub.

LaunchBar actions

These are actions for LaunchBar, a multi-talented Mac launcher.

launch: a command-line launcher for macOS in the spirit of open

Apple provides a simple command-line launching program called open with macOS. launch offers several options that open doesn't. It:

launch is useful by itself, but is even better when used in scripts. Assign a shell command to your favorite macOS text, graphics or resource editor. Browse your favorite Web site with a few keystrokes.

appswitch: a command-line interface to macOS process management

If you use shell scripts to automate macOS applications, you may need to switch between, hide, show or quit applications. Need to launch an X11 application from Terminal but the X server isn't in front when you need it? Use appswitch to fix the problem. Or, if you'd like a version of the ps(1) utility which understands the concept of macOS applications, appswitch can help.

brightness: a command-line interface to macOS display brightness

Manage a lab of iMacs? Using a Mac display with software brightness control but without a light sensor? brightness can help you quickly set or retrieve your display’s brightness from scripts or the command line. It will also print display characteristics such as resolution.

soundsource: a command-line interface to macOS audio device selection

A command-line version of Rogue Amoeba's SoundSource 2.5, soundsource lets you enumerate, display and change the selected macOS input, output and system audio devices. I use it to switch audio devices from the keyboard with the help of FastScripts.


The original version of AntiRSI was written by Onne Gorter. In his words, “AntiRSI is a program for OS X that helps prevent RSI (repetitive strain injury) and other computer related stress. It does so by forcing you to take regular breaks, yet without getting in the way. It also detects natural breaks so it won't force too many breaks on you.”

Over the past few years I’ve made several changes, including:

Screenshots: session timer and break window; preferences.

Last updated on 4 August 2021.