Friday Hodgepodge

Friday, October 13, 2017

Four Things

I've had to tinker a little with software this week, so here's a short collection of possibly useful tidbits.

1. In the process of reading a web article with footnotes collected at the end, I got tired of having to follow hyperlinks just to see which was worth reading. "Wouldn't it be nice if there were a web browser with a split view?" I thought, then ran a search.

As it turns out, a bookmarklet mentioned at Lifehacker can make any decent browser do this. This is also useful for comparing two web pages side by side.

2. After using Gina Trapani's nice Todo.txt script/app combination for years, I suddenly found myself at the store without a grocery list a couple of weeks ago. As a result of Dropbox changing its API, the phone app suddenly become useless -- a problem Trapani reports will require a nontrivial fix. In the meantime, she offers a refund and suggests a couple of alternative phone apps.

I had already found Simpletask, which she recommends for Android users, by the time I found her blog post. This app, which follows the same conventions as the script, is not just an able understudy, but superior in some respects, such as being able to look at items for two projects at a time. I still like Trapani's app, and will use it for certain things, should it get fixed.

3. Another app I used daily that was affected by the Dropbox API change was the text/markup editor, Draft. Fortunately, I had advanced notice of the change and had time to try several alternatives. This was a good thing, because Jotterpad, being the prettiest, seems to get the loudest press. But having to pay for basic functionality I could get elsewhere for free, and already disliking aspects of its interface, I found another app, the QuickEdit text editor, which turned out to be much better for my purposes and superior in most ways to what I had, most notably, being able to access anything in Dropbox, and handling sync better.

4. I'll end with a Bash script pomodoro timer I wrote for my desktop and laptop. Fellow Linux/Unix/Cygwin users will appreciate that it provides visual and audio notifications that your "pomodoro" is over. Time period is adjustable, but defaults to 25 minutes, and, for anyone who has to change settings frequently for such things as sleeping babies in the next room, one can test settings before starting by using a minus sign in front of the time argument. Code is in the P.S.

-- CAV

P.S. Oops! You'll have to email me for my pomodoro script. I thought it would be straightforward to dump it here with a <pre> tag, but font size was huge and, ironically, I have no time to figure out a decent way to display it within the blog post. If there's lots of interest, I may wait a few days to accumulate email addresses before sending it out (or notifying you that I figured out how to post it in an acceptable way), so as to save time.

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