Friday Hodgepodge

Friday, December 13, 2019

Four Things

Four random wins from the past month...

1. I have been using a "split vertical" bookmarklet (like the one here) for years to make it easy to find information from one part of a web page without losing my place, or to have two pages next to each other in a single browser window.

Before I wake the kids up, I flip this over to full screen mode on my standing desk. It's easy to check if I forget anything. (Image by the proprietor. Feel free to copy or use. Attribution is appreciated.)
It finally dawned on me that it would be nice to open two or three pages at a time like this, without going through the bookmarklet every time. On inspection of the page source, I discovered this was ridiculously easy.

So I now have a small collection of two- and three-pane pages I use for planning purposes. At right is a screenshot of the one I use on school mornings. At a glance, I have weather, the day's lunch menu, and a list of reminders of things to do. A nice bonus is that the rightmost pane is still visible when I am working in another application, so no switching back and forth or moving windows around.

2. I had lost my eyeglasses over a week before and was about to give up.

Then, last weekend, as we decorated for Christmas, my eight-year-old daughter piped up: "Found your glasses!" The black-rimmed glasses had been sitting on a dark brown bookshelf at eye level -- mine, not hers! -- near the entrance to the master bedroom. My wife and I had probably each passed them at least a hundred times.

"Sniper Eyes" does it again!

3. I needed to grab a quote from a PDF someone else had scanned. Some looking around spared me either copying the passages by hand (slow and error-prone) or having to print it and re-scan it with OCR (slow and annoying). OCRmyPDF very quickly performed as advertised, "add[ing] an OCR text layer" to the PDF. Assuming a good quality scan, a document becomes searchable, too.

Highly recommended.

4. The good news: I have been very organized about how I keep track of old projects for nearly a decade. The bad news: I would have done this completely differently if I had it to do over again, with the files not being scattered across different directories (and even levels) throughout my user account.

Judicious use of the find and grep utilities in scripts has fortunately allowed me to preserve my old organization scheme (and all the links between documents), and yet effectively have all the advantages of having everything in one directory. It is now much faster and easier to find and use old materials when I am doing research.

As a bonus, I now sometimes get to smile at my own cleverness instead of experience mild frustration and annoyance when I have to do this.

-- CAV

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