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Messages - dr_andus [ switch to compact view ]

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1
Perhaps I should have expanded, but I think that the rest of that statement puts into perspective what I mean by 'editing tool'.  Not like something like smartedit or prowritingaid, but a text editor, so I don't find it an unusual characterization, because that's what it is.

OK, it was a terminological misunderstanding then on my part. I get what happened now. You were comparing WriteMonkey to the 'text editor' category of software, with which people on this forum would be more familiar with.

I was reading it as a "non-programmer" (and as an academic writer), so to me 'editing' in the context of writing software meant 'changing and improving the content' of a piece of writing (e.g. what a journal editor does) or formatting and typesetting a manuscript, rather than manipulation of text as data.

2
@Dormouse

You have a number of software on that list that have not been updated for a very long time and have probably been abandoned (even if their owners are still using them as cashcows), so I wonder if it might be worthwhile to add a "last updated" note to them, or split them into "actively developed" and "no longer developed." 

3
I think of writemonkey more as a strict editing tool rather than a writer's tool.  I use it alongside my writing tools- I love the distraction free writing, and the ability to play music while you're there.  But managing projects and such, I find that it falls flat.

Calling WriteMonkey an "editing tool" rather than a "writer's tool" is an unusual characterisation. You seem to be using the term "editing" in an idiosyncratic way.

To me WriteMonkey is very much a "writer's tool", as it focuses on one of the most important aspects of writing: the act of writing itself.

Once I'd written my text in WriteMonkey, then I might take it to MS Word or some other word processor to edit it, format it, and typeset it.

But even you say that you use WM for writing primarily, so maybe by "editing" you mean 'writing'.

As for lack of project management capability (presumably of writing projects), I don't see that as an absolute requirement for a writing software. I also have Scrivener, which has all the bells and whistles, but I find it too distracting and much prefer to do my writing in WriteMonkey.

P.S. What I'm trying to say is that there are myriad other task and project management tools out there that can be used to manage a writing project, so they don't necessarily need to be built into specialist writing software.



4
Living Room / Re: Is this laptop a good option?
« on: October 30, 2017, 07:12 AM »
I'd second that, with an additional suggestion - born from experience of working at HP (Asia-Pacific) - that potential buyers should always hunt out PC/laptop manufacturer refurbished products (HP, DELL, etc.), from dealers who are preferred buyers of those brands - they are not usually sold direct to the general public, for obvious reasons. Price is usually around half the new price.

Actually Dell Outlets do sell directly to the general public, though make sure to check both "Dell Outlet for Home" and "Dell Outlet for Work." I picked up some incredible deals at the latter (you don't need to be a business customer), such as a £1000 Dell Chromebook 13 (top specs, i.e. i5 processor with 8GB RAM, which is at top end for Chromebooks) for below £400. It looked totally brand new and unused.

Here's the link:

Refurbished Laptops, Desktops and Tablet PCs | Dell Outlet UK | Dell UK

5
General Software Discussion / Re: Microsoft and Skype atrocity
« on: July 18, 2017, 10:47 AM »
Apparently MS is looking for feedback on the Skype changes:

Building the next generation of Skype together | Skype Blogs

6
Frank Degenaar discusses it in his book how to use the Eisenhower matrix in WorkFlowy:

#8 WorkFlowy - Prioritize Your Brain | Time Management

7
General Software Discussion / Re: Microsoft and Skype atrocity
« on: July 13, 2017, 10:11 AM »
I actually use Skype for calling landlines. There is a very cheap subscription (cca 10 EUR per month) with which you can call most of the landlines in the world for free.

In the UK some telco companies occasionally offer similarly priced (or even cheaper) add-ons, same functionality. You could check if your mobile/landline provider offers something similar in your country.

8
General Software Discussion / Re: Microsoft and Skype atrocity
« on: July 12, 2017, 04:17 PM »
I know it's not a trivial matter to change to another service, but you could consider Google Hangouts (though Google is not a stranger to shutting down services either. But at least they give you plenty of notice.).

9
If you're a Chrome user, there is also the Cool Clock extension in the Chrome Web Store that can do this.

10
Anyone else have any tricks they use to avoid procrastinating?

Check out WorkFlowy or Dynalist, as it sounds like what you're describing is what those two services make their key feature (besides having some other goodies that enhance the experience, such as having a dark theme or being able to zoom in on one task at a time, add notes to an item, tags etc.).

One downside of an ever-expanding list is that while it may help you get ideas out of your head (and thus not forget them), it may also compel you to complete tasks that maybe should have never been done.

Also, an ever-expending list can become a source of anxiety, as it may suggest that there are more tasks than time etc.

What I have learnt from capturing all my todos in WorkFlowy for years is that now I have thousands of items that I know will never get done. It just brought home to me the fact that the name of the game is not "what to do" but "what not to do."

So the main problem is the quality of the judgement involved in prioritising. It's all too well to capture, list and order all tasks. But the main issue is to decide what to do now, today, by making very painful decisions about what not to do, temporarily, and most likely permanently.

The pain comes from the fact that maybe your superiors are forcing you to do the things you prioritised not to do, or you have to delegate them to others, who will in turn resist or cause grief in other ways.

Any tendency towards perfectionism adds another layer of pain. Part of the judgement is also about how well does the task really needs to be accomplished, as any improvement towards perfection costs time and energy. I think the solution is called satisficing.

I guess what I'm getting at is that while tools for listing and organising and managing are important, ultimately the capability to make good judgements about prioritising is what separates super successful people from those less so. It's quite possible that those possessing such superior judgement skills might get by with a pen and paper notebook.

And of course if one is lacking in the judgement department (like yours truly), then that person might be particularly susceptible to getting carried away with various software tools for to-do lists, instead of honing the judgement skills.

With that, I'm placing an order for OnTask. Many thanks for the tip, @wraith808.

P.S. Actually I tried to create software versions of OnTask in the past, by combining Samurize and Desktop Coral to create a strip on the top of my screen with the todo tasks, as well as a list that shows up as my wallpaper. But it was too tedious to keep them updated, and they either cut into the screen real estate or got covered up by other windows, so eventually my eyes just glossed over them.

11
General Software Discussion / Re: Daily prompting journal
« on: June 25, 2017, 09:17 AM »
While there are no reminders (you could set those in your calendar app, such as Google Calendar), if you like the DIY approach of wiki software, ConnectedText can serve as a very sophisticated journalling application. Here is one implementation, but there are many other ways of setting it up (also discussed on the ConnectedText forum):

Taking note: How to Keep a Journal in ConnectedText

12
General Software Discussion / Re: Directory Opus 11 Released!
« on: June 15, 2017, 08:36 AM »
Well, I don't know what they did exactly in this regard, but the latest Directory Opus 12.6 update (7th June, 2017) appears to have fixed my long-standing problem, whereby launching the app in the first instance could take up to a minute sometime (freezing).

There is nothing in the release history to suggest what could have been the fix. But I'm not complaining...

  • Fix for crash which could occur when refreshing the folder display, opening new tabs, or renaming files in some cases.
  • Fixed crash which could sometimes occur with certain command sequences in a button. (e.g. CreateFolder, then open the folder in the dual display.)
  • The Filter Bar now automatically disables partial matching when a file type group is being matched. For example, grp:Archives will no longer match example.rar.jpg, even if partial matching is enabled.
  • Fixed minor problem displaying some licence counts in the licence manager.


13
Living Room / Re: Why Running May Be Good for Your Back
« on: June 08, 2017, 09:23 AM »
Considering that it's only been a tiny fraction of human history where humans led sedentary lifestyles, maybe it makes sense that "motion is lotion," as they say.

But it also could be that cause and effect are reversed and it's the ones with healthy spines that are not put off from running...

14
Living Room / Re: Password Managers ... vs. Not
« on: June 04, 2017, 09:33 AM »
Data you store on other people's computers can and will eventually be read by other people.

But you got to balance that with the risk of catastrophic hardware or software failure at your end, at which point you'd lose access to everything (let's say fire or flooding that destroys both your main PC and your local backup harddrives). I'd rather risk the former than the latter.

15
Yup, loving the "Classic with two columns" start menu replacement for Win7.  :Thmbsup:

16
Google Analytics Opt-out:
https://chrome.googl...odhfapmkghcbnh?hl=en

That's an interesting one, thanks for that  :Thmbsup:

17
Living Room / Re: [Breaking News] Cyber Attack cripples UK NHS.
« on: May 17, 2017, 06:25 PM »
Well, I disagree... You can't just apply generic business logic to every business situation. There is something in economics called positive or negative externalities, e.g. side-effects that are caused by a product that might be harmful to someone or something.

A toothbrush is a product, and electricity produced by a nuclear power plant is a product, but the latter produces nuclear waste as a side-effect that will be causing a headache for our progeny for tens of thousands of years. So you can't just leave it up to the companies or the markets.

The recent economic and financial crisis is another case in point. Businesses (such as the banks) were happy to privatise the gains from being an essential service in society, but then expect to socialise the losses, relying on the taxpayer to bail them out, when things go pearshaped. They are the biggest socialists around when it comes to saving their arses.

Microsoft and its shareholders became fabulously rich by fundamentally changing the way the world operates. They literally changed reality. They have effectively changed the plumbing of the world. So when things start to go very badly wrong due to their past actions, and it is in their power to prevent things from going bad (by not abandonding support or not withholding solutions that are available and would really cost them very little, other than the opportunity cost of pretty much extorting money from those who can't upgrade for one reason or another), then they are responsible for the negative externalities they have apparently intentionally created.

Proof:

Microsoft held back free patch that could have slowed WannaCry - FT.com (sorry, paywall)

Microsoft held back from distributing a free repair for old versions of its software that could have slowed last week’s devastating ransomware attack, instead charging some customers $1,000 a year per device for protection against such threats.

....

The company issued a free patch in March that would have protected computers running recent versions of Windows from the malware. But users of older software, such as Windows XP, have to pay hefty fees for so-called “custom” support.

The cost went from $200 per device in 2014, when regular support for XP ended, to $400 the following year. It jumped to $1,000 after that, according to one person who had seen a pricing schedule that Microsoft sent to one customer, with a minimum payment of $750,000 and a ceiling of $25m.

P.S. And it's not just Windows XP:

In another controversial pricing move, meanwhile, Microsoft recently began charging customers more for extra security in the top-of-the-line version of Windows 10. The split pricing marks the first time the company has treated the highest level of security as an add-on feature of its software, drawing criticism that it has left other versions of Windows more open to attack.

18
Living Room / Re: [Breaking News] Cyber Attack cripples UK NHS.
« on: May 17, 2017, 06:41 AM »
I'm not sure if we're talking about the same thing. My point is that here we are no longer dealing with just any software of any private company. If Win XP has become a mission-critical part of vital infrastructures around the world, MS can no longer wash its hands by saying "I told you so, you should have upgraded." If people die because their operations were cancelled or other critical infrastructures fail as a result, it's beside the point whose fault it was and whether usual rules of business markets apply. It becomes a public and social issue. Even if MS doesn't think so, if they mishandle it, it could backfire on them very badly.

It turns out Microsoft would actually agree with me on this to some extent and have been trying to do something about it:

The need for a Digital Geneva Convention - Microsoft on the Issues

...cyberspace in fact is produced, operated, managed and secured by the private sector.  Governments obviously play all sorts of critical roles, but the reality is that the targets in this new battle – from submarine cables to datacenters, servers, laptops and smartphones – in fact are private property owned by civilians.

There’s an additional consequence that results from all this.  The tech sector today operates as the first responders to nation-state attacks on the internet.  A cyber-attack by one nation-state is met initially not by a response from another nation-state, but by private citizens.

...

And as the private citizens thrust into this challenge, the question for all of us in the tech sector is what we will do to address it.

...

We therefore need to recognize a critical truth – this is not a problem that we can solve solely with each of us acting alone.

...

While there is no perfect analogy, the world needs an organization that can address cyber threats in a manner like the role played by the International Atomic Energy Agency in the field of nuclear non-proliferation.  This organization should consist of technical experts from across governments, the private sector, academia and civil society with the capability to examine specific attacks and share the evidence showing that a given attack was by a specific nation-state.

19
Living Room / Re: [Breaking News] Cyber Attack cripples UK NHS.
« on: May 16, 2017, 06:34 AM »
f you have a product (e.g. Win XP) that has fundamentally changed the world and the world in its current form still relies on it to function, then you (MS) can't just decide for commercial reasons to entirely abandon it (and the world). I mean you can, but it is not right and it will have consequences, including commercial ones.
I quite disagree.
Windows XP is 15+ years old, has had way longer support lifetime than you get for LTS version of other software, and there's been a very clearly planned and communicated timeline for support EOL.

I'm not sure if we're talking about the same thing. My point is that here we are no longer dealing with just any software of any private company. If Win XP has become a mission-critical part of vital infrastructures around the world, MS can no longer wash its hands by saying "I told you so, you should have upgraded." If people die because their operations were cancelled or other critical infrastructures fail as a result, it's beside the point whose fault it was and whether usual rules of business markets apply. It becomes a public and social issue. Even if MS doesn't think so, if they mishandle it, it could backfire on them very badly.

On another note, I think a lot of people and organisations have been sticking with XP and Win7 because they are actually pretty good products. The other day I turned back on an old PC of mine with Win95, and I was amazed how snappy the system was on some very old hardware (that was not turned on for years). So maybe that's why MS changed strategy and started producing crappier products, so customers have more motivation to keep upgrading to newer versions.  :D

20
Living Room / Re: [Breaking News] Cyber Attack cripples UK NHS.
« on: May 14, 2017, 06:37 AM »
This incident highlights some interesting issues concerning corporate social responsibility. If you have a product (e.g. Win XP) that has fundamentally changed the world and the world in its current form still relies on it to function, then you (MS) can't just decide for commercial reasons to entirely abandon it (and the world). I mean you can, but it is not right and it will have consequences, including commercial ones.

If I was a non-US large organisation such as the NHS, I would think twice about continuing to invest into MS products and would start very quickly to consider alternatives (such as the French police that went with Linux). There are also national security issues for a non-US country to have such a total reliance on the product of a single US corporation:

Europe's reliance on Microsoft has governments under a worrying digital 'killswitch'


21
Living Room / Re: Windows S and Surface Laptop
« on: May 03, 2017, 05:24 PM »
...do the things that the Pixel does (and that's not particular a smashing success, considering Google is abandoning the Pixel Laptop).

I don't think the fact that the Chromebook Pixel line has been discontinued suggests that it was not a smashing success. The Pixel among Chromebook users (and Linux users) is legendary, owners talk about it as the best laptop ever made.

But it was never meant for the mass market. It was meant to show off what Chrome OS would look like on top end hardware and as a device with specs for the future, so developers could develop for it (such as hi res touch screen, USB-C ports etc.).

If Google's goal was for the Pixel to be a symbolic leader to make Chrome OS a success, then it succeeded, as Chromebooks now dominate US classrooms, are the best selling laptops, and possibly the only traditional laptop category that is still growing.

P.S. As food for thought, here are the Pixel specs vs. Surface:

2015 Pixel specs:
Cost: $999
Processor: i5 5200u
Ram: 8GB LPDDR3
Storage: 32GB + 1 TB Google Drive
Ports: 2 USB-c, 2 USB 3.0
Display: 12.85-inch high resolution IPS (2560 x 1700, at 239 PPI) 400 nit
Weight: 3.4 lbs

2017 Surface Laptop:
Cost: $999
Processor: i5 7th gen
RAM: 4GB DDR4?
Storage: 128GB
Ports: 1 full-sized USB 3.0
Display: 13.5” PixelSense™ Display Resolution: 2256 x 1504 (201 PPI)
Weight: 2.76 lbs

22
One example of strange behaviour with Adobe Acrobat Pro (on Win7, 64-bit): I just tried to save a single 192kb .jpg image as PDF with Acrobat, and 15 minutes later it is still work-in-progress, saying it is creating it. It also threw up a strange Dopus error that I have never seen before (I was saving it from a Dopus image viewer), saying Dopus might be unstable afterwards (though it carried on as fine). When I tried to print the image with the free CutePDF Writer, it created it in like one second with no problems.

So how is it that the expensive product of the company that created the PDF format can't handle a tiny task like that?

23
DF developer [user]DesertEagle[/user] occasionally frequents the forums.

Hey @DesertEagle,

you may want to tell Alternatives.to that Direct Folders has risen again (as it's designated as "discontinued" on there):

Direct Folders Alternatives and Similar Software - AlternativeTo.net

24
Direct Folders is back! V. 3.8 has just been released. Also 50% off today.

Direct Folders 3.8 + 50% discount – Code Sector Blog

Added: “Command prompt here” command
Added: “Show hidden files” option
Added: “Show file name extension” option
Added: Total Commander 9.0 support.

The fine print:
– After you purchase Direct Folders Pro it may be used indefinitely.
– Upgrades to future versions of the software will be free for the lifetime of the product.
– Direct Folders Pro is licensed per user, so if more people are going to use Direct Folders Pro you will need to purchase additional copies.
– Each license allows installation on all owned computers, and Direct Folders Pro may be used at exactly the same time on each of them.
– Transfer of a license to another owned computer is allowed.
– License activation isn’t required.

25
There are now convertible Chromebooks that also run Android, such as the Asus Chromebook Flip, Asus C302CA, and the Samsung Chromebook Plus.

They are fully functional computers (with built-in keyboard), if you can live within Chrome OS and Android.

For your list you could use web apps such as WorkFlowy.

You might need a mobile broadband dongle, when you're away from wifi.

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