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1  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: A rant against the SmartPhone ecosystem. on: November 03, 2011, 07:06:58 PM
JavaJones is right!

(...)"lock down"(...)is a conscious choice

ARM, as many architectures out there, are quite open and so are their possibilities. Yes, some upgrades can be hard or end badly. Many times it's not even fault of "the upgrade" but of "the upgrader" who messed it up along the way. And on the other hand, many users will actually live in a somehow "locked-down mode" as they won't care much about installing many/any apps or upgrading their OS.

I certainly don't want the UPS guy to hack his handheld, and yes, it doesn't belong to him but to UPS's process.

On the other hand, I paid for my smartphone to use it as I want. And yes: it IS a personal computer; maybe as personal as it gets. I want to hack it and the architecture is up for the challenge. If it's not, it should be. So, if you are up to the task and aware of the risks, hack away!
2  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Full-screen calculator (free and portable) on: August 22, 2011, 11:16:25 AM
that's one good-looking calculator app and the dev has an interesting take on calculators.

Quote from: website
... most PC calculators are just unflexible simulations of pocket calculators.

RedCrab is a calculator that exploits the possibilities of PC's. Easy to use like a pocket calculator, but provided with full screen editor, which supported corrections, saveing and printing as a word processing program.

thanks for the heads-up, Shades.. thumbs up

Exactly! it's nice to see someone thinking out of the box for once. Downloading...

3  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Why My Mom Bought an Android, Returned It, and Got an iPhone on: August 22, 2011, 10:35:53 AM
I mainly use my phone to make phone calls ... because, it's a phone.

My $0.02: if it's a phone, then it IS a phone, but if it's a "smartphone" I think it's not exactly a phone. Having used PDAs (Palms) for long before cellphones were a must for most, I firmly believe that the smartphone is the come of age of the PDA, and one crucial reason for its success is the inclusion of a phone in it. So no, PDAs are NOT dead, and a smartphone is not a phone, it's the ACTUAL personal computer that you carry around to do many things... placing phone calls, for example.

If you read above or ask around, you'll see "I mainly use my phone to read books / read news / listen to music / IM / Twitter...". So no, it's not (only) a phone.
4  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Portable apps suites - is there a good one? on: September 17, 2010, 11:29:45 AM
I've noticed that PortableApps on a thumb drive doesn't do the autorun in Windows 7. Just FYI.
Yes: Windows 7 has disabled auto-run on thumb drives by default (it's not only about PortableApps). This was an excellent decision make by Microsoft, because auto-run was a perfect way to propagate malware. Every XP/Vista machine I installed, I always turned off auto-run before anything else. Minor annoyance for some use cases, but a good decision, I believe.
5  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Raster to Vector imaging software on: September 17, 2010, 11:27:18 AM
Inkscape could be worth a try. It is open source freeware. A Desktop publishing program with a raster to vector utility (Potrace) now built in.

I am a faithful user of Inkscape, and its raster to vector utility is pretty decent.
6  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Return of the Son of the best *free* Windows Text Editor on: March 10, 2010, 01:11:59 PM
PSPad fan for years, myself. The powerful CLIPS functionality alone is worth it. As someone else pointed out, it's closer to the IDE concept than to a "plain" editor. It's really extensible and it does not need 100+ MB (and lots of RAM) as Eclipse does.
They seem to have solved most of the line-wrapping bugs now.

Recently, I tried RJ TextEd and it's quite cool too, but no powerful clips and no Python syntax definition Sad

PSPad has no code-folding, but I make do with the code explorer.

To all the VIMers and EMACSers: I too love VIM (not EMACS), but I think not everyone is into the right mindset for this kind of editors in this day and age. Bill Joy himself claims he wrote vi for a very different era, one with only 300 bps of bandwidth.
7  Other Software / Developer's Corner / Re: Python Language Annoyances on: February 09, 2010, 12:37:12 PM
Implicit variable declaration... I don't now. (Disclaimer: I am a Python fanboy of some sort but) I learned programming with Pascal and C, so I pretty much became used to the discipline of declaring variables. So, all my "relevant" variables get declared (well, initialized) in meaningful places. "Non-relevant" ones (i.e. counters that are used in a loop and don't get re-used later) I just use them as I go without taking much notice (which is sometimes convenient). Since I already have the mindset of "declarations go at the beggining of the block", it's simply natural and convenient at the same time. But I guess for someone who is using Python as a learning language, s/he must be taught of the importance of declaration for readability's sake.

As for indenting, if you and your teammates get to an agreement on tabs vs. spaces (I know, flame war's awaiting), it quickly becomes natural, and you won't miss typing { or } again in your life.

If I must rant about something, here it comes:
* "self". Yep, it's unelegant. It leaves the context clear and explicit, but it's ugly.
* unicode support. I guess in v3.0 it's better (haven't used it yet), but on v2.x, since I normally need "special" chars (I'm Mexican; accents are nothing sort of "special" in Spanish), it's a chore that simple read/write ops get polluted by unicode(x), x.encode('utf-8','replace') and so on.

Still, I love Python.
8  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Yet another 0-day pdf exploit in the wild on: December 23, 2009, 08:37:11 PM
for PDF-XChange (my favorite, too!)
File > Preferences > File associations > Make PDF-XChange the Default PDF Viewer > Display PDF in Browser [ ] (uncheck)
Should do the trick.

I haven't installed Adobe Reader in ages. First, I stuck to version 7, then I switched to Foxit, and now it's PDF-XChange. Never looking back, I guess. And I've always hated when they get embeded on my browser window.
9  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: == Note-Taker Software--The Missing Piece == on: July 02, 2009, 11:52:39 AM
I didn't know WhizFolders. Looks interesting.
Being a note-freak myself, I've tried quite a few options. Evernote is quite good, but it definitely does NOT include the linking to a specific paragraph; in fact, no linking at all (Evernote 2.x did, Evernote 3 doesn't).
Being an old advocate of Linux and open source, and having bashed Microsoft for every poor decision, I must say this: OneNote is my current note-taking solution, and I'm pretty amazed with it.

It lets you link to EVERYTHING, be it a file, a web site (well, that was quite easy), another notebook, another note, or another paragraph, whatever. Even to Outlook tasks and events.

It is not "dual-pane" as WhizFolders, but the paradigm is quite close: on a pane at the left, similar to Outlook's button bar you get your notebooks. Inside each notebook you get sections and even subsections. You can go as deep as subsections in the left pane.

In the main pane you get the sections and subsections on top, and the pages and subpages to the right. And within a page, through indenting, you can get actual outline, collapsible and everything.

It even syncs with Windows Mobile devices. As I said, I am pretty impressed. The official site is

I hope this is useful for you.

10  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Is your online life in your will? (Backups, passwords, etc.) on: April 21, 2009, 12:35:59 PM
OMG  ohmy
Haven't thought of it before.
The software approach sounds tempting, but there is a risk of flakyness and/or extreme sofistication. I guess that for delicate matters, the old style approach should do (tell your attorney), as long as the instructions you include are specific enough for the destinataries.

I'm glad I recently organized my passwords. I'm going to tell my wife about where and how, just in case.
11  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Freeware Image Organizer (Especially Tags/Keywords)? on: April 01, 2009, 09:00:06 PM
Exactly unlike you, I am using FastStone and happy about it. But what I need is more editing that organizing/tagging. I second the PhotoMesa option. It's really something else! Really worth it.
12  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: eBook Reader alternate to Acrobat? on: April 01, 2009, 08:57:49 PM
Just a me-too:
FoxIt rules!
You must ask the intaller NOT to install the IE toolbar, or use the portable version.
FoxIt is fast, light, and doesn't look like crap at all. Just like Adobe Reader used to be before it was a 30 MB download (now it's 80+MB).
13  Special User Sections / General Review Discussion / Re: Best Archive Manager Review: Suggestions on: February 10, 2009, 11:55:47 AM
I have been a faithful user of Filzip for ages. It hasn't been updated for a while, but it does the trick pretty well. It's free, lightweight, and the interface resembles the classic Winzip one, but it includes a tree view at the left, which is quite convenient (I know, Winzip has it too, but back in the day, it didn't). It even has a (limited) cmd line interface. The only glitches I have found are:
1. Mouser points out that Winzip and Winrar can uncompress many files at once, each in its own subdir. I have found no other program to do this, and sometimes it is so necessary.
2. Sometimes I have problems decompressing RAR archives with "nonstandard" characters on the contents' file names. I resort to command-line unrar.exe in these cases.
3. Some newer programs can read and extract files from ISO CD images. Filzip can't. This is not compression pre se, but it can be useful.

Every now and then I look around for something newer and better, but I keep coming back. I am reading the other suggestions and see if there is anything new under the sun. Right now I'm trying QuickZip and looks good. I'll let you know; I just wanted to add my 2 cents on good ol' Filzip.
14  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Best Python IDE on: November 05, 2008, 12:09:00 PM
I was an SPE enthusiast for some time. Having a real debugger becomes a must for certain projects. But now that I've done more Zope/Plone development, I find myself resorting to my favourite programming editor: PSPad. It's free (as in beer), it has an advanced templating system (they call it "clips"), it's faster/lighter than Eclipse and does a great job for most text-editing tasks.

No debugger or instrospection, but I like it a lot.
15  Other Software / Developer's Corner / Re: Free, non-sucky UML software? on: November 05, 2008, 12:04:16 PM
Being a Pythonista and doing the ArchGenXML stuff (generating Plone content types using UML), ArgoUML seems to be the best choice, not because it is that friendly or that cool, but because it gets the job done just right.

ArchGenXML includes an ArgoUML-specific template with all the tagged values available to Plone's archetypes, so there, ArgoUML is the de-facto standard in the Plone world.

But for other uses, printout quality and else, I can't tell.
16  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Excellent RSS reader on: October 08, 2008, 01:39:32 PM
Google Reader is great; for some reason it hooks you up. But I must say NewsGator does something that Greader doesn't: G is 100% web; NG has many front ends:
  • Web
  • PC
  • PDA / Smartphone (native client, sync+offline reading, not a mobile edition of the site)
  • And I guess there is a news-in-your-inbox kind of solution, I don't remember now

I know: the cloud is the future and it will even wash your clothes... but if I like my client to be native, I want to have the choice. The PDA app is what made me a loyal user of NewsGator for some while. I need to be able to read my feeds offline; no 3G data yet. But the client (Windows Mobile 5, smartphone ed.) felt a bit slow and heavy, and I switched to mDigger which sports a pretty fine, lightweight reader, though the web interface is too primitive and limited. It's mostly used to manage your suscriptions on the smartphone, rather than to read the news.

Since yesterday I'm trying YoMoMedia which looks similar to Greader (but a bit cleaner, which I like) and also has a PDA native client. Seems to work quite well; I'll keep on evaluating it. BTW, I imported my OPML feed from Greader into YoMoMedia and worked like a charm. NewsGator does OPML quite well, Google too; mDigger doesn't.
17  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Do you keep two computers synchronized? i.e. work + home. If so, how? on: October 08, 2008, 01:15:45 PM
This case is quite a)techie, b)purpose-specific, but nevertheless it might give some ideas.

10 years owning PDAs has left me with lots of notes; simple text notes that every respectable PDA let's you take. While using Palm I simply used the notes app and sync'ed to Palm Desktop. Some limitations arise, but all in all, it does the trick. Now I have a Windows Smartphone and it didn't come with a notes app. I bought a suite that includes a notes app which is really a plain text note editor. So now I mirror my notes directory between my smartphone, my personal laptop and my work computer, and to do so, I use Subversion.

I won't go into the details of what Subversion (or any version control system) does; just let's say it allows you to keep consecutive versions of your files. Since I already pay for a web/app server for my freelance projects, I created a Subversion instance for my notes, and -for the techie inclined- the syncing process becomes transparent and the whole solution is really powerful.

Even the other day I had to quickly check some notes that I haven't synced to the phone yet (no Subversion client for Windows Mobile; I plug the microSD card in the computer to sync), but since I had wi-fi available, I could read them through the web. It saved my butt that day.

Geeky cool hack, indeed!  tongue
18  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Name The Best UNZIPPER! on: September 05, 2008, 10:25:26 AM
I have been using FilZip ( for some years now. It has the classic WinZip layout, but includes a tree view of the archive's folders. It's quite fast, has a cmd-line interface, simple, elegant design... it does what it's supposed to and is free.
19  News and Reviews / Note Taking Software / Enter TiddlyWiki on: November 17, 2006, 05:59:57 PM
For note taking, I've been a devoted user of KeyNote for years. But recently, I found a new tool that definitely became my new choice. Before I go on I must say that this is no ordinary app, and that for making the most of it, you must be some sort of a power user. Web developers will feel right at home. But once you understand the logic, it is really really powerful.

TiddlyWiki is a web application, but not in the traditional server-browser approach. It is a web page that, using modern techniques, makes for the whole application: user interface, logic and data repository. That is, you only need to carry around the web page to have your note taking system with you. It is perfectly suited for carrying in your usb memory drive. You authorize writing to disk once (I didn't know this could be done, and I am into web development) and up you go.

From the original TiddlyWiki ( there have been many variations, extending or specialising the basic concept, which is: every note is a TIDDLER. It has a title, body text and tags. The body text is edited using Wiki notation, which is quite easy to get used to. An example:

!Title level 1
!!Title level 2
* this is
* a bullet
* list

# this is
# a numbered
# list

I know, many users won't do without a WYSIWYG interface. But I know many others simply LOVE this degree of control. And there are some that would simply get used to, once they find the power of the tiddler Wink

There is full-text search, features for working with tags, dates and so on. For the GTDers out there, there are at least three incarnations of TW specific for David Allen's methods. I use d3 (d-cubed ), which adds many GTD oriented macros (yes: there are macros here).

For a quick overview of what is TiddlyWiki and some of the available versions, go to So go there, pick your flavour and give it a try. Though the first impression might be a bit weird, it DOES make sense. I met EverNote about a month after TiddlyWiki, and I must say EN arrived late. This is a TW territory already!
20  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Screensaver Maker Recommendations? on: October 09, 2006, 06:32:31 PM
>>i go for simpler solutions, with IrfanView.
From the same vein, there is the most excellent one aka XNView
But actually, IrfanView CAN make slideshow screensavers. XNView still rocks (it has become my image viewer of choice), but I keep IrfanView for all the things it does that XNView cannot (screensavers, for example)
21 Software / Post New Requests Here / Re: IDEA: drag window to edge automatically resizes it on: June 16, 2006, 06:56:01 PM
I'm sure I keep an interesting script for this (right now I just right-click maximize to get 100% tall by 80% width window aligned to the left of the screen), but not at this computer. I'll look for it at home and bring it.
22 Software / Post New Requests Here / Re: IDEA: drag window to edge automatically resizes it on: June 16, 2006, 01:34:15 PM
Not quite the original idea (drag-based) but I've hand-made my desktop layouts using PowerPro. With this super-cool utility (it does way more than I´m willing to describe here), you can do things such as:
  • Right click on maximize button: Resize/Move to x-y-width-height
  • Control-right click on maximize: Resize/Move somewhere else
In this way, I define my own area/behaviour in any posible way I can think of. I can also roll-up my window with a right click on the title bar and stuff like that. And don't get me started on menus, launch bars, virtual desks, global hot-keys, clipboard tracking... whew!

In a nutshell: those who are looking for a program that easily and specifically do the "desktop-zone-ing" stuff, don't look for PowerPro. But those of you who prefer to prefer hardcore full control, this is the place to go.

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