Monthly Archives: May 2015

Tech Links – May 29

Three open-source Python shells.

Don’t catch Exceptions. I must have known why I always do rescue => boom to catch exceptions. The reason is that Ruby makes that shorthand for rescue StandardError => boom. Nifty.

libgrader: find quality gems for your next project. It knows about two of my favorites gems: pericope and titleize. (Unlike awesome-ruby.)

Sequel: the database toolkit for Ruby. (Here’s an introductory screencast at RubyTapas.) I keep thinking I should do something with sqlite. Well, really I think I should do something with a database, but I’d rather put it on Drobox than try to figure out how to have a mysql server out on the internet and not regret it.

The reason? Once you’ve used a join you’ll never be content using a spreadsheet for a database. Here’s a quick introduction to joins.

Mac audio graphing tool FuzzMeasure updated. I didn’t remember that it had a name of its own. I thought it was just SuperMegaUltraGroovy. Anyway, every time I look at this I think to myself about the software I wrote in the mid-90s and all the cool graphs I’d like to have implemented.

Tech Links

Simple Audio Conversion with FFMpeg. Is that still a thing? I can’t keep up with all the forks.

On-demand System Tray. I can’t stand the Unity Panel. Give me back my WindowMaker. (Like that’s going to happen. Even MacOSX is disowning the awesome NeXT UX.)

How to add extra airplanes on FlightGear Flight Simulator. I’m not much of a gamer so I didn’t know there was such a game. But, judging from the screenshots, Linux games have sure improved.

Windows 8 Setup (Continued)

I’m moving from a Mac to a Windows PC at work, and I’ve been blogging some of the things I’m doing to set up my computer.

There’s two things I wish I could just set up: rsync and a decent command shell.


I don’t know how you write a server for Windows, but it’s amazing to me that Rsync hasn’t caught on there. Especially since it was developed by the same guy who gave us Samba. (Maybe that’s the point. Note the direction of the copying arrow.) (Don’t tell me about DeltaCopy. It may be great for moving things between Windows machines, but I’m not hoping to do that a lot. I want a cross-platform solution. I need to explore cwrsync.)


Cygwin gives you a pretty good set of proper command line utilities. The biggest problem is that it needs a command-line tool like apt or yum to keep it up-to-date. I’m looking into apt-cyg.

But a shell needs a terminal emulator to run in, and Cmd.exe doesn’t cut it. Again, I’m puzzled by the dearth of alternatives, especially since the one Microsoft included was so crappy. There are probably a dozen decent terminal emulators in the Linux world, and a couple for Mac OS X.

So right now I’m trying to figure out cmder. It appears to be a fresh implementation of a terminal emulator.

Windows PC Start-up List

Download a copy of PC-Decrapifier (or Decrap) and Should I Remove It. (You’ll need to get other things from Ninite (below) but start by getting Revo Uninstaller in case you’re having trouble decrapifying something.)

Product Key Finder by Magical Jellybean.

From create installers for:

  • Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. You can’t have too many alternatives to Exploder.
  • Dropbox and Google Drive.
  • Notepad++, Python, WinSCP, Putty, and WinMerge
  • LibreOffice

vim and gow (Gnu on Windows) and maybe Cygwin.

Ruby Windows Installer.


Telegram Desktop

MarkdownPad (or pay $15 and get Pro)

Be not slow to consult Alternative To.

And when you’re ready, make a backup image using Clonezilla. Or at least a system restore point.