Jon Aquino's Mental Garden

Engineering beautiful software jon aquino labs | personal blog

Saturday, June 28, 2008

[Windows] Two RoboForm licenses, free to good home

(UPDATE: The two licenses have now been taken.)

I've got two extra RoboForm licenses to give away. Leave a comment or email me if you want one.

A RoboForm license is $30, but you can buy a second and third license for $10 apiece, so I thought, why not?

RoboForm is a pretty nice password-generator/form-filler. Here's a review from zdnet.

[Windows] Microsoft Agent Charcter for "Mike" (AT&T Natural Voices)

If anyone has purchased one of the great sounding AT&T Natural Voices and needs a Microsoft Agent character (e.g., for mIRC text-to-speech), here's an msagent for the Mike voice, created using Microsoft Agent Character Editor.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Perfect Stapler

As mentioned on my previous blog post, I spent way too much time last weekend researching the perfect stapler. David Allen recommends "a good old-fashioned stapler you can slam with your fist or your hand", but the one he uses (the Ace Pilot) can be hard to find.

I've found another good stapler that "you can slam with your fist": the Isaberg-Rapid K2 Classic II, designed and made in Hestra, Sweden. Actually, this stapler was designed in 1944, and it sure looks like it.

Isaberg-Rapid K2 Classic II

This is truly a stapler you can pound. It can handle 20 sheets with standard 6mm staples, or 50 sheets with 8mm staples.

The other stapler I was considering was the PaperPro (also known as the Staples One-Touch), which has a stapler-gun mechanism inside. But some reviews indicate that it breaks down after 6 months or so.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


The New York Times has a fascinating monthly column called Domains in which celebrities talk about where they live and what their daily routine is. If you have a blog, why not interview yourself for your own Domains piece? Just create a post titled "THE WAY WE LIVE NOW: DOMAINS: YOUR NAME", add a picture of yourself, then answer the questions from one of the Domains articles.

Morning routine: Get up at 9:00, take a shower, dial into the 9:15 conference call at Ning. For breakfast I microwave an egg and stick it in a hot dog bun with cheese and ham.
Favorite item in home: My Imak Smartgloves. They magically prevent pain in my palms.

Always in fridge: Eggs, cheese, and ham.

Most annoying thing about programming: All the passwords you have to remember. I'm using KeePass, but it's not very convenient.

Self-indulgence: Books. If it's something that will teach me a new skill, I'll get it. If it's something that people are abuzz about (like GTD or Ruby), I'll get it *now*.

Pets: There's a cat that wanders about - I think it's the neighbor's. Anyway, we keep a bag of food for him.

Obsolete item he won’t part with: Windows XP. It's got a bunch of programs that I really like, such as SnagIt, AraxisMerge, and TortoiseSVN. But maybe I will switch someday.

Favorite TV show: Father John Corapi on EWTN.

Collection: Books. Not a huge collection, but what I do have I've catalogued on LibraryThing.

Next big purchase: Replacement for my flaky Dell Axim PDA. I will be sure to get a proper case for my next one.

Keepsake: There's a heavily-scribbled-on book called Ideas And Images that I still have from kindergarten.

Obsession: I spent way too much time this weekend researching the perfect stapler. The PaperPro is tempting, but seems prone to breakage. Isaberg-Rapid seems to make well-built staplers.

As a child he wanted to be: A detective. Then a philosopher. Then a dentist.

Hobby: For the past year I've been trying to improve my handwriting. I'm using Fred Eager's "The Italic Way to Beautiful Handwriting: Cursive and Calligraphic".

Evening routine: Run the unit tests, merge the code branches. Do my Hacker's Diet exercises. Calligraphy practice for 15 minutes. Read. Rosary. Sleep at 1:00.

By his bed: Black Sigg aluminum water bottle.

Concession to age: Always write things down. Trust nothing to memory.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Wordle: Turn your words into a colorful cloud

I love wordle. You paste in a bunch of text, and it creates a colorful cloud, summarizing them visually. Here's the wordle for this blog:


Saturday, June 07, 2008

Insightful Book: The Art of UNIX Programming

I am finally reading The Art of UNIX Programming, and am really enjoying it. In the past, I had been put off by the title ("Hmm...I don't program Unix utilities in C"), but it's not about that at all. It's about Unix design patterns and programming wisdom.

Check out these tantalizing chapter titles:
  • 1.1 Culture? What Culture?

  • 1.3 What Unix Gets Wrong

  • 1.5 What Unix Gets Right

  • 1.6.5 Rule of Simplicity: Design for simplicity; add complexity only where you must

  • 1.6.6 Rule of Parsimony: Write a big program only when it is clear by demonstration that nothing else will do

  • 1.6.10 Rule of Least Surprise: In interface design, always do the least surprising thing

  • 1.6.11 Rule of Silence: When a program has nothing surprising to say, it should say nothing

  • 1.6.12 Rule of Repair: Repair what you can—but when you must fail, fail noisily and as soon as possible

  • 2.1.1 Genesis: 1969–1971

  • 2.1.2 Exodus: 1971–1980

  • 2.1.4 Blows against the empire: 1991–1995

  • 5.1 The Importance of Being Textual

  • 5.1.3 Case Study: The PNG Graphics File Format

  • 7.3.3 Threads—Threat or Menace?

  • 8 Minilanguages: Finding a Notation That Sings

  • 8.2.10 Case Study: bc and dc

  • 8.3.4 Macros—Beware!

  • 10.2 Where Configurations Live

  • 10.7 On Breaking These Rules

  • 12.3 Nonlocality Considered Harmful

  • 13.2 A Tale of Five Editors

  • 13.3.3 Is Emacs an Argument against the Unix Tradition?

  • 16.7.3 Licensing Issues: When You Need a Lawyer

  • 20.6 Reasons to Believe

Love it!