Jon Aquino's Mental Garden

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Do-It-Yourself Keyboard Table, with Height Customized for You

If your keyboard is on a standard 30"-tall desk and your arms or shoulders ache, your keyboard may be too high. There are various ways to position your keyboard lower, such as: installing a keyboard tray, raising the seat (and using a footrest), or buying a height-adjustable table.

But if these solutions are too costly or unworkable, you can always make your own keyboard table. It doesn't have to be a work of art - it just has to be the right height (26" in my case).

Head down to Home Depot and buy the following pieces of wood: big piece for the top, 4 pieces for the legs, 6 pieces for the cross bars:

Picture 955

The diagonal pieces are important - without them the table will flex and fall down.

Screw all the pieces together, add keyboard, and enjoy comfortable height-optimized keyboarding.

Picture 956

Note: This will actually take a few hours and will make you hungry. I recommend a bagel before or during.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

$60 Scanner: Canon LIDE 25

Can you believe it: a scanner for $60? Just picked one up from Staples - a Canon LiDE 25. You can get it at Amazon for a bit cheaper ($50). Pretty good reviews - main complaint being that it's very slow (1-2 minutes per page), so don't get this if you need to scan things often.

Update: I was getting a "TWAIN error" and had to update my path manually to fix it.

Update 2: Try turning off Auto Tone - this can improve the quality.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

[Windows] Good window management tool: the Dock in VisualTooltip

I'm trying out a great window management tool: the Dock in VisualTooltip. It displays thumbnails for all open windows in a dock at the bottom of the screen.

And there's a useful "Sort thumbnails by window order" option, which keeps the thumbnails ordered by their position on the window stack: the top window appears first, the window below that appears second, etc. This is fantastic - it means that the 3-4 windows you are working with always appear on the left.

I like this better than Expose and Alt-Tab because the thumbnails are always visible - you don't need to switch to a different mode to see them.


Friday, July 04, 2008

Some Windows programs that I really like

* Araxis Merge - 3-way diff program
* RoboForm - Password generator - more convenient than KeePass
* SnagIt - best screen-capture program
* jEdit - programmer's text editor
* Directory Opus - customizable file manager
* SlickRun - simple launcher
* iswitchw - incremental search for open windows
* AutoHotkey - macros for scripting Windows
* Ditto - clipboard history with incremental search
* EverNote - notepad with incremental search and no filenames
* Cygwin - Unix utilities ported to Windows
* Absolute Uninstaller - batch uninstall

GridSearch - Specialized Google search for finding lists

Suppose you have a list of things you're interested in, and you want to find similar lists on the web. If you put the whole list into a Google search (like "roboform snagit jedit directory-opus autohotkey araxis"), you probably won't get any results back.

But if you conducted several searches in parallel (like "roboform snagit jedit", "jedit autohotkey roboform", "araxis directory-opus snagit", and all other 3-word combinations), you'll get back several webpages containing similar lists.

That's exactly what GridSearch does. Try it below.

GridSearch: A tool for finding similar lists on the web

Original List:
Number of Keywords in Each Combination:
Yubnub command: (g = Google, y = Yahoo, etc.)


Also see the related Yubnub command, combine.
Combinations are computed using the CombinationGenerator.php class.