Stickies for Windows

Do you have this problem?

Giant Sticky Notes If you really need giant sticky notes you can get them from the nice people at MegaSticky, but if you’re just looking to tidy up your desk and to save some planetary resources maybe software stickies are the answer.

There are lots of virtual sticky notes programs available, Microsoft Office includes a rather pitiful one as a part of Outlook. My note-taking is taken care of using Notepad++ (in conjunction with Dropbox) and Evernote, but I still find sticky notes useful. The one I use, and in my opinion easily the best for Windows users, is Stickies for Windows. It’s far better than the Outlook clunker.

It’s compatible with all versions of Windows, including 64-bit Vista and Windows 7. Get it from the clever folk at Zhorn Software right here.

If you use more than one computer you can synchronize your Stickies between them using Microsoft’s SyncToy or 2BrightSparks’ SyncBack; both free programs. If you use the outstanding—and also free—Dropbox you can use it to export and import the database, unfortunately I can’t yet figure out a way to move the database into Dropbox so that syncing is automatic. If you find a way please update us all with by commenting on this page.

If you like the program and intend to use it, please consider making a donation to Tom Revell at Zhorn Software using the Paypal button on his website.

Two Stickies for Windows notes

More Stickies

Main features (shamelessly plagiarized from Zhorn Software’s website):

  • Once on screen, stickies will remain where placed until closed, even through reboots
  • Stickies appearance can be customised; fonts, colours and buttons may be changed, and styles saved. Stickies can be resized.
  • Stickies can snap to each other and to the sides of the screen to keep them neatly lined up
  • Stickies can be attached to a web site, document or folder so they only show when it’s on screen
  • Stickies can be transferred from one machine to another either over a TCP/IP network connection, or by using an SMTP mail server or MAPI client:
    • Hierarchical friends list, which may be automatically transferred from other friends
    • Play a sound file on receive
    • Signature for transmitted or emailed stickies
    • Favourite friends, and custom lists can be made
  • Stickies can be hidden for a certain period, until a specified date and time, or to wake every day, week or month, to act as reminders.
  • Stickies can have alarms set to ensure you notice them at a point you choose
  • Stickies can be transferred to and from your Palm or PPC PDA.
  • International language and RTL text support
  • Stickies works with Windows Vista
  • Stickies is small and simple, it writes to a single text file, and does not alter the registry
  • AD network administrators can use Group Policy to control settings
  • API to allow integration with other applications
  • …and Stickies is completely free!

Origami for the space age

This is not your grandma’s paper folding

Origami—with a little help from mathematicians—saves your life, creates stunningly complex objects, opens up the universe and your blocked arteries.

Another fascinating talk from TED:

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See the original here on TED.com.

Ccleaner

A tried and true Windows cleanup utility

Originally call Crap Cleaner, the nice people at Piriform have come over all genteelish and renamed it CCleaner. It’s still the same excellent little free Windows utility for cleaning a load of garbage off your computer.

Click on this thumbnail to see a full sized image of Ccleaner

CCleaner is a freeware system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. It removes redundant files from your system – the clutter that Windows habitually leaves behind. It can help your PC to run more snappily and it will free up disc space.

It can remove the dirty footprints of your Internet history and it has an effective registry cleaner. It’s fast, it’s free, and it doesn’t contain spyware.

It’s compatible with all versions of Windows: XP and earlier, Vista, Windows 7, 32 and 64-bit.

A lot of experts decry registry cleaners and cleanup utilities, suggesting that they may crash your system. I’ve been using Ccleaner for years on my own PCs and those of my family and friends: it’s never caused a problem. I’ve also advised its use many times as a solution to problems posted on the Experts’ Exchange and have never received negative feedback.

Having said that, there’s always a first time. Particularly if your installation is already in a dubious state. So before carrying out any maintenance on your computer always back up your data files first. Then install imaging software if you don’t already have it and create an image which can be used to restore your computer to a previous state in case of disaster.

An extract from Piriform’s website:

Cleans the following:

Internet Explorer  Internet Explorer
Temporary files, history, cookies, Autocomplete form history, index.dat files.
Firefox  Firefox
Temporary files, history, cookies, download history, form history.
Google Chrome  Google Chrome
Temporary files, history, cookies, download history, form history.
Opera  Opera
Temporary files, history, cookies, download history.
Apple Safari  Safari
Temporary files, history, cookies, form history.
Other Browsers  Other Supported Browsers
K-Meleon, Rockmelt, Flock, Google Chrome Canary, Chromium, SeaMonkey, Chrome Plus, SRWare Iron, Pale Moon, Phoenix, Netscape Navigator, Avant and Maxthon.
Windows  Windows
Recycle Bin, Recent Documents, Temporary files, Log files, Clipboard, DNS Cache, Error Reporting, Memory Dumps, Jump Lists.
Registry  Registry Cleaner
Advanced features to remove unused and old entries, including File Extensions, ActiveX Controls, ClassIDs, ProgIDs, Uninstallers, Shared DLLs, Fonts, Help Files, Application Paths, Icons, Invalid Shortcuts and more…
Applications  Third-party applications
Removes temp files and recent file lists (MRUs) from many apps including Windows Media Player, eMule, Google Toolbar, Microsoft Office, Nero, Adobe Acrobat, WinRAR, WinAce, WinZip and many more…
Safe  100% Spyware FREE
This software does NOT contain any Spyware, Adware or Viruses.
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And in closing

Get Ccleaner right here.

Did I mention backup your stuff?

And imaging?

The Persimmon Tree cafe in Pirongia

Persimmon Tree cafe

While I’m on a roll, here’s the second installment of my favourite places.

The Persimmon Tree Café in Pirongia, a small settlement in the Waikato, New Zealand, is one of the best you’ll find anywhere. It’s a pleasant small cafe in a very nice spot in a beautiful village. It’s off the main highway. When I’m travelling to and from Auckland I usually by-pass busy Hamilton and save half an hour by turning right just after the Ngauruawahia town center where the sign points to Otorahanga. Half an hour along this road you pass through Pirongia, in the shadow of its namesake, the sacred mountain.

This is one of several reviews at Menumania. Not all the reviews were so good but the whingers’ views don’t reflect my experiences over recent years:

I am a regular at the Persimmon Tree cafe and have been going there since it opened. I am always impressed by their quality of food, level of service and general ambience of the cafe. The food and staff are what keep me going back. Andrew and Michelle are excellent hosts and work really hard at maintaining the high standards.

The food is varied, priced appropriately, always fresh and tasty.

The cafe is child friendly and the open grounds provide plenty of space for the kids to burn off those delicious desserts.

I can not understand why some previous comments are not so favourable: perhaps they are the jealous owners or friends of competing businesses.

I agree with the above sentiments. I’ve been to the Persimmon Tree 40 or 50 times and I’ve never had a bad experience. The food is 5 star, the staff are cheerful and pleasant, they serve a la carte and counter food of a relatively high standard, the presentation is first class, the prices are very reasonable for the quality provided, the coffee is excellent — and they don’t charge extra for decaf, a regular and unjustified cafe rort which infuriates me. It’s annoying enough that my aging metabolism’s losing the ability to deal with caffeine without being ripped off for an unjustified extra 50¢ or $1 a cup.

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Philosophy Bro

My favourite places

Philosophy Bro's logo
This is the first of my posts on great places I’ve experienced; real, imaginary, and digital. This one is a wonderful source of hilarious and outrageous philosophical wisdom:

Coarse language alert!

And if you think that matters, you need to:

  1. get a life, and
  2. read up on Philosophy Bro’s concise exposition on Nietzsche’s “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”.

PhilosophyBro.com is a fantastic site. PB takes the often impenetrable great ideas of philosophy and with side-splitting irreverance combined with very bad language makes them accessible, hilarious, and crystal clear.  An extract from PB’s take on Nietszche from the above link:

Seriously. We have limitless potential, and we’re wasting it worrying about sin and Hell and Heaven. And maybe you don’t actually believe in any of that. You think that makes you better than anyone else? Wrong answer, asshole. It makes you worse.

At least believers can tell you exactly why they’re pissing their lives away; see for yourself. Ask one. “Why do you hate sex, joy, and the human spirit?” “Oh. Because I believe in a non-physical deity who told me that if I hated them, I’d spend the rest of eternity in paradise.” It’s batshit crazy, right? But at least he’s sticking to his guns. Agree to disagree, whatever. But if you don’t believe that bullshit, then why the hell are you sitting around wondering what’s left? It’s because you DO believe that bullshit, you’re just too scared to admit it. Fuck, bro, you almost made it out – you saw through the lies and said, “Nope, fuck that.” But then you fell into the same old pattern of worrying about right and wrong, about patriotism and politics, about tolerance and government and fairness, about all measure of bullshit – all you’ve done is replaced the bullshit you know with the bullshit you don’t.

You’ve got to visit PhilosophyBro.com today!

What’s yours is mine

This story from Douglas Adams’ book “The Salmon of Doubt” is probably apocryphal, variations on it occurred long before Douglas’s book was penned. But it could have happened, it’s a good story, and it’s worth contemplating next time you’re tempted to exercise your powers of outrage.

The cookies

This actually did happen to a real person, and the real person was me. I had gone to catch a train. This was April 1976, in Cambridge, U.K. I was a bit early for the train. I’d gotten the time of the train wrong.

I went to get myself a newspaper to do the crossword, and a cup of coffee and a packet of cookies. I went and sat at a table.

I want you to picture the scene. It’s very important that you get this very clear in your mind.

Here’s the table, newspaper, cup of coffee, packet of cookies. There’s a guy sitting opposite me, perfectly ordinary-looking guy wearing a business suit, carrying a briefcase.

It didn’t look like he was going to do anything weird. What he did was this: he suddenly leaned across, picked up the packet of cookies, tore it open, took one out, and ate it. Continue reading

Tim Harford on hit-and-miss success

Another gem from TED.

Voting for failure and the triumph of serendipity

Tim Harford is the author of “The Undercover Economist”, an outstanding book which explains practical economics without using formulae. Here on TED he tells us why trial and error beats teams of PhDs and why those political candidates’ promises are totally empty.

Tim Harford studies complex systems — and finds a surprising link among the successful ones: they were built through trial and error. In this sparkling talk from TEDGlobal 2011, he asks us to embrace our randomness and start making better mistakes.

Info Select: is it dying?

Info Select, a flawed gem

This is a resurrected post following a website crash. It had a high Google hit rate, a lot of links around the web, and many users’ comments which have unfortunately been lost forever.

  • In my opinion Info Select was the best single computer program in the known universe. It still could be with a few tweaks.
  • If I were only allowed one program on my computer it would be Info Select.
  • There isn’t much you can’t do with it.
  • I’ve been using it since 1992 or thereabouts, shortly after it evolved from Tornado Notes.
  • Despite these sterling qualities, until I initially published this post in 2007, I was the only person I knew who used it.

Hmm…

There’s a lesson here.

If this program’s so damn good why was I the only known user this side of the black stump? That’s easy. Info Select is the product of Micro Logic, a company whose grasp of marketing, design, pricing, listening to user feedback, and customer service are, umm, different.

Info Select window

What’s so great about it?

Info Select started life as a program for storing and retrieving random text information. It gradually gained extra functions and evolved into a word processor, spreadsheet, database, email client, web browser, news feeder, contact manager, calendar, form builder and organizer–I could go on, but you get the picture–all rolled into one. Having said that, I only use it for its core function. I don’t use all those extras. I have other programs which do those things far better for my purposes. Until I switched most of my data to Evernote in 2009, I had whole filing systems of information packed into my Info Select data file. I could find anything in milliseconds.

Here’s how it works: Continue reading

CSS callouts for your blog

This is a level 2 callout heading

In case you were wondering, this block of text is a callout based on a class in a cascading style sheet.

  • This is an unordered (ul) callout list formatted by the CSS style sheet:
  • To use a numbered list instead, use ol in place of ul list tags.

The callout on the right is produced by the CSS shown below. The textbook definition of a callout is a quotation from the text body displayed in an extracted box, but I’m defying semantics and using it to highlight information peripheral to the main post.

If you’d like to use callouts in your blog (or any web page for that matter) here’s what you need to do.

Track down the location of the style.css or custom.css file in your WordPress theme. Edit the CSS script to change the fonts, colours, text sizes, padding and so on to whatever your heart desires.

The CSS script uses the “width” property to allow the callout to expand and contract proportionally with flexible width themes. It will occupy 33% of the width of the post or page regardless of the size of the browser window. Of course you can change that to 50% or whatever suits your requirement. Mistywindow’s modified Thesis theme has a flexible design with maximum and minimum limits, so if you change the size of your browser window you’ll see how the callout responds.

For the life of me I can’t remember why I found it necessary to put the transparent background tag in the list CSS. Probably an inheritance problem. I’ll have to experiment.

🙂

Place the callout text between tags like these:

<div class="callout">
<h3>heading here if you wish</h3>
<p>Some text here.</p>
</div>

Put the following CSS script, edited to suit your impeccable taste,  into your custom.css file: Continue reading