DevToys—an open-source Swiss army knife for developers

DevToys

DevToys is like a Swiss Army knife for software and web developers to help with everyday development tasks such as comparing and converting text and images, testing RegEx, formatting JSON and XML data, compressing images, etc.

It is available for free for Windows from the Microsoft Store.

I wish I’d had this years ago.

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Psion software archive

My old Psion Series 7 and accessories

For years I had on my project backlog an idea to create a website resource for Psion users that collated all the software that I had found and used for a wide range of Psion palmtop computers:

  • WorkAbout (SIBO)
  • Siena (SIBO)
  • Series 3 / 3a / 3mx (SIBO)
  • Series 5 / 5mx (EPOC)
  • Series 7 (EPOC)
  • netBook (EPOC)
  • Quartz
  • netPad

But my life took various unexpected twists and turns and other things took priority. Then in July 2017 I sold my Psion hardware.

While I have not been able to fulfil my original vision, as a minimal viable product, I have uploaded my entire collection of Psion software, images, documentation, code, etc. to Dropbox. If you are interested in Psion computers, have a poke around and help yourself.

Espanso text expander

Editing the default phrases file for espanso in Sublime Text 4.

If you are not already using a text expander application then I highly recommend that you start. It will save you hundreds, if not thousands, of keystrokes every month.

As the name suggests, a text expander application is a utility that runs in the background and looks out for you typing predefined phrases which it then replaces with usually a longer text version.

For example, when I type --@e, my text expander replaces this with my full email address: gareth@garethjmsaunders.co.uk, saving me 25 keystrokes.

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Microsoft To Do review

Screenshot of Microsoft To Do

As many may know, I am a big fan of Todoist and have written a few blog posts about Todoist. But a few weeks ago I installed Microsoft To Do and used it exclusively for a few days to see how it compared.

Within two days I returned to Todoist. I wanted to capture a few thoughts about why.

(Note: it would appear that either there was a significant update to Microsoft To Do in the last two weeks or my laptop was only able to install an older version because a few of the niggles I had with it appear to have been resolved in the latest version, which I installed on my desktop PC.)

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Helping my sleep pattern with F.lux

It’s now late October, the clocks have gone back an hour to GMT. In Scotland the nights are fair drawin’ in—it is getting dark earlier. All the more important then to make sure I look after my sleep hygiene.

For the last 14 years I have been working mostly sitting in front of a PC. I’m also a bit of a geek so I find myself sitting in front of a PC even when I’m not being paid to do so.

For years I found it hard to get to sleep at night. It turns out that staring at computer monitor for hours is not great for your sleep. The blue light emitted by a screen affects our attention, reaction times and mood (Source) and, crucially, our sleep.

In 2009, I discovered an application called F.lux that detects where you are in the world and automatically adjusts the screen colour temperature to gradually remove the blue as the sun is setting.

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