What I’m using (Jan 2013)

Not sure if anyone would be interested in this at all, but here’s the software I’m using as of Jan 2013:

  • Windows 8 — I have this on my primary desktop and also a Samsung Series 7 Slate. It’s nowhere near as bad as you’ve heard. It’s quite good in fact. On the Slate, the new “modern” interface Microsoft has developed is excellent. It really is designed as a touch-first UI, so using the new interface on a keyboard/mouse desktop takes a little getting used to. But on a tablet, it’s great, and its design beats any Android device I’ve seen and is arguably superior to the iPad. On the desktop, the Windows 8 desktop mode is basically Windows 7 plus more speed and other various improvements.
  • I’m still using my Amazon Kindle Fire that I reviewed over a year ago. It’s great for reading books.
  • I’ve switched from using Google as my primary web search to Bing. I just like it better. You might too, find out and see.
  • I use Illium eWallet to store my passwords and other data. I’m still using the desktop version.
  • The Bat! is still how I prefer to do email. There is no suitable “cloud” replacement that I have found yet.
  • I am using Delphi XE3 for development.
  • I recently upgraded to Adobe Lightroom 4 for my camera work, but I am still using CS5 for Dreamweaver, Photoshop, and Illustrator.
  • I use NextGen Reader on Windows 8 and my Windows Phone 7.5 to keep up with my news feeds.

That’s the main stuff.

The Kindle Fire isn’t Pretentious

Let’s get this out of the way: I am not an early adopter. For example, I only recently (this year) bought a Vectrex, meaning I gave the technology a good 30 years to mature before buying in. And until yesterday, I avoided owning a tablet device.

Notice I said device, not “tablet computer” or “tablet PC.” That’s because most of these devices, while technically computers, are not suitable for most of the things people (and by people, I mean me; YMMV) use computers to do. I’ve experimented with these things before; taking one off a friend’s hand for a few minutes; and have always been unimpressed.  Not because I didn’t like them, but because for $500+ they weren’t worth it. My estimation of tablets to date has been “meh.”

Because: they are toys. Their usefulness is limited to doing things toys do. Yes, Apple iPad users, I think your tablet is a toy, too.

And that’s okay. There is nothing wrong with buying, owning, and using (playing with) toys. But let’s not be pretentious about them (*cough* Apple *cough*). And when it comes to toys, I don’t feel the need to get the first ones, especially when they cost too much.

И не забудьте: поиск туров онлайн

Yesterday I opened a Kindle Fire. Tablets are ready for prime time.

This thing is great. And I figured out why: it’s not pretentious. The Fire doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. It doesn’t bother to tell you what kind of processor its running, though you can find out if you care. It doesn’t have a camera because there is no reason to put a piece of junk light sensor on a tablet when we all know you already have a piece of junk light sensor on your cell phone. It doesn’t have a GPS because your tablet doesn’t need one. It doesn’t have 3G because you really don’t need it since you can download your books and a movie or two and you will probably have access to free WiFi where you are anyway. It only has 8 GB of on-device storage because that is enough and more costs more. It has a rubberized back because this isn’t a device made to be beholden; this is a utilitarian device made to be, well, utilized.

The people who made the Fire know I am not going to try to use this to do work, so they didn’t waste time and hardware putting things in there to make me think it might be useful for work. Instead, they made a solid device with which I can read books, browse some websites, check (but not really much else, unless you like to torture yourself with a non-keyboard) email, check facebook, listen to music, etc. And it does all these things well, while being the perfect size.

I’m not going to give an in-depth review because there are already a thousand reviews out there. But I will say this: The Kindle Fire is “worth it.” They got it right. It’s $200 and while it’s not an iPad, the fact that it is not an iPad is a good thing for me. If I wanted an iPad I would have bought one already. I didn’t, and I’m glad I waited for the Fire.

PS: thanks to my wife for not objecting to wrapping an empty box so I could use the Fire she got me as a gift.

ExactFile (Formerly FileCheckMD5) Updated

ExactFile 1.0.0.15 was posted last week. This is, I hope, a “feature complete” beta. The “Create TestFiles Applet” function is finished, making the old FileCheckMD5 program completely obsolete.

The ExactFile web site has been updated with lots of details about the software, including a list of checksum methods currently implemented.

ExactFile is a file integrity verification system I have developed, which works much like md5sum / sha1sum / sfv / fsum / etc., replacing my old program FileCheckMD5. It’s no longer just a MD5 checker. It supports a variety of checksum (hash) algorithms, including MD5, SHA1, CRC32, and others; is multi-threaded; and Unicode complaint. It also includes a simple method for “stamping” your CD-ROM and DVD-ROM deployment folders so that they can be tested (validated) by an end-user just by double-clicking a file on the CD.

Making video demonstrations of software

Just a quick post to tell you about a program I found quite well designed and useful. I always appreciate it when people mention my own software, so I figured I’d do the same.

I decided it was time to create some videos for SwordSearcher Bible Software. I bought a license for Instant Demo, and I’m glad I did.  After a few days of work, I’ve got three videos done.  They aren’t Hollywood productions, but they look and sound good, and give people who don’t like reading manuals or web sites an alternative to learning about my software.  The learning curve for Instant Demo is not very steep, and there are excellent tools for all of the things good software videos need, like highlighting hotspots, tweaking and refining mouse movements and clicks, adjusting delays, and adding audio narration.