RPN Windows Calculator

General 2 Comments

Although I can always count on “calc.exe” to be available, I hate it. It is as usefull as one of those free calculators you get in the mail or as a promo. I often find myself having to do more complex calculations and doing those in decimal, hex and binary. I also like RPN and having a stack. So where does one find a free RPN windows calculator that doesn’t suck?

Behold Calculator.NET! Yes, it is probably the only actuall usefull .NET application to be developed. The one downside? It uses .NET.

This application is tied to the “calculator” hot-key on my Microsoft keyboard and I use it all the time.

I have tried different RPN calculators, but there aren’t many choices and most of them aren’t free. I ran a program called Excaliber32 for a while, but it isn’t as nice.

If anyone knows of another calculator that’s better, please let me know.

Do It Yourself UPS

General 4 Comments

I was talking with Seth House today about UPSs (Un-interruptible Power Supplies) and how expensive they are. I remembered an article I once read where this guy had built his own for less than $200 and ran his whole computer system for more than 10 hours.

A UPS is basically a battery, battery charger and inverter. By doing it yourself you can get a lot more capacity for a lot less money than comercial UPSs.

Dan has a decent description of a home-brew system: http://www.dansdata.com/diyups.htm

Mark Brown also has an interesting setup: http://www.markbrown.com/ups.html

Open Source Popup Killer

General No Comments

AKiller is a popup killer for Internet Explorer, Opera, Mozilla and other popular browsers under windows. Sources are compiled with Delphi and the JVCL. Check it out at: http://sourceforge.net/projects/akiller/.

Strong Bad E-mail

General 1 Comment

I was looking at the new Strong Bad e-mail this week (named Lunch Special) and I clicked on the word “Legend” which brought up a screen shot of some 8-bit basketball video game. Anyone know what game that is?

I’ve also heard people talk about Strong Sad’s journal. Anyone know where that is?

In other news, I’ve read that in June, 2004 Homestarrunner will be releasing an Atari 2600 RPG video game cartridge written by Paul Slocum. Time to dig out the old 2600 and get my joysticks dusted off. I’ll be buying this one. Maybe I’ll be able to get me a hand-held VGS before the game is released. I’ll definetly have to pick me up a Happy Cartridge.

Open Source Software Worth Testing

General 1 Comment

PDFCreator

This software for Windows claims to “easily create PDFs from any Windows program.” In case you don’t now how to create PDFs (and I’m not going to talk about applications that have PDF generation built in, like OpenOffice and WordPerfect) you install a virtual printer into Windows then “print” to it. You can then choose a filename and voila! A PDF!

Now I’m not going to delve into some diatribe about why you want to use PDF to communicate and share documents instead of the native application file format (I covered that in another blog) but you should — and this makes it possible without padding the deep pockets of the Adobe mafia.

7-Zip Archiver

The 7-Zip archiver program features the new 7z format which claims to be the algorythm with the highest compression ratio (it does support files with sizes up to 16 000 000 000 GB (thats 16 Exabytes for those who care). Some of the supported formats are: 7z, ZIP, CAB, RAR, ARJ, GZIP, BZIP2, TAR, CPIO, RPM and DEB.

Let me take a moment to talk about Exabytes. For those who don’t know what an Exabyte is here’s a link. But as you can see, there is a difference of opinion on how much this really is. If you ask some, it will be 1018 bytes, others believe it to be 260 bytes. I think it is quite clear that by using the unit, or suffix of, “byte” the number is base-2 not base-10. Nevertheless, there are some anal types (obviously the ones who are too daft to recognize the “byte” suffix) who are on a crusade to get Binary Prefixes accepted and approved by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). I remember once in college as the professor was reviewing the homework for a particular assignment where the effective bandwidth tansfer speed of putting 500 standard 3 1/2 inch floppy disks on a plane that takes 4 hours to fly from Salt Lake to Chicago was to be computed. Computer Science students did the math correctly (838.8608 bps) but the Electrical Engineering students were outraged to be told their answer (800 bps) was wrong; having based their computations on a Megabyte being 1000*1000 bytes . I have never seen such a bunch of whiners in my life — especially since the real transfer rate is closer to 808 bps because there is only 1.38 MB usable space on a 3 1/2 inch floppy after the File Allocation Table takes its space. But I digress yet again. Back to archive tools —

My current favorite archiver tool is Power Archiver — but it costs money. Sometimes you really get what you pay for and Power Archiver has treated me right.

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