Although I do find a sort of meditative peacefulness in repetitive physical activities, like mopping floors or hiking long distances, I hate doing mindless tasks on the computer. I would much rather write a program to automate those tasks for me. This page contains several such programs, plus various others that I wrote simply for fun, or as an experiment, or to make life easier.
- thumbsync: Like many of you, I carry my life around on a thumb drive. This is a simple command-line program for keeping two folders synchronized with each other. I use it to keep my thumb drive synchronized with a folder on my hard drive, so that if either one dies or gets lost, I'll still have all my data.
- weatherscrape: Are the forecasts at www.weather.com more accurate than they would be if generated totally at random? This console app prints the website's 10-day forcast as tab-delimited text, useful for logging the predictions to measure their accuracy, or just for viewing the forecast without wading through pages of advertising.
- dechord: I have a large collection of guitar music on my computer, with chords. Occasionally I want to print out just the lyrics, with the chords stripped out. Rather than keeping two copies of each song - one with chords and one just lyrics - I keep the copy with chords, and use this program to remove the chords when necessary.
- tableprint: This program converts tab-delimited input to a table aligned with spaces. It can be used, for example, to pretty-print the output of weatherscrape.
- ilikethatimage: This is an applescript (i.e. Mac OS X only) for copying the image in the topmost Safari window into iPhoto. I use it for keeping copies of Wikipedia Pictures of the day that I find interesting, or that might make good desktop patterns.
- notetaker: Often I'll be working on a project when a completely unrelated idea occurs to me. Rather than 1. switch gears to follow up on that idea, or 2. worry about forgetting it, I use NoteTaker to write a quick note to myself and continue with what I was doing before.
- morningperson: Morning people. You know, those bizarre individuals who somehow bounce out of bed at 5 AM each morning fully awake and ready for the day. They make me insanely jealous. Somehow my body can't get the hang of keeping a regular sleep schedule. But where the flesh is weak, electronics must compensate...
You may also be interested in my recommendations of useful programs written by other people.