Notetaking (again). WordPress!


I love to write something, using computer or mobile. Then I found the Google Keep, which is wonderful because it is a web app, works on Linux and Android. Storing my notes in the cloud so that I need not to worry about synchronization problem.

I am not fan of Evernote, but Evernote is a very popular notetaking application. I doesn’t like it because (i) it does not have Linux native support, (ii) and the free plan has quite a lot of limitations. However, I am using it. I was using Zotero. Zotero is nice in terms of the service, but it does not have nice user interface, such as note editing, which affects the user experience. In terms of reference management, Mendeley works far more better than Zotero. As a result, I choose Mendeley for reference management, and choose Evernote for the sake of Evernote Web Clipper extension. The nice feature of Evernote that attracts me is the web clipper. I can highlight the text I want, and save to Evernote. Evernote will store the date, time, and URL. I can also screenshot the web page too. This is what I like most. (May be I should try OneNote as well. I also just found that there is Save to Google Drive extension.)

Now, I have Google Keep and Evernote. But I still feels lack of something. The problem is like this, Evernote is nice, but with the limitations that I mentioned above. As a result, I don’t put all my notes in Evernote, but only favourite quotes from Internet. Then, I use Google Keep to store my general notes. Google Keep is nice in terms of (i) lightweight, (ii) search feature, and (iii) cross-platform because it is a web app. However, recently I found that, browsing notes in Google Keep is not nice. Though you can use the tags feature, but what will happen if you have hundreds of tags? And, if you have thousands of notes, and you want to browse through the notes instead of search the notes, you needs to keep scrolling down. This is some how inefficient. Another problem I faced in Google Keep is the date, it shows only the date of editing, but not the date of creating. That means, I cannot keep track when I create the note, unless I wrote the date explicitly in the note. As a result, I decided not to put all my notes in Google Keep as well. Then, what service should I use?

As a conclusion, I want something

  1. can store the general notes
  2. cross-platform or web app that can works on mobile and desktop (or laptop)
  3. can browse the notes freely
  4. stores the note privately

Finally, I decided to use WordPress. Yes! WordPress. Use it as a private journal. Disable all the publishing and SEO configurations. It is web-based, works on any computer as long as you have web browser. It provides mobile app, you can save draft locally on your mobile. It keeps track date and time. You can search the posts by keywords that you remember. You can categorise the posts or adding the tags. One and the only thing that it lacks of is the web clipper. But, it comes with other great features. WordPress.com provides free plan, which is good enough for general purpose. You can pay for better service with paid plans. And, If you don’t like WordPress.com, you can subscribe a PHP web hosting service, then host your own WordPress app. You can export and import the WordPress articles easily. That means, you are not restricted to a paid service that you cannot work on your notes freely and do whatever you like.

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Screenshot annotation/labelling


Since I am working as a freelance software developer, often need to comment on the screen. I keep looking for the application that can

  • Draw straight line
  • Basic geometries: ellipse or rectangle
  • Draw arrow
  • Writing text

GIMP, Krita, Pinta etc can draw these. But they are too advance, or too low-level as a raw image editor, which hinders me to work productively.

At the end, I found Shutter from Stack Overflow. I never thought about it, because the main purpose of Shutter is taking screenshot. But it has an image editing feature. And this image editing can do all the things I mentioned above.

Windows


I am a serious Linux user, and totally dislike using Windows for everyday productivity. But, one thing I love about the Windows, is the gaming.

Currently, there are some games become cross-platform including targeting Linux platform. And there are some cross-platform games in nature such as web-based game or the games played with emulator.

But still, a lot of games, they are targeting on Windows only. So, in order to enjoy those games, I give up trying with Wine (including PlayOnLinux), VirtualBox, QEMU, VMWare, CrossOver, etc. Because trying with these solutions, meaning that I have to sacrifice some performance. Moreover, some games are totally cannot work with these solutions.

Though I do not like Windows, I have to admit that I still need Windows, but for gaming purpose.

So, install a dual boot on your computer, enjoy the game when necessary.

PPSSPP and other game emulators


Not PSP, but PPSSPP. It is a PSP emulator. For a medium quality computer, playing with PS2 emulator is not that smooth. But PPSSPP is good enough to play the PSP games. And there is an Android port for PPSSPP, but only if your phone is strong enough to run the game.

Thanks to the open source and PPSSPP developers.

Other emulators which I like are VBA-M (a fork of inactive VisualBoy Advance), PCSX-Reload, PCSX2FCEUX, Snes9x, and DOSBox. But FCEUX, Snes9x, and DOSBox games are extremely antique.

Notetaking applications on Linux


Previously I mentioned about Evernote on WINE in Linux. It works fine. Some minor problems I faced are upgrading Evernote requires re-install, because of the WINE compatibility with the installer, and Chinese characters are not viewable at the note list, and restricted monthly upload limit. That is why, I am looking for alternative solutions.

The followings are the notetaking applications I tried briefly,

  • Basket Note Pad – Very fancy. Uses XML and text files.
  • Tomboy Note, Gnote – Android version, Tomdroid notes. Cannot insert picture.
  • Xournal – Doesn’t look like notetaking application I am looking for.
  • Zim – Wiki format. Still active.
  • NixNote – Using Evernote server.
  • KJots – Does not run properly in my computer.
  • WizNote – Requires sign up. It has web clipper and Android port.
  • KeepNote – Uses XML.

Among these notetaking applications, most interesting one is Zim. It can insert a lot of things including picture, screenshot, equation, code, etc. It also allows using tagging. The wiki format is better than XML, since it is just a very plain text file. This mean, I can synchronise my notes over my other devices using the service such as Dropbox, and open the file as long as I have text editor. Editing XML with text editor is not a good idea. The only thing Zim is lacking of is the web clipper and a full port to Android. But this is really a powerful tool, more than notetaking.

Favourite less popular Linux applications


This is just a sharing about my favourite software applications which are less popular comparing to others.

Linux distribution: Arch Linux vs Ubuntu, Linux Mint.
Reason: Highly customisable.

Desktop environment: Xfce4 vs GNOME, KDE, Cinnamon, Mate.
Reason: Traditional desktop look, lightweight yet feature-rich.

Programmer text editor: jEdit, Emacs vs Sublime Text, Atom
Reason: jEdit – Cross-platform, unlimited window split
Reason: Emacs – Cool!

Text editor: medit
Reason: Tab view, start by opening last opened files.

Video player: SMPlayer vs VLC
Reason: Subtitles look better. Can open various file formats including RMVB.

Video editor: Shotcut vs Pitivi, Handbrake (video transcoder)
Reason: Easier to split or resize the video.

Audio player: Audacious vs Banshee, Rhythmbox
Reason: I don’t like library concept. I just want to play the musics I like by drag-and-drop from my file manager.

Image browser/organizer: XnViewMP vs F-Spot, Shotwell
Reason: I don’t like library concept as above. I just want to view my images from any folder that I stored by images/photos.

Image viewer: Viewnior
Reason: Can zoom in/out by mouse scroll, can move the photo view by mouse drag.

Chinese input method: Fcitx with RIME with self-written Wubi + Pinyin input method vs Fcitx Pinyin, IBus Pinyin, Sogou Pinyin
Reason: Fcitx works better when IBus was upgrading, so I stick to Fcitx. And RIME is just so customisable that I write my own input method.

Synchronize and backup: FreeFileSync
Reason: Best ever synchronize and backup software. I can’t find any alternative solution.

Application launcher: GNOME Do
Reason: I was using Executor in Windows. And just use any replacement on Linux, and now I get this.

File browser: Nemo vs Nautilus (GNOME file manager), Dolphin, Thunar (Xfce4 default file browser)
Reason: Previously using Nautilus, but when it introduced type as search, then I prefer the older feature, that is why I stick to Nemo.

Calculator: SpeedCrunch
Reason: I prefer expression calculator. And it is cross-platform.

FREEMAKE VIDEO CONVERTER


let me tell you… “freemake video converter” is a superb piece of software man~~~~~~~~
why do I use that??
1. I wanted to rip my VCD (DVD, I’ve not tried yet, I think…) so that I can play on USB on my smartTV, it did the job,
2. then, I’ve some old pieces of japanese drama VCD, again, I’d like to join some of the rmvb files and so on… again, it did the job, the output was pretty big (though not THAT big) size though, and it’s mp4, but then, it served the purpose, my aim was to join the movie files…
3. now, I want to convert my .flac audio files to .mp3, again… it’s doing its job…
seriously… and it’s FREE… what else can be better? I’ve tried a few other piece of software, they’re either too complicated to use,
or, they’re NOT FREE!!!
cheers…

Emacs vs Vim


Previously I created a table for Vim and Emacs hotkeys. And there is always an editor war between Emacs and Vim.

Recently, I am learning to use Emacs more. Before this, I learnt Vim. This is because vi is a very common text editor in Linux/Unix. Even busybox also contains vi. Thus, I think Vim is the improved version of the essential text editor, which I should learn.

But after watching the Bloomerg video of Linus Torvalds interview, I decided to learn more about Emacs. Besides that, because of using gdb debugger, command-line interface is really infeasible, I tried TUI (text user interface). But the source code buffer (view) sometimes causes overlay text and cannot refresh. Finally, I used Emacs for gdb debugging. Moreover, recently I read a post, it mentions that Emacs can be used as window manager. And, Emacs can be used to play games (I never try this). This indicates the unimaginable potentiality of a text editor.

So, my conclusion is that, Emacs is very powerful text editor, the usage range from text editor to IDE and any other things. But this depends on how a user wants to use it.

(I also found that starting Emacs is slower than Vim.)