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Travis Dawry @tdawry In spreadsheets you see the data but the code sits behind it.
In a programming language you see the code but the data sits behind it.

Antiporn Software

Qustodio is what we've used.

Antivirus Software

I am trying out the free version of Bitdefender on the HP. Norton has a cheap first year and then a very high second year.


  • Are computer scientists taught the basic principles?


  • When people say an app is easy to use, they often mean it is easy for *them* to use. For example, maybe to send a message, you just press CTRL-ZA. The problem is, it's very hard to use unless you know the secret commands like that, and there's no manual, and HELP is useless.


Text Messages via Email

*If the phone number is 123-456-7890, the email address would be [email protected]  for Twigby

Email Tracking

CloudHQ is good.


  • To create emails lists, open up the separate app GOOGLE CONTACTS. Then Choose CREATE LABEL. Create it. Then go to IMPORT. Check the box of the label you want to add emails too. Then choose CREATE MULTIPLE CONTACTS. Then cut and paste a list of email addresses into the window that opens up.


Google added an obnoxious "Related Searches" feature at the bottom of every search, which cuts out 1/4 of your searches on the page and gives you useless suggestions for different things to search for that are never relevant. To get your search screen real estate back, you can go to, then to Settings at the bottom of the page, find Search Customization, I think it is, and then turn off the evil feature.

Hard Disk Space Analyzers

Wiztree is amazingly fast and good. It is free.

Software for Writing

  • MathPix will turn pdf's into Latex and is very good.

Music software

Musescore is good freeware.

Writing Apps


OCR, processing image into Text

  • FreeOCR is quite acceptable. It loses paragraphing, but turns multi-page pdf into plain text. TechRadar has a good review of OCR software, paid and then free at the end.


  • 5 Best Free PDF Readers and Viewers for Windows 10 in 20197th March 2019 by Manish Sahay is a good review. Adobe itself is an unpleasant company that writes bad software and has moved its pdf-writing software on line, probably to better rip off customers and harvest their information. Their reader is purposely limited and unsatisfactory and they write poor software anyway. I've tried Foxit and been disappointed for some reason, and PDF-XChange Editor was bad enough for some reason I forget that I decided it wasn't minimally satisfactory. Sumatra is very clean, but requires CTRL-mouse if you want to select text. So i have settled on STDU Viewer, at
  • NitroReader and MS Edge are treacherous when dealing with pdf forms, doing weird stuff to the contents.

04 Feb 2020 Jason Baker (Red Hat) Feed Seth Kenlon (Red Hat)

  • Libreoffice seems to be good. It does a great job of printing *.docx files to *.pdf. It was easy to install and it's freeware, opensource.
  • PDFEncrypt, a simple little opensource app to put a password on a pdf file.

Operating Systems


Organization and Filing

I like Wikimedia. Aaron Laws writes: I use git for that. . I don't know what that means, though.

Scheduling Meetings

  • I briefly found good. It is, utterly simple and effective, but as of January 2022 it requires all users to download obnoxious software, so it is bad. Doodle is too hard to use too. For meetings of 4 to 6 people, simply emailing them all with a list of meeting times is best. All the software available seems to be Overfeatured.

Meeting Video Apps like Zoom

  • Software pundit has a good survey of 5 of them. Google Meet is easy to use and has an hour-long limit on the free plan. For a whiteboard, it uses something like Google Docs. Google Docs is a good alternative to the Zoom whiteboard too.

QR Codes

To make your own QR code with your name, phone number, email, website etc. taht will go right into Cellphone contacts, go to the free site: This site makes it very easy. Another site is .

Social Media Apps


  • Buffer is very good for posting to Twitter and, to a lesser extend, Facebook. It does other, picture, social media apps too.
  • Buffer does not allow posting to ordinary Facebook posts. It does allow posting to a Facebook "page", taht does not show up in people's feeds but does show up on your home page. The best thing might be to use Buffer to post to that, and then repost to the feed manually occasionally.
  • Buffer Stories Creator is not useful for me. It is for use with Instagram, etc. I guess it puts text into image format.


  • Buffer does not allow posting to ordinary Facebook posts. It does allow posting to a Facebook "page", taht does not show up in people's feeds but does show up on your home page. The best thing might be to use Buffer to post to that, and then repost to the feed manually occasionally.
  • Facebook "stories" can be edited on a phone, in theory, but I couldn't find correct instructions fro doing it on a computer. I don't think Buffer will work posting to a "story", but I didn't try hard.


Statistics Apps

Which Stats App Should You Learn?

I have learned a little R and don't like its style. It is free and opensource and can do lots of things, whcih is good, and statisticians use it most ofa nything. Economists use STATA most, which is better for regressions and more user-friendly for everything. It isn't open-source, but it has lots of user-programmed routines, so it isn't going to get competed out of busienss. What I would like to move to for everything is Python. It is free but isn't used as much for regression and deosn't have as fancy commands, but it is more pleasant to use than R. That is one advantage, but its biggest one is that Python is an all-purpose language like Fortran or Pascal or C++. You do simulations with it, or webscraping, or symbolic algebra (like Mathematica), of matrix operations (like Matlab), it is easy to install, and I can teach my 7th graders how to have fun with it, even the ones who can't convert Celsius to Fahrenheit.


  • Google Photos will crop video on the Iphone, but not on the laptop or Android, it seems.

Converting from one video format to another

  • HD Video Converter Factory, which only allow you 5 minute videos in the free version. But if it's conversion from phone video, that may be OK.


  • The Downloads file is at c:/erasmuse-l/Downloads
  • To refer to a file with spaces in its name in the command line, use double quotes, e.g. "My file is this.pdf", not My file is this.pdf.
  • Large files need deleting via the command line, not in the usual file directory app. Type cmd into the upper right corner to get the black terminal box.

Worse Is Better

I wish Android, Facebook, and Windows would realize that most of us like their product as it is, and any new feature is (a) almost surely undesirable, and (b) too distracting to be worth learning about evne if it had some slight positive value. See "Worse is better" in Wikipedia.