trms links #3

  • Music for Programming – a nice collection of tunes to program, study, or write to. I’ve found a small number of them to be sort of distracting, but overall great collection. They also provide a torrent file to download them for offline consumption.
  • OneTab Browser Extension – I don’t know how this extension didn’t come under my radar before. It takes all of your open tabs and makes a list of links, this list being in a tab itself. You can then reorganize these lists and even share them with people. Totally recommended.
  • Wikipedia – Random Featured Article – Wikipedia’s ‘random’ function is great to discover novelties, but most of the times you’ll just get a maybe paragraph-long, underdeveloped article. With this link, you make sure your random query only picks from featured articles. Here’s also a link for good articles.
  • David Seah’s Compact Calendar – I’ve been using this calendar for four years. As the new year comes around, you need a calendar. And sure, the one on our computers is great for day-to-day business, but you also need (I think) a holistic view of the year to come. This is where this calendar comes into play. It fits in a letter-size/A4 piece of paper, and it’s a great way to take a look at the year as a whole.

Track your Intermittent Fasting with Zero

Occasionally, you come across an app which does exactly what it promises, and does it so well you don’t feel like it should improve in pretty much any way. For me, right now, that app is Zero. It’s free, for iOS and Android. I am not affiliated in any way with the app or its makers.

Now, I won’t go into the merits of intermittent fasting, as that’s not really what this blog is about. However if you do subscribe to that practice, this is the app to have on your phone. The app itself is very simple, consisting of only four tabs.

First, you get to pick the type of fast you’d like to track. You can choose between a number of pre-made ones or make your own. Chances are what you’re looking for is already there.

Then, you have the quite self-explanatory timer itself. Start it and end it together with your fast. Given the type of fast you’ve chosen in the previous screen, you can choose to get a notification when your fast is done, so that you can start to eat again. You can also get one after each hour you fast beyond your initial goal.

I especially like the Apple Watch-inspired “circle” design: there’s just something about closing circles that clicks with me.

One handy functionality is the fact that you can change the starting time of your fast after the fact.1 This is useful, for instance, when you start your fast away from your phone. I’d just look at the clock and remember to edit it later on.

On the “History” tab you can see, well, your fasting history, but more interestingly also a bunch of statistics. You can also set it to read your weight from the Health app, if you wish to see it here too.

Almost all of the stats on this page are designed to nudge you to fast with more regularity. While the app does not “punish” you with aggressive design like red bars and Xs when your fast can’t successfully reach your goal, it does show it as gray on the graph, which is objectively a worse color than green. This, coupled with always seeing your longest fast and streak, makes you want to go faster, better, and stronger.

Lastly, the least-used tab (for me at least) is “Learn,” which contains a number of articles related to fasting and eating well in general. Now that I say it like that, I feel like I should probably start checking it out more often.

And that’s pretty much all there’s to it. That’s why I like it. The elephant in the room, for me at least, is how is this app financially viable? They don’t seem to really talk about it on their website, but one can assume the answer lies in the fact that users need to sign up for a (free) account in order to use the app. Would I rather pay a sum upfront for the ability to use it completely offline and without an account? Definitely. Overall though, the app itself feels smooth, it has an inviting and soft design and, most importantly, got me to fast with more regularity than ever before, which is why I recommend it.

Zero on the App Store and Google Play.

trms links #2

Here’s some more cool stuff from the Internet.

  • GTD in 15 minutes. The world of productivity on the internet is full of snake oil. There is a method, however, which is simple and has found success with many, me included. This website explains David Allen’s Getting Things Done method quickly, for free, with no tricks or things to sell you.
  • SankeyMATIC Beta. Sankeys are these graphs, like the one on the right. This website allows you to create one in a relatively quick and easy manner. They’re a good way to confirm your suspicions about where your money went this month.
  • The TeX FAQ List. I had a lot of fun a little ago writing this post about how to get started with LaTeX for beginners. This link is right up that alley, as the TeX FAQ List is, as you might surmise, a rather comprehensive list of all questions a (La)TeX user might have, answered in a clear and easy to understand way.
  • I Love PDF is a website I come back to time and time again. Anything you might want or need to do with PDF files, such as splitting, merging, or converting them, you can do there, for free. Sure, there are offline solutions, but this is pretty convenient.
  • OmniAtlas. I love maps. I love history. For people like me, OmniAtlas is a feast for the eyes, with plenty (currently 747!) of historical maps. Get on it.

trms links #1

A collection of interesting things I find around the Internet.

Tech

  • nanoc, a simple, lightweight, open-source, extensible framework for small static sites and blogs
  • miraheze.org. Ever wished you could have your own Wikipedia? You can easily and for free at Miraheze, with no catch and no ads.
  • keybr. Touch typing is arguably among the must-have skills in the modern age. Keybr teaches you how to do that and provides you with a way to practice your speed, at any level. I’ve used it for literally hours. (proof)

Knowledge

  • Our World in Data, in-depth research about our world (literally!) using data. Their blog is immensely insightful and one I highly recommend following.
  • Books by People at Edge.org. Unsure about what to read next? This is a constantly-updated list of books written by people at Edge.org, researchers who are leaders in their field. (including Richard Dawkins, Jared Diamond, Steven Pinker, and more.)