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Some handy links

  • http://www.openculture.com/ - Hyperlinks to free cultural and educational media: eBooks, videos and movies, free online courses, textbooks, language learning sites, music and public domain recordings.
  • www.refdesk.com - older portal to reference info: govt info, biographies, encyclopedia, science, health, press, genealogy, quotations, science, databases galore
  • Christian Books - If you'd rather not order from Amazon, try this
  • Slashdot.org - Visit regularly to see the latest in tech news

Language study items

  • Drill Assistant - An old but free program that helps you study and quiz yourself. Essentially, it works like this: in your word processor, you pair up questions and answers. They could be Greek words and English equivalents, States and Capitals, Kings and the dates they reigned, Book Titles and Authors, Elements and Abbreviations, anything. (This program does support font changes, so you can use it for language study if you want to.)

    There are 3 different ways of drilling: (1) Display question and press [spacebar] to see answer, (2) Multiple choice, or (3) Fill-in-the-blank. I used it to drill myself on Greek Manuscripts (A, B, C, D, ...) and their longer Latin names (Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, Ephraemi Rescriptus, Beza, ...)

File Comparison Tools

  1. Winmerge - A free and open source difference tool for Windows. I use this tool regularly and often. It shows differences between two individual files or two folders, or two folder trees, so it can handle recursive branches and sub-branches containing thousands of files. It also has filters to avoid matches at the file level, or to avoid selecting or trying to match certain files, based on filename. If you use a source control versioning system (like git or subversion), it can also ignore the hidden directories created by these tools.
  2. Ediff - Ediff is a not a standalone utility, it's a function that runs under Emacs. If space is not a factor, it's worth installing and learning Emacs just to run Ediff. Ediff is the most powerful file-comparison utility I have ever seen. For example, this screenshot shows Ediff comparing 2 files. The first paragraph of each file has the lines reformatted to a different width, but with the reformatting, there is no textual change except for one word. Ediff shows the margination-only reformatting in one color, and each word change in another color.

    Ediff can also take two files which are similar, display the differences between them, and then automatically create a third "merged" file which contains all the identical content of both files, while highlighting areas where the two files are different. With one-key commands, you can select parts of File1 and other parts of File2 to put into the output file. (See this screenshot.) If you change your mind, you can undo changes, reverse changes, and edit the merge file at any time while you are paging through either of the first 2 files. This is really potent stuff! (For additional info, visit my Emacs Ediff page.)

  3. Beyond Compare is commercial software for Windows for comparing different directories (folders), FTP sites, individual files, or the contents of ZIP files. All comparison is done side-by-side, plus you can edit the files being changed. Beyond Compare will run for free for 30 days to let you evaluate it for purchase. If you decide to keep it, the price is $30.
  4. Araxis Merge is also commercial software for doing 2-way and 3-way file comparison, diff, merging, and also folder or directory comparison.
  5. KDiff3 is an open source, fully free diff and merge utility that has been compiled for Unix, Linux, Windows, and Mac OSX.
  6. Wikipedia has a large entry page comparing different types of free and commercial file and directory comparison tool. If you don't see what you like in the links above, try here.

Web and Internet tools

  • The Proxomitron - About 15 years ago, I used this constantly. Now I have not used it for years, but I use the link so I do not forget. The Proxomitron was web proxy that filtered and changed html, JavaScript, and anything sent to the browser. When active, it kills pop-up windows, kills most advertising banners, kills/limits automatic MIDI music (who remembers that!?), freezes animated .GIFs, kills slow web counters, kills GeoCities advertising banners, prevents getting stuck in frames, stops "Status Bar" scrolling, unhides destination links, kill frames, hide referrals from Javascript, much more. Check Wikipedia or look at at the Resources. However, plugins do much of the same work for Chrome or Firefox, and are easier to configure. But if you want to get under the hood ...
  • The Internet Archive - a/k/a "The Wayback Machine". Over 330 billion web pages, 20 million books, 4 million audio recordings, 4 million video recording, and more make this an incredible resource. The Wayback Machine portion shows how the web used to look. It contains an image of many web sites by month, date, and year. Wanna see what was posted on microsoft.com on Oct 22, 1996? This will show you!!

HTML development tools

  • Link Sleuth - fast, free tool for finding broken links on web pages
  • WebMake - Perl program, written under the GNU GPL, for building websites For developers only. I used to use it, once. Real gurus are using the Template Toolkit for generating web pages quickly, nowadays.
  • htmlpp - another HTML preprocessor, also written in Perl, and somewhat easier to use than WebMake. This is what I still use now. The author is the late Pieter Hintjens, a genius programmer.
  • PPWizard - PPWizard is another free HTML PreProcessor, only this one is written in REXX. It's very good and has better user and author support than either WebMake or htmlpp.

These pages created with GNU Emacs, xhtmlpp, Take Command, and Altap Salamander. Icons courtesy of Qbullets
Last modified: 2015-05-17