The switch is (almost) complete

For the last few days I’ve been using a 15″ Surface Book 2 that has replaced my 15″ 2015 MacBook Pro.

The keyboard is GREAT (poor design choice: dark grey lettering on light grey key caps, barely readable at least for someone with a poor eyesight like myself, but I don’t stare at my keyboard all day long, I type on it); the screen is amazing (gorgeous, and bright, exactly what I needed); the detachable tablet do not have an amazing battery life but I knew that, and it is so fucking great to use. Also, The Microsoft pen may not be as cool looking as Apple’s but does it feels great for writing.

The machine itself is dead silent under normal load, and the fans are not “whiny” at all when they spin (not tested under heavy load, though): they make a very low sound barely audible, if at all, in a quiet room. Edit: the Trackpad (which is great to use, almost as good as Apple’s) is noisy when clicking it.

You guessed it, so far I’m quite impressed. It’s not all love of course (most glitches being software related), I’ll probably publish more on that later on. Meanwhile, I’ve some writings to do on this cool device.

Notepads, at last a modern Notepad alternative

Screenshot of my desktop with Notepads displaying the draft of this blog post. Using Dark Mode.

Notepads is not an alternative to Visual Studio Code, but it’s a great alternative to Notepad, Windows 10 default text editor. An alternative that Microsoft should have offered a long time ago, imo.

It’s open source, it’s fast and it sports a modern UI (aka a clean and simple interface, supporting Dark mode, with tabs). And Markdown support is planned too, btw.

It’s available as a beta on GitHub, but I have had no issue for the week or so I’ve been using it.


Fast Audio Output Switching With Windows 10 May Update

One of the things I never liked under Windows 10—not to say I hate it—is the audio management. It’s too easy to screw things up, and it’s a pain to use be it to manage multiple audio sources (something I often need while I’m streaming: mixing my microphone, plus Discord, music and, of course, the game’s audio itself), or just to switch rapidly between my speakers and headset.

Or so I thought.

I don’t know if it is something that has been added in the latest May update or if it was already there, but I just noticed that it is as easy to select an audio output on Windows 10 than it is on macOS:

  1. Click the sound icon in the Taskbar,
  2. Then, click the little arrow on the right of the actual output source to select another one in the Select playback device list.
  3. Done.

That’s really cool! Now I can easily send my audio through my headset or to the speakers.

The only remaining issue is the lack of meaning of the names in this list. The “Speakers (3 – USB Audio Device)” is just my USB headset 😉

Edit: As Antoine pointed out, it is possible  to rename your devices. Go to Settings-> Sound Settings. Select the device you want to rename in the drop down, and then click Device properties:

Invert colors in a video

Since 2010 or so, most if not all the Collège de France lectures are freely available as video recordings. It’s an amazing resource that can be watched online, or downloaded for a more comfortable experience—if you’re on Paris the entry to any lecture is free too, btw.

Alas if, like me, you can’t read black text on a light background it can be a pain to read the many slides in their videos.

Excerpt from Jean-Luc Fournet’s lecture « Le calame et la croix : la christianisation de l’écrit et le sort de la culture classique dans l’Antiquité tardive »

I could easily invert all colours on screen (making white black, and black white) using Windows (or macOS) accessibility tools, but that’d screw up my own Dark mode setup that’s working great for me 99% of the time, and I don’t want that. I just want to invert the video itself.

Here is a neat little trick that works well with a video player called Scorpio Player for Windows (it’s not free but it’s very often on sale on the Microsoft Store, @ $2.99):

In Scorpio Player, right-click the video and go to Graphic -> Effect Manager.

Check Invert and, bam, the video is now inverted.

Not that great for our poor lecturer, but so much better to read its slides 😉

Updating Windows Without Waiting?

The way Microsoft releases Windows updates means you are not certain to get them as soon as they are available: Windows own update tool will simply not see the update for as long as Microsoft don’t think you have to.

If you don’t want to wait, install Windows 10 Update Assistant, a free tool from from Microsoft that’ll install the latest update as soon as you run it, no matter what.

Microsoft has made installing Python much easier

Now, if you type in “python” or “python3” in the Windows 10 May 2019 Update search box, you’ll be taken directly to the Microsoft Store app if Python isn’t yet installed (once Python is installed, typing “python” opens a command prompt running Python

Source: Learning to code? With Windows 10 May 2019 Update, Microsoft has made installing Python much easier

For years, the Terminal has been one of the things that made me appreciate OS X/macOS so much as an operating system. Giving me access to powerful command line tools that I could customize to suits my own needs, while embedding them in a damn good operating system that was so well thought, and that wasn’t ugly.

Windows may not be the cool kid yet, but Microsoft is doing some serious work in this regard: this new Python installer (which is working great), VSCode (which is my default editor), Linux running natively on Windows, a great new Terminal (video demo), open sourcing more and more of their own apps. And so on.

Fences, a nice utility to (de)organize your Desktop at will, that could easily be made amazing

I won’t go into the details of everything Fences can do, here is a short video from its developers, showing all of its features:

What I mostly use it for is to have my desktop always clean-or-messy, and as a shortcut to whatever project I’m working on. Let me explain. Continue reading Fences, a nice utility to (de)organize your Desktop at will, that could easily be made amazing

Disappearing icons in the Start menu?

Do you have Tiles missing their icon in your Start menu? I do, all the time. Making the Start menu slightly less useful:

The good news is that there is a simple workaround. The bad news is that you still need it, after all these years—it’s so irking it feels like the bug has been around for a million years or so.

Continue reading Disappearing icons in the Start menu?