A Minimalist but Powerful PDF Reader: Xodo

Xodo comes with every tool and feature I need:

  • Annotation tools (pen, underline, highlight, comments), that work great with the Surface Pen,
  • Basic page editing: reorder, delete or add pages to a PDF. No heavy editing tools, though. If you need to edit the content of a page, or use an OCR on it, it can’t,
  • It has a Modern UI,
  • It fully respects Windows 10’s dark theme,
  • It’s lightweight and fast,
  • It can be used in a true full screen mode,
  • It’s totally free: no ads, no in-app purchases, nada!

Just get if from the Microsoft Store.

One thing that has always bothered me though, is the screen real estate wasted by tabs and the menu bar. But there is something, I’ve just discovered: you can hide it!

Continue reading A Minimalist but Powerful PDF Reader: Xodo

A Surface Book with a Matte Screen?

I’ve never been a fan of glossy screens. I have been cursing at Apple the day the introduced glossy screens on their iMac lineup, and then on their MacBook Pro line too. Because what Apple does will eventually—and have since then been—copied by the rest of the industry.

So we now have amazingly color-accurate screens that are also mirror like and riddled with distracting light reflections. Everywhere.

Of course, this is a totally subjective opinion. Glossy screens are not worse or better per se. But I can’t stand them, as it makes seeing what’s on screen much more difficult for me, with my already bad eyesight. And what’s making things worse is that we almost have no choice anymore: it’s glossy or nothing. Even more so when you’re looking for non 16:9 laptops.

In that regard, the Surface Book 2’s screen is very reflective, much more than, say, my 15” retina MacBook Pro was. Since I’ve started using the Surface, it has been a constant problem for me. So I did the same thing I did with my glossy MacBook Pro, I put a matte screen protector that, once again, did its magic.

Continue reading A Surface Book with a Matte Screen?

Quickly Create a Focused Workspace

My desk is a mess, so is my desktop.

A screenshot of my desktop filled with various windows, plus the ebook I'm reading opened on top of them all. A mess.And that is only one of my two screens. I fill the other one with Sticky Notes, OneNote, the spreadsheet where I outline my work, and a couple other stuff.

But even if I thrive in a such a mess, I often like to focus on a single task, be it reading, or writing, or whatever. At those times, I don’t like having any mess around me on my screen.

I could use virtual desktops, or I could Win+D to hide everything save the wallpaper, and then only show the app I’m working with. But there is a simpler, more focused, and much faster solution. Continue reading Quickly Create a Focused Workspace

Add a Period After Pressing the Spacebar Twice

Typing a period after each sentence is something the computer should do for me. It’s something a Mac will do: I press the spacebar twice and, bam, I get a period. No need to use the stupid “Shift+;” on my azerty keyboard.

Windows 10 can do it too, with a little help.

Continue reading Add a Period After Pressing the Spacebar Twice

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.

(Source)

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.