Tuesday, March 31, 2020

TimeTool Update

After a very long time, I've updated Cratchit.org TimeTool.

To be sure, for the longest time I didn't update it because it simply did what I wanted. However, it was looking pretty dated on new platforms and was no longer being rendered properly. So... update.

DESCRIPTION

A quick description for those who haven't seen or used the tool:

Basically, Cratchit.org TimeTool allows you to list a number of tasks or projects that you're working on and simply accrue time to one of them at a time by pointing at it.  People simply think they can multitask. In fact, they task-switch; and that's what TimeTool keeps track of: where your is attention focused. If, like me, you work in an environment where you have to bill time to multiple tasks, that's exactly what you need.

REVISIONS AND FEATURES

The new version has moved from Delphi to Lazarus, and adds just a few features:
  • The controls are all rendered properly on modern platforms.
  • Only one instance can run at a time. This prevents you from accidentally trashing a data file.
  • There is now a time calculator. I have a rather good physical calculator that does that, but the thing is over 40 years old, and I wanted the convenience of having it right there on the tool where I'll be recording the results. TimeTool's calculator is actually three in one:
    • Durations: Put two durations in (Days, Hours, Minutes, Seconds), and the calculator will add or subtract them. Or put in a single duration (Time1) and it will multiply or divide it as you direct.
    • Time and Date: You can add or subtract a duration to/from a calendar date and see where it winds up on the calendar.
    • Time Between Dates: Put in two calendar datetimes and it will calculate the difference.
  • Calculator results can be copy-and-pasted.
As before, 
  • There is no setup. Just extract the zip and run the appropriate executable.
  • There's none of this "clocking in" and "clocking out" nonsense. The clock is running, or it isn't. If it's running, just point to the task you're working on and it will start accruing time there. Doing something else...? Point to the new task. That's all. It's also handy for keeping track of overhead: just make a task for it.
  • Data is automatically saved when the program is closed. 
  • The tool will accrue time even if the computer is turned off. The saved data file records whether it was accruing time when you closed the program, and will calculate the time elapsed until you start it again. You can start a task and shut down, reboot... whatever. It will still keep accurate time.
  • You can save your data to CSV for use in your favorite spreadsheet. This makes it pretty easy to keep up with your work when you prepare timesheets for submission or prepare invoices.
  • It's a tool, not your boss. You can edit times freely.
  • Help is included.

SCREENSHOTS

Main Screen

Duration Calculator

Time and Date Calculator

Time Between Dates Calculator

DOWNLOAD

For now, just get it from my Dropbox. I'll prepare a permanent home for it shortly.

Executable. This zip archive contains binaries for both Windows (64-bit) and Linux:

Source code (Lazarus - Free Pascal):

And of course, this is free software licensed under the GNU General Public License.

Enjoy.




ZenerCards

Here's a little 'stupid pet trick' to help keep you occupied during the COVID-19 quarantine.

ZenerCards

From Wikipedia:

"Zener cards are cards used to conduct experiments for extrasensory perception (ESP) or clairvoyance. Perceptual psychologist Karl Zener (1903–1964) designed the cards in the early 1930s for experiments conducted with his colleague, parapsychologist J. B. Rhine (1895–1980).[1][2] The original series of experiments have been discredited and replication has proved elusive."
The original experiments were rightly discredited for a number of reasons. For instance, the deck had only 25 cards. As you move through the deck, it becomes more and more easy to predict what's left. Also, a physical deck exhibits wear and tear, eventually making it possible to determine which cards are which by touch alone. Finally, it's possible to 'read' the body language of an associate giving the test.

This program addresses most of these concerns. The cards are randomly chosen as if from an infinite deck. Shuffling is not a concern, and the psuedo-random number generator of a computer is truly unpredictable. There are no physical cards to read. The only thing left is the body-language of a tester administering the telepathy test, and that can be done by putting a barrier of some sort between the tester and the subject.

ZenerCards performs three kinds of test:

  1. Predictive. You select a card (via single-click) and the program then selects a card. They're then compared.
  2. Clairvoyance. The computer first selects a card, then you select one, trying to match what the computer's already. They're then compared.
  3. Telepathy. This requires two people. The computer selects a card and shows it to the tester. The subject (who is positioned as not to see the computer screen) then tries to read the mind of the tester. He announces his choice and the tester records the answer.

This program doesn't log results or anything of the kind. If anything, casual experimentation with the program will reveal that such features would be overkill. Scientists typically categorize these abilities as "pathological science", as there has been no solid evidence of their existence. But who knows? You might be the first. Try it.

It should look OK on your computer, but you can make it look better by installing the following fonts:

  • Arial
  • Santa's Sleigh Full
  • URW Chancery L

Here's how it looks in Linux with the suggested fonts.



DOWNLOAD

For now you can just grab it from my Dropbox.
There is no setup. It's only a single executable file.

LINUX: 
ZenerCards_linux_bin_1-0-3.tar.gz

WINDOWS (64-bit): 
ZenerCards_win64_bin_1-0-3.zip

SOURCE CODE:
ZenerCards_source_all_platforms.zip


Of course, this is free software licensed under the GNU General Public License.

Enjoy!