I make most of my money writing software. From time to time I need a utility program which I can’t find elsewhere, so I write it. Here are some that I use all of the time, and that you might find useful.
I’m always interested in unusual programming challenges: let me know if you need assistance with custom software.
BTW, most of these programs will not work well if you have Large Fonts enabled on your desktop…
I write all of my software in Borland’s Delphi (Pascal for Windows). Unfortunately, this software will not run on the Mac or under any Unix variants unless you can provide a 32-bit Windows emulation box in which it can live.
Some people have experienced problems downloading the files below. The downloads terminate prematurely and the resulting files are corrupted. If you want any of the software but are unable to download it, please
email me at "jon at jonbondy dot com" and tell me which software you want and I will send it to you by email.
I often find myself filling in the same forms with the same values, over and over again. Whether it’s an address or boilerplate for something I’m writing, I kept needing a way to grab the same text, over and over again, quickly.
The Clipper program stuffs text into the clipboard. You create a text file (like ADDRESS.TXT), enter some text into the file (like your name, address, phone, email, etc), and then tell the Clipper program about that file. The result is a series of buttons, one for each text file, which stuffs the clipboard with a single mouse click.
You can download the Clipper program files
here (300 KB). Just unzip the files into a new folder and you're all set.
Duplicate Picture Finder
At one point, I felt as if I had too many pictures on my computer. I wondered how many of the pictures were duplicates, copied from place to place thoughtlessly. I wrote the Duplicate Picture Finder program to try to cull out the duplicates. This program will not only find exact duplicates, it can find near-duplicates. This means that two pictures that are the same, but differ in brightness can be matched. It can also match two pictures which differ only slightly (say two pictures of the same person in the same pose (more or less), only with their head turned).
Once the duplicates are matched, you can move or delete the duplicates.
You can download the Duplicate Picture Finder program
here (820 KB).
I had a favorite image viewer when I used Windows 3.1. It ran under Windows 95 and Windows 98, but Windows 2000 seemed to kill it dead. I re-wrote it from scratch.
The main focus is on displaying images quickly, wasting as little screen real estate as possible on program controls. I then added what I thought were the minimal tools I needed to “tweak” pictures. That “minimal” list became quite large after a while.
You can crop the image by dragging the mouse from one edge of the crop to the other. You can pan the image with the right mouse button.
The most useful features are the “Make White” and “Make Black/White” features. In the former case, you click on a single point which you know to have been white originally: the program makes it white. This usually makes any image much more “punchy”. It also has the side effect of removing color casts in a single click. Here is a before-and-after sequence: it took three clicks to make these changes:
The “Make Black/White” feature allows you specify white and black spots on the image, and the brightness and contrast are calculated automatically.
This is the program I use the most: I use it all of the time.
You can download the Image Viewer program
here (600 KB). Just unzip the files into a new folder and you're all set.
Stirling Engine Simulators
You may have read about my interest in Stirling (hot air) engines. My friend Ralph Lemnah and I have designed and built a few of them, but before we started cutting chips, I wrote some simulators, just to get a feel for the physics involved. These are not sophisticated simulations, but they can help one understand how Stirling engines work. Lots of graphs showing temperatures and pressures, while the engine animation moves around: cute. A bit of a work in progress: there are a few rough edges here. Simulations for the Ringbom, Gamma, and Rider configurations are provided.
You can download the Stirling Engine Simulators program
here (2 MB)
The above simulators are “uncalibrated”. That is, the dimensions are not given in inches, or meters; they are dimensionless. Because of this, the power output is not in watts or horsepower: it is dimensionless. This makes the simulations interesting, but not useful for engineering.
I created a more accurate simulation for Ringbom engines, based on the work of James Senft. You can download that program
Engine Tachometer and Dynamometer
This is a specialty item, but if you have a working Stirling engine and need to monitor its speed (RPM); or need to balance the engine; or need to measure the power generated by the engine, then this software may be useful to you. Given an old CD-ROM, two resistors, a cheap mail order sensor, and a little fabrication time, you can use any computer with a microphone input to acquire and display this kind of data. This program is working, but not yet validated. That is, I presume it to provide accurate output, but no one has been able to confirm this for me. Please download the software, read the Help file, and let me know what you think.
You can download the Tachometer/Dynamometer program
here (1.5 MB)
Steganography is the science of hiding information. Traditionally, this has been the province of spies and counter spies. I started playing with this when I ran across what appeared to be a hidden message in an image I was viewing. The program I wrote is not a useful tool for spies, but it will help you understand a few ways information can be hidden in images. You will be able to send secret messages to your friends when you are finished, for all the good it will do you.
You can download the Steganography program
here (1.2 MB).
Multi-File Text Editor
Every text editor can edit multiple files, so what's the big deal here? Allow me to explain.
I recently created a fairly complex web site, from scratch, using a text editor. Yeah, I know that there
are nice web page creation tools that can do all kinds of nifty things for me, but I find that writing
the HTML directly using a text editor works best for me.
The consequence of this was that I found myself editing some 30 or 40 files, and often many of them at
one time. My usual style, to work on one page until it is "done", and then work on the next, was foiled
by those with whom I was working. I ended up making many modifications to many pages for many, many days.
Some of the modifications were complex, and required that I use my "best" text editor, JOE (Jon's Own Editor),
a variant on the UCSD ASE (Advanced Systems Editor), which was in turn a variant on a Unix editor (perhaps
VI, but I'm not sure about that). But some of the changes were trivial, but had to be done on 20 files.
What I found was that just opening and closing the files was taking more time than the edits! I wrote this
program to solve that problem. You specify a directory in which your text files reside, along with a list
of the file extensions (TXT, HTM, HTML, JS, etc) that you wish to edit. The program locates all of the
files of the specified types in the specified directory, and presents them to you as a list. Whenever you
click on a file name, that file is opened for editing. Any time you switch from one file to another, all
changes are saved, automatically. Click, type, click, type. Very, very fast, for this particular situation.
There are a few refinements (a flag that tells you when a file has been modified, and thus will be written;
a button to cancel the automatic writes; a button to force a write, etc), but that's the basic story.
zip file, unzip the file into any directory, and run it. That's all there is to it!
Thumb Drive Tester
I bought an 8 GB thumb drive, and had lots of problems with it (write files on computer A, try to read them on computer B, discover the folders and files were corrupted somehow). I contected the manufacturer, asking if they had software to test it. To my surprise, they said that they had no way to test the device. They just wanted me to ship it back to them. Stupid wabbit!
So, I wrote a program to test the thumb drive, of course.
zip file, unzip the file into any directory, and run it. That's all there is to it!