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Plaintext productivity on Windows

This guide is meant to document the things I have done, the software I have used, and the decisions I have made to be really fast and really well-organized at work, and to help prioritize and maintain focus on my current activities. One key decision, made for speed above all else, is to capture as much of my thinking and work in plaintext as I can. Thus the name: Plaintext Productivity

This article speaks my language, but does so to a corner of the software world that I don’t visit too often: Windows

Windows is a critical element in this system because it is hard to find good productivity software that runs on Windows, especially if you want to run it outside of a web browser. Windows, in my opinion, is far behind Mac OS X, iOS, and Android, in having thoughtfully designed and efficient software—both in general, and in particular for writing, organization, and task management

Ars Technica Icon Ars Technica

The best part of Windows 11 is basically Linux

Jim Salter writing for Ars Technica:

In our main Windows 11 review posted earlier this week, we covered the majority of new features and design decisions in Microsoft’s newest consumer OS—and it feels reasonable to characterize the overall impression given there as “lukewarm.” The good news is that we still hadn’t covered the best part of Windows 11: Linux.

If you could travel back in time and read this headline to college-me… I would’ve laughed you out of the room. Also, why didn’t you tell me about Bitcoin, ya jerk?! 😆


Windows 11 in React

This open source project is made in the hope to replicate the Windows 11 desktop experience on web, using standard web technologies like React, CSS (SCSS), and JS.

The project description says “in React”, but the source code is comprised of 93.5% CSS. I love this portion of the README that addresses why the author built it (I assume they get this question a lot).

WHY NOT? Why not just waste a week of your life creating a react project just to coverup your insecurities of how incompetent you are. Just Why not!

Windows 11 in React


WSLg brings Linux GUI apps to Windows in a fully integrated fashion

WSLg provides an integrated experience for developers, scientists or enthusiasts that prefer or need to run Windows on their PC but also need the ability to run tools or applications which works best, or exclusively, in a Linux environment. While users can accomplish this today using a multiple system setup, with individual PC dedicated to Windows and Linux, virtual machine hosting either Windows or Linux, or an XServer running on Windows and projected into WSL, WSLg provides a more integrated, user friendly and productive alternative.

WSLg strives to make Linux GUI applications feel native and natural to use on Windows. From integration into the Start Menu for launch to appearing in the task bar, alt-tab experience to enabling cut/paste across Windows and Linux applications, WSLg enables a seamless desktop experience and workflow leveraging Windows and Linux applications.

Microsoft’s engineers just keep crankin’ out the hits.

WSLg brings Linux GUI apps to Windows in a fully integrated fashion


The reverse engineer's toolkit

A pre-installed and pre-configured set of tools for folks interested in reverse engineering and/or malware analysis on Windows systems.

Obviously, you can download such tools from their own website and install them by yourself in a new VM. But if you download retoolkit, it can probably save you some time. Additionally, the tools come pre-configured so you’ll find things like x64dbg with a few plugins, command-line tools working from any directory, etc. You may like it if you’re setting up a new analysis VM.

Note they say “a new analysis VM”. Do NOT install this on anything but a virtual machine.


Fancy Zones is an envious tiling window manager for Windows

Fancy Zones is a window manager that is designed to make it easy to arrange and snap windows into efficient layouts for your workflow and also to restore these layouts quickly. Fancy Zones allows the user to define a set of window locations for a desktop that are drag targets for windows. When the user drags a window into a zone, the windows is resized and repositioned to fill that zone.

I want this in my life. Anybody know of a similar tool for macOS?

Fancy Zones is an envious tiling window manager for Windows


Windows system utilities to maximize productivity

Inspired by the Windows 95 era PowerToys project, this reboot provides power users with ways to squeeze more efficiency out of the Windows 10 shell and customize it for individual workflows. A great overview of the Windows 95 PowerToys can be found here.

This is a star-it-for-later post, since the repo won’t contain the source code until “Summer 2019”.

The Verge Icon The Verge

Microsoft unveils Windows Terminal

Microsoft is launching a new command line app for Windows, dubbed Windows Terminal. It’s designed to be the central location for access to environments like PowerShell, Cmd, and the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). Microsoft is adding multiple tab support alongside theming and customization for developers who want to tweak the Terminal app.

It officially launches in June, but the source code is already up on GitHub so you build it yourself today.

Microsoft unveils Windows Terminal


Even the Windows Calculator is now open source

The Windows Calculator app is a modern Windows app written in C++ that ships pre-installed with Windows. The app provides standard, scientific, and programmer calculator functionality, as well as a set of converters between various units of measurement and currencies.

It’s like Microsoft is just teasing us at this point. How long before they open source Windows itself?!


Windows 95 style UI components for iOS 😱

Feeling nostalgic for Windows 95? Blake Tsuzaki was:

This is a little exploration into applying ’90s-era design & principles into a modern platform with some primitive components. The assets and design metrics were (for the most part) taken from an actual installation of Windows 95.

You may be wondering why all the effort? You’ll find answers to that question and more in the README.

Windows 95 style UI components for iOS 😱

Microsoft Edge

Welcoming progressive web apps to Microsoft Edge and Windows 10

PWAs are coming to Microsoft Edge and Windows. This is a huge win for PWAs.

We’re all-in on PWAs. In fact, we want to take PWAs on Windows to the next level, by making them first-class app citizens in Windows.

Love this quote:

Progressive Web Apps are just great web sites that can behave like native apps—or, perhaps, Progressive Web Apps are just great apps, powered by Web technologies and delivered with Web infrastructure.

If you’re a web developer and you’re not paying attention to Windows, Edge, and what Microsoft is doing because “that’s not your camp,” means you’re missing out on a massive community working hard to move the web forward. Pay attention.

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