Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Instant, cheap heat

I'm one of those people that's cold even in warm weather. Rather than constantly running up the heating bills, I make use of a flax bag. You only need to pop it into the microwave for a few minutes and it's warm for at least an hour. In fact, since the flax seed inside has a high heat capacity, even using an un-microwaved flax bag is equivalent to an extra blanket. They're certainly much cheaper (and more satisfying) than heating the whole space to 80 degrees!

Source: http://www.f-r-chiro.com/images/100_0942.JPG
Source: http://www.massagesantarosa.com/assets/HTPimages/BlueBeachMed-heating-pad.gif

I've been fortunate enough to have received flax bags for Christmas and so I've never had to buy my own. However, I'm told you can buy them at farmer's markets (~$20) or make them at home (some suggest using rice or other materials). I've also seen a few commercial versions. Do you have any good sources or tips on making your own?

Version control for the time-limited

I often keep many versions of the same file around in case I decide later that I needed some little paragraph or code snippet. It's also very useful to be able to see under which set of code a particular set of data was generated (e.g. "did I fix the bug before or after I made this data?"). Thus, I was looking for some version control software to help me out.

I won't claim that this is the best version control software out there, but it works well for me. I use Git as a backend (read more about it on Wikipedia if you'd like -- Linus Torvolds started it) and SmartGit as my user interface. It allows me to commit changes with comments or revert to old versions. I can also see the differences between versions and track file history (branches, etc.).

As your next step, you can check out some of the screenshots I've posted below (stolen from SmartGit's screenshots page) or read another review.

Directory and file list

Graphical change log

Differences between two files