3 free applications to aid productivity

Staying productive can be a challenge for anyone, so I thought I’d share three free applications which I’ve come to rely on each day.


Hamster is a time management program which can record your activity and help you stay on top of your work goals. Before I had this program I had only a rough idea how many hours I worked each week, and now I know exactly how many I work and am given a statistical overview of how I’m spending my time. If you struggle with time management, than give this application a try.

Don’t use Linux as your OS of choice? Than check out this lifehacker article on time tracking applications available for different operating systems.


Redshift is my go to program for keeping eye strain to a minimum. It’s easy to use and it makes your screen much easier to look at by providing a filter on your screen to minimize eye strain. If you’re constantly using eye drops when you use a computer, perhaps you should give Redshift a try.


Sometimes you simply need a text editor to get some work done. If you’re tired of your default text editor and want something that provides additional functionality (eg. colour themes, line numbering, set tab spacing, etc), than perhaps an upgrade is required. Although the time benefits a new text editor can provide may be minimal initially (in fact be prepared for a small time investment when learning VI commands), over time these small time savings will add up.

Don’t like Vi? Perhaps Emacs may be a better fit for you.

7 helpful website development tools

I’ve been occupied with web development the last few months and thought I’d share some of the resources/development tools I’ve come across

Color Wizard

I often struggle with what colours compliment other colours when designing a website. Thankfully I don’t need to take a design class to learn this skill. At coloursontheweb.com, their colour wizard application provides a convenient method for selecting colours and finding out what other colours are complimentary.


Developing a website template but don’t have any written content yet? Not a problem. Simply head over to lipsum.com to generate some dummy text for you site, and see what your template will look like with pages of content.

Google Fonts

Looking for a unique font for your site? Or perhaps you want your site’s title to stand out from the body of the page? If so, perhaps Google fonts can help. Google provides a wide selection of different fonts which can be easily added to any site.

Font Pair

Now that you’ve added that fancy Google font to your site, you’re probably wondering what type of font compliments it for the main body of your page. Font Pair solves this problem for you, by providing a list of suggestions for a variety of different fonts.


Are you a poor speller? Or perhaps you have fat fingers like me? If you frequently make typos, than perhaps typosaur.us can help. Typosaurus provides a simple tool which allow users to submit their website URL and have Typosaurus check it for errors.


Font Awesome is a CSS library containing icon art. If you’re in need of a clean icon for your social media section of your home page, or simply lack graphic design skills but want to include an image on your site. Than take a look at font awesome. It’s a great library, which is easy to use and can add some extra polish to any design.


If you’re a web developer, than you likely know about this tool already. If you’re just starting out with JavaScript than do yourself a favour and bookmark this site right away. JSLint provides a simple interface for checking JavaScript code. Although some may find it strict in what it considers an error, the end result of using this site is the development of better code writing habits and a useful tool for finding syntax errors. It’s a wonderful tool, so take a moment and try it out the next time you have an error in your code.

D3.JS Widget Development Update

I’ve been working on a number of d3.js visualization widgets for my research, and wanted to share some of the results.

D3.JS Histogram spatial querying widget

A histogram visualization that is integrated with the Nunaliit atlas framework, and is used as a spatial querying method based on feature attribute data.

d3.js pie chart

This simple pie chart is used to visualize the dataset contained in the atlas.

JavaScript Namespace Design Patterns

I recently came across a great article on JavaScript namespace design patterns. As a beginner JavaScript developer, I found many of the approaches discussed in the article both insightful and clarifying as to why certain tactics are adopted in code. If you’re interested in namespace design patterns, you can find the article here.