We all use mathematics in our every day lives, be it to a greater or lesser extent. you might add up your change to pay for that coffee, or you might calculate the best value for money when faced with a couple of options, or you might use it to calculate your spending budget for each week. These are all basic uses of maths that can be done in your head or on paper. But what if you need more calculation power? What if you need to calculate and display complex functions? Well, then you need a Computer Algebra System (CAS), and Mathics is one of the best — for free.

Mathics can be used by anybody, but those who use it for more complex calculations, for work or study for example, are the ones who will most benefit from it. They will likely need a way to display, calculate and share their formulae, calculations and workings. This is where Mathics.org comes into its own with an online interface and powerful backend. (more…)

Most people are familiar with spreadsheets as a way to organise their data into a way that is easily read and is simple to use. However, due to their relative simplicity and ubiquitous nature, they are often seen as the do all data storage platform. This leads to over-sized and over-complex, linked spreadsheets that are very fragile and hard to work with.

I’m sure you have all seen it: the spreadsheet abyss that is tucked deep into your office network. You know, where all the spreadsheets are linked and only one person knows which bits you can edit to get the results you need and which bits if changed by one decimal point will ruin all of the sheets and linked calculations.

So, the obvious solution is a database. The way that databases are designed allows for separated data, layered processing above it to calculate anything that you need, and best of all, they are robust (if implemented correctly) and scale well. “But,” I hear you say, “I don’t know how to design or implement a database!” This is where Ragic! comes in. (more…)

LaCuenta is a powerful, new invoicing and business management application from Luxembourgian company BeeWee. The first time I read the name I didn’t put two and two together, but after a couple of minutes I realised that the name is Spanish for ‘the bill’. I think the name is rather fitting and well thought out.

You will be able to see from the screenshots that the design of the app is very slick. Often design for invoicing or financial apps suffer as they are primarily seen as function over form. LaCuenta shows that they are not mutually exclusive, there’s no reason why you can’t have function and form in the same application. (more…)

A big part of development, coding, or web design is repeating yourself. No one likes to admit it, but a lot of the work we do is repetitive. A great way to reduce the number of times you have to write something is to save it to use again later using code snippets. Snippets are little bits of code that you have written before that you think you might find useful again later, they could be a specific way to show images on a site, the SQL to create a handful of tables in one stroke, or an entire class for the backend of an ASP.NET web application. Whichever it is you need a place to keep the snippets so that you can get to them when you need them.

This is where the cloud based snippet storage comes into its own. You can access it from anywhere that you have an internet connection, which is everywhere these days. It saves you messing around with memory sticks with your code in text files on, or sending yourself snippets by email (we’ve all done it!) and allows you to find what you want when you want it. I’ve compiled a list of 17 super slick snippet storage sites below in no particular order, check it out, you might find the perfect one for you.

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As a web developer, I have to keep track of an awful lot of things at work, not to mention my life and projects outside of work as well. With a wife and small child thrown into the mix I really have to make the most of my time! I need a way to ensure that the tasks that I have to do get done at the right time and in the right order and somehow still leave me time to enjoy being with my family.

I’ve tried a lot of different web apps for organisation and task management, and WorkFlowy is how I choose to organise a lot of my life, both inside and outside of work. I want to give you an insight into how I use it for everything from keeping up to date with my personal projects to keepings tabs on who has asked for what for Christmas. I’m not dictating how you should use it, as the beauty of it is that it is what you want it to be, I’m merely sharing my techniques for keeping track of things, hopefully there will be a few things that you haven’t thought of doing.
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Do you remember the cork board of old with Post it notes/ recipes/ photos and telephone messages all pinned onto the board? I do, very well, and I miss it. You know what I mean: whilst it seemed disorganised to others, to you it was perfect, everything had its place and you could find things instantly.

It’s been one of those things that I keep on thinking about, and trying to find a modern analog to. Let me tell you about the closest I have come to finding this level of utility in an app. It’s called Spaaze, and it’s marketed as an infinite cork board. That sounds like just the ticket to me. Read on to see how new-fashioned, digital cork compares to old-fashioned, tree cork.

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