The LFD Software List

Some software is well made and a lot of it isn’t. To create a good interface with effective internals is a tricky thing to pull off. The subjective art of user interface design appears to be a separate thing from the software engine beneath it, but the best software will award a measure of respect to both halves of the equation.

VeraCrypt

An encryption package you can use to create a private encrypted disk. This is essential if you are storing logins and other financial data on your computer. Once the disk is closed, its contents will appear from the outside as random data.

The main screen of VeraCrypt

You can encrypt an existing drive, a USB stick or make an encrypted file that can be mounted as a disk temporarily. Once mounted, the contents are decrypted transparently as you use it so that you are not made aware of its encrypted nature.

You can set the file/disk to be closed automatically after a period of inactivity and when the computer shuts down.

You can find out more about it >> here <<.

Startup Delayer

Software to manage what is allowed to start with Windows and in what order.

Startup Delayer
a great way to declutter and control the start sequence of Windows to maintain a quick start. WARNING !! IAStoricon needs to stay in the normal startup section or your hard drive might be acting peculiar when you power on. SecurityHealth should always be at the normal startup level too.

This is one of the best pieces of software I’ve used to control the clutter that results from long-term computer use. Even with a policy of turning down offers to check for updates, they will still accumulate from software that won’t ask you if you want it. Your computer will slow down over time, and while this is inevitable due to technology creep, you can eliminate the worst effects of Startup Delayer.

The key to quick launch is to keep the ‘Normal Startup’ section only for essential system software. Select and drag other software you want to the ‘Delayed’ section, and things you don’t want to the ‘Disabled’ section.

When your computer starts up Startup Delayer will run the essential tasks immediately, but the delayed tasks are run sequentially only when the CPU has plenty of capacity to do the job. This means that the computer will remain responsive to you while the delayed apps launch quietly in the background. You won’t have to sit there fuming while half a dozen things keep the computer frozen for an age. To see the improvement in your ‘ready’ times look at the stats in Menu > Tools > View Last Launch Log.

Get Startup Delayer Here

Chordmaps 2 for iPad

The major selling point for me is learning how music is structured by tinkering around with the music maps that can be applied to any key. In addition, there are a large number of variations that can also be explored right on the same screen. This abstract view of music is a revelation to me and worth having to explore that feature alone.

This app an exceptional gem that has been crafted by people who genuinely care about music. To clear up any doubts you may have, you can visit their website where you can find a lot more useful material besides a guide and some background.

I also bought their convenient PDF file encapsulating some basic music theory, but you can also read it for free on their website. I found it to be extremely well written foundational information.

software list Chordmaps 2
For the iPad an excellent tool for learning music theory and discovering chord progressions

Note: This tool is a midi driving app. It doesn’t generate its own sounds – YOU WILL NEED another app for it to link to, for example, ThumbJam. I would have liked to be able to buy ChordMaps 2 with a default string sound on board, and I’ve suggested this in conversation with the very helpful authors. It would save the need to buy a second app and make it more accessible to a larger audience, which in my opinion they totally deserve.

I can’t praise it enough, it’s a perfect learning tool and great for songwriting.

SPLnFFT

Loudness meter
an accurate iPhone loudness meter

This app can protect your hearing – check the loudness of TV, Computer and Radio settings. The above screenshot is a measurement of the opening scenes of Alien Covenant. Like other films I see at the cinema, I find the loudness of their audio system a little painful, and this app puts a number to that so I can compare it with other situations.

In the middle of the app is a horizontal band that lets you choose what kind of display you want to see. Currently ‘Histo’ is selected, but ‘Scale’ gives a subjective indication such as ‘quiet’, ‘moderate’ etc. along with the length of time that the loudness can be sustained before some kind of hearing damage becomes possible.

I tracked this app down via SafetyAwakenings.com which compared 30 such apps to a $2000 loudness meter. Out of 30 apps, only 4 were acceptable and SPLnFFT satisfied all criteria closely. To achieve this level of excellence the app has a calibration mode that you will be asked to execute on first use.

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