Freeware Utilities Aren’t Worth the Cost

I feel like dropping my bike on rollers and doing some intervals. All I need is a timer. Google turns up a bunch of programs! One minute later: none of the programs with descriptions are what I want, and most don’t even have descriptions. Why am I even bothering to Google for this? I could write a script that does what I want in one second; back in a sec.

while true; do sleep 60; print \\a; done

Shoot, the cygwin alarm isn’t loud enough. How do I make it louder? Back to Google. Thirty seconds later: Great! A hundred different message board and mailing list posts, most of which have no replies. I could have written a program that would do what I want in the time I spent searching. Back in thirty seconds. Maybe forty, since I’m not really familiar with F# or .NET

let timer =

  let t = new System.Timers.Timer()

  t.Interval <- 60000.0

  t.Enabled <- true

  t.Elapsed.Add(fun _ -> System.Media.SystemSounds.Hand.Play())



  print_endline “Enter to kill”

  read_line() |> ignore

  t.Enabled <- false

O! It’s loud enough even if I don’t adjust the volume. I’m done! And it only took ten seconds, since I didn’t need any volume controls.

Now I want to be able to copy and paste this to Trillian, which is running on one of my other machines. At least Google only gives returns one result this time, and the linked program will even do what I want. But it costs $25. Are they kidding? Back in five minutes.

This has been happening more and more lately. Whenever I search for some trivial Windows utility, Google returns hundreds of irrelevant results and a few commercial programs which are relevant but cost $5/minute. I wonder why I don’t have this problem when I’m looking for Linux utilities, despite being a better Linux programmer. Ahh, well, time to hop on the bike. Back in a an hour . . .

Freeware Utilities Aren’t Worth the Cost

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