In our day jobs, many of us need to spend a certain amount of time each and every day telling our colleagues what we've been working on. This much loved/hated/derided ceremony is known as a "stand-up," because in the olden days when developers were working in an office together they would typically all stand up to deliver their summaries. Based on the principles of agile software development, it was meant to be an opportunity to briefly summarize what you'd done, what you're doing, and whether anything was blocking you. Standing helped to keep the meeting short. These meetings have since become an important part of professional daily life, especially now with the huge increase in the number of people working from home who have to validate their existence. If you've ever been part of this stand-up process, you'll know that unless you make notes of the things you've been working on, it becomes incredibly easy to simply forget everything you've done. The result is that you end up looking like you've spent your time lounging around at home watching YouTube.

Enter stup to save your job. This discovery is a simple command-line application that takes the pain out of remembering what you've been working on by helping you make your own notes in a text file. Typing stup add -n "this is a note" will add a comment on what you're currently working on. You can also insert today or yesterday to assign the comment to a specific day, which is useful if your stand-up is halfway through the day. You can even add notes for the future or for a specific date. You can then retrieve your notes with the show argument, which defaults to the notes for the current day. This is exactly what you need when you realize you're already two minutes late and quickly need some visual notes before your brain blanks. When it comes to a monthly or annual review, you can then use the log argument to list all the things you've worked on within a specific date range. It's simple, but it works extremely well.

Project Website

Never forget what you've been working on with stup on the command line.

GUI Git client


As has been written many times in these pages, the version control tool, Git, has become almost as transformative within the computing industry as Linux itself. That they're both the product of Linus Torvalds' brain is remarkable, but it might explain why they can both be prone to logarithmic complexity. On the surface, Git is relatively straightforward to use. The commands to create a new branch, stage modified files, commit changes, and push those changes back are easy to understand and will mostly be all you need. But as soon as a project reaches a certain level of maturity, when the commits start conflicting and the blame log starts growing, the complexity becomes corporeal. This is where a GUI can help, both by enforcing a set process to the way you work with Git, and by helping to visualize the changes you're making to your local branches and the remote branches of your project's origin.

Guitar is a new GUI client for Git that can really help you visualize all these changes. After you've set up the paths to the git and file binaries and opened a local Git repository, the main view lists all the commits made to that repository. Each commit has easy to understand color coding and annotation, along with the widely used pipe graph to show diverging branches and commits. Select one of these commits and the diff view showing the file differences is immediately displayed beneath the commit log. Even more useful for new users is that the Git command used to perform any operation within the GUI, from cherry picking to rebasing, is shown in the pane beneath the diff. It's a brilliant way to use Git and to learn more about how it works at the same time.

Project Website

Despite so many people using Git, there aren't that many open source GUI clients that can replace the command line. Guitar gets close.

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