Poor Richard's Alchemy

All Android apps covered by this EULA and privacy policy

Ping'an Tools

The Ping'an Tools are divided into the Integrated Suite and the Standalone [Complex] apps. These are the tools I use every day on my own devices and I am slowly, but steadily, integrating and optimizing them. The development strategy here is to create the simplest possible app to begin with and only add something when the irritation of not having it becomes unbearable. Then add it in the simplest, most open way, tending towards ease of use for independent individuals who use their own, and not corporate, resources. So anyone who likes simplicity and productivity will like Ping'an. And the more independent you are, the more you will appreciate them.

The Suite consists of:

Ping'an Tools RoadMap


Available on Google Play



Paprika is the web publisher for the Ping'an Tools. It integrates with FileBroom Juju for uploading, downloading and managing remote files. Paprika uses a simple markup described in its help and example files. The concept here is a cycle of writing files in the app's directory, uploading them as source, downloading to any device in Android's Downloads, opening them in Downloads, which saves them again in the app dir. This let's you revert to last save by opening a file from Downloads. At any time, you can convert to HTML and, with FileBroom Juju, publish to the web. Also does interactive search-and-replace.

This app is dedicated to John Lee Hooker's song "No Substitute."


Available on Google Play



This app is dedicated to John Lee Hooker's song "Mini Skirts" and to Hideo Kuse.

Ro is a simple text editor that integrates with the other Ping'an Tools. Ro uses FileBroom Juju for uploading, downloading, and managing remote files. It works in sdcard/Documents and its subtrees. You can upload the current file. Download any file to Downloads. Open a file in Downloads to bring it into Documents or its subtrees. Revert to a downloaded file by opening it again in Downloads. Ro is very efficient for use with web sites and ftp. In Documents and Downloads, Ro only lists text/* mimetype files. But you can use the alternative SDcard chooser to open ANY file and these files are not saved into Documents. Without FileBroom Juju, you can still share the current file into the Android Share System. Ro also accepts shared STREAM and EXTRA_TEXT intents. This means you can share a file to it and Ro will open it in place. Or you can send text to it and Ro will let you edit it, creating a file for it in Documents.

Poor Richard's Autotext Keyboard

Available on Google Play




This keyboard uses swipes for shift and capslock. Swipe RIGHT to shift. Swipe LEFT to toggle capslock. There is a main keyboard and a symbols keyboard. The top row of the main keyboard contains the nine most common letter bigrams in the English language. The bottom row has some extremely common words. The top and bottom rows of the symbols keyboard has the most common 5-7 letter English words. NOTE: Outer rows do not capitalize. Ignore Android's thinking they do...

Multiple autotext lists are accessible from the "M" key next to the space bar. And there is an autotext editor where each line is an autotext and # is converted to newlines. You can export these lists and import them into your other devices. They are exported to the scdard. Just stick them in the other device's sdcard and hit import. NOTE: With the autotext feature, pasting occurs on focus within a textview and not by using the paste button. This makes the autotext feature fast and powerful but can be annoying if you use cut and paste a lot for other things.

This project is dedicated to John Lee Hooker's "Everybody Rockin'."

Get the PRA Autotext Keyboard at Google Play.

Plum Blossom Idea Pad

Available on Google Play



Plum Blossom Idea Pad helps your thoughts to blossom. Plum Blossom Idea Pad is a simple way to work on your ideas. Press "New Idea" and name your idea. Press the idea and it opens in the editor. Make your notes and hit the checkmark to save. Longpress the idea to rename it or delete it. Swipe the screen to create related subideas. If you want to share your ideas, just open a file manager and go to sdCard/MeiHua. Each idea is just a text file in that directory. Put the files on your other devices and Plum Blossom Idea Pad will automatically use them. Plum Blossom Idea Pad has many uses and stays out of your way. If you have my FileBroom Juju installed, you can upload or download all ideas at once from a directory on a remote FTP server. Just create a directory for only your idea files on the server and a "meihua" bookmark in FileBroom. Then the Upload and Download buttons pull all files from remote or push all idea files on the device. Simple. If you like simplicity, you will like Plum Blossom Idea Pad.

I wrote this app because I was spending more time fiddling with the UI on nice apps like Connected Mind and Idea Factory than I was on getting my ideas down. I still like those apps for some things and I'm not sorry I paid for them. But this is much faster for me.

FileBroom Juju

Available on Google Play



This app is dedicated to John Lee Hooker's song "Bottle Up and Go."

FileBroom Juju is a new kind of file manager. It sweeps up your files. FileBroom Juju lets you select files and directories and sweep them into Download, Documents, Camera, Movies, Music or Pictures. You can also:

Ping'an RoadMap

Mo Da Browser

This project is dedicated to John Lee Hooker's "Motor City's Burnin."

Mo Da Browser is a small, stable GNU GPL licensed browser for Android mobile phones and tablets. It is a core browser with less than a dozen Java files for anyone to build up from and add their own value. Developers can then sell their own more feature-full app with its added value into the marketplace. Mo Da reworks how things are done in browsing: how to go forward and back, how to control the browser, and how to record and share where you've been. APK is free on Google Play. The source code is included as an injected activity in the pride Android IDE. If you localize the source code, send me the locale files and I will include them in the download of pride.

Mo Da uses swipes to travel back and forth through history or context. Swiping through history is the default. Longpress the big M to toggle swiping. Swiping through contexts lets you swipe through all the nodes in a context: all your news sites, all your stocks, whatever is in the context.


Standalone Ping'an Tools

Conjuror Home Launcher

Available on Google Play



Conjuror Home Launcher can be used as a Home Launcher, an App or as a Widget. Conjuror optimizes its list of your searches by how often you use each app or contact. Need the phone? Hit the hardware BackButton.

Normal Search

Search for applications, settings, and contacts by name. The ones you use most will sort to the bottom. Longpress to remove from list. Conjuror has no wallpaper. Use Android Gallery to set Lockscreen wallpaper. Also note that, currently, contacts are phone-based. (If your Contacts have been turned off, turn them back on and reboot. Android Contacts must be live in the system before Conjuror starts or the search won't work.)

Special Searches

Search for the words: Setting, Toggle, Connectivity, Application.

Web Search

Web Search uses Smartpage HTTPS which does not track your searches or your IP address.

Conjuror is a refined and optimized fork of the Open Source Summon Launcher by neara.fr.

Simplest: An MP3 Player

Available on Google Play



The Simplest MP3 Player

Simplest lets you pick a directory of mp3s, randomize it or pick a first song, then it opens the player and jam. Or study. Or whatever it is you are into. Simplest is well-behaved and will both run in the background and then shut up when you get a notification from something else or a phone call. You get the idea. It's simple.

The Music Directories

Simplest lists first your bookmarks and then the directories in Music and your other root directories. The first screen lets you pick one of these top subdirectories with all of its subdirectories.

Simplest uses Android's Music directory on the sdCard by default. It checks all external sdCards for your directories. You can click on the plus sign to add an sdCard directory. You can add Music/Blues or Languages, etc.

Also on this screen, you can long-press it for a menu of Delete Bookmarks and Delete Roots.

The Music Files

After you pick your directory, you can either pick a file to start with or you can hit Randomize. Pick a file and the player will loop the list sequentially until you stop the player. This also will bookmark the last file you listen to. Good for studying languages and similar. Randomize creates a random list of the files and loops them until you stop the player. It does not create a bookmark. A long-press on a song creates a Repeat One playlist but does not create a bookmark.

The Player

Hit the Play triangle to start the player. This activates the other buttons. You can pause and resume, go to next or previous track, and stop the player. On stop, you can either exit the app or go back to the directories screen.

The Notification

Simplest updates a notification with the current track on the device notification bar. Just press the notification to return to the player.

Poor Richard's Sightless Keyboard

Available on Google Play



The PRA Sightless Keyboard is a simple, minimal keyboard for device use. It has nine keys and, with swipes, eight punctuation keys, a caps lock, audio on/off, and voice-to-speech access. All keys and swipes have audio feedback. Letter feedback uses the unambiguous NATO phonetic alphabet. To use the keyboard, you must enable it before first use in the device "Language and Keyboard" settings. To use audio feedback, you must activate your "Text To Speech" settings. And for Voice To Text, you must enable your "Voice To Text" settings and have Google Search enabled. The keyboard uses ONLY ONE PERMISSION in order to see if the device is on-line for voice-to-speech use. EULA and privacy policy are here on the web site.


Here is how you use the keyboard. The main keyboard has the selector keys. From left to right, top to bottom: a-f, g-l, m-r, s-x, y-4, 5-0. Press a selector and you will hear the audio feedback saying the name of the selector. The six selected keys are now arranged left to right, top to bottom. Press one, get the audio feedback, and the character is entered on the screen. If you get a wrong key or selector, just enter any key and a backspace. None of the keys repeat.

To access all the other features, you must swipe THE KEYBOARD ITSELF. Swipe up for punctuation. Swipe down to toggle the audio feedback. (This is the only way to turn off the feedback.) Swipe right to toggle the caps lock. And swipe left to activate Voice to Text. The Voice to Text requires at least minimal sight. You speak into the device and Google returns its LIST of best guesses for what you have said. So you have to be able to see the choices and select one. You can let Google optimize the responses in one of the Voice To Text options on the device. That way it will improve over time.

Get the PRA Sightless Keyboard at Google Play.

Set Met Mojo Metronome

Available on Google Play



Set Met Mojo is a play list metronome that saves your time signatures.

The idea for Set Met Mojo is that you have set lists of songs or other pieces. The first screen has the lists. Pick a list and the next screen has the songs. Pick a song and you go into the metronome. You can move back and forth through the set list in the metronome. If the song has lyrics, hit "Lyrics" and the metronome keeps beating while the lyrics display. Finally, whenever you leave the metronome or change songs, the last time signature you were using is preserved for the song you were working on.

Lyrics are pulled from /sdcard/SetMetMojo which is created the first time you press "Lyrics." If the lyric isn't there, the editor creates a new file for it and you can edit it right there. Checkmark saves. Backbutton and "X" exit without saving. I'm not much of a singer, so I use the Lyrics editor for notes on how I play each piece.

IMPORTANT: There is a naming scheme used for lyrics. It takes the song name, ie "1. Your Mom's Favorite Song" and looks for "YourMomsFavoriteSong.txt". The scheme discards ALL numbers, spaces, and punctuation. So you can download a lyric to /sdcard/Downloads, move it into /sdcard/SetMetMojo which is created the first time you press "Lyrics," and rename it to match your song name in the app.

Battery Juju

This app is dedicated to John Lee Hooker's "Boogie Chillen."

The "boogie" is your battery. And we have lots of "chillen" to take care of your "boogie." There's chillen what puts the battery percentage in the status bar. Chillen to change the white numbers to black ones for those people who own Android but wish their mom could buy them an iPhone. There's chillen what will tell you if your battery don't feel so good. And there's chillen that let you set your screen brightness to 10, 20, 35, or 50 percent without using that stupid slider. Battery Juju is good for people who love the blues, for people who want to see the battery percentage without putting on their reading glasses, for people who have callouses on their fingers from working hard or playing the mandolin and don't like slider controls, and for people who don't want a battery app using much of the battery. Because Battery Juju is tiny. On my phone, running Android 2.3, it takes up only 1.9Mb of RAM. That be small.

Network Juju

This app is dedicated to John Lee Hooker's song "Boom Boom."

If you only have ninety and nine cents, you should go get you an mp3 of that song. One thing Hooker always says is "You got to talk about the money first." So let's talk about why you might buy Network Juju after you get your copy of "Boom Boom." This app is simple and this one is small. Network Juju does one thing: you close the screen of your phone and boom, boom, it cuts off your wifi and data. You can make it manage wifi or data or both. But whatever it manages, boom, it cuts it off when the screen goes dark. And small. On my phone this runs at only 1.7 Mb in RAM. These Android dingies have nice processors. But their RAM is about like a premium 486. Not much to spare. So my juju -- Battery Juju and Network Juju -- are small. I get two or three days on my battery using these and nothing else for battery saving. And I use my phone a lot.

Tell Juju Man

This app is dedicated to John Lee Hooker's song "Let's Talk It Over."

Tell Juju Man don't hardly do nothing. Which is okay, because it's free. But what it does do is provide some COURTESY when you go write the man who do your juju. If you email the people who make your apps, you need Tell Juju Man. When you email a developer, he'll write back if he's nice. And he'll ask what make and model your thingie is. He'll ask what version of Android you got. And if you're like me, you can read the "Samsung" on the phone. And your wife might remember you got a Stratosphere. And you don't know Android versions from Adam. Tell Juju Man lets you skip all this. Press the "email developer" button on Google Play. Choose Tell Juju Man. Immediately chose your email client. Easy-peasy.