Turning inner space into outer space

October 24, 2020

Pascal: thank you for Free Ruler and good luck with your music

There are apps that can make you feel nostalgic. Take Free Ruler, for example.

I puts horizontal and vertical rulers on your screen so you can measure things on it in pixels. It’s been around for about 25 years, maybe longer.

It gets the occasional update, and it can be found on the Mac App Store — remaining absolutely free after all these years.

You have to wonder who would create a free app and keep it going for so long. The developer doesn’t say much about himself, except that his name is Pascal.

His website,, must be one of the first on the web because he managed to nab a high-value domain name before such things became impossible without getting into a bidding war.

Why high value? Pascal is the name of a computer language. A website about it should have a name like, but instead goes with

We know Pascal, the developer, has a sense of humour about this situation because he has a “featured email” from 2017 looking to buy

There are links on his site, but they don’t give many clues: a diary with one post from 2013, a band (called Balthrop, Alabama) that appears to be active, a list of movies last updated in 2001, and page of software that includes Free Ruler.

Also on the software page is AppSwitcher Control, whose version history ends in 1998. And there’s “Closed Caption: A Growl style for your HD TV.” It looks like it was last updated in 2011.

According to an article from 2010, the band is led by “Alabama-born songwriter-siblings Pascal and Lauren Balthrop.” Aha! Pascal’s last name.

A music video linked from Pascal’s website called Pretty Little Birds features a female singer, who is likely Lauren. A man makes an appearance in the video. Could it be Pascal?

If you’re reading this, Pascal, a little advice. Update the music links on Who knows how many Free Ruler fans could be turned into Balthrop, Alabama fans.