Productivity Sauce

Dmitri Popov
Add a Dash of Color to the Terminal with Powerline-Like Prompt

Jul 22, 2016 GMT

The terminal's default color scheme is uninspiring at best. Obviously, this is done on purpose, as colorful embellishments can be distracting. But adding just enough color to the terminal can liven it up a bit as well as offer useful clues when you are working from the command line. Earlier I wrote about the Liquid Prompt tool that adds a wealth of useful information to the command line prompt. But if all you want is to add a bit of color to the prompt, paste the content of this Gist into the ~/.bashrc file (remove the archey word at the end of the Gist). Open then the terminal, and you should see the prompt in all its colorful beauty. By...
Extract Pages from a PDF File with a GUI Bash Script

Jul 19, 2016 GMT

Every now and then I need to extract individual pages from PDF files. Usually, I use the following one-liner that does the trick: pdftk A=foo.pdf cat A5-15 output pages_5-15.pdfThis command uses the pdftk toolkit to pull a range of pages (in this case, from 5 to 15) out of the specified PDF file (foo.pdf). Recently, though, I stumbled upon a handy Bash script that generates a simple graphical interface for extracting pages from a PDF file. Although the script is posted on the Ask Ubuntu forum, it should work on any distribution that has any of the supported PDF utilities (qpdf, ghostscript, or cpdf) and the yad GUI tool installed. Copy...
Turn Gists into Articles with GistLog

Jun 28, 2016 GMT

So you wrote an article in Markdown and you want to publish it with a minimum of fuss. GistLog is exactly what you need. Create a public gist with your article, set the gist's description to be the article's title, and add the .md file extension to the file name. Paste then the gist's URL into GistLog, hit Create, and the system generates a nicely-formatted article complete with the commenting functionality (see an example article generated by GistLog).When you publish several articles with GistLog, you might want to list them all in one place, and GistLog allows you to create a landing page for that. Read the Introducing Gistlog landing pages article to find out how you set your own...
Block Ads on Android with Block This

Jun 23, 2016 GMT

While there are several adblocking apps available for Android, they are not without their shortcomings. Some of them require root, while others will work with a browser only. Enter Block This, an open source adblocker that requires no root privileges and blocks ads globally. It does so by using the blocking by DNS technique. The app's website provides a detailed description of how this approach works. To oversimplify, all requests from the Android device are passed through the Block This DNS server which filters all blacklisted resources and returns a "clean" result. To make this technique work on the Android platform, the Block This app creates a so-called local VPN on the...
Create Presentations on Android with Slide

Jun 22, 2016 GMT

Creating slides on an Android device can be as much fun as poking yourself in the eye with a sharp object. Unless you use something like Slide. This open source app is designed to create presentations based on the Takahashi method, where each slide contains a few words and no graphs or graphics. The entire presentation in Slide is just a single plain text file, and each paragraph is treated as a slide. The app supports basic text formatting, so you can add headlines, emphasize specific words, and even add code snippets. The preview window in the lower-right corner of the main screen conveniently shows a preview of the current slide. Instead...
Frictionless File Upload with curldrop

Jun 21, 2016 GMT

Need to move a file from one Linux machine to another? curldrop is just the tool for the job. Written in Python, this simple application is basically a tiny server that accepts file uploads. The best part is that you can use the good old cURL tool to upload files to a machine running curldrop. The easiest way to install curldrop is via the PIP package manager by running the pip install curldrop command as root. Of course, this requires that PIP is already installed on your system. Once curldrop has been installed, run the curldrop command to run the server on the default port 8000. Alternatively, you can specify the desired port using the --port parameter: curldrop --port 8080.To upload a...
Burn Image Files with Style Using Etcher

May 30, 2016 GMT

Many Linux distributions nowadays are distributed as ISO or IMG images, and you need a specialized tool to burn them onto SD cards or USB drives. On Linux, you have several utilities at your disposal, but probably none of them can compete with Etcher when it comes to simplicity and user-friendliness. This one-trick pony features a sleek interface, which will appeal to Linux beginners and all users who appreciate well-designed pleasing interfaces. Appearance is not Etcher's only attraction, though. The tool is designed to make it easy to select the correct destination drive, which prevents major disasters like burning an image on the wrong...

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