Productivity Sauce

Dmitri Popov
Monitor Servers from Your Android Device with httpmon

May 21, 2010 GMT

Checking whether a specific Web server is up and running is as easy as issuing the ping command in the terminal, but if you are looking for a more versatile tool that you can use while on the move, try httpmon for Android. For starters, this nifty tool lets you set up multiple monitoring profiles, which can come in handy when you want to keep an eye on several servers. Besides ping, httpmon supports other monitoring options, such as response time, response code, and specific header and content strings. Better yet, you can specify multiple criteria; for example, you can configure httpmon to ping a specific server and check its response time in one go. ...
Perfect Backup Solution with Amazon S3 and aws

May 20, 2010 GMT

Amazon S3 provides unlimited storage at low prices, which makes it an ideal solution for storing backups. But to make use of it, you need a piece of software that can actually interact with Amazon S3: create buckets, list the contents of a bucket, upload and download files, etc. And aws, a simple command-line utility written in Perl, is the perfect tool for the job. You might wonder why not use a GUI-based application like Jungle Disk? For two simple reasons: as a CLI-based tool, aws is light on resources and it can be easily scripted.Before you proceed, you should install the curl utility. On Ubuntu, you can do this using the sudo apt-get install curl command. Next, grab the latest...
Extension Watch: FeedSquares for Google Chrome

May 14, 2010 GMT

Google Reader is a mighty good feed aggregator with a boatload of useful features, but its traditional two-pane interface has some room for improvement. And the FeedSquares extension for the Google Chrome browser represents a bold attempt to rethink the way you read and manage RSS feeds. The basic idea is pretty simple: the extension displays all feeds from your Google Reader account as colored tiles on a wall. Each tile (or square) shows the name of the RSS feed and an unread count. Click on the square, and all articles in the feed pop up at the bottom of the window. Click on the article you like, and it opens in a preview window. You can...
Keep Your System Clean with BleachBit

May 10, 2010 GMT

Keeping your system clean can be a time-consuming affair, unless you use specialized tools like BleachBit (thanks to Nick Lord for the pointer). With just a few mouse clicks, this nifty little utility can help you to purge all the junk produced by the system and installed applications. Packaged versions of BleachBit are available for many popular distributions, so you can easily install the utility using your distro's package manager. Once installed, you can run BleachBit either as a regular user or as root. BleachBit's interface is simplicity itself, so you can figure out how to use the tool in a matter of minutes. Better yet, BleachBit...
Trick Out a Fresh Lucid Lynx Installation with the Ubuntu 10.04 Start Script

May 07, 2010 GMT

While it is possible to upgrade Ubuntu 9.10 to the latest 10.04 Lucid Lynx release, a clean install is the best way to go if you want to avoid update headaches. Usually this means reinstalling your favorite applications and applying tweaks all over again -- but now with Ubuntu 10.04. A clever script with the imaginative name Ubuntu 10.04 Start Script can help you to install software and tweak the system with a minimum of fuss. Despite the script's bare-bones appearance, it provides a wealth of options. Using the script, you can add popular repositories including Ubuntu restricted extras, Medibuntu, and Getdeb. With a few clicks, you can...
Beef up Firefox Privacy Features

May 05, 2010 GMT

Whether you want it or not, your Web activities are tracked and analyzed in many different ways. But you don't have to put up with this, especially if you are using Firefox as your primary browser. There are a few handy Firefox extensions that can beef up your favorite browser's privacy features. Here are my three personal favorites.Besides regular cookies planted in your browser by many Web sites, some services add so-called Flash cookies or Local Shared Objects (LSO). Similar to conventional cookies, LSOs collect and share information about your Web usage. But unlike good old cookies, LSOs are particularly difficult to purge from your browser. The aptly named BetterPrivacy extension...
photoDiary: Web-based Photo Album with a Twist

Apr 20, 2010 GMT

Although photoDiary looks like just another Web-based photo album application, it has a couple of nifty features that make it a good choice for hosting and showcasing your photographic masterpieces. For starters, photoDiary is rather straightforward to deploy. Grab the latest release of the application, unpack the downloaded archive, rename the resulting directory to photodiary, and copy it to your server's root. Point then your browser to http://yourserver/photodiary/admin/install.php, and an easy-to-follow wizard guides you through the rest of the installation process. Once photoDiary has been installed, navigate to http://yourserver/photodiary/admin and log in using the credentials...

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