Productivity Sauce

Dmitri Popov
Extension Watch: Make Firefox netbook-friendly with Meerkat

Jul 29, 2009 GMT

You can optimize Firefox for use with your netbook by manually tweaking the browser's settings. But why bother when the Meerkat extension can do the donkey job for you? Once installed, Meerkat performs a few optimization tricks that reclaim valuable screen estate. According to the developer, the extension frees up about 60 pixels. This may not sound like much, but 60 pixels make a big difference on the netbook screen where every pixel counts. So how does Meerkat do its magic? First of all, the extension hides the status bar when there is no browser activity. It also replaces the main toolbar with a single menu...
My Favorite Firefox Feature

Jul 24, 2009 GMT

Like probably any Firefox user, I have a few personal favorite features and tricks that help me to get the most out of my browser. The one I appreciate most is the smart keywords feature which allows you to search specific websites directly from the Firefox Location (aka Awesome) bar. The way it works is pretty simple. Say you want to look up words using Cambridge Dictionaries Online Web site. Navigate to dictionary.cambridge.org, right-click on the search box, and select Add a Keyword for this Search. Give the new bookmark a name and assign a keyword to it, for example, camb. Next time you want to perform a search, enter camb followed by the query into the Location bar, for example: camb...
Tether an Android Phone Using Proxoid

Jul 21, 2009 GMT

The Android Market features a few tethering applications, so it should be easy to use your Android phone as a wireless modem. Well, that's how the theory goes, anyway. In practice, however, these applications require root access to your phone's system, so you have to "root" your phone before you can tether it. Rooting an Android phone is not for the faint of heart, though, and there is the ever-present risk of bricking your device. Meet Proxoid, a proxy server application that lets you use your phone as a modem without hacking its system. Making Proxoid work does require a few steps, but the entire process is simple enough even for uninitiated users. Here is how to make Proxoid...
Turn Tomboy Notes into Blog Posts

Jul 17, 2009 GMT

Did you know that you can post Tomboy notes to your blog courtesy of the Tomboy Blogposter plugin? If you didn't know that, it's understandable, because this plugin is not installed by default. If you are using Ubuntu or any of its derivatives, enabling this functionality is rather straightforward. First of all, use the Synaptic package manager to find and install the tomboy-blogposter package (or run the sudo apt-get install tomboy-blogposter command). In Tomboy, open the Preferences dialog window and switch to the Add-ins section. Select the Post note to your blog item in the Tools section and press the Enable...
Extension Watch: Turn URLs into QR codes with Mobile Barcoder

Jul 15, 2009 GMT

The Mobile Barcoder extension for Firefox is a one-trick pony, but the trick it does is a really neat one. When browsing the Web, you've probably noticed that some Web sites contain QR codes. These codes offer a convenient way to capture and transfer useful information like URLs and email addresses to your mobile device, provided it can read and process QR codes. Say you found an interesting article while browsing the Web on your laptop and you want to read it later on your mobile device. Snap the QR code containing the article's URL with your device, and you can open the link in the built-in browser. But here is...
Astrid: Probably the Best Task Manager for the Android Platform

Jul 10, 2009 GMT

A task manager is probably the first thing you might want to install on your Android device, and you won't find a better tool for the job than Astrid. This open source task management utility sports not only a cute application icon -- it also offers all the tools you need to efficiently manage your tasks. A user-friendly interface makes it extremely easy to create new tasks and edit existing ones. The task editing screen of Astrid's interface is split into three sections: Basic, Dates, and Alarms. The Basic section allows you to set the task's priority, assign tags, specify the time it would take to complete the task, and attach a note to it. In the Dates section, you can specify a...
Android in My Pocket

Jul 09, 2009 GMT

Being a proponent of open source software, I've always found it annoying that the device I use most of the time -- my mobile phone -- runs some closed source proprietary system. Moving to Nokia N95 that runs the soon-to-be-open-source Symbian OS improved things slightly, but I still wanted to have something more Linux-like, open, and tweakable. That's why I followed with interest the release of Google's Android platform. The system itself did look rather promising, but, as it often happens, the first Android-powered handset turned out to be a somewhat underwhelming device. Worse yet, it has never made it to our shores. So imagine my excitement when I saw that one of our local 3G carriers...

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