Productivity Sauce

Dmitri Popov
Avoid Typing with Autokey

Mar 27, 2009 GMT

Imagine how much time you could save if you had a tool that could help you to avoid typing static text like "Kind regards" or your address. Like the idea? Then you'll most certainly appreciate the Autokey text expanding utility. The current version of Autokey is distributed as a tarball archive, and it requires a few additional Python packages: python-gamin, python-xlib, and python-configobj. On Ubuntu-based distros, you can install them using the following apt-get install command: sudo apt-get install python-gamin python-xlib python-configobj Download and unpack then the Autokey archive, move the resulting directory into your home folder, and use the autohot.sh script to...
Replace Last.fm with VLC

Mar 25, 2009 GMT

Nothing boosts my productivity more than good music. That's why I always keep Last.fm radio running when I'm working. Or rather, used to keep it running: Last.fm has announced that the company starts charging international users for streaming music. It's not a big deal, except that the service will remain free in the US, UK, and Germany. For me it's as insulting as Windows-only applications. It's not the end of the world, though: as always, the VLC comes to the rescue. This excellent media player provides native support for Internet radio streaming and it comes with a huge selection of radio stations for every taste. To start the radio...
Back up OpenOffice.org Documents on Amazon S3

Mar 23, 2009 GMT

When it comes to cheap and secure off-site backup and storage, few services can beat Amazon S3. And if you want to easily back up your OpenOffice.org documents on Amazon S3, you can do so using a simple OpenOffice.org Basic macro and the aws Perl script. Before you start, you have to sign up for Amazon S3. Next, use your Linux distribution's package manager to install the curl utility. On a Ubuntu-based distro, this can be done using the sudo apt-get install curl command. Now you can install aws. Download the latest version of the aws script and put it into your home directory. In the terminal, run the following command as root: perl aws --install Create an .awssecret text file in...
Knoppix 6.0 on Netbooks Redux

Mar 17, 2009 GMT

In the previous post, I extol the virtues of Knoppix 6.0 as an ideal distro for netbooks. In fact, I was so impressed by the 6.0 release that I replaced Puppy Linux on my trusty Eee PC 900. Although Knoppix detected all key hardware components such as the webcam, the wireless cards, and the microphone, there were a few things that needed tweaking to make this distro run smoothly on the netbook. So here are a few simple tricks that can help you to get the most out of Knoppix on your Eee PC. By default, Knoppix uses 16-bit color depth, which makes the graphics appear dithered. To fix that, use the depth=24 cheat code. As soon as you boot your netbook, type the following command and press...
Share Mouse and Keyboard with QuickSynergy

Mar 16, 2009 GMT

Even when you work at home or in the office, your netbook can make a handy addition to your computer setup. For example, you can use your netbook to run a Twitter or an IRC client, so you can use your primary machine to do some actual work. But switching back and forth between your main machine and the netbook can be rather inconvenient. Enter QuickSynergy, a graphical tool for the Synergy application which allows you to seamlessly share the mouse and the keyboard between two or several machines. The clever part is that QuickSynergy/Synergy is purely a software solution which uses the good old TCP/IP protocol to share the mouse and keyboard between machines on the same local network....
DokuWiki Sync: Extremely Useful Plugin with an Interesting Business Model

Mar 13, 2009 GMT

The not-so-secret sauce of DokuWiki's flexibility is plugins: if a feature you need is missing from the list of default DokuWiki functionality, chances are there is a plugin that fills the gap. And if the ability to work on your DokuWiki files offline is high on your wish list, you will be pleased to learn that Andreas Gohr, the lead developer of DokuWiki, has written the Sync plugin that allows you to do just that. As the name suggests, the plugin lets you sync two or several DokuWiki installations. This way, you can edit the pages of the DokuWiki installation running on your machine and then push the changes to DokuWiki on your Web site. The plugin also allows you to restrict syncing...
Back up Your Tweets with Twitter Backup

Mar 11, 2009 GMT

Twitter clients are a dime a dozen these days, but none of them allow you to back up your precious tweets. Fortunately, there is the Twitter Backup tool which can pull tweets from your Twitter account and save them as an XML file. Twitter Backup is written in Java, so the Java Runtime Environment must be installed on your machine for the tool to function properly. Using Twitter Backup couldn't be easier: specify your Twitter credentials, give the backup file a name, and press the Start button. Keep in mind that Twitter API requires a one-minute delay between requests, so the backup procedure may take quite a while if you have a lot of...

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