Productivity Sauce

Dmitri Popov
Track Time with timebook

Apr 02, 2009 GMT

Time tracking tools are a dime a dozen these days, so what makes timebook so special? Two things: tiny size and simplicity. This command-line time tracking utility requires hardly any resources at all and it's extremely easy to get to grips with. timebook is written in Python, and it's pretty easy to install. Download the archived version of the utility and unpack it. In the terminal, switch to the resulting directory, and run the python setup.py install command as root. Using timebook is also pretty straightforward. The utility uses timesheets for grouping timing sessions. For example, you can create a timesheet called "writing" for all your writing activities using the switch...
Turbo charge Google Search with a Greasemonkey Script

Mar 30, 2009 GMT

As a Firefox user, you are probably familiar with Greasemonkey, a nifty extension that allows you to tweak Web pages to add all kinds of interesting features using scripts. One such handy script is Google Search Sidebar which adds a sidebar to the Google search page containing search results from YouTube, Wikipedia, Dictionary.com, and Flickr. Obviously, the script requires the Greasemonkey extension, so you have to install it before you proceed. Once you've done that, navigate to the script's Web page and press the Install button. That's it. Do a search directly from the Google search page or using the search bar in Firefox, and you...
Swiftfox: Firefox's Speedy Brother

Mar 29, 2009 GMT

There are many ways to tweak Firefox's settings to improve the browser's performance, but probably the most effective trick is to replace your favorite browser altogether with Swiftfox. It may sound as a drastic step, but there is no need to worry: Swiftfox is essentially Firefox optimized for specific AMD and Intel processors. The project features Swiftfox builds for AMD Athlon 64, Intel Core solo and Duo as well as assorted Pentium and Celeron processors. The best part is that Swiftfox detects and uses Firefox profiles. In fact, you can even run two browsers side by side if you are inclined to do so. There are several ways to install Swiftfox on your machine. If you are running a...
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...

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