Productivity Sauce

Dmitri Popov
Roll Out Your Own Dropbox Alternative

Nov 19, 2009 GMT

Dropbox is without doubt an extremely useful service, but it has two major drawbacks: it uses proprietary software and -- as with any cloud-based service -- you leave your data at the mercy of a third party. So why not roll out your own solution that replaces Dropbox and runs on your own server? If you like the idea, then the Fak3r blog provides step-by-step instructions on how to set up your own file synchronization server. The main ingredients in Fak3r's recipe are the OpenSSH server, rsync and lsyncd. If the latter sounds familiar to you, it's because it has been covered on the Productivity Sauce blog before. Rolling out a local synchronization server using Fak3r's instruction is...
Scribble Notes with SimpleText

Nov 18, 2009 GMT

Here is a genuinely useful Web-based application -- SimpleText. It is, indeed, a rather simple online note-taking application that is positively light on features. It doesn't offer any fancy text formatting tools, and you won't find any advanced sharing capabilities in it either. So what's so "genuinely useful" about it, then? Again, it's simplicity. I find it particularly useful for drafting articles and blog posts. It allows me to quickly jot down ideas, save useful links and text snippets without much fuss. Since I spend most of my time in Firefox, SimpleText is only a tab away, and I don't have to launch Writer or switch to another application. ...
Manage Photos with Shotwell

Nov 16, 2009 GMT

When it comes to organizing and tweaking photos, digiKam and F-Spot rule the roost. But if you don't need all the bells and whistles of a full-blown photo management tool, then you might want to try Shotwell. If you are running the latest version of Ubuntu, installing Showtell is rather straightforward. Launch the Synaptic package manager, choose Settings -> Repository, and switch to the Other Software section. Press the Add button, add the ppa:yorba/ppa repository. Press Add Source, and hit the Reload button to update the repositories. Then locate and install the shotwell package. Of course, you can also compile the application from...
Extension Watch: Keep Tabs on Documents with History Master

Nov 13, 2009 GMT

While the Recent Documents command under the File menu gives you quick access to the previously opened documents, this feature has a few serious limitations. For example, you can't change the number of documents it keeps and there is no way to delete entries you don't need. The History Master extension aims to solve these problems and adds a few other creature comforts that make it easier to keep tabs on your documents. When installed, the extension adds two menu entries. The File -> Recent document of same type command displays the History Master dialog which displays a list of previous documents. But here is the clever part: all...
Batch Renaming Photos with Command-Line Tools

Nov 07, 2009 GMT

Using date and time stamps as file names makes it significantly easier to manage your photos, and tools like Rapid Photo Downloader can automatically rename photos on the fly when downloading them from the camera. But what if you already have hundreds or even thousands of photos? In this case, you can rename them using a few simple command-line tools. The first one is the exiv2 package which contains tools for managing image metadata. On Ubuntu and Debian derivatives, you can install this package by running the apt-get install exiv2 command as root. The exiv2 tool features the mv option which renames files using the time stamp pulled from the EXIF metadata. The time stamp can be formatted...
Creating Ebooks with Sigil

Nov 05, 2009 GMT

There are plenty of places on the Web where you can find ebooks in the EPUB format, but what if you need to create an ebook yourself? Sigil can help you with that. This nifty application allows you to create ebooks using the graphical interface without getting your hands dirty with coding. Despite being a relatively new application, Sigil already sports all the essential features that simplify the process of formatting ebooks and generating ready-to-use EPUB files. Installing Sigil is as easy as it gets. Download the installer .bin file. and run it in the terminal as root: ./Sigil-x.x.x-Linux-x86-Install.binSigil supports most common...
Blogging on the Move with wpToGo

Oct 23, 2009 GMT

Feel the urge to update your blog while on the move? As an Android user, you'll be pleased to learn that you can manage your WordPress blog from your device courtesy of the wpToGo application. This nifty blogging client lets you manage multiple blogs and it has a few clever features up its sleeve. On the first run, you are prompted to configure a new blog account. To do that, you have to enter your login credentials and specify the exact path to the xmlrpc.php interface of your blog. If you have a hosted WordPress blog, then the path to xmlrpc.php is Once the account has been configured, you can enable...

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