Productivity Sauce

Dmitri Popov
Restore a Broken Wireless Connection with a Simple Bash Script

Jul 27, 2015 GMT

Linking a Linux server to the network via a Wi-Fi connection is not the most reliable option, but in some situations it is the most convenient one. So if you choose to use the Wi-Fi connection, it's prudent to have a tool that monitors the connection and restarts the Wi-Fi interface if the connection is broken. And the following simple Bash shell script can do just that. #!/bin/sh ping -c5 > /dev/null if [ $? -ne 0 ]; then sudo ifdown --force wlan0 sudo ifup wlan0 fiThe script pings the router on the local network (replace with the actual IP address of the router), and restarts the wireless network interface if the ping fails. To make sure that the...
Extension Watch: Convenient Weather Forecast with the Weather Chrome Extension

Jul 23, 2015 GMT

For the longest time, the service has been my go-to destination for checking current weather conditions and get a forecast for the coming days. The service features a functional and slick interface that provides instant access to key weather data, and it works equally well on large screens and mobile devices. Besides a handy website, the service also offers an API for developers, so it was only a matter of time before a dedicated Chrome and Chromium weather extension saw the light of day. Lo and behold, here comes the Weather Chrome extension. There are several creature comforts that make this extension a pleasure to use. First...
Free VPN Service with VPN Gate

Jul 21, 2015 GMT

In this day and age, there is no need to explain the benefits of using VPN. And while you can manage your own VPN installation, opting for an existing service makes more sense in most situations. The question is, of course, which service to choose. There are plenty of paid high-quality VPN services on the market, but if you only occasionally need to use VPN, paying a monthly fee is probably a waste of money. Enter VPN Gate, an academic project maintained by the University of Tsukuba, Japan.Unlike a typical VPN service, the project offers several things. The key among them is the SoftEther VPN open source VPN software that you can download and deploy on your own server. If that's not your...
DIY Read It Later Replacement with Save to Google Drive

Jul 20, 2015 GMT

Saving web pages as MHTML web archives is decidedly old school, but this approach has its advantages compared to using services like Framabag, Pocket, Instapaper et al. An MHTML file neatly packs the web page and all its resources in a single file, preserving the original formatting.Both Mozilla and Chrome/Chromium let you save pages as MHTML archives locally, but what if you want to be able to access saved pages from other devices? The Save to Google Drive extension provides one possible solution to the problem and streamlines the process of saving web pages. As the name suggests, the extension makes it possible to save the currently opened web page as an MHTML archive to a specified...
Extension Watch: The Great Suspender for Chrome and Chromium

Jun 29, 2015 GMT

If you have a nagging feeling that the Chrome or Chromium browser has an unhealthy appetite for system resources, you have every right to be concerned. Since the browser runs each tab as a separate process, the more tabs you keep opened, the more resources the browser consumes and the less stable it becomes. The Great Suspender extension provides a not very elegant but workable solution to the problem. Once installed, the extension suspends any tab that has been inactive for a specific period of time, thus freeing up unused RAM and resources. The extension also adds a button to the main toolbar that lets you suspend the current tab...
Thoughts on Tuxedo DX1305

Jun 25, 2015 GMT

There are a few machines in our household, but truth to be told, hardware doesn't excite me too much. I don't get obsessed by the processor model and speed, amount of RAM, screen resolution, and such. As long as the machine I use does the stuff I need it to do, I'm a happy camper. But every now and then, I come across a computer that piques my interest, like Raspberry Pi and Chromebook. This happened to me again when I had the chance to play with Linux-based machines manufactured and sold by the German-based company Tuxedo Computers. Their Ubuntu-based laptops immediately appealed to my inner geek, and I wanted to take a closer look at them. The company kindly agreed to send me a test...
Track Locations with Fancy Places for Android

Jun 22, 2015 GMT

Fancy Places is not a fancy Android app, but it's a useful one. It offers an easy way to keep track of places you have visited and plan to return to in the future. The app features a simple interface which makes it supremely easy to record locations and keep tabs on them. To add a new entry, launch the app, press the Plus button, and give the entry a name. If you want to attach a photo to the entry, tap the image placeholder, snap a picture, and the app adds it to the current entry. The app's interface features two views. The List view is perfect for browsing and managing existing records, while the Map view can come in handy when you want...
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