Productivity Sauce

Dmitri Popov
Announcing Writer's Jobs Project

May 30, 2009 GMT

As part of my Writer's Tools project, I've started working on a new database application designed to keep track of projects and jobs. It's a single-user solution geared towards freelancers and self-employed. It's still at a very early stage of development, but I thought it would be a good time to invite you to give it a try and submit your comments, suggestions, and ideas. The current version of the application (its current name is Writer's Jobs) allows you to keep tabs on your customers and contacts, keep track of time spent on a specific project, and manage multiple rates. The current version of Writer's Jobs is...
Create a DIY Planner with Dynamic Templates

May 30, 2009 GMT

The D*I*Y Planner Web site is a real treasure trove for fans of DIY paper-based personal organizers like Hipster PDA. Among other things, it offers a wealth of ready-to-print templates, an excellent handbook of how to build your own D*I*Y planner, and even an widget kit for creating custom planner templates. But that's not all. Somewhere on the Web site hides a nifty little application called D*I*Y Planner Dynamic Templates (or just Dynamic Templates) that comes with a few handy templates you can tweak and save as ready-to-use PDF documents. There are binary packages of the application for Windows and Mac OSX, and if you want to use Dynamic Templates on Linux, there...
Extension Watch: Access Statistics for DokuWiki

May 29, 2009 GMT

There are quite a few open source Web tracking solutions out there, but if you are running DokuWiki, there is no need to install and configure a third-party tool to gather stats on your visitors. Instead, you can let the Access Statistics plugin collect and analyze data about your visitors. The plugin stores the collected data in a MySQL database, so your first order of business is to create a separate database for use with Access Statistics (or use an existing database) and populate it with the required tables. The plugin comes with the handy db.sql SQL script which can do the donkey job for you. Simply use your MySQL client (e.g., phpMyAdmin) to run the supplied SQL script to create...
Pin 'em up: No-frills sticky notes tool

May 21, 2009 GMT

Sticky notes utilities for Linux are a dime a dozen these days, so what makes Pin 'em up so special? For starters, it's written in Java, so it runs happily on different platforms -- a boon for users who have to deal with different operating systems on a daily basis. Pin 'em up also lets you categorize your notes, and you can define as many categories as you need. To edit the default list of categories, right-click on the Pin 'em up icon and choose category actions -> Manage categories. You can then specify the categories you want and assign specific note colors to each category. The Settings item in the Pin 'em up menu lets you...
Track Your Software Usage with Wakoopa

May 16, 2009 GMT

It took Wakoopa a while, but the company has finally released a Linux version of its tracking client. For those not familiar with the strangely named service, Wakoopa generates a so-called software profile using a small tracking utility running on your desktop. Once installed, the Wakoopa tracker collects information about the applications you are running on your machine and uploads the collected data to Wakoopa's Web site. You can then share your software profile with other users in a variety of ways. For example, Wakoopa lets you create widgets you can add to your blog, Web site, and Facebook profile. So how can Wakoopa be of use to...
Monitor Bandwidth Usage with vnStat

May 13, 2009 GMT

In these days of bandwidth caps and pay-per-kilobyte rates, keeping an eye on your bandwidth usage makes a lot of sense. While there is no lack of bandwidth monitoring utilities, vnStat stands out from the crowd thanks to its ability to store monitoring data in a database and resume monitoring automatically on reboot. This means that once installed and configured, vnStat quietly monitors a specified network interface and saves the collected data. You can then use vnStat's command parameters to view detailed reports of your bandwidth usage. vnStat is available in the software repositories of many mainstream Linux distributions, so you can easily install it using your distro's package...
Kick-start Your Brain with Scribble

May 08, 2009 GMT

Sometimes your brain needs a gentle push to get into gear. For some a good cup of coffee does the trick, while others prefer to use a good word game to kick-start their gray cells. If you belong to the latter category, you might appreciate Scribble, a command line-based version of the popular Scrabble game. Scribble is available in the software repositories of many mainstream Linux distributions, including Debian and Ubuntu. To install Scribble on the latter, run the sudo apt-get install scribble command and you are good to go. Run the scribble command to start a new game. You can also specify a difficulty level from 1 (easiest) to 9 (most difficult), for example: scribble 5 or scribble...

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