Productivity Sauce

Dmitri Popov
Connect to MySQL Using the Native Driver

Apr 10, 2009 GMT

While has always sported the ability to talk to MySQL databases, connecting the productivity suite to the popular database engine wasn't particularly straightforward. Establishing a connection to MySQL involved installing and configuring a connector software, which did require some skills and made the whole idea less attractive. But it seems that you don't have to put up with this situation for much longer. A recent post on the GullFOSS blog has announced the availability of a native MySQL driver for You can download the alpha version of the driver which works with 3.1. The blog points out that you should use the stock version of...
Add Real-Time Word Count to Writer

Apr 08, 2009 GMT

The Writer's Tools extension for developed by yours truly comes with a simple Visual Word Counter tool written using Basic. While this tool does the job, it has one serious drawback: once evoked, it doesn't allow you to do anything until you close its window. There are two solutions to this problem: you can either rewrite the macro from the ground up to add a so-called non-modal dialog window (i.e., a window you can keep opened while working on your documents), or you can use an already available Python-based macro from Yawar's Journal. The latter approach, obviously, makes more sense than the former. To make it easier for you, here is the macro in its...
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 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,, 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 script to...
Replace with VLC

Mar 25, 2009 GMT

Nothing boosts my productivity more than good music. That's why I always keep radio running when I'm working. Or rather, used to keep it running: 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...

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