Productivity Sauce

Dmitri Popov
Installing and Extensions Using a Bash Script

Mar 04, 2009 GMT

Is it possible to install the latest version of and all your favorite extensions using just a simple command? Yes, it is. All you need is a relatively simple Bash script that does the donkey job for you. As a starting point, you can use the script below which installs on a Debian-based Linux distribution along with the Writer's Tools and Sun Report Builder extensions. #!/bin/sh mkdir ~/tmp cd ~/tmp wget tar -xvf OOo_3.0.1_LinuxIntel_install_en-US_deb.tar.gz cd OOO300_m15_native_packed-1_en-US.9379 cd DEBS sudo dpkg -i *.deb cd...
Extension Watch: Hide Navigation Bar

Mar 01, 2009 GMT

The Hide Navigation Bar extension for Firefox is yet another one-trick pony for users who want to free up a few extra pixels of screen estate. As the name suggests, the extension allows you to hide and show the Navigation bar using a keyboard shortcut (the default one is F2). This can come in particularly handy on netbooks where screen estate is at a premium. Combined with the Personal Menu extension, Hide Navigation Bar lets you reduce Firefox's interface to the absolute minimum.
Extension Watch: WiRWiB

Feb 27, 2009 GMT

WordNet is probably the most valuable reference for professional writers and users striving to improve their writing skills. The official WordNet package comes with a simple graphical front-end, and there is also a no-frills Web-based version of the reference. But if you do most of your writing in Writer, switching back and forth between the word processor and the WordNet application or browser can quickly become an annoyance. The WiRWiB extension -- which stands for Write It Right, Write It Better -- provides an elegant solution to the problem. WiRWiB uses a separate window to display WordNet data for the current word, including its definition, usage, and synonyms. More...
Staying Productive while Offline

Feb 25, 2009 GMT

Surviving a long train trip without an Internet connection can be tough, but with a little bit of preparatory work, you can stay productive even when offline. Here are a few ideas that can help you to do some work without Internet access. Install Google Gears and enable it for Web-based services that support this technology. This allows you to manage emails stored on your Gmail account and work on Google Docs files as well as keep tabs on your to-dos if you use the Remember The Milk service as your Web-based task manager. Prune your bookmarks and task list. If you use Firefox to manage your bookmarks, now is a good time to go through them and delete all the cruft. While you're at it, you...
Learn Inkscape with Screencasts

Feb 20, 2009 GMT

Even if you are new to open source software, you've probably heard of Inkscape, a versatile and powerful vector drawing application. But as with any powerful tool, you have to put considerable time and effort into mastering Inkscape's tools and features. Fortunately, the Web provides a plethora of resources and tutorials to get you started, including regular screencasts at the Web site. What I like most about these screencasts is that they show you not only how to get to grips with Inkscape's basic functionality, but also demonstrate more advanced and sometimes less conventional uses of this vector drawing package. The screencasts will teach you how to design a...
Master Command Line with Command-line Fu

Feb 17, 2009 GMT

Mastering the command line can really boost your productivity and make your daily computing more efficient. But once you've managed the basics, you might want to learn a few advanced and nifty command-line tricks. Enter Command-line Fu, a veritable treasure trove for command-line users. Command-line Fu is not your plain listing of useful commands: similar to Digg, users can submit their own commands and vote for the commands submitted by others. It a dead-simple idea, but it works very well indeed. Clicking on the command you like automatically selects it, so you can quickly copy and paste it into the terminal. Commands listed on the Web site are not limited to any specific topic. Here...
Extension Watch: EuroOffice Sparklines

Feb 13, 2009 GMT

The EuroOffice Sparklines extension for is a bit of a one-trick pony, but the trick it does is a rather clever one. It allows you to turn data in a Calc spreadsheet into a sparklines graph. Sparklines are "intense, simple, word-sized graphics" (Sparklines: theory and practice, Edward Tufte). According to Wikipedia, sparklines allow you to "present trends and variations associated with some measurement, such as average temperature or stock market activity, in a simple and condensed way." Once installed, the EuroOffice Sparklines extension lets you instantly turn a row of data in a spreadsheet into a...

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