Productivity Sauce

Dmitri Popov
Block Ads and Malware Sites with a Unified Host File

May 25, 2016 GMT

Instead of blocking ads and malware sites using a specialized browser extension, you can enable the blocking at system level. This way, you don't need to install adblocking extensions on every browser you use. Better still, fewer extensions in your browser mean reduced memory usage and faster speed.Enabling system-wide blocking is a matter of adding a list of hosts you want to block to the /etc/hosts file. And there are plenty of websites that maintain regularly updated lists of hosts worth blocking, including github.com/StevenBlack/hosts. Copy the contents of a unified host file (e.g., raw.githubusercontent.com/StevenBlack/hosts/master/hosts), open the hosts file (on Ubuntu, you can do...
Get Weather Forecast from the Command Line with wttr.in

May 20, 2016 GMT

Of all the weather forecast applications and tools I have tried and reviewed over the years, wttr.in is probably the most ingenuous and useful one. There are several reasons for that. First of all, wttr.in requires no installation, nor does it need a dedicated client. You can use the good old cURL tool to fetch the current weather forecast by simply running the curl wttr.in command. This gives you a quasi-graphical 3-day weather forecast right in the terminal. Needless to say, the sheer convenience of this approach makes wttr.in a great tool for users who spend a significant part of their daily computing in the terminal. Need to check the weather in another...
Min: Bare-Bones Browser with Built-in Ad Blocking

May 18, 2016 GMT

At first glance, Min may seem like a browser that is too minimalistic to be of any practical use. But behind its bare-bones facade lurks several handy features that make it a viable lightweight alternative to mainstream browsers like Mozilla Firefox and Chromium. For starters, Min supports tabs and you can perform searches by entering search queries directly into the address bar. In addition to regular search queries, the DuckDuckGo search engine that powers Min allows you to search Wikipedia articles and programming documentation as well as perform fuzzy searches and use the address bar as a simple calculator. As you would expect, Min features bookmarking functionality, and the browser...
Ansiweather: Weather in the Terminal

Apr 27, 2016 GMT

Sometimes the simplest tool can also prove to be an indispensable one. Take Ansiweather, for example: this one-trick pony displays the current weather conditions and forecast right in the terminal, and that's all it does. But if your daily computing revolves around the terminal, having the ability to view weather info from the command line can come in rather handy. Ansiweather depends on a few packages which are available in the official software repositories of most mainstream Linux distributions. To install them on Ubuntu and its derivatives, run the sudo apt-get install curl jq bc command, and you are done. Clone then the project's GitHub repository, and use the following commands...
Prune Your Photo Library with fdupes

Apr 22, 2016 GMT

If your photo library contains thousands of photos, chances are it has duplicate files lurking in its corners. But finding and removing these unwelcome guests can be tricky, unless you use the fdupes tool for the job. fdupes generates an md5sum hash on each file, and then returns files that have identical hashes (which almost certainly means that they are duplicates).To put fdupes to practical use right away, run the fdupes -rSm /path/to/dir command. The -r parameter makes the command run recursively (i.e., it includes all sub-directories in the specified directory), while the -S and -m parameters generate a summary that includes the size of the duplicate file. To interactively remove...
Instant Pronounceable Passwords with passwds.ninja

Apr 20, 2016 GMT

The passwds.ninja web app can come in rather handy when you need an easy-to-remember password. When you visit the site, the app automatically generates a batch of 8-character pronounceable passwords which contain both capital letters and numbers. These might not be the strongest passwords around, but they should do the trick in a pinch. The app is released under an open source license, and since it's written in HTML, JavaScript, and CSS, you can deploy it on your own server in a matter of seconds. Simply clone the project's GitHub repository into the document root of your server using the git clone https://github.com/allixsenos/passwds-ninja-web.git command, and you are good to go. By...
Use Node-RED to Get Twitter Mention Alerts

Mar 31, 2016 GMT

I don't use Twitter a lot, which explains why I often miss mentions from other users. But checking for mentions manually is as practical as playing tennis with a broom stick. Node-RED to the rescue! I already have a Node-RED instance running on my Raspberry Pi, so all I had to do was to write a simple flow that monitors Twitter for mentions and sends email alerts to me. The flow consists of three nodes. The Twitter node searches all public tweets for @dmpop (that's my Twitter handle) mentions, while the Function node uses a simple function to construct a message that is then sent to the email address specified in the Email node. Pretty simple stuff really. If you want to deploy a...

Issue 187/2016

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