Productivity Sauce

Dmitri Popov
Extension Watch: SimplyRead for Chromium and Firefox

Jan 12, 2012 GMT

After going through several browser extensions that make reading long articles on the web more tolerable, I've finally settled for SimplyRead. Why? For several reasons. The extension is released under an open source license and it's available for both Google Chrome (and Chromium) as well as Firefox. SimplyRead does a commendable job of pulling out and formatting relevant text from most web pages. According to the extension's developer, SimplyRead is inspired by the Readability project, but it "aims to be much simpler, faster, and more usable." The extension doesn't offer any embellishments like the ability to share the sscurrently viewed web page via Twitter or Facebook, and you...
Sync Files with bitpocket

Jan 09, 2012 GMT

bitpocket may not rival dedicated file syncing services like Dropbox or Wuala, but this neat tool has a few important advantages. For starters the entire solution consists of a single Bash script which uses the good old rsync tool to perform its syncing magic. Since you can deploy bitpocket on your own server, your storage space is limited only to the size of the server's hard disk. And, of course, there are no monthly fees to pay.Rolling your own file syncing system based on bitpocket is not particularly complicated. First of all, make sure that rsync and openssh are installed on all machines you want to use with bitpocket. Next, use curl to download the latest version of the script on...
Hacker's Keyboard: A Proper Keyboard for Your Android Device

Dec 26, 2011 GMT

Despite its name, the Hacker's Keyboard Android app is not limited to hackers and coders. This keyboard replacement replicates the regular keyboard layout, so it is perfectly suited for users who depend on the arrow, punctuation, Tab, Ctrl, and Esc keys in their daily computing. Moreover, Hacker's Keyboard boasts the Fn key which evokes a separate layout containing a numerical keyboard and a function key pad. Hacker's Keyboard works particularly well with the ConnectBot SSH client app, and the keyboard supports a wide range of layouts, including English, German, French, and Russian. Switching between layouts is done by swiping to the right or left on the Space key, which is a very nice...
Create Web-based Presentations with Slidifier

Dec 22, 2011 GMT

In this day and age, creating presentations with desktop tools like LibreOffice Impression feels somewhat old school. Not only that, but the full-blown applications are overkill in most situations, especially if you prefer to keep your presentation simple and free from all the fluff like fancy transitions and flashy graphics. In this case, Slidifier may be a much better tool for the job. This web-based application allows you to create and run presentations using a browser, which means that you can work on your slides from any machine. More importantly, Slidifer uses a subset of the Markdown markup to create and format slides, which dramatically simplifies the otherwise daunting task of...
Mount Amazon S3 Buckets with s3fs

Dec 16, 2011 GMT

There is no lack of third-party tools that allow you to access storage offered by the Amazon S3 service in one way or another. But in case you need to mount an Amazon S3 bucket as a local file system with read/write access, s3fs got you covered. Using this software, you can access an Amazon S3 bucket as if it were a regular directory on your local machine. To compile s3fs, you need to install a handful of dependencies first. On Debian and Ubuntu-based distros, this can be done by running the following command as root: apt-get install build-essential libfuse-dev fuse-utils libcurl4-openssl-dev libxml2-dev mime-supportGrab then the latest release of s3fs from the project's website,...
Midori: Low-fat Browser

Dec 09, 2011 GMT

My recent weekend project involved putting my trusty ASUS Eee PC 900 back in service as my couch and kitchen machine. Despite its modest specs, this little netbook is still capable of performing daily computing tasks with aplomb. But to make Eee PC 900 a decent machine for accessing the web, I had to replace the Chromium browser bundled with the latest version of Lubuntu. After trying several lightweight alternatives, I settled for Midori. Although Midori may not include the advanced features of mainstream browsers, all the essential functionality is there. This includes tabs and a speed dial feature which lets you add shortcuts to often-used Web sites. Unlike Chromium, Midori sports a...
Use Zotero on Android with Zandy

Nov 29, 2011 GMT

Zotero is a genuinely useful tool for research and archiving. It runs on different platforms, and thanks to its built-in synchronization feature, you can keep Zotero data in sync across multiple machines. And now you can view and edit Zotero items on your Android device, courtesy of the Zandy app. The app is not free of charge, but it's available under an open source license. You can install Zandy from the Android Market, and during the first run you have to authorize the app with the Zotero service. This is a rather straightforward procedure, but you have to tweak the default permissions to allow Zandy to access notes as well as add and edit items. Once you've authorized Zandy, press the...

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