Productivity Sauce

Dmitri Popov
Turn a Plug Computer into a Full-fledged Server with Amahi

Aug 11, 2010 GMT

A plug computer sounds like such a good idea, until you realize that before you can actually put it to some practical use, you need to install and configure some software and applications -- a task that requires time and technical skills. Fortunately, the recently announced Amahi Plug Edition solution provides a better and easier way to turn a plug computer into a useful device. As you might have guessed, Amahi Plug Edition is a version of their Amahi open source server solution optimized for the Plug Computer platform. Amahi is a Linux-based home server solution which is both easy to deploy and maintain. Moreover, it allows you to choose among dozens of available applications (e.g.,...
Add a Word Count Feature to Tomboy

Aug 10, 2010 GMT

If you use Tomboy as a drafting tool, a word count can come in handy in many situations. While Tomboy doesn't offer this functionality out of the box, you can easily add it using the Tomboy-Wordcount add-in. Although it's distributed only as a source package, compiling it is not particularly complicated. First off, you have to install two packages: gnome-sharp2 and mono-gmcs . On Ubuntu, you can do this using the sudo apt-get install gnome-sharp2 mono-gmcs command. Grab the latest version of the add-in from the project's Web site, and unpack the downloaded archive. In the terminal switch to the resulting directory, and run the make install command. Once the compilation process is...
Schedule Tasks GUI style with Gnome Schedule

Aug 09, 2010 GMT

The cron tool lets you schedule system tasks, but if fiddling with cron's settings in a text editor is not your cup of tea, then the Gnome Schedule tool is right up your alley. Gnome Schedule is available in the software repositories of many popular Linux distros, so you can easily install it on your machine using your distro's package manager. On Ubuntu, you can do that by running the following command: sudo apt-get install gnome-schedule To launch Gnome Schedule, run the gnome-schedule command in the terminal. To create a new task, press the New button in the main toolbar. Select the type of task you want to create. Most often, you would want to create a recurrent task that runs at...
Adding a Dummy Text Feature to OpenOffice.org Writer

Aug 09, 2010 GMT

Every now and then, I need to fill a blank OpenOffice.org Writer document with dummy text. While OpenOffice.org comes with a built-in feature that allows you to do that (type dt and press the F3 function key), it generates only one paragraph at a time and doesn't allow you to specify your own dummy text. So instead of the built-in dummy text feature, I used to use the Magenta Lorem Ipsum Generator extension that pulls dummy text from the lipsum.com Web site. It is, indeed, a nifty solution, but since it requires an Internet connection to do its magic, it's not of much use when I work off-line. So I wrote a simple macro that inserts dummy text into the current OpenOffice.org Writer...
Add a Grammar Checker to OpenOffice.org using the After the Deadline Extension

Aug 06, 2010 GMT

The lack of a grammar checker is a pet peeve of many OpenOffice.org users. But there is a solution for those who are in desperate need of grammar checking capabilities in the productivity suite. The After the Deadline (AtD) extension adds a grammar checking feature based on the open source language checking server developed and maintained by Automattic (the company behind the popular WordPress software). The AtD server uses a combination of artificial intelligence and natural language processing technology to find writing errors and offer smart suggestions. To make use of the AtD extension, you need OpenOffice.org 3.2 or later and Sun Java Runtime Environment 1.5 or higher. Installing the...
Power Management with cpufrequtils

Aug 05, 2010 GMT

Switching to a lightweight graphical desktop environment is a great way to improve the overall performance of your system, especially if this system happens to be a notebook or netbook. But if you opt, for example, for LXDE, you'll discover that it lacks a graphical tool for managing power profiles and controlling the processor frequency. This might not be a big problem on a desktop machine, but the ability to adjust power settings is crucial for improving the battery life of your mobile companion. The cpufrequtils utility provides a neat solution to this problem. This utility can help you to tweak power management options from the command line. cpufrequtils is available in the software...
Lookup Words from the Command Line Using a Simple Bash Script

Aug 03, 2010 GMT

The humble nano text editor can be a rather handy distraction-free drafting tool, but now and then I need to look up words and their definitions in WordNet. To do that, I tweaked a simple Bash script I stumbled upon on the Stack Overflow Web site. The original script pulls data from the Google Define source, but it took just a few minutes to make it work with WordNet. So if you, like me, need to look up words and their definitions without leaving the terminal, here is a script that can help you with this: #!/bin/bash echo "Enter your word:" read word /usr/bin/curl -s -A 'Mozilla/4.0' 'http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s='$word \ | html2text -ascii -nobs -style...

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