Productivity Sauce

Dmitri Popov
´╗┐Practising the Pomodoro Technique with Pomodairo

Mar 23, 2010 GMT

Looking for a new way to improve your productivity? Try the Pomodoro technique. The idea behind this technique is ridiculously simple. You break down your workload into 25-minute chunks, called pomodoros (pomodoro is Italian for tomato). During each 25-minute working session, you focus on a single task. Once the time is up, you take a break and move to another pomodoro. To time pomodoros you can use either a kitchen timer or a more high-tech solution like Pomodairo. To use the latter on your system, you need to install the Adobe AIR runtime. Obviously, the key feature of Pomodairo is the timer, but the utility has a few nifty tricks up its sleeve, too. Pomodairo lets you maintain a list...
´╗┐Gnome Gmail = Gmail + Gnome

Mar 22, 2010 GMT

Despite its power and convenience, Gmail has one serious limitation: the desktop integration. The Gnome Gmail tool solves this problem for users running the Gnome desktop environment. This little helper is available as .deb and .rpm packages, so installing it on your system is a matter of a few clicks. Once Gnome Gmail is installed, you have to adjust your system's settings, which is also an easy thing to do. On Ubuntu, go to System -> Preferences -> Preferred Applications, and select Gmail from the Mail Reader drop-down list. That's all there is to it. But what exactly does Gnome Gmail do? For starters, it uses Gmail for all mailto links on Web pages. Better yet, it supports the...
Simple OpenOffice.org-based Document Management Solution

Mar 19, 2010 GMT

If you're toying with the idea of creating a document management solution using OpenOffice.org Base, you don't have to start from scratch. Sergio Corato, the developer of the nifty FastMailMerge extension, has released a beta version of a simple document management database built with OpenOffice.org Base. Although this is a pretty bare-bones database, its core functionality covers all the basics. You can create multiple clients and attach an unlimited number of documents which are neatly organized into separate folders. Note, though, that the database doesn't store the documents, but only their absolute paths. You can also select any document and open it in an appropriate application (the...
Turn Your Wiki Pages into Web-based Presentations with S5 Plugin

Mar 15, 2010 GMT

If you happen to use DokuWiki, you don't need to use OpenOffice.org Impress or other similar tool to create a slick presentation. Thanks to the S5 plugin, you can turn any DokuWiki page into a simple and elegant S5 presentation. To turn a wiki page into an S5 presentation, simply insert the ~~SLIDESHOW~~ command into it. Use the H1 header to mark the initial slide and H2 headers for all additional slides. You can also use a horizontal rule to mark the end of the current slide, and any notes that come after that are treated as notes that appear only when the slide is printed.To run the presentation, click on the Slideshow icon in the upper-right corner of the page. The plugin also supports...
Extension Watch: Turn Firefox into an Ebook Reader with EPUBReader

Mar 12, 2010 GMT

You can use a dedicated application like FBReader or Calibre to read and manage ebooks on your machine, or you can do it without leaving the convenience of the Firefox browser courtesy of the EPUBReader extension. With this extension, you can open any ebook in the ePub format directly in the browser using the File -> Open File command. EPUBReader conveniently splits the main window into two panes. The left pane contains the hyperlinked table of contents, while the right pane displays the book. The buttons at the bottom of the right pane let you change the font size, go to the next or previous pages, add a bookmark, and save a copy of the book. The ePub Catalog button provides access to...
´╗┐StrongVPN on Ubuntu: Simple VPN Solution That Works

Mar 09, 2010 GMT

Ask any knowledgeable mobile user, and they will tell you that the best way to securely access the Internet in public places is through a VPN (virtual private network) connection. So if you enjoy sipping coffee at a local cafe while checking email and browsing the Web, a secure VPN connection is a good solution to protect the data traveling to and from your machine. Although you can go the DIY way and set up your own VPN server, using a dedicated VPN service provider would save you a lot of work and time. There are a few reputable VPN service providers out there, but for my money, StrongVPN is the best of the bunch. It offers reliable service and excellent support at competitive prices....
TeamTasks: Managing Tasks the TiddlyWiki Way

Mar 07, 2010 GMT

TeamTasks is not your usual task manager. Based on TiddlyWiki, TeamTasks consists of a single self-contained HTML file, so there is nothing to install, and you can run the application on any machine as long as it has a Web browser. Unlike traditional task managers, TeamTasks stores all the settings and data in tiddlers -- small editable containers. TeamTasks settings are saved in so-called definition tiddlers which you can access via the Customise menu in the sidebar. For starters, you have to define at least one user, which is done by adding the desired user name to the UserDefinition tiddler. To make it easier to manage tasks, you should also define so-called scopes. You can think of...

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