Productivity Sauce

Dmitri Popov
´╗┐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...
Translate Text Snippets with ASTranslator

Mar 05, 2010 GMT

Google Translate is a really handy service for translating text fragments, but wouldn't it be nice if you could access it directly from your desktop? If the idea makes sense to you, then you'll appreciate the ASTranslator utility. Although the project's Web site is in Russian, the application's interface is in English, so you can use ASTranslator even if your Russian is a bit rusty. To install ASTranslator, add the project's PPA archive to your sources list. To do this, launch Synaptic and choose Settings -> Repositories -> Other Software. Press the Add button, and enter the following APT line: ppa:samrog131/ppaPress Add Source, then Close to save the settings, and hit the Reload...
Install the Latest Versions of Firefox and Thunderbird Using Ubuntuzilla

Mar 03, 2010 GMT

If you are running Ubuntu or any of its derivatives and you want to use the latest and greatest versions of the Firefox browser and the Thunderbird mail client, Ubuntuzilla has the solution for you. The project maintains a software repository containing the latest packages of Firefox, Thunderbird, and Seamonkey. And you install any of these packages on your system in three supremely easy steps. First, you have to add the Ubuntuzilla repository to your sources list. You can do this by adding the following line to the list of third-party repositories in the Synaptic package manager: deb http://downloads.sourceforge.net/project/ubuntuzilla/mozilla/apt all mainAlternatively, you can add the...
´╗┐Tonido 0.7 Brings Improvements to Your Personal Cloud

Feb 23, 2010 GMT

Tonido has been covered in this blog several times, and I make no secret of the fact that I'm a huge fan of this personal cloud solution. The last couple of months, the software has been improving at a neck-breaking pace, and the latest release offers a real smorgasbord of new features and improvements. The new version comes with a completely rewritten network stack which is now based on HTTP instead of the UDP protocol used in the previous versions. This makes Tonido more reliable, scalable, and efficient. The Jukebox streaming application now supports guest accounts, so you can let other users access and stream your music collection. Thots, Tonido's blogging application, has been...
Quick Tip: Use xkill to Terminate Misbehaving Applications

Feb 19, 2010 GMT

Don't you just hate it when an application stops working properly and you can't close it? Fortunately, there are a few different ways to terminate the misbehaving application, including the kill and killall commands. But my favorite method of stopping a stuck graphical application is to use the xkill utility. Press Alt+F2, type xkill, and press Run. Point the cursor to the application you want to terminate and press the left mouse button. This should kill the selected application. Easy, eh?
Pinta: No-frills Graphics Editor

Feb 17, 2010 GMT

The Gimp is undeniably a competent graphics editor, but it has a pretty steep learning curve, and it's a complete overkill if you only need to tweak a photo or a screenshot every now and then. In this case, you need something like Pinta, a no-frills image manipulation application that offers all the essential editing tools. Pinta is written in Mono which you must have installed on your system in order to run the application. The project's Web site provides binary packages for Ubuntu and openSUSE, so installing Pinta on these distros is as easy as it gets. If you find the Gimp's multi-window interface confusing, you'll be pleased to discover that Pinta sports a more traditional...

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