Productivity Sauce

Dmitri Popov
Ubuntu 9.10 on SSD

Nov 24, 2009 GMT

I've been thinking about replacing the hard disk on my production notebook with a solid-state disk (SSD) for quite a while. So when I stumbled upon a good offer on Kingston 64GB SSDNow V series SSD I decided to take the plunge. 64GB is a far cry from the modest by today's standards 160GB hard disk on my notebook. But since I store all my files on a Bubba Two server, I rarely use more than 15-20GB anyway. The Kingston 64GB SSDNow V series SSD model is available in several versions, including a so-called notebook kit. It's slightly more expensive than the disk itself, but it's well worth a few extra bucks. The notebook kit includes hard disk cloning software (which is, obviously, of no use...
Better Copy/Paste with Firefox

Nov 23, 2009 GMT

QuoteURLText and Copy Plain Text are not the most advanced Firefox extensions out there, but they sure can save you a lot of time if you do a lot of copying and pasting from Web pages to other documents. As any Firefox user knows, the copy operation grabs not only the selected text fragment but also all the formatting. In most cases, however, all you want is the text itself without all the formatting silliness. Sure, most applications let you strip the pasted text of formatting, but this just adds one more unnecessary step. The Copy Paste Text extension remedies the situation. Once installed, the extension adds the Copy as Plain Text command to the right-click context menu. When you...
ConnectBot: SSH Client for Android

Nov 23, 2009 GMT

ConnectBot turns your Android device into a powerful tool for accessing and controlling remote Linux machines. Using this SSH client app, you can reboot your Linux server at home or connect to a desktop machine at your office directly from your Android devices when you are on the move. ConnectBot supports all the essential features you would expect from a decent SSH client: tunneling, public-private key authentication, command history, intelligent keyboard and finger shortcuts. It even allows you to create a shortcut to a host on your desktop. Simply put, this is a must-have application for any Linux geek and system administrator with an Android device in his pocket.
Extension Watch: Better Bookmarking in OpenOffice.org with VisibleBookmarks

Nov 20, 2009 GMT

Bookmarks can come in handy when working with long and complex documents, but the way this feature works in OpenOffice.org is not particularly intuitive. The bookmarks you add to the document are not visible, and you have to use the Navigator to view the bookmarks and jump to a bookmarked place in the document. The VisibleBookmarks extension offers a simple solution to the problem. Once installed, the extension adds a dedicated toolbar containing a couple of buttons. Press the Visible Bookmarks button, and the tool inserts a note for every bookmark in the document. The note contains the name and the text of the bookmark, which makes it easier to identify bookmarks in the document. As the...
Roll Out Your Own Dropbox Alternative

Nov 19, 2009 GMT

Dropbox is without doubt an extremely useful service, but it has two major drawbacks: it uses proprietary software and -- as with any cloud-based service -- you leave your data at the mercy of a third party. So why not roll out your own solution that replaces Dropbox and runs on your own server? If you like the idea, then the Fak3r blog provides step-by-step instructions on how to set up your own file synchronization server. The main ingredients in Fak3r's recipe are the OpenSSH server, rsync and lsyncd. If the latter sounds familiar to you, it's because it has been covered on the Productivity Sauce blog before. Rolling out a local synchronization server using Fak3r's instruction is...
Scribble Notes with SimpleText

Nov 18, 2009 GMT

Here is a genuinely useful Web-based application -- SimpleText. It is, indeed, a rather simple online note-taking application that is positively light on features. It doesn't offer any fancy text formatting tools, and you won't find any advanced sharing capabilities in it either. So what's so "genuinely useful" about it, then? Again, it's simplicity. I find it particularly useful for drafting articles and blog posts. It allows me to quickly jot down ideas, save useful links and text snippets without much fuss. Since I spend most of my time in Firefox, SimpleText is only a tab away, and I don't have to launch OpenOffice.org Writer or switch to another application. To start using...
Manage Photos with Shotwell

Nov 16, 2009 GMT

When it comes to organizing and tweaking photos, digiKam and F-Spot rule the roost. But if you don't need all the bells and whistles of a full-blown photo management tool, then you might want to try Shotwell. If you are running the latest version of Ubuntu, installing Showtell is rather straightforward. Launch the Synaptic package manager, choose Settings -> Repository, and switch to the Other Software section. Press the Add button, add the ppa:yorba/ppa repository. Press Add Source, and hit the Reload button to update the repositories. Then locate and install the shotwell package. Of course, you can also compile the application from source and even build it on Windows, and the...

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