Productivity Sauce

Dmitri Popov
Astrid: Probably the Best Task Manager for the Android Platform

Jul 10, 2009 GMT

A task manager is probably the first thing you might want to install on your Android device, and you won't find a better tool for the job than Astrid. This open source task management utility sports not only a cute application icon -- it also offers all the tools you need to efficiently manage your tasks. A user-friendly interface makes it extremely easy to create new tasks and edit existing ones. The task editing screen of Astrid's interface is split into three sections: Basic, Dates, and Alarms. The Basic section allows you to set the task's priority, assign tags, specify the time it would take to complete the task, and attach a note to it. In the Dates section, you can specify a...
Android in My Pocket

Jul 09, 2009 GMT

Being a proponent of open source software, I've always found it annoying that the device I use most of the time -- my mobile phone -- runs some closed source proprietary system. Moving to Nokia N95 that runs the soon-to-be-open-source Symbian OS improved things slightly, but I still wanted to have something more Linux-like, open, and tweakable. That's why I followed with interest the release of Google's Android platform. The system itself did look rather promising, but, as it often happens, the first Android-powered handset turned out to be a somewhat underwhelming device. Worse yet, it has never made it to our shores. So imagine my excitement when I saw that one of our local 3G carriers...
KeepNote: Viable Alternative to NoteCase

Jul 03, 2009 GMT

NoteCase has always been an indispensable application in my productivity toolbox. So the news that NoteCase's developer ceased its development sent me scrambling for a replacement for this excellent note-taking tool. It didn't take me long, though, to discover KeepNote. Similar to NoteCase, KeepNote is a hierarchical note manager, which means notes in the application are organized in notebooks and subnotebooks that act as nodes in an hierarchical tree. You can assign different icons to each notebook and note (or page, in KeeNote's terminology), which makes it easier to identify and find specific pages and folders. As you would expect from a note-taking application, KeepNote supports...
GoldenDict: A Dictionary Nugget

Jul 01, 2009 GMT

While StarDict touts itself as "the best dictionary program for Linux and Windows," it has a serious challenger to the title called GoldenDict. On the face of it, GoldenDict looks like any other dictionary application. But dig deeper, and you'll discover a few rather neat features that make it not only a rather competent dictionary but also an excellent research tool. For starters, GoldenDict supports a wide range of dictionary formats, including StarDict dictionaries, Babylon .BGL files, Dict dictionary files as well as ABBYY Lingvo source files and audio archives. In addition to that, GoldenDict supports MediaWiki-based references, which include both Wikipedia and Wiktionary....
Krut: screencasts made easy

Jun 29, 2009 GMT

Need to whip up a quick screencast? You might want to use Krut for the job. This cross-platform screen recording tool has virtually no learning curve, and offers a few useful features that can help you to create high-quality screencasts with consummate ease. Krut is written in Java, so you have to install the Java Runtime Environment on your system before you can run the utility. Krut requires no installation, and you can launch the application by simply running the KRUT.jar file.   When up and running, Krut places a floating palette containing four buttons: Menu, Rec, Snap, and Cursor. The latter lets you specify the recording area, which you should do before you start the...
First Look at Jolicloud

Jun 26, 2009 GMT

Linux distributions designed for netbooks are a dime a dozen these days, so one really has to pull something extraordinary out of the hat to impress the mobile crowd. While Jolicloud's main goal is not to awe Linux geeks, the new distribution does offers a radically different take on a system for your netbook that might appeal to the non-technical user. Jolicloud has been in development for quite some time, and its developers managed to keep it under tight wraps, carefully dispensing invites to a few chosen users. Recently, yours truly found himself among the lucky ones. As an avid netbook user, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to take Jolicloud for a spin. The currently available...
Announcing Writer's Jobs Project

May 30, 2009 GMT

As part of my Writer's Tools project, I've started working on a new OpenOffice.org database application designed to keep track of projects and jobs. It's a single-user solution geared towards freelancers and self-employed. It's still at a very early stage of development, but I thought it would be a good time to invite you to give it a try and submit your comments, suggestions, and ideas. The current version of the application (its current name is Writer's Jobs) allows you to keep tabs on your customers and contacts, keep track of time spent on a specific project, and manage multiple rates. The current version of Writer's Jobs is available in the project's SVN repository. Grab a copy,...

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