Productivity Sauce

Dmitri Popov
Extension Watch: FeedSquares for Google Chrome

May 14, 2010 GMT

Google Reader is a mighty good feed aggregator with a boatload of useful features, but its traditional two-pane interface has some room for improvement. And the FeedSquares extension for the Google Chrome browser represents a bold attempt to rethink the way you read and manage RSS feeds. The basic idea is pretty simple: the extension displays all feeds from your Google Reader account as colored tiles on a wall. Each tile (or square) shows the name of the RSS feed and an unread count. Click on the square, and all articles in the feed pop up at the bottom of the window. Click on the article you like, and it opens in a preview window. You can then read the article's excerpt as well as share...
Keep Your System Clean with BleachBit

May 10, 2010 GMT

Keeping your system clean can be a time-consuming affair, unless you use specialized tools like BleachBit (thanks to Nick Lord for the pointer). With just a few mouse clicks, this nifty little utility can help you to purge all the junk produced by the system and installed applications. Packaged versions of BleachBit are available for many popular distributions, so you can easily install the utility using your distro's package manager. Once installed, you can run BleachBit either as a regular user or as root. BleachBit's interface is simplicity itself, so you can figure out how to use the tool in a matter of minutes. Better yet, BleachBit provides brief descriptions of each cleaning...
Trick Out a Fresh Lucid Lynx Installation with the Ubuntu 10.04 Start Script

May 07, 2010 GMT

While it is possible to upgrade Ubuntu 9.10 to the latest 10.04 Lucid Lynx release, a clean install is the best way to go if you want to avoid update headaches. Usually this means reinstalling your favorite applications and applying tweaks all over again -- but now with Ubuntu 10.04. A clever script with the imaginative name Ubuntu 10.04 Start Script can help you to install software and tweak the system with a minimum of fuss. Despite the script's bare-bones appearance, it provides a wealth of options. Using the script, you can add popular repositories including Ubuntu restricted extras, Medibuntu, and Getdeb. With a few clicks, you can install a wide range of useful applications such as...
Beef up Firefox Privacy Features

May 05, 2010 GMT

Whether you want it or not, your Web activities are tracked and analyzed in many different ways. But you don't have to put up with this, especially if you are using Firefox as your primary browser. There are a few handy Firefox extensions that can beef up your favorite browser's privacy features. Here are my three personal favorites.Besides regular cookies planted in your browser by many Web sites, some services add so-called Flash cookies or Local Shared Objects (LSO). Similar to conventional cookies, LSOs collect and share information about your Web usage. But unlike good old cookies, LSOs are particularly difficult to purge from your browser. The aptly named BetterPrivacy extension...
photoDiary: Web-based Photo Album with a Twist

Apr 20, 2010 GMT

Although photoDiary looks like just another Web-based photo album application, it has a couple of nifty features that make it a good choice for hosting and showcasing your photographic masterpieces. For starters, photoDiary is rather straightforward to deploy. Grab the latest release of the application, unpack the downloaded archive, rename the resulting directory to photodiary, and copy it to your server's root. Point then your browser to http://yourserver/photodiary/admin/install.php, and an easy-to-follow wizard guides you through the rest of the installation process. Once photoDiary has been installed, navigate to http://yourserver/photodiary/admin and log in using the credentials...
Extension Watch: Google Mail Checker Plus for Chrome

Apr 18, 2010 GMT

On the face of it, Google Mail Checker Plus (GMCP) looks like just another Chrome extension that displays unread email count. But dig deeper and you'll discover that this extension offers a handful of genuinely useful features that make it a must-have utility for any Gmail user. For starters, GMCP sports the ability to display desktop notifications, so you can be notified about incoming emails even with Chrome running in the background. You can use the notification window not only to preview each new message, but also archive, delete, and mark it as spam. GMCP's options page offers other useful options for you to tweak. Here you can change polling interval, configure GMCP for use with...
Open Source Fonts from Arkandis Digital Foundry

Apr 12, 2010 GMT

Quality open source fonts are pretty thin on the ground, but if you look hard, you can find rare gems like fonts from Arkandis Digital Foundry. The project's page offers a wide range of open source fonts from typefaces based on classics like Times New Roman and Baskerville to decorative fonts and dingbats. All fonts on offer are available in different formats, such as TrueType and OpenType, and they are distributed under the GNU GPL v2 license. You can download a PDF sample for each font, so you can get an idea of what the font looks like and how it can be used.

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