Productivity Sauce

Dmitri Popov
Speed up Common Tasks with Launchy

May 01, 2009 GMT

There are quite a few good launcher utilities out there that can make a great addition to your productivity arsenal. Gnome Do is probably the most popular launcher for Linux, but if you are looking for something less flashy and more streamlined, try Launchy. This unobtrusive tool can help you to quickly launch applications and open URLs, directories, and documents using keyboard shortcuts. In addition to that, Launchy sports a couple of plugins which add a few nifty tricks to the launcher. Installing Launchy on your system is easy. If you are running a Debian or Ubuntu-based Linux distribution, you can install the .deb version of Launchy by executing the dpkg -i launchy-x.x.x.deb command...
Organize Your Knowledge with Piggydb

Apr 25, 2009 GMT

We all have our area of expertise, but how can you actually convert your knowledge into an accessible and searchable form? To do this, you need software that allows you to create and maintain knowledgebases -- something like Piggydb.   Piggydb comes as a single .zip archive which contains everything you need to get started. Unpack the archive, switch to the resulting directory in the terminal, execute the sh run.sh command, and Piggydb is ready to go. Point your browser to http://localhost:8080 and log in using "owner" as both the user name and password. You can then start populating the database with entries (called fragments in Piggydb) by clicking on the Create a new...
Extension Watch: Denting with IdentiFox

Apr 22, 2009 GMT

Identi.ca may not generate the same buzz as Twitter, but the open source microblogging service based on the Laconica engine is quickly gaining popularity among open source developers, enthusiasts, and casual users alike. While you can post and read status updates -- or dents in Identi.ca's parlance -- using the service's Web front-end, a dedicated client can help you to manage your microblogging activites more efficiently. After trying a few available microblogging tools such as Gwibber and twidge, I finally settled for IdentiFox.   It's essentially a tweaked version of the popular TwitterFox extension for Firefox, and as such it offers pretty much the same feature set. It supports...
Using OpenOffice.org as an Outliner

Apr 17, 2009 GMT

Although OpenOffice.org Writer can't replace a dedicated outlining application, there are two ways to turn the word processor into a lightweight outliner. The easiest one is to press the Numbering On/Off button in the main toolbar or the F12 key. This turns the current line in the documents into a numbered entry and displays the Bullets and Numbering context toolbar which offers basic outlining tools. The Promote, Demote, Move Up and Move Down buttons in the toolbar allow you to easily rearrange outline entries, while Bullet and Numbering opens the dialog window which lets you tweak different settings such as Numbering type, Outline, Position, etc. You can also create a custom outlining...
Using Data Sources with Calc

Apr 15, 2009 GMT

Say you use a simple OpenOffice.org Base database to keep track of your invoices and you want to analyze the invoicing data. One way to do this is to create reports and SQL queries, but this requires skill and a lot of time. Another approach is to pull database records into a Calc spreadsheet and then use Calc's tools to analyze the data. To do this, you have to register the invoice database as a data source in OpenOffice.org. Choose Tools -> Options, select OpenOffice.org Base -> Databases and press the New button. Select then the database and give the new connection a name. Press OK -> OK to save the settings and close the window.   Create a new Calc spreadsheet and press...
Connect OpenOffice.org to MySQL Using the Native Driver

Apr 10, 2009 GMT

While OpenOffice.org has always sported the ability to talk to MySQL databases, connecting the productivity suite to the popular database engine wasn't particularly straightforward. Establishing a connection to MySQL involved installing and configuring a connector software, which did require some skills and made the whole idea less attractive. But it seems that you don't have to put up with this situation for much longer. A recent post on the GullFOSS blog has announced the availability of a native MySQL driver for OpenOffice.org. You can download the alpha version of the driver which works with OpenOffice.org 3.1. The blog points out that you should use the stock version of...
Add Real-Time Word Count to OpenOffice.org Writer

Apr 08, 2009 GMT

The Writer's Tools extension for OpenOffice.org developed by yours truly comes with a simple Visual Word Counter tool written using OpenOffice.org Basic. While this tool does the job, it has one serious drawback: once evoked, it doesn't allow you to do anything until you close its window. There are two solutions to this problem: you can either rewrite the macro from the ground up to add a so-called non-modal dialog window (i.e., a window you can keep opened while working on your documents), or you can use an already available Python-based macro from Yawar's Journal. The latter approach, obviously, makes more sense than the former. To make it easier for you, here is the macro in its...

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