Productivity Sauce

Dmitri Popov
Monitoring Notebook Battery with IBAM

Dec 08, 2009 GMT

While KDE, Gnome, and Xfce come with dedicated graphical utilities for monitoring notebook battery, you might still want to use IBAM to keep an eye on the battery parameters directly from the command line. IBAM stands for Intelligent Battery Monitor, and it "uses statistical and adaptive linear methods to provide accurate estimations of minutes of battery left or of the time needed until full recharge." In layman terms, this means that IBAM provides a more accurate estimate of the remaining battery life and charge time. IBAM does this by creating a battery and charge profile from which it can compute the actual times. To find out the remaining battery life (or charging time, if...
Manage Your Schedule with Day Planner

Dec 05, 2009 GMT

If a full-blown calendar application like Evolution of Lightning is overkill for your needs, try Day Planner. This simple yet efficient calendaring utility sports a refreshingly simple interface and it's ridiculously easy to use. To populate Day Planner with events, press the Add a new event button at the bottom of the window. This opens the Add an Event dialog window with the Date field set to the current date. Day Planner supports three types of events: Normal, All day, and Birthday. When you create a normal event, you can specify the start time and make the event recurring by specifying the appropriate settings in the advanced settings section. In this section, you can also add notes...
Track Your Missing Notebook with Pombo

Dec 03, 2009 GMT

To recover a lost or stolen notebook, you need all the help you can get -- and this is where Pombo can come in rather handy. The key component of the Pombo solution is a tiny Python script that runs on your notebook. The script runs quietly in the background and collects tracking information such as the IP address and information about all network interfaces as well as information about nearby wireless access points. In addition to that, the script can take a screenshot using the scrot tool and capture a snapshot with the notebook's webcam using the streamer utility. The script then packs, encrypts, and uploads the tracking information to a destination server.To get Pombo running on your...
Disable Touchpad When Typing with syndaemon

Nov 27, 2009 GMT

There is nothing more annoying than accidentally tapping the touchpad on the notebook while typing. This causes the cursor to jump to a random place in the document, and before you know it, you are typing text in the middle of another sentence. Some notebooks allow you to temporary disable the touchpad, but if your mobile companion doesn't have this feature, the syndaemon utility provides a simple yet effective solution to the problem. When activated, the utility disables the touchpad when it detects keyboard activity and enables it as soon as you stop typing. In fact, syndaemon is much more convenient in use than a dedicated hardware switch on your notebook, as the utility enables and...
Three Simple Tweaks for Better SSD Performance

Nov 25, 2009 GMT

As I explained in the previous post, replacing my notebook's hard disk with an SSD significantly improved the overall system performance -- even without any additional tweaking. But there are also a couple of simple tricks that can boost performance even further. The first one is to disable the sreadahead service. The sreadahead tool helps to speed up the boot process with conventional hard disks, but it actually slows the boot with SSDs. To disable the service, open the sreadahead.conf file for editing using your preferred text editor: sudo nano /etc/init/sreadahead.confComment then the following line: exec /sbin/sreadahead -t 0Next trick is to add the elevator=noop kernel boot...
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...

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