Taking notes with Springseed

Taking notes Note taking software – whether on the desktop, on the web, or for mobile – is a dime (or whatever the equivalent in your currency is) a dozen. As can be expected, those tools vary in quality and functions. Some are good, some not so. Some are bare bones, others pack almost as many features as a word processor.

If you’re looking for a simple note taking application, you’ll want to give Springseed a look. It packs enough features to be useful, but not so many that you’re overwhelmed by those features.

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A look at a pair of useful LibreOffice extensions

LibreOffice logoOne of the first applications that I used on the Linux desktop was StarOffice. This was at a time when I was using a word processor extensively for writing … well, everything.

Over the years, StarOffice morphed into the more familiar OpenOffice.org suite and (more recently) LibreOffice. While the suite still has a few quirks left over from its progenitor, there is one aspect of LibreOffice that I really like: it’s easy to extend it.

And you don’t need to be a programmer to do it. There are a number of extensions available for LibreOffice that supercharge it.

Here’s a look at two extensions that make my work with the suite a lot easier. While I mainly use them with LibreOffice Writer, they also work with Calc and Impress.

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Creating a daily reading list with calibre

books Many people complain about being able to keep up with all the information that they need (or think they need) to keep up with. While I think that information overload is a crock, I understand that it can be difficult to wean yourself off the mass of information that faces you. The best way to do that is to reduce the amount and number of sources of information in your life.

I won’t go into the theory and practice of that; I do that elsewhere. But one technique you can use is to create a focused daily reading list. You can read the contents of that list using your tablet or smartphone during your daily commute (assuming you use public transit!).

The calibre ebook management software is an excellent tool for creating a daily reading list. Let’s take a look at how to do that.

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Going mobile with ownCloud

ownCloud logo About two years ago, I gave ownCloud a look. ownCloud, if you don’t know it, is an Open Source alternative to file storage and syncing services like Dropbox, Box, SpiderOak, and Google Drive.

The key difference between ownCloud and other services is that you can host your own instance of ownCloud if you have your own web server (or use a hosting firm that has a good track record for security). There are also a number of providers of hosted services from whom you can get free plans or buy storage, as you can with the well-known storage services.

One reason people use services like Dropbox and Box is because they have very solid, very useful mobile apps. Then again, ownCloud does too. Let’s look at a couple of them.

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Getting your Android apps with F-Droid

F-Droid logo Android. That can be a divisive word in the FLOSS world. Some embrace it. Others shun it. Others still use more open versions of Android like Cyanogenmod and Replicant.

If you do use an Android device, there is one thing you need to get the most out of your Android-powered device: apps. Default way is to get install those apps is to use Google Play. But what happens if you want to keep your apps open and free? You turn to F-Droid.

Wondering what that is? Keep reading to find out.

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Managing your tasks with DoStuff

todo My preferred tool for managing tasks is a text file. Not just any text file, but todo.txt. OK, it’s more than a text tile. It’s also a powerful shell script that does the heavy lifting for you. What I like about todo.txt is that it’s simple and, because it’s plain text, it’s portable.

That said, there’s one aspect of todo.txt that puts some people off: it’s a command line tool. Yes, it’s true. There are Linux users who aren’t huge fans of the command line. Sure, there’s a solid graphical interface to todo.txt for Android devices. But what if someone wants to get the full todo.txt experience on your desktop without cracking open a terminal window?

They can turn to DoStuff. DoStuff is a plain, but nicely effective, graphical face for todo.txt.

Let’s take a look at it.

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