Pixelastic

You can clip our wings but we will always remember what it was like to fly.

Posts tagged with "productivity"

Productivity tip #2 : Use a Dropbox

Here's one more post in my productivity serie. This one is about the Dropbox service.

What is Dropbox ?

In a nutshell, Dropbox is a private hosting service, based on a cloud infrastructure. Once you've installed the app, one of your folders (default to ~/Dropbox) became synchronized with your Dropbox account. Every document that you save in that folder, and any subfolder you create, will immediatly be saved online in your Dropbox account.

In the real world, it means that you can easily share one folder and all its documents easily between all your computers. If you don't want to install the app, you can simply log to dropbox.com and download/upload any file you want.

How I use it

There a few ways you can use Dropbox. Here are a few of mine, feel free to add yours in the comments.

As I used to work on Windows (and I still have to sometimes), I always had to install a bunch of apps on a brand new computer before being able to start working. This includes the traditional antivirus, browser, music player, IDE, etc. Instead of going through the laborious process of downloading all the installer on each of the websites, I've saved them in my Dropbox and I just have to install Dropbox, then install the apps I need.

Instead of a bunch of todo.txt files spread accross all your computers, wouldn't it be tidier to only have one, shared ?

The same goes for the KeePass file, so you can have an easy access to all your passwords.

I also use it to synchronize my Tomboy notes between my computers (I'll go into more details in another note).

It might be a bit excessive, but I personnally also share my icons, sounds, wallpapers and other customization stuff, so I won't feel lost on a new computer.

Thanks to the amazing Doxie scanner (more on that on another note), I'm now a scan junkie. I scan all the official paperwork I got in my physical mailbox and store it in the Dropbox.

Be it a bill or a banking receipt, I scan anything that looks like official and that I might need again one day. That way, I know I can always connect to dropbox.com and find any official document of the past 5 years in a matter of minutes. This saved my day quite a few time already !

Last words

Dropbox is a free service. You can have 2Go for free, or pay for a more space. I personnaly only use a fraction of that so I stay on the free plan. I haven't mentionned it because I don't use it, but you can also share some folders with other Dropbox users, which is a nice addition when working on the same project.

Productivity tip #1 : Using global hotkeys

This post will be the first of what I hope will be a long serie of posts. I'll blog about some of the little tricks I've learn in the past years that make me go faster on my daily job.

I'll start with something I can no longer work without : my global hotkeys.

The concept is pretty simple, I've binded some keys combinations to launch specific applications or directories. It might not seem very important, but it does make you gain a tremendous amount of time for those apps you launch pretty often like browser, IDE, or project directory.

I used to work on Windows, and I then used a little script named AutoHotKey to bind my keys. The script even comes packaged with its own language if you ever want to script complicated stuff.

I'm now working under Ubuntu, and the global hotkeys can be defined directly from the System Settings (in 11.10 it's System Settings > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Custom Shortcuts)

Opening apps

I choose a key combination hard enough to type so I won't type it by mistake, but easy enough to remember that I could type it whenever I want.

For example, I binded all the app I use the most to a Ctrl+Win+{Letter} combination. Ctrl+Win+C opens Chromium, Ctrl+Win+F opens Firefox, Ctrl+Win+T opens Trillian, etc.

Opening folders

I used a close combination for opening directories : Ctrl+Win+Alt+{Letter}. Those three keys are side by side on most keyboards so pressing them is easy.

This time I used the letter H for my home folder, D for the Dropbox folder, W for /var/www, etc, etc.

I've tweaked my keyboard in a few other ways, but this will be the subject of another post. Hope this one gave you some ideas.