Tag Archives: dropbox

Fix Dropbox Indicator Menu Not Working In Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus (Unity)

The Dropbox indicator is broken in Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus (currently in beta): the menu doesn’t work and Dropbox uses a different icon, probably because it tries to use the tray instead of the indicator.

Dropbox indicator menu bug Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus

This is caused by the fact that the XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP environment variable was changed from “Unity” to “Unity:Unity7” for Ubuntu 17.04.

Until this is fixed in Dropbox, here’s a quick fix / workaround. To get the Dropbox indicator to work in Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus (with Unity), you’ll need to launch Dropbox with “env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity”, like this:

dropbox stop
env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity dropbox start -i

To get this to work automatically is a bit tricky because Dropbox overwrites any modifications to its autostart file.

Here are all the steps required to fix the Dropbox indicator menu in Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus so that Dropbox works when you login / when launched from the menu:
  • rename the Dropbox autostart file from ~/.config/autostart and edit it, changing the “Exec” line to “Exec=env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity dropbox start -i”;
  • disable the built-in Dropbox autostart because it automatically creates an autostart file. This can be done using the “dropbox autostart n” command;
  • optional: if you want to also fix the Dropbox menu entry (this isn’t used in most cases since Dropbox starts automatically), copy the Dropbox desktop file from /usr/share/applications/ to ~/.local/share/applications/, so it’s not overwritten by updates, and change the “Exec” line to “Exec=env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity dropbox start -i”

To do all this from a terminal, you can use the following commands:

cp ~/.config/autostart/dropbox.desktop ~/.config/autostart/start_dropbox.desktop
sed -i 's/^Exec=.*/Exec=env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity dropbox start -i/' ~/.config/autostart/start_dropbox.desktop
dropbox autostart n
mkdir -p ~/.local/share/applications/
cp /usr/share/applications/dropbox.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/
sed -i 's/^Exec=.*/Exec=env XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=Unity dropbox start -i/' ~/.local/share/applications/dropbox.desktop

And finally, restart the session (logout/login). The Dropbox indicator menu should now work and it should use the correct icon.

via Dropbox forums

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Rclone 1.36 Released With SFTP And Local Symlinks Support, More

cloud storage

Rclone 1.36 was released recently, bringing support for SFTP, local symbolic links support, mount improvements, along with many other new features and bug fixes.
For those not familiar with Rclone, this is a cross-platform command line tool for synchronizing files and folders to multiple cloud storages, which supports Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon S3, Amazon Drive, Microsoft One Drive, Yandex Disk, and more.

It can be used to sync files either from your machine or from one cloud storage to another.
As a reminder, Rclone doesn’t provide real-time file monitoring, and the synchronization is performed on demand (so you must run it manually or using a script, etc.)

For more about Rclone, check out our initial article.

Important changes in Rclone 1.36 include:

  • SFTP remote;
  • re-implement sync routine to work a directory at a time reducing memory usage;
  • logging revamped to be more inline with rsync;
  • implement –backup-dir and –suffix;
  • implement –track-renames;
  • add time-based bandwidth limits;
  • rclone cryptcheck: checks integrity of crypt remotes;
  • allow all config file variables and options to be set from environment variables;
  • add –buffer-size parameter to control buffer size for copy;
  • comply with XDG Base Directory specification (this moves the default location of the config file in a backwards compatible way);
  • MIPS/Linux big and little endian support;
  • local:
    • implement -L, –copy-links flag to allow rclone to follow symlinks;
    • open files in write only mode so rclone can write to an rclone mount;
  • mount:
    • implement proper directory handling (mkdir, rmdir, renaming);
    • make include and exclude filters apply to mount;
    • implement read and write async buffers – control with –buffer-size;
  • crypt:
    • add –crypt-show-mapping to show encrypted file mapping;
    • fix crypt writer getting stuck in a loop (this bug had the potential to cause data corruption when reading data from a network based remote and writing to a crypt on Google Drive).

For a complete changelog, see THIS page.

To use Rclone with a graphical user interface, you may want to check out RcloneBrowser (WebUpd8 provides an Ubuntu PPA for RcloneBrowser so you can easily installing updates).

Download Rclone

(binaries available for Linux: 32bit, 64bit, arm, arm64 and mips big and little endian, Windows :32bit and 64bit, MacOS: 32bit and 64bit, FreeBSD: 32bit, 64bit and arm, and more)

In Linux distributions that support snap packages (Ubuntu and many others), you can install rclone using the following command:

sudo snap install rclone --classic

If you already had Rclone installed using a snap, it should already be up to date (this depends on the snapd version you’re using). Alternatively, you can update it using the following command:

sudo snap refresh rclone --classic

For how to use Rclone, you may want to check out its documentation.

Important: if you use the Rclone snap package, you won’t be able to mount any cloud storage (bug report). When attempting to mount Google Drive, Dropbox, etc., you’ll get an error similar to the following:
Fatal error: failed to mount FUSE fs: fusermount: exec: "fusermount": executable file not found in $PATH
The solution, at least for now, use the Rclone binary downloaded from its website.

To download the source, report bugs, etc., see the Rclone GitHub page.

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RcloneBrowser (Rclone GUI) Lets You Manage Multiple Cloud Storage Services From A Single Desktop App

RcloneBrowser is a Qt5 Rclone graphical user interface, available for Linux, Mac and Windows.

Rclone Browser

In case you’re not familiar with Rclone, this is a command line tool for synchronizing files from or to cloud storage services, which supports Google Drive, Google Cloud Storage, Dropbox, Microsoft One Drive, Amazon S3, Amazon Drive, Openstack Swift / Rackspace cloud files / Memset Memstore, Hubic, Yandex Disk, and Backblaze B2. 
Rclone can synchronize files either directly between these cloud services, or to / from your local filesystem.

For more about Rclone, check out our article: Rclone Synchronizes Files Between Multiple Cloud Storage Services (Command Line)

RcloneBrowser allows browsing and modifying (upload / download / remove, etc.) remote repositories, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, oneDrive and so on, including encrypted ones, using the same configuration file as Rclone, so you don’t have to configure remote services twice.

Besides performing various operations on your cloud files, RcloneBrowser can also mount and unmount your remote cloud storage, and it can stream media files with an external player, such as mpv.

Rclone Browser

Note that Rclone (and thus, RcloneBrowser too) performs the synchronization on demand, without any real-time file monitoring and automatic uploading / downloading of changed files.

RcloneBrowser features:

  • allows to browse and modify any Rclone remote, including encrypted ones;
  • allows to upload, download, create new folders, rename or delete files and folders;
  • uses same configuration file as Rclone, no extra configuration required;
  • supports encrypted .rclone.conf configuration file;
  • simultaneously navigate multiple repositories in separate tabs;
  • lists files hierarchically with file name, size and modify date;
  • all Rclone commands are executed asynchronously, no freezing GUI;
  • file hierarchy is lazily cached in memory for faster traversal of folders;
  • can process multiple upload or download jobs in background;
  • drag & drop support for dragging files from local file browser for uploading;
  • streaming media files for playback in players like mpv or similar;
  • mount and unmount folders on macOS and GNU/Linux;
  • optionally minimizes to tray, with notifications when upload/download finishes.
While RcloneBrowser integrates pretty much all the Rclone features in its user interface, adding a new remote storage service is not supported by it, and the configuration must be performed via command line. However, for most, the configuration is as easy as entering “y” a few times in a terminal.

RcloneBrowser does add easy access to the Rclone configuration – simply click “Config” on the RcloneBrowser “Remotes” tab, and it will launch a new terminal window with the Rclone configuration.

Tip: The RcloneBrowser user interface lets you select a local file or folder when uploading to a cloud storage service, however, it can also copy / move / sync files from one cloud storage to another. To do this, you must enter the exact path to the file from the other remote source, like this:

Rclone Browser

Rclone Browser

Download RcloneBrowser

To make it easier to install, I’ve uploaded RcloneBrowser to the main WebUpd8 PPA, for Ubuntu 16.04 and 16.10.

To add the PPA and install RcloneBrowser in Ubuntu 16.10 or 16.04 / Linux Mint 18.x, use the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt update
sudo apt install rclone-browser

If you don’t want to add the PPA, you can grab the deb from HERE.

Important: the WebUpd8 package only includes RcloneBrowser, but you’ll also need Rclone for this to work. You can download precompiled Rclone binaries @ GitHub. To use it, simply extract the downloaded binary archive, then from RcloneBrowser Preferences select Rclone binary location.
Arch Linux users can install RcloneBrowser via AUR.
For other Linux distributions, Windows and Mac, see the Rclone Browser GitHub page.

Those new to Rclone may also want to check out its documentation.

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Rclone Synchronizes Files Between Multiple Cloud Storage Services (Command Line)

cloud storage

There are command line tools available for synchronizing files from / to cloud storage services, but they usually only support one service. Like Grive2 for Google Drive, the official Yandex.Disk console client, Dropbox Uploader, and so on.

But what about synchronizing files and folders from or to multiple cloud storage services? For such cases, you can use Rclone, a Rsync-like program for cloud storage.

Rclone can synchronize files and directories between Google Drive, Google Cloud Storage, Dropbox, Microsoft One Drive, Amazon S3, Amazon Drive, Openstack Swift / Rackspace cloud files / Memset Memstore, Hubic, Yandex Disk, and Backblaze B2.

The synchronization can be done either directly between these services, or to / from your local filesystem.

The tool is useful for backup purposes, but it can also be used as a solution for cases in which there’s no official sync client available on a certain platform (either GUI, command line, or both, like Google Drive or Microsoft One Drive on Linux).
Although, for the latter, it’s important to mention that there’s no real-time file monitoring, and the synchronization only happens on demand (you must run it manually or via a script, etc.).

Rclone features:

  • MD5/SHA1 hashes checked at all times for file integrity;
  • timestamps preserved on files;
  • partial syncs supported on a whole file basis;
  • copy mode to just copy new/changed files;
  • sync (one way) mode to make a directory identical;
  • check mode to check for file hash equality;
  • can sync to and from network, eg two different cloud accounts;
  • is available for Linux, Windows, Mac, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Plan 9 and Solaris.

Besides being able to synchronize files and folders, Rclone can list remote objects, display the size of remote objects, create, remove, and delete remote objects, and dedupe (find duplicates and offers to delete all but one or rename them).

There are also options to limit the bandwidth, set the connection timeout, and much more. Check out the Rclone docs for more information.

Rclone seems pretty fast too. As an example, I did a quick test and Rclone was able to upload a 141 MB / 52 items folder to Google Drive in about 23 seconds, while Grive2 took about 64 seconds for the same folder, with a second test being roughly the same. Copying the same folder from Google Drive to Dropbox took about 40 seconds.
This can depend on multiple factors, like the Internet connection fluctuating, server load, and so on, so don’t take my word for it and give it a try.

The Rclone webpage provides extensive documentation for how to use it, including how to authenticate it with each cloud storage service, so I won’t get into details about this here. See rclone.org for more information.

Download Rclone

Download Rclone | The source code can be found on GitHub.

For how to install Rclone, either from source or using the Linux binary, see THIS page.

seen @ Korben

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Fix Dropbox Indicator Icon And Menu Not Working In Xubuntu, Lubuntu Or Ubuntu MATE

I recently stumbled on an issue with Dropbox and the Ubuntu flavors that support AppIndicators (except Unity), like Xubuntu and Lubuntu: the Dropbox AppIndicator icon shows up as broken and the menu doesn’t work. This isn’t a new issue though, and it seems to occur starting with Ubuntu 14.04.
The issue occurs with the Dropbox packages in the official Ubuntu repositories (called “nautilus-dropbox”, which doesn’t depend on Nautilus and can be used to install Dropbox on any desktop environment) as well as the Dropbox package downloaded from its official website. 

It does not occur with the caja-dropbox package available in the official Ubuntu MATE 16.04 repository though (but it does occur in older Ubuntu MATE versions if you’ve enabled AppIndicators), because it was patched with a fix similar to the one in this article.
Below you’ll find a fix / workaround for this issue. Important: using the instructions below, Dropbox will use a tray (notification area) icon instead of an AppIndicator.

Here’s a screenshot with the issue (taken in Xubuntu 16.04):

And another screenshot taken after using the fix below:

Tested in Xubuntu 16.04, Xubuntu 14.04, Lubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu MATE 16.04 (the issue does not occur with the caja-dropbox package in this Ubuntu MATE version) and Ubuntu MATE 14.04.

To fix it, you need to add “dbus-launch” before the actual command for the “Exec” line in both the application autostart file and launcher. For Dropbox this is a bit tricky because it overwrites any modifications to its autostart file. So here’s what you need to do to fix this Dropbox issue:
  • if you’ve installed Dropbox by downloading the .deb from its website or by using the nautilus-dropbox package from the repositories:
    • rename the Dropbox autostart file, located in ~/.config/autostart/, and edit the file, changing the “Exec” line to “Exec=dbus-launch dropbox start -i”;
    • copy the Dropbox desktop file, located under /usr/share/applications/, to ~/.local/share/applications/, so it’s not overwritten when updating the package, and change the “Exec” line to “Exec=dbus-launch dropbox start -i”
    • disable the built-in Dropbox autostart (because it automatically creates an autostart file) using the “dropbox autostart n” command.
  • for the caja-dropbox package (except for Ubuntu MATE 16.04 which doesn’t have this issue):
    • rename the dropbox-caja autostart file, located in ~/.config/autostart/, and edit the file, changing the “Exec” line to “Exec=dbus-launch caja-dropbox start -i”;
    • copy the caja-dropbox desktop file, located under /usr/share/applications/, to ~/.local/share/applications/, so it’s not overwritten when updating the package, and change the “Exec” line to “Exec=dbus-launch caja-dropbox start -i”;
    • disable the built-in Dropbox autostart (because it automatically creates an autostart file) using the “caja-dropbox autostart n” command.

This sounds a bit complicated on a first look, right? Well, it’s not, but to make it easier, you can use the following commands to apply the changes I mentioned above.
If you’ve installed Dropbox by downloading the .deb from its website or by using the nautilus-dropbox package, you can fix the broken Dropbox appindicator icon and menu by using the following commands:
cp ~/.config/autostart/dropbox.desktop ~/.config/autostart/start_dropbox.desktop
sed -i 's/^Exec=.*/Exec=dbus-launch dropbox start -i/' ~/.config/autostart/start_dropbox.desktop
dropbox autostart n
mkdir -p ~/.local/share/applications/
cp /usr/share/applications/dropbox.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/
sed -i 's/^Exec=.*/Exec=dbus-launch dropbox start -i/' ~/.local/share/applications/dropbox.desktop

For Ubuntu MATE (except 16.04), if you’ve used the dropbox-caja package to install Dropbox, you can fix the broken Dropbox appindicator icon and menu by using the following commands:
cp ~/.config/autostart/caja-dropbox.desktop ~/.config/autostart/start_caja-dropbox.desktop
sed -i 's/^Exec=.*/Exec=dbus-launch caja-dropbox start -i/' ~/.config/autostart/start_caja-dropbox.desktop
caja-dropbox autostart n
mkdir -p ~/.local/share/applications/
cp /usr/share/applications/caja-dropbox.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/
sed -i 's/^Exec=.*/Exec=dbus-launch caja-dropbox start -i/' ~/.local/share/applications/caja-dropbox.desktop

Then restart the session (logout/login) and the Dropbox icon and menu should work correctly.
via / thanks to: TuxDiary and AskUbuntu

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How I’m So Damned Productive

This could prove to be an epic blog post so if it’s a TLDR I understand, but if you’ve ever wondered what tools other people use to keep organized then this is the post for you!

This post is about all the tools I use to crush tons of data and keep productive without losing my mind.

Tool #1 – Google Calendar:

Everyone needs a calendar and I’ve been using Google’s offering since it’s beta. There are a number of reasons I’ve stuck with it over the years.

  1. Shared calendar’s: I share my calendar with my wife and daughter, and they share theirs with me. Since we all use Android phones it makes it much easier to keep everyone in sync with such busy schedules.
  2. “Interesting Calendars”: There are curated calendars that can be added allowing me to automatically keep up with holidays and sports teams. I love this feature and I never miss a Bronco game as a result.
  3. Inviting People to Events: I’ve used this for years to organize podcast schedules to make sure everyone is there to podcast at the right time.
  4. Integration with Other Google Services: I love “Google Now” and if it’s in my Google Calendar it’s in Google Now giving me reminders and if I’ve included and address it let’s me pull up one handed navigation. Also, when adding addresses it integrates with Google Maps make setting appointments up to specific places much easier. The other handy integration is with contacts, if the contact has a birthday entry it shows up on the calendar.
  5. Like any other cloud service, being able to edit my calendar on any device I have in my hot little hands means I actually use it and keep it up to date.

Tips for getting the most out of a calendar:

  1.  Calendars aren’t just for future events. Put important events on the calendar after they’ve happened so you can find it later with a simple search.
  2. Put reminders to do maintenance type items so you get a simple reminder to winterize the lawn mower, clean out the gutters, change the oil in your car, etc. This saves a lot of headache and is a simple way to make sure you do your less regular chores.
  3. Want to eat out less? Make a weekly meals calendar so you can keep track of what meals you planned for what day and you have a record of previous meals you’ve eaten to keep everyone from getting bored. With multiple people cooking in the house with crazy schedules this helps make sure everyone is eating healthy inexpensive meals instead of fast food on busy nights.

Tool #2 – Google Keep:

This is the most recent addition to my organizational repertoire and I’ve been making full use of it. It’s basically Google’s answer to Evernote, something I’ve never personally used. If some of these other tools are howitzers this tool is more of a scalpel. I use it as a staging area for things that need to be filed into other tools. It’s main usefulness is for quick notes, check lists and lists like virtual sticky notes. Also, since it’s a Google product it’s synced with all my devices all the time helping make better use of my other organizational tools. I mostly use it like you would a note pad to jot quick notes down. Don’t overuse it for detailed info or it gets overwhelming quick.

Tips of getting the most out of Keep:

  1. Great for meeting notes to jot down things you need to follow up on.
  2. You can set reminders on the desktop that will pop up on your phone or tablet.
  3. It’s great for check lists.
  4. Archive done items so you can search them later but they don’t show up in the main view.
  5. You can attach pictures to things to help remind you of what it is you need.

Tool #3 –  Theoldreader.com and Greader:

I do tons of research from a large variety of web sources and keeping track of everything requires a powerful tool…..RSS. I was in the private beta on Google Reader and was heart broken when it closed down. Theoldreader.com offered importing of the OML file from Google Reader and it strived to emulate the original Google Reader interface. It looked a little touch and go for a while whether it was going to stick around but it seems to have stabilized and now offers premium memberships, $3 a month that I happily pay, that ensure it’s long term success.

What is an RSS reader? It’s a place that checks for updates to some of your favorite sites on the net and puts them all into one nice interface. Blogs, podcasts (although I use another tool for those), Craigslist searches, the list goes on and on and you can keep up to date on things by just adding the RSS feed URL into the Reader client and read it, archive it, tag it and share it all at your leisure, it’s what the web promised to be. There seems to be waning interest in RSS but I assure you, if you invest a very small amount of time into it, it’s a very rewarding experience. I won’t provide a step by step guide to RSS but you can Google it and find plenty of great info on how to make use of it.

Also, TOR includes integration with another of my favorite tools “Pocket”, see below. That makes it easier to save things you are going to want later.

Greader is the Android client that I use to actually read on. It is a pretty nice way to read my favorite sites all in a nice dark theme that lets me read after dark without making the wife too angry at me.

Tips for getting the most out of Theoldreader:

  1. If you visit a site more than once a year, find it’s RSS feed and get it into the RSS Reader.
  2. Follow news sites, but use the “Mark Items Older Than a Week” or the “Older than a Day” tools to keep from getting overwhelmed by old news.
  3. Find funny things to follow to give you a relief from the stress of being so darn organized.
  4. In Greader use the Text to Speach(TTS) to turn long articles into books on tape.
  5. Learn to let old items go, if you haven’t got to them in a month or two, mark it as read, move on and breath easier.

Tool #4 – Pocket(formerly Read It Later):

I’ve been a heavy user of bookmarks over the years and they fall short in a number of ways. The biggest is that they are managed in the old folder structure paradigm and that creates a problem for finding things that may have made sense to live in multiple locations. Also, links break over time and the data is lost with just a bookmark, unless of course you can find it on Archive.org. Pocket bests bookmarks for single web items. First it compliments TOR/Greader for sites you don’t want all their stuff just a specific article but would like a nice easy to read layout with a dark theme. It has a nice browser plugin that gives a single place to click to add it to pocket for later consumption. It also includes a TTS engine for making long articles digestible on the go. Pocket has it’s own Android App that is very robust and easy to use.

Tips for getting the most out of Pocket:

  1. Archive articles when you are done reading them.
  2. Use TTS on long articles.
  3. Use tags to sort items and make them easier to find later.
  4. Again, use a dark theme to keep the wife happy with late night reading.
  5. Consider Pocket premium, a bit pricey but worth it if you are crushing large amounts of research, for a permanent archive of important info and sources.

Tool #5 – Gmail:

 O.K., this isn’t an organizational tool by itself, in fact I’d bet your inbox is a nightmare, but using some advanced tools inside Gmail it can be a way of keeping organized. I won’t go into a ton of detail on these, you can Google if any catch your eye, but I’ll list my tips for crushing the deluge of Email.

Tips for getting the most out of Gmail:

  1. Make heavy use of labels, they are a powerful tool.
  2. Use the “Filter Messages Like This” feature to automatically put labels on e-mails from sources.
  3. Archive things that have labels on them.
  4. Delete advertisements older than a day.
  5. Turn on all the “Tabs” in “Configure Inbox” and drag items in the wrong folder to the right one to teach Google where they go. This will help you divide an conquer e-mail.
  6. Turn on two factor authentication to make your email safer. Remember almost all your passwords can be reset with access to your email account. Keep it safe people!

Tool #6 –  BeyondPod:

 If you aren’t listening to Podcasts then you are seriously missing out. Podcasts are to talk radio what .MP3s where to music. There is a podcast out there to meet any taste and more likely 1000s for every taste. I listen to massive amounts of podcasts, in fact I listen to them at 3x speed. Why? it helps me get through the huge amount of great shows I want to listen to. How? Beyondpod. It’s a fantastic app and worth paying the nominal fee for the pro version. I’ve used it for years now, everyday, all day, and I can honestly say it’s my favorite app.

Tips for getting the most out of Beyondpod:

  1. Organize your podcast from the start, the better organized the easier to find what you want.
  2. Setup an update schedule to download new Podcasts when on wifi at home. This saves your data and keeps you stocked up. I set mine to download while I sleep.
  3. Lock episodes you want to re-listen to so they don’t get deleted.
  4. Crank up the speed to get more listening in, seriously there is so much great content out there.
  5. Have video Podcasts you don’t really need to watch to enjoy? Use the “Play Video as Audio” feature to just listen to the audio track.
  6. Use a bluetooth headset so you can pause it on the headset instead of digging in a pocket for your phone. Also great for activities like running and riding a bike so your device can stay in a nice safe place instead of in your hand.
  7. Make your fist subscription my Podcast Alpha Geeks!

Tool #7 – Keypass:

There are scores of reasons to use a password keeper not least of which is security, but it also helps you be more productive. Instead of reusing insecure passwords that put you at risk of losing data, time and money, let the password keeper do the work so you don’t have to. It will create a safe and secure password and store it with top notch encrypted security. Stop forgetting what crappy half effort password you used on a site by storing it somewhere safe and sound. It’s very handy for seldom used but important accounts. Stop putting yourself at risk and wasting time resetting accounts because you can’t remember a password that was insecure in the first place. Also, this is a free and open source tool!

Tips for getting the most out of Keypass:

  1. Use the Android App to keep your passwords with you everywhere you go.
  2. Use one great password to secure you database and let it be the only tough one you have to remember.
  3. Sync it with Dropbox (see below) to always have an up to date database.
  4. Don’t be tempted to skip using it and throwing a crappy password at it, the more you use it the less of a pain it is, the safer you data is.
  5. Store credit card info in the database so you have the numbers in case your card gets stolen.
  6. Save you bike lock and combo locks in it so you don’t forget it when you are taking a break from the gym.
  7. Save your code to a security system with instructions in the notes so the three or four times a year you go into work when no else is there you don’t look like an idiot or a thief.

Tool #8 – Dropbox:

Stop messing around with thumb drives to get data around. Stop losing family photos when you lose your phone. Stop sending massive attachments in your emails. Using Dropbox will save you from worrying about computer crashes because all your data is synced to the cloud. Just remember to not sync sensitive data to it unless you’ve used trust no one encryption.
Tips for getting the most out of Dropbox:
  1. Set up accounts for everyone in the family so documents can be shared around. It helps with the older kids homework or if you, like me, only use the printer at work because your kids burn through ink like we used to go through crayons.
  2. Use selective sync to only sync certain folders to certain devices. I only sync my school folders to my school computer.
  3. Use the public folder to host simple static webpages and media for things like lessons plans for classes you teach.
  4. Turn on the automatic photo backup so you never lose those important family memories. Your kids will thank you when they are older.

Tool #9 – Pinterest:

This is my newest tool and I almost hate to say how handy it is. I find lots of interesting things to try and articles to read and it’s pretty damn easy to organize it all for later consumption, plus the social part of it is well designed. It’s also the easiest tool to share cool things with other people you know even if it’s on another social media site. It’s to stuff what facebook is to people.
Tips for getting the most out of Pinterest:
  1. It has the ability to pin things to different boards for a reason, use them.
  2. There are tons of keywords that aggregate pretty much anything you could be interested in use them to find cool things that fit your interest.
  3. Recipes might be one of the strongest features. You could learn to cook with just recipes on here. Pin the recipes to boards like, “Things to Cook” and after you’ve made them move them to “Things I loved” or delete them if you didn’t like them. This makes the weekly groceries easier.

Tool #10 – Amazon Wishlists:

I know it sounds strange but if you are like me, don’t use credit cards at all, you need to only buy things when funds are available and sometimes its hard to keep track of everything you’ve heard about and though you wanted to buy at some point. I stick to a strict weekly budget and this helps me find the things I want at a later time, even if I don’t buy it on Amazon.
Tips for getting the most out of Amazon Wishlists:
  1. Make different lists for different interests and use them.
  2. Use it as a reading list for books you come across. I’d go broke if I just bought every book I want to read but if they are on my book wishlist I can find them later.
  3. Share the list with friends or family so you can actually get relevant Birthday and Christmas gifts.

Tool #11 – Bookmarks:

I used to use this as my main way of keeping track of things on the internet but as better tools have come along I try to stay away from them if I can, but they still have their place.
Tips for getting the most out of Bookmarks:
  1. Use Google Chrome’s or Firefox’s sync features to keep them up to date on all your devices and at your fingertips when you need them.
  2. Make heavy use of folders and nested folders.
  3. Do an annual purge, I use this as a staging area for other tools sometimes when I don’t have a better place to put things but if I don’t purge it gets overwhelming quick.

Tool #12 – Orgmode and Emacs:

This is my last but most useful tool for keeping organized. It’s also has the steepest learning curve. It’s not intuitive at all and requires some honest investment in learning to be useful. Once you get over the hump with it though it’s staggering how powerful a tool it is. It’s basically a text editor(emacs) with some tools for organizing things (Orgmode) but that doesn’t really do it justice. It has time tracking, todo lists, agendas, calendars, tags, you can do in line spread sheets including calculations. Also, moving things around as things get more complicated is where I fell in love with it. At the start of projects things make sense in one order but as things progress things need shuffled around and the rigidity of other solutions mean that upkeep with the data is more work than it is useful. With Orgmode however, you can move things up and down, tuck them in sub-trees, ad data to them, sort them, mark them done, hide them and crush large amounts of data.
Tips for getting the most out of Orgmode:
  1.  Use Orgmode as the final destination for research so everything is available when you need it.
  2. Track your time on specific tasks to cover your butt or get paid for out of scope work.
  3. Keep record of the time and date of things like emails so you can back things up when needed. 
  4. Keep track of verbal agreements so you can follow them up with emails for backup if things get hairy.
  5. Put notes on projects you are researching, make lists of materials, make todo lists of each step and execute the hell out of things.
  6. Store data on things that give you that competitive edge.
  7. Export notes to html, put them in your Dropbox and share the link with your team to keep everyone’s productivity high. I use this a lot and to Great Effect. I even do this with my school assignments for my students.
  8. Learn the markdown language so you can include images in the HTML export.
To wrap things up, productivity tools only work if you use them, and most of the time it just takes practice to actually make use of them. Don’t use tools you see zero benefit in off the bat but invest the time to learn them if it can help. Each tool is a stepping stone to getting more done and being less stressed. Trust me.

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