Portrait of Edd Dumbill, taken by Giles Turnbull

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expectnation
a conference management web application


XTech Conference
a European web technology conference

Personal productivity in Linux

Seeing as there are currently so many handy tips about how to be organized and get things done, I thought I'd note down a few ways I get things done with Linux and GNOME.

  • Use a modern distribution. You want the new toys, but you also want the distribution to keep out of your hair. Ubuntu wins, no contest. The upcoming release, hoary, has everything I need.
  • Learn to love hotkeys. Just one or two key assignments can make all the difference. Whatever it is you start most, text editor or browser, hotkey it.
  • Keep a short inbox. For me, there's no to-do list as effective as my email inbox. Only items requiring actions or replies are allowed to stay in there, and filed away or deleted once dealt with. Under 50 or so there means I'm mostly in control. Under 10 means it's the Christmas holidays.
  • Take notes with Tomboy. I love Tomboy. Make sure you assign a keyboard shortcut for search, then you can use Tomboy as a place to store all those transient and emergent thoughts.
  • Basic command-line tricks. If you're not a large user of the command-line, it's worth learning a bit. More than anything else, I use locate, grep and find.
  • Make it pretty. Take time to find the theme and font with which you feel comfortable. Then stop! It's important to feel at home in your desktop, but endless retheming can be a problem.
  • Use an email client with good searching. I've used Evolution for years, and the searching and filing UI is excellent. I used to have an elaborate folder structure, but that reduces findability. Use a small number of broad categories, and take advantage of fast searching when you want to find things.
  • Use your ~/public_html folder. Forget all those fancy sharing apps, a simple web server is the easiest way to share with people. I regularly drop files into my public_html directory. Even if your personal machine is behind a firewall, you should be able to set up an sftp folder on Nautilus into which you can drop things you want to share.
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