Tag Archives: Cool Stuff

Experimenting with Workspaces

Screenshot from 2015-05-08 09:42:22

Linux has workspaces, yes. No big news, but then I got to wondering how I could use them. I recalled that when I used to work as a support professional, I used to have a two screen setup. One screen for the support tool we used and the second for all the work we did. So, that still got me wondering if I could be a bit more productive with with workspaces. After some searching, I found this page with a ton of responses. What it came down to was the following:

  • Workspaces are an excellent way to separate different piles of work and manage the pile of open apps on your desktop
  • To use workspaces you need to be able to separate your work into different piles
  • Common piles are, “Communications”, “Browsing”, “Work” – which could include writing a document or coding.

Cool Thunderbird Extensions

In my last post about comparing Outlook w/Thunderbird, I noted that one of the edges Thunderbird has is the huge extensions library that’s available online. Of course with the number comes the challenge of choosing which ones you should use. Based on my personal usage, I’ve got a few extensions that work well for me. Here’s the list and I’ll explain a bit about what each one does.


It’ll be easier if I group them so:

  • Lightning
  • Zindus
  • Provider for Google Calendar

These 3 allow for excellent integration with GMail. Thunderbird is just the messaging client. With Lighting you add on the calendar and task list features. The provider for Google Calendar allows you to integrate this offline calendar with your online Google Calendar. The cool thing is that this is a two-way sync; updates on either side are reflected. The help that’s on the extension site is very clear and to the point. You’ll have no trouble setting this up.

Zindus allows you to sync your Google contact list with your “Personal Address book” in Thunderbird. Again, this is a two-way sync and I’m always amazed to find that a contact I update on Zindus shows up almost immediately on my Android phone!

  • QuickNote – a note taking tool. I installed it, but haven’t really put it to good use.
  • Thunderbird Conversations – I’m a big fan of conversations view in Google and Outlook, so with this tool, I’m satisfied. It does sometimes miss mails that were forwarded, so there’s room for improvement, but otherwise a fairly good tool.
  • Duplicate Contacts Manger – Frankly, I’m disappointed in this one. It should be renamed to Duplicate Contact Finder. There’s really no management here.
  • random (signature) – Absolutely fabulous tool. However, the help can be a bit confusing and needs one to read through it a couple of times. As the name indicates, this tool allows you to include a random signature from a chosen set. You can configure it so that the signatures change periodically (measured in seconds).

Configuring random (signature)
Once installed go to the Add-Ons screen and choose options for this tool. Click New to create your first signature.


You’ll find that this menu has 3 parts:

  • Signature source
  • Signature target
  • Signature options

The way this tool works is as follows. The Signature source is where your signature collection exists. Our tool chooses a signature from this “source”.(We’ll get to explaining the options here in a minute) The random signature is written to the Signature target, with the options you’ve chosen. The target file that you create here is the one you should use as your signature file in your Account Settings.


Once you set it up, your outgoing emails will now attach your randomly chosen signatures automatically.

Your signature source can be of two types, a fortune cookie file or a directory that contains text files, each with a  signature. The directory bit is easy, you just take your signatures and store them into individual text files and point the tool to that directory.

A fortune cookie file is simple, and the tool has an example showing how you can structure it. Here is the context of my file:

"Do or do not. There is no ‘try’."
    — Jedi Master Yoda

"Nothing will work unless you do."
    — Maya Angelou

"There can be no justice as long as laws are absolute."
    — Captain Jean Luc Picard, USS Enterprise

As you can see, each quote is separated by a ‘%’ sign on a blank line. Easy eh?

Signature Options is quite cool. Since you’re likely going to have some common bits in all your signatures (email, phone #, etc.) you need only put them in the signature options area. Prefix is the area that comes just before the signature and suffix after. So if I were to put “Hello” in the prefix and “Bye” in the suffix, the signature would appear as

”Nothing will work unless you do”
   — Maya Angelou

Good luck with this awesome and free tool!

What should I read next?!


I stumbled upon this url via an email from a colleague. I’ve not tested it much, but when I tried “Brent Weeks” as author, it suggested Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy. So, I’m intrigued!

More a bookmark for myself Smile

The Internet Archive–Rediscovered

Has anyone seen this site?


Key Attractions:

  • Wayback Machine
  • Books, Music and movies – for free!

Money for Nothing…

And now that Microsoft’s decided to say goodbye to Money, they’re giving everyone free access to this product via MS’ download site.

Here’s the link to the deluxe version of this app:


Mobile Ebook Reader

I resumed my search for a mobile ebook reader – for the times when I forget my Sony reader – and amazingly came across Freda!

Here’s the link to the app: http://www.jim-chapman.net/freda/

I’d recommend the dropbox download. It was faster and prompt. RapidShare took 50 seconds to tell me that the link had expired! Annoying.

After installing it on my wm6 device, I had an error message: .NET version expected is newer than the one you have installed. So, I binged it and found two options. To get the latest I downloaded the .net compact framework version 3.5 – you can download it here.

Why Freda? I use Calibre to manage my ebooks. I used Mobipocket previously, but the epub format seems to be more of a standard and Mobipocket only imports then. Add to that the fact that I have a Sony Reader which supports epub – I moved! And Freda supports epub. I’ve still to check if Calibre allows direct exports to Freda on my mobile. If not, then it’ll be copy & paste. 😦 Mobipocket would do a direct transfer… all the pros & cons. I’m sticking with ePub until something better comes along.

Favorite food sites

Yeah. While I’m on the food topic, here are my favorite food sites.

Of course, allrecipes.com – they’re awesome! Got some great recipes and all the ingredients can be calculated based on servings needed.

Another great one passed on to me by weewilly is foodblogsearch.com