Pomodoro Technique

Pomodoro is a technique developed by Francesco Cirillo for productivity and time management. The Pomodoro technique consists of

1. Using a timer

2. Set the timer for 25 minutes (whatever is convenient). Work for 25 minutes with focused concentration.

3. Once the timer rings, take a pause for 5 minutes.

4. Continue once the break ends.

5. Rinse and repeat 3-4 times, before taking a longer break (15-20 minutes).

Generally, a physical egg timer or a software timer is used for keeping time. Instead of downloading/buying an existing application, I thought why not build my own and share it with the world. After about a couple of hours of coding which included learning how to work with git and codeplex, here is the link for 0.2 version.

http://mypomodorowatch.codeplex.com/

Will post the screenshots of the application in the evening. The version 0.2 is working but has many ToDos, which I hope I will finish someday.

Pomodoro Watch Application

ToDos

1. Putting in an actual ticking watch.
2. UI Modifications.
3. Minimizing the application to the task bar.
4. Adding right click menu on the taskbar icon.

Updated: added the image, ToDo list and minor changes in the post.

Maverick Meercat

As regular readers (?) of this blog would be aware, I tried using Lucid Lynx (Ubuntu 10.04) in May of this year (http://ebinujohn.com/?p=240). When I saw the announcement about the release of the next version, I decided that this is the time to give Ubuntu another shot. So after downloading the Ubuntu desktop version, I set to work on making it work. This time I decided to try out the Wubi installer.

Wubi Installer
Wubi Installer

I could successfully install Ubuntu and boot into it. The UI looked polished and nice. Unlike the last time, the keyboard was detected and I could log in. That is when the problem started. It did not detect my inbuilt wifi device. Without which there was no internet. So I logged into windows and decided to download Linux drivers for my external Reliance datacard. After copying installation instruction for getting the device up and running from various forums onto a text file which I could open from Linux, I logged into MM again. Lo and Behold! The deb file that contained the device driver failed to install. Most likely the problem would be with the device driver but the error message said that the problem was with aptitude (If I remember the name of the installer correctly). Going back to the forum advices I tried out few things like dmesg, modprobe etc which predictably resulted in failure. After spending 2 hours on it, I lost interest and decided to attempt the good old virtual way.

Virtual Box

First I went with VirtualBox to try and make it run. And I got the following error. šŸ™

Virtual Box Error

Forums suggests that the error goes away or the fix is coming in the next version of VirtualBox. Not having any more patience I decided to try out the VMWare way. Man! It was slow and I mean very very very slow. The whole machine seemed like it has locked up. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, I was able to log in but the experience was excruciating. Finally decided to let go of the experiment.

Ubuntu in VM

 

Ubuntu Installing

 

Ubuntu looks good

For the next version, I am going to try Kubuntu instead and probably install it clean on a machine as a sole OS. No funny virtual business just full Linux.

Must have tools

A short list of software tools that can make your life really easy and productive.

1. Everything : A search tool that crawls all the files on your machine (Really fast) and enables you to search by file name. Compared to other desktop search tools like Google Desktop and Copernicus, Everything is blazingly fast with the drawback that you cannot search for content. Just the file name.

2. Microsoft OneNote : Comes as part of Microsoft Office. Very useful to take short notes and general collection of bits and pieces. The screenshot ability (Do a Windows key + S and you can select the part of screen that you want to copy) and the export to pdf ability comes in very handy.

3. TrueCrypt : Encryption tool that comes in very handy when you want to keep some stuff secret from prying eyes. Open Source and reliable. Very Fast. For the really paranoid, you can use combo of AES, TwoFish and Serpent with a hidden volume.

TrueCrypt

4. Notepad++ : An awesome alternative to the good ol’ Notepad. Has multitab editor, syntax highlighting, ability to view hex data and is very fast. Open Source.

Notepad

5. Chrome : Need I explain?

6. Microsoft Visual C# 2010 Express Edition : Free Visual Studio edition from Microsoft. C# is a very capable alternative to Java, plus the Visual Studio IDE makes developing custom programs for day to day usage a breeze.

7. Google Picasa : Non intrusive image viewer. Lightweight and fully functional.

8. Microsoft Security Essentials : A free antivirus from Microsoft. Minimalist UI and pretty good protection.

9. GIMP : Open Source alternative to Photoshop. Unless you are a hardcore photographer who needs cutting edge image processing software, GIMP will serve all your petty needs.

Gimp! Its Gimp, not Chimp!

10. Oracle VM VirtualBox : A virtualization software that can be used to host another operating system from your host OS. Download Ubuntu/Kubuntu here or Order CD here. Crank up that Virtual Machine and enjoy the world of Linux. Very good if you want to access a compromised site and does not want it to infect your machine. (*Cough* College Site *Cough*).

11. Stellarium : Since we are not going to the stars any time soon, Stellarium provides a very awesome alternative to explore the skies. Zoom in to Europa and wonder what lies in the depths of its ice covered oceans or for the more conventional explorers, check out theĀ Saturn’sĀ rings. Experts can check out itsĀ catalogĀ of 600,000 stars. Alternatives to Stellarium include NASA’s World Wind and Celestia.

Stellarium - Zeus and his family
Stellarium - Why so Saturnine?

12. MediaCoder : We have all been there. We have a nice WMV movie and we cant put it Ā in our iPods and iPhones. No worries, MediaCoder has the solution to all your media conversion troubles. MediaCoder’s Open Source status is questionable so you do face certain irritating things when you start using the software but overall it is worth the trouble. FFmpeg project is also useful with all its open source codecs.

13. VLC : No discussion on must have tools is complete without mentioning VLC. One stop media player with a little known ability to convert media files, though this ability is not very mature yet.

14. WireShark : Open Source network packet analyzer. Not much use to a lay person except scaring your innocent friends by claiming that you can read all their network messages. šŸ˜€

WireShark - JAWS!

15. 7-Zip : No need to be irritated by WinZip or WinRAR. Use this Open Source alternative instead.

16. Mathematica : If you have couple of thousand dollars lying around the house (Actually a little more than that) then Mathematica is a must have software. It is a very very ultra powerful mathematical simulation software for engineering and scientific simulations. Open Source alternative includes GNU Octave. Just don’t expect awesomeness in it.

Octave - Yep, thats a Sine Curve
Mathematica and Chrome

Edited: An anonymous commenter mentioned that Mathematica Home Edition for personal use is available for $295 and has all the features of the full blown version. http://www.wolfram.com/products/mathematicahomeedition/. Thank you.

Don’t Ask!

Last week I tried upgrading WordPress to its new version and surprise surprise it failed. Then my wordpress crashed and the site stopped working. Tried reinstalling it but no use. Stupid fastastico in cpanel does not work. Had to call up support and ask them to install.

Then I tried restoring the site using the DB backup and that caused the site to crash again. Had to manually update each table and restore the posts, comments and other links. No need to say that I was stupid enough to not backup and images. So I have all the posts without the images. Ā And the WordPress still does not updates to the latest version. Could not even install new themes from the admin console. Had to manually copy the files to the themes folder.

Now the site looks stable. Had to add the google analytics and the adsense codes again. They are not visible yet but hopefully in the next few hours the ads will start getting displayed. Will put the images as and when I can.
Update: I had adblocker enabled on my chrome so could not see the ads.

Wasted 3.5 hours on this shit.