Vim casts

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Vim Screencasts – vimcasts.org from Drew Neil the author of Practical Vim.

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Linux tip: find your bash command in less than 3 seconds

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Many Linux users usually need to repeat the same command over and over again. For the newbie she will often re-write the whole command. The average use might already know that there’s something called a bash history and so she would use the up and down arrows to navigate through the history. It will take a while to find the needed command.

The more advanced user would know the trick I am about to tell you to find the appropriate command in less than 3 seconds.
Continue reading

Decluttering – Reducing paper clutter

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A while ago I decided that I would follow the footsteps of Leo Babauta (“declutter” search) and Jamie Todd Rubin (Going paperless) in their goal to reduce clutter in their lives. I opted to start to reduce my physical clutter particularly paper clutter and anything that I am not regularly using or really need to keep.

Currently, I am mainly concentrating on paper clutter for three reasons:

  1. paper collects dust,
  2. I have a lot of paper,
  3. I wish to make some clutter-free space.

I especially have many printed documents and lecture notes that I downloaded from academic websites as well as my own lecture notes dating back to my first year in college as a physics student. I also have physics and math guides as part of my work as a physics and math educator.

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Printed documents

So what I started doing last week was scan the documents I have in print-only form and process them. As for the printed documents, I started with a selection of them that are on Linear Algebra, Real Analysis, and Calculus. These I searched for the digital files in my archive and once found them I threw away all the print ones except those that had notes or highlights. These ones I will add the notes and highlights to the digital files (most are PDF’s).

Teaching guides

As for the guides I use for teaching, I had already debound in preparation to scan. Apparently it is a waste of time to scan them with my flatbed scanner so I resorted to a photocopy service and asked that they scan the guides.

The output of the first batch I scanned was in PDF so I had to convert the PDF’s to individual PNG images so I could process them with Scantailor and then bind them into a DJVU file with djvubind. From now on I will request the output images in the lossless PNG or less preferably JPEG formats.

I am very impressed by djvubind and the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) made by tesseract. It is very effective. For details on the process and what I am trying to do A Linux Guide to Book Scanning clears it out.

I will be continuing this project but future projects on my list include digitizing photos and my university lecture notes.


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Evernote for Educators #1 – Online Physics Agenda

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Since the school I currently teach at has not yet employed a Learning Management System (LMS) [1] or  a School / Student Information System [2] that involves students (eg; in regard to assignments, worksheets, announcements, & grade book, etc…) and the students are expected to depend on their physical agenda which was not effective with some students, and since most students have a smartphone or access to a computer and an internet connection I started thinking of a way to solve this issue using technology.

Surely, I had to keep all students on equal footsteps especially for students who might be behind the class due to being slow writers or simply late because of being distracted. Continue reading

Tip: Evernote and Daily the review

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Yesterday, I learned a new and useful Evernote trick from science fiction writer and Evernote ambassador Jamie Todd Rubin.

The trick is from his article Going Paperless Quick Tip: How I Do A “Daily Review” in Evernote. The trick is to create a saved search which makes the daily review in Evernote a click away. The daily review concept is referenced to the Getting Things Done (GTD) system by David Allen.

The daily review, as the name implies, is to review all of what you have received or created during your day to keep things in place and on track. For example you might have received some mail or have created some notes.
All this has to be processed at some point (preferably daily) otherwise, you will lose track of all the input you have received especially those that need some action on your behalf.

In regard of Evernote, Jamie (and now myself) uses a saved filter to process his daily notes. To do this he made the following search:

any: created:day updated:day

This search returns all notes that were created and updated/modified “today”. You can then save the search and add it as a shortcut which makes it very handy once you’re ready to do the daily review.

I tried to do the search on my Android phone and tablet but it didn’t work. Nevertheless, once you do this on the web app you will also have the saved search on all of your devices which is really useful.

You can read more of Jamie Rubin’s articles on the “Daily Review” on his website.

Thanks to Jamie Todd Rubin.

My top Android apps

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This is a list of my top Android apps:

  1. SwiftKey keyboard: replaces the default keyboard and adds the “flow” feature $$
  2. Sunrise calendar + DigiCal + Google Calendar*
  3. Twilight: adapts the screen to the time of the day by making it red accordingly.
  4. Easy Battery Saver
  5. Timesheet: for time tracking
  6. Wunderlist: for task management f/$$
  7. Sleep as Android (unlocked): for sleep tracking and as an alarm clock $$
  8. GnuCash: for bookkeeping
  9. Evernote: for notetaking f/$$
  10. Google Drive + Docs + Sheets: for writing on the go
  11. Pocket: for reading web articles offline free of ads and distractions
  12. gReader Pro: for reading feeds (integrates with Feedly) f/$$
  13. Moon+ Reader Pro: for reading ebooks f/$$
  14. Plume: for tweeting
  15. WolframAlpha: for instant expert knowledge and computation $$
  16. CamScanner: for scanning documents by taking images f/$$
  17. Smart Audiobook Player f/$$
  18. IFTTT
  19. Link Bubble: to open links without leaving the current app. Very handy.

Legend

  • f: free
  • $$: paid
  • not indicated: free

* DigiCal is great for its Cut/Copy and Paste feature while Sunrise calendar has a great user interface and offers (for free counter to DigiCal) the feature to add other calendars to integrate Evernote (for reminders), Facebook (for birthdays & events) and other services.