Being productive on command line

I spend a lot of my time in command line and analyzing what I am doing, I realized I could gain a lot if I could spend less time ‘driving’ cursor arround. Unlike other productivity enhancements I did, this one turned out to be a little more challenging, which is why I am writing this post.

First, to my surprise, there was not obvious and easy way to just go word back and forth. If you look at what is available for command line, aside from ctrl-a, ctrl-e, there is not much more. Since terminal is OSX is using emacs style bindings, I went to look for how would I do this in emacs. Unfortunatelly specific one that would let you quickly jump from word to word is not working. There is really awkward Esc – b, Esc – f, to go back and forward a word.

So my first glimpse on a solution was to do:

set -o vi

and convert command line to vi bindings. This works not surprisingly well, command line is treated like in edit mode, you just have to hit esc and then you can back and forth all you want. Problem for me with this is that, while I will configure my machine, this will just make hard for me to work on other people machines, like when we pair. So, even though I am still considering this solution, I kept researching.

What I found as solution, which probably works out of the box on Linux, is that you can remap alt to simulate hitting Esc, so that you can use alt – b and alt – f to go back and forth. Setting for this is a little burried in preferences, which is why I included screenshot.

Making DIY IPad stylus

So, few things iPad is missing are: SD card reader and good stylus. It turns out, at least for this other thing there is an easy remedy.

After seeing one my colleague Mat got, I realized it could be easily made. Here is the one he got, it is very flimsy and doesn’t give you very good feel.,2817,2358529,00.asp

I started off with experimenting with different materials. It turns out that those gummy kitchen sponges works exceptionally well.

diy_ipad_pen 011

After that I experimented with how to fit sponge into pen and which one would be good for it. It turns out, from my vast collection of pens and writing paraphernalia, very few can be used. Only Parker Jotter was close and because of how deep barrel of the pen is, I have to give up of sticking sponge through it.

I had to think long and hard what could be used for it and then it hit me to use drinking straws for it. For a moment it looked like this will not be good, but it turns out it works fantastic. Responsiveness of touch-screen to it is awesome. It is very easy to manipulate icons as well as to draw in drawing apps.

diy_ipad_pen 009  diy_ipad_pen 010

I hope this will inspire other people to make their own, maybe few in different colors. Let me know how it goes.


Now I am trying to find good app for jotting down notes and sketches. If you have any recommendations, please let me know.

turned into apple fanboy

Lately I went all out Apple. I got laptop, iPhone and now ipad. I just saw all the gadgets on my desk and realized how much things have changed. Can’t explain in any other way then peer pressure. I am surrounded with genuine apple fanboys. I got laptop for my consulting gig last week as my then laptop just could’t cut it, everyone else had a Mac so I got one. Then one thing led to another and here I am, all hip. I have to admit I miss variety of choices a little bit, and connectivity, now every cable has to be at least $30.

In the mean-time aside from hardware I got interested very much into lean methodology, I got to experience corporate agile quite a bit and few other very interesting things. Oh, yes, let’s not forget my new found love for JavaScript, I am completely into it.

Oh, Google OS

Oh boy what excitement Google announcement created. They will create a browser OS?! And this is somehow special and unique (InstantOn anyone?). Mike Arrington is up in flames posting on tech crunch. He can already see his CrunchPad running with beautiful new OS.

As always I am skeptical. For start the most important reason is:


It is not typical of Google not to show a thing. I suspect that what they have is not that big deal and if they shown it people would be disappointed. With Wave they had unfinished product yet it didn’t prevent anyone to admire it even when it crashes, because it is unique and beautiful.

Secondly they will run browser on top of reduced Linux. So Debian with few Google tweaks, how is that special in any way? I am surprised we didn’t see more solutions like that already. There are few InstantOn OS’es that  are like that but most of them cost money, and this will be free? Ubuntu Remix is free.

My only concern is whether you can run Skype on this thing. Maybe I am not as excited over it as Mike Arrington, but I can see myself using CrunchPad in the future with browser on top, Google or not.


I’ve been following TechCrunch as they seem perfect recepient of the googleness of GOS, seems that after initial hype they are coming to see the reality, which is still very good, just not as paradigm shifting as thought initially. Josh Bigs explains.

“ChromeOS will beat Windows or even OS X is like expecting Coby to come up behind Sony and Samsung next year…”

Wolfram Alpha launches today

I have one thing to say to that unfortunate google inspired startup called cuil: ‘watch and learn’ .

Today we got one more search engine,  very unique in it’s design, very interesting and with fresh approach. I don’t think it will replace google, but it added new quality to how we can get information off the net.

Wolfram Alpha officially started today. live coverage provided by, their inaugural blog post, and finally some examples how to use it.

Being Productive Programmer makes your Windows fast

I’ve been reading ‘Productive Programmer’ from O’Reilly and in the book there are tools and tweaks that make developers productive. While most of those I know, it kind of reminded me to use some of them and to give them another shot.

One of those tools is Virtual Desktops for Vista. I used one from SysInternals, however doing a search I see that there is another app which also does the same on CodePlex site. And another and another. OK links to those in the end of the post.

So the thing is, not only that I am more productive, but Windows works much and notably faster (I have two monitors, so there are 4 desktops with 2 monitors). This is most likely due to each desktop having their own explorer instance, which does have some limits in terms of moving apps between them but apparently makes things much speedier. Now I have Linux in one of them through VMWare, one is for ‘social’ apps, one is for reading and one is for working. Great thing is that this doesn’t hog memory.

Here is link to app I am using:

Here are Virtual Desktop managers I was able to find:

Google Apps – only for simple and small

I am really excited by prospect of Google App Engine and what they are bringing. As soon as they were announced I jumped on it and applied for developer account. I got it a little later then I was expecting but I did got it. Now I figured it is time to give it a whirl, after making a helloworld and guestbook app.

So I set myself to do few experiments to make sure I can actually make app that I planned and then went on to do it. Huh. Well, you can make apps, just it is not really that great experience. At first I thought it is just Python which I didn’t use for very long time, so all I need is to get used to it. Not quite.

While benefits are great and obvious, there are things that annoy you from the start. Google framework (which I consider graceful for using term Framework for this) is bare bones as can be. I feel sorry for people who work at Google and have to use it. All the goodies that developers are used to are not present, there is a templating and works nice, but it is like someone dumped smarty on you and you need to figure out everything, even less. I would like to have some form of organization of my code and I would like productivity tools. Also I would like to have to type less :).

What annoys me most is that you can’t organize your pages in controllers, but each page (let’s call them pages) is a class. You could say that I should just accept it but it is just counter-intuitive and Java like where you have to do things that are totally crazy just because.

I will continue for little more just to get myself more accustomed to this obviously important way for apps to be developed and deployed, but it looks at the moment that I will abandon it and go to lovely Rails and pretty PHP/CI even if they don’t scale or deploy that easily.