Archive for Open Source Tools

Needing a way to manage and track your time? Try Toggl

Toggl LogoI am trying to bring balance to the force.  Well technically to bring balance to my own work life.  Like everybody else in the working world, I am trying to juggle tasks and priorities in an every changing business world.

However, I wanted to go beyond a basic Outlook calendar.  Yes, I can block out time.  But within that block of time; what did I really accomplish?

Also, I continuously to find productive time to keep on top of my professional career development.

I am a huge fan of Trello (http://www.trello.com) to manage tasks and status of tasks.  But I want to way to manage where my time goes during the day.

My good friend, Michael Czarnecki, mentioned awhile back that he uses Toggl.com (Yes, the “E” is dropped at the end.)

Here is Toggl’s website.  http://www.toggl.com

Michael Czarnecki’s twitter address:  @jerzakie

I have been experimenting with it this month.  (May/2014)

I have to say, this tool was exactly what I needed.

Pro’s

  • You create tasks and associate it with a project.
  • A stop and start clock.  Love it!  Especially when I get interrupted during the course of a day. I don’t mind to help.  But I do want to see concise time my given tasks.
  • Reports – Yes, yes, yes!  To see how I managed my time to tasks.  A great, simple built-in light weight business intelligence tool set where you can drill down in the data.
  • Integrates with your Google account.  (You have to love OAuth!)

Con’s

  • Currently, no integration with Trello.  I have to rebuild projects and tasks.  But it quick to create.
  • The free version is good, but the paid version is tempting with the advance features and mobile apps.

Overall, Toggl is meeting my expectation as a precise time tracking to task tool set that I need to go beyond just scheduling blocks/chunks of time slots to work on tasks.

Here is Toggl’s website.  http://www.toggl.com

I recommend it and wanted to share my thoughts.  As always, I welcome any feedback.

~ Tony Maddin ~

 

CamStudio OpenSource – Free Streaming Video Software

CamStudioLogoI am a visual learner.  I love CBT’s.  I am more engaged when I see a topic come alive.  This year, I plan on expanding my blog site to have more video-based blogging so I can remember some of my own tips and tricks.  😉

I recently tried out CamStudio as an video recorder alternative to Camtasia by TechSmith.  Do not get me wrong; Camtasia is a great tool set.  I highly recommend it to anybody that has a budget.

However, CamStudio is a great alternative if you want to produce a basic video recording that can be exported to .AVI, .MP4, and/or .SWF file types.

Here is the website if you want to download and try it out.  Also, there is a PortableApps.com version of it.

http://camstudio.org/

~Tony Maddin~

 

Paint.net – A free, open source image and photo editing sofware

I recently recieved a new laptop.  And with any new computer you try to put as many tools on it as you can to do your job.  However, image/photo editing is one of those tools I usually forget about until I need to do something quick.  Then I go to Program Files and scan for PhotoShop….then I think, “Uh oh….I don’t have it.”    I have used Gimp but there is a major learning curve.  My co-worker Tavis Lovell mentioned, “Hey get Paint.net.  Its free and does a good job.”   I downloaded it; and within 10 minutes I accomplished my task of changing an image.  Paint.net is easy to use and similar to PhotoShop/Fireworks if you are familiar with these toolsets.    So feel free to go the website to try it out yourself.   http://www.getpaint.net/ 

I have also placed this tool under my Resources webpage on this blog.

Open Source eMail Server

 

I found on a discussion thread on a great, open source email server to install in a development enviornment.  This is nice to have so you do not have to become a Microsoft Exchange guru.

http://hmailserver.com/

 

Another great open source tool – Greenshot

Greenshot
Greenshot

Greenshot is a great alternative for SnagIt.  SnagIt is a great screen capture tool and I highly recommend it for a commercial enviornment.  But it’s one of those tools that is nice having it on a home system that you are doing sidework.  Greenshot is open source and has an executable that installs on any Windows platform.  Its a basic set of tools similar to SnagIt to perform screen capture operations; but if you are looking for pretty advance features stick to the commercial leader SnagIt.

I have listed this tool under the RESOURCES web page on my blog.

TeamViewer – A free remote access tool

Another great tool I found with PortableApps.com. 

TeamViewer (http://www.teamviewer.com/)   This tool is free with non-commerical use.  Like most IT professionals, you are one of the family chosen PC support specialist.  This tool will allow you to quickly connect to a end user’s computer without guiding them through the process of turning on RDP.  (If their version of Windows even have it.  Most copies do not.)

I will be adding this tool to my resource page.

Happy Holidays!   Tony Maddin

Prezi – A great presentation tool

At the December/2010 Cincinnati SharePoint User Group meeting, Sean P. McDonough was the presenter for the night.  Fantastic Topic:  SharePoint 2010 Backup/Recovery

Sean is a fantastic presenter.  I was even more impressed with the tool he used for the presentation called, “Prezi.”  www.prezi.com

The tool is free with limits. 

I had a big presentation at my current employment that I needed to walk my audience through a new process of moving SharePoint team sites from various SharePoint versions onto our new SharePoint 2010 environment.

The tool was a big hit and it inspired great conversations during and after the meeting. 

Big thanks to Sean!   You can visit Sean’s website at http://sharepointinterface.com/

Great Tool – 2xClient alternative to RDP

The 2X Client that is part of the PortalableApps.com collection is a fantastic tool that is an alternative to the standard Windows based Remote Desktop Program.

It appears to be faster, you get more display options, and no pesky mouse issues.  (I get these issues with my wireless laptop and RDP sessions.

Again, this is my personal experience working in an enterprise environment.  Please feel free to agree or disagree.  🙂

A great Open Source Application PortableApps.com

  A buddy of mine, Jason Lambert, at work recommended a great open source software package called, “Portable Apps.” From portableapps.com website. You will need a spare USB drive. I recommend a minimum 4 GB USB flash drive. But the amount of free software is unreal.

You get Open Office (a free office style software suite), KeepSafe (a encrypted password safe), Firefox, Thunderbird, etc.

I highly recommend this download and it’s totally free.

Go to http://www.portableapps.com to get a copy of it. Enjoy! Tony