Business, Chrome, life, webdev

Tools That Make You More Productive

Java posse roundupDuring the first day of Java posse roundup 2012 I’ve took some notes from all the interesting session I’ve been in. The first day was a great start to the conference with two session that were very interesting with lots of good stuff to start and checkout. Here are some of the notes I’ve took from the session about “Tools that make you more productive”.

The first suggestion was (surprise – surprise) Whiteboards with some good tips like:

  • Big boards for work in meetings
  • Small portable boards that people can take back to their desks
  • Pictures of boards for later reference/distribution – good mobile apps for that are:
    • CamScanner+ phone-based scanning to PDF, etc.
    • Camera+ with its text mode filter.

My favorite editor Sumblime Text was next in line. There are many great tips and ways to make you efficiant using it. I will try to post on that later this week. You can start by using ctrl-p for smart search and improve your knowledge of short-cuts.

Productivity tools:

  • – good for plan/todo anything that need list/sharing and a nice web app.
  • – Hassle free screen sharing.
  • Evernote/SpringPad  – Everything you want to remember on every device you use.
  • Plain-text – good for note-taking, searching
  • SimpleNote
  • Lightscribe pen – It’s not a pure online tool (but it can be uploaded). It’s a good solution for people that like pens but want to be able to have their drawing/writing digitize for future search.


  • “do it tomorrow” – for Android
  • Pomodoro technique – web-site for pomodoro

For the (web/Java) developers among us:

  • Standing desk
  • large monitor (or even 2-3 of them).
  • best mouse, keyboard, monitor you can buy. On every tool that you use daily you want to buy the best.
  • SSD (or hybrid HDD/SS)

How to handle interruptions:

  • Turn off all distractions: facebook, twitter, IM, IRC etc’
  • Work at home
  • Headphones
  • Go in early – the few hours without people around in the morning are your 1-2 productive hours of the day.

email considerations:

  • Establish policy/reputation of NOT responding rapidly/frequently to emails – unless it is something urgent and then the other team members know to IM you or just call.
  • Use email header/subject to distinguish FYI, ACTION REQUIRED, URGENT then you can use priority box in gmail (or filters) to make sure you get to the most important stuff first.
  • Boomerang for gMail – It is a good extension that let you set the time of sending so people will get the emails at the start of their work day and not in 23:45 at night.
  • Separate user account on workstation that has no email access
  • Use email search for trouble-shooting hints, etc.

Software (Java) development:

  • JRebel – with and without GWT.
  • Play framework – It was great to have a session in the zero day with James ward on play with Java and Scala. Very cool stuff under the hood of Play.
  • Write more tests – focus on the parts that you don’t want to do.
  • Pair programming (in disciplined doses)

Team communication:

  • Yammer
  • Campfire and it’s ‘brother’ Propane apps.
  • Google hangouts (with screen sharing) is powerful tool for meetings.
  • Skype.

General hints:

  • Environmental hooks (e.g. SBT)
  • Python scripting
  • Command-? on Mac to drive menu from keyboard
  • Avoid the mouse; use keyboard shortcuts
  • Mylyn with Eclipse
  • Time tracking per task
  • Reviewing “painful things” per iteration
  • Track time spent on interruptions

If you have more, please let me know in the comments or g+

As for the lighting talks, I was able to hack a little site: (It’s JPR12 and NS for ‘no snow’) to hold all my talks since we had only two nights for the lighting talks so I got some talks ready for next year.


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