2018 05 Productivity Tools

Location: Parlour Room”, First United Church, 16 William St W, Waterloo, ON N2L 1J3 (enter from church back parking lot door, follow the signs — https://osm.org/go/ZXna93PBA)

Date: Monday, May 14, 2018
Time: 7:00-9:00PM

How do SysAdmins get any work done? What software makes your life better? Which tools do you use every day? How do you use common utilities? What custom configurations do you have? Is there an application specific to your Non-Profit organization? Have you written a script to make work easier? What’s your favourite productivity tool?

In concert with other NetSquared groups across the globe we’re going to share tips and tricks with each other. Bring your laptop, notebook, tablet or phone, and take five minutes to show and tell us one thing — anything at all!

–Marc Paré & Bob Jonkman

Meeting Notes

Panel discussion with attending KWNPSA members making reference to some of their most used productivity tools

  • Google Drive and GMail
    • discussion of the merits of the use of Google Drive in a working non-profit group
      • organization’s GDrive is organized is group agreed-to folder hierarchy
      • documents are worked on in a collaborative format where members may work simultaneously on documents or alternatively
      • there are questions as to the efficacy of this format, where the usual format is that of having one person in charge of the document write-up while others send in their edits for discussion/debate or in a meeting setting
      • there is talk of varied results where some members have found the collaborative method as resulting in time-savings all-round with good results, while others have found it preferable to maintain file integrity without the use of collaborative tools but rather edits through correspondence with the main editor of the document
  • search options
    • discussion of the use of the “search” option ensued from a robust talk of file organization
    • for some, the organization of files in a sensible structure is paramount to organizations’ electronic data (email or other data) integrity. The ease of finding information is dramatically increased if organizational skill-sets from employees/volunteers is reinforced through on-the-job training with regards to file structure/nomenclature
    • for others, some note the recent emergence of powerful “search” engines/utilities that negate the need to organize files in a systematic/sensible structure. For example, one large “received mail” without any type of indexing may be easily tapped by the use of most email software search utilities. The same may be said for files on a hardrive that follows no real structural index and where all is stored on the disc. Most searches will now return quick and accurate results.
    • discussions also centered on the need to instruct/teach/inform newly engaged employees/volunteers on the organization’s prescribed file storage nomenclature. However, it is also noted that, despite all good intentions of informing employees of file structure, some develop their own structure that may not marry well into the company file structure organization.
  • cygwin [1]
    • set of Unix tools for Windows
    • still actively maintained and used for decades
    • good set of packages
    • well used by sys admins
  • MKS Toolkit [2]
    • originally built for DOS boxes
    • more Unix for Dos
    • is now maintained by PTC with latest version being released in 2017
    • not as elegant as cygwin
  • Canva [3]
    • design site for misc. projects, presentation, banners etc.
    • free for non-profits — 1 team of up to 10 persons
    • widely used by non-profits and for-profits alike
    • style is recognizable to those who are familiar with Canva, however not so much with people unfamiliar with the Canva templates/styles
  • Nirsoft.net [4]
    • set of utility soft., scripts
    • all stored on site
  • virustotal.com [5]
    • good to check files
    • checks agains its signature database
    • owned by Google
  • Screen and Tmux — terminal multiplexer apps
    • virtual terminal
    • terminal tabs
    • hold different terminal sessions at the same time
    • similar to Konsole (KDE) tabs, although the sessions are kept live when changing from one workstation to the next
    • does not survive a server re-boot
  • powershells
    • task automation and configuration management infrastructure for Windows
    • all used at the command prompt, Windows and Linux
    • powershell scripts are collected from various locations on the web
    • can use multiple powershells alongside each other
  • command prompt
    • still considered most useful and time-saving approach to work at command prompt
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