Weekly Round-Up: 2/17/13 to 2/23/13

The Weekly Round-Up is a once weekly collection of my #1Aday daily shares. Hope you find something of interest!

Tue 2/19
Gretchen Rubin @gretchenrubin asks: Do You Find Yourself Falling for These 12 Familiar Myths about Clutter? – http://markjacobsen.net/l/1735

Wed 2/20
Leo @zen_habits on: The 7 Habits of Calmness – http://markjacobsen.net/l/1736

Thu 2/21
An oldie but a goodie – Paul Graham @paulg on: Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule – http://markjacobsen.net/l/1737

Fri 2/22
Alan Henry @halophoenix on: How to Work an On Call Job and Keep Your Sanity – http://markjacobsen.net/l/1738

Weekly Round-Up: 2/11/13 to 2/17/13

The Weekly Round-Up is a once weekly collection of my #1Aday daily shares. Hope you find something of interest!

Tue 2/12
14 Photographs That Shatter Your Image of Famous People – http://markjacobsen.net/l/1711

Wed 2/13
Use a “daily do” list to remember and execute the little things – http://markjacobsen.net/l/1712

Thu 2/14
Why You Should Want to Pay for Software, Instagram Edition – While the dust up may be over this is still important – http://markjacobsen.net/l/1714

Fri 2/15
My 10 Essential Email Habits by @zen_habits – http://markjacobsen.net/l/1734

Setting up the ultimate console

If you’ve been coding for any time, chances are you’ve become acquainted with the command line. While some love it and some hate it I think it’s wonderful for getting things done quickly. Unfortunately, the windows command line is crap. With that said I finally got fed up and asked that most important programmer question of “How do I get a better command line”?

That search led me to an open source application called appropriately enough: Console. When I first opened it up and started playing around I have to admit my first reaction was “meh”. Then I asked that import question again, “How can this be made better”? A little Googling and experimentation later I got things working to my satisfaction.

So, here for your one-stop quick-reference is how to setup the ultimate console for Windows…


  • You access the console for all different platforms (not just Windows)
  • You already have putty and its utilities downloaded – and are familiar with their use
  • You already have installed cygwin – and are familiar with its use


  1. Download Console and extract the contents to the folder of your choice
  2. Download ANSICON and extract the following files to the same directory you extracted Console to.
    • ANSI32.dll
    • ANSI64.dll
    • ansicon.exe

Great, now you have Console installed, but this is the configuration I use to make it really rock.


These can all be found under “Edit -> Settings”

  • Appearance
    • Custom color: Change it to an awsome green
  • Appearance -> More…
    • Uncheck “Show toolbar”
    • Select “Alpha” under “Window transparency” and set “Active window” to 25 and “Inactive window” to 40
  • Behavior
    • Check “Copy on select”
    • Uncheck “Clear selection on copy”
  • Hotkeys
    • Set “New Tab 1” to “Ctrl+T”
    • Set “Copy selection” to “Ctrl+C”
    • Set “Paste” to “Ctrl+V”
  • Hotkeys -> Mouse
    • Set “Copy/clear selection” to “None”
    • Set “Select text” to “Left”
    • Set “Paste text” to “Right”
    • Set “Context menu” to “Middle”

Tab Configuration

Now that you have your console looking pretty and being functional, lets hook it into putty and cygwin. You can do this configuration under “Edit -> Settings -> Tabs”. Obviously, the directories you’ve chosen for things will be different (change to your values).

Cygwin: Add a tab and set the shell to:

C:\cygwin\bin\bash.exe --login -i

Putty: Add a tab and set the shell to:

C:\apps\Console2\ansicon.exe "C:\apps\Putty\plink.exe" -load "aSavedSessionName"




How to list all environment variables

Often times you can find useful information in your environment variables, but since it’s something you don’t have to do everyday it’s easy to forget. Here’s a refresher:

First bring up a command prompt, then run the following…


To see the value of a single environment variable:

echo %ENVVAR%

Run the following from a terminal to see all environment variables…


To see the value of a single environment variable:

echo $ENVVAR

The Best iPhone Apps

Despite what Apple may think, they don’t create the world’s greatest apps. I love my iPhone, but to really get the best experience outside of jailbreaking (work frowns on that) there are a handful of apps I use almost daily. Since I had a friend recently ask me about some of them I thought you, dear reader, may also find my “insight” useful. So in the interest of creating an up-to-date list of what i consider to be essential iPhone apps, I’ve created a page dedicated to The Best iPhone Apps!

Hit up the page for all my recommended iPhone apps, but here’s the top 3…

After trying just about every single to-do and task list manager under the sun, the one I keep coming back to is Toodledo.
Far and away the best note taking and all purpose app
I wasn’t sure it would be worth it, but this app is so much better than the Apple calendar.

Hope you find something useful.

Google Chrome Keyboard Shortcuts for Tabs

So I hope by now everyone knows that Ctrl+T opens a new tab in Chrome, but I always forget these shortcuts so hope they help trigger your memory too…

  • Ctrl+T = Open a new tab
  • Ctrl+W = Close the current tab
  • Ctrl+1 through Ctrl+8 = Go to the tab at the specified position in the window
  • Ctrl+9 = Go to the last tab in the window
  • Ctrl+Tab = Go to the next tab in the window
  • Ctrl+Shirt+Tab = Go to the previous tab in the window

Note: Yes, these all appear to work in FireFox too. I’m just partial to Chrome.

Inbox Zero – How I do it

Why is it that when I mention I have no email in my inbox or that I just delete email I get these looks and comments of complete disbelief? Probably my two favorite comments are “How can you possibly do that?” and “You must not do anything.”

Well, I’m here to tell you that you can do it and that you can actually get stuff done. While there are a ton of ways to do this and you might want to tweak your implementation a little bit, I’m going to give you a run down of how I do it.

Ok, so how do you go about implementing inbox zero? First, create a new folder (Outlook) or label (Gmail) called “_oldCrapCloggingMyInbox”. Second, move all the email in your inbox into “_oldCrapCloggingMyInbox”. There, don’t you feel better already?

Now, repeat after me…

  • Delete
  • Delegate
  • Do
  • Defer
  • Delete
  • Delegate
  • Do
  • Defer
  • Delete
  • Delegate
  • Do
  • Defer

Got it yet? No? One more time then…

  • Delete
  • Delegate
  • Do
  • Defer

Ok, those are the 4 questions you need to ask yourself (in that order) for every email. Now you’re going to start honing your “deleteability”. Seriously, don’t be afraid of deleting email (if you’re really paranoid, replace delete with archive”).

Can I just delete this? If so, delete it. It’s liberating isn’t it?

If you can’t delete it, can or should someone else be doing it? If so, send it on its way and delete it.

If it’s something you have to do you have a decision to make. If it’s something you can do in 2 minutes or less – do it! Then delete it! If you can’t do it in 2 minutes or less either put it on a task list or move it to a “Read Review” folder/label. Naturally, if you put it on a task list – delete it.

Doesn’t that feel so much better?

Now, this may feel a little weird and it will take some getting used to, but practice it over the next few weeks and see if it doesn’t feel great to have an empty inbox.

You might also want to watch the original presentation by Merlin Mann.

Questions? Still think I’m crazy? Sound off in the comments.

Setup password-less SSH and SCP with public/private keys

Want to scp a file to another server without having to enter the password?  Want to just make your security even stronger?  Public/private keys to the rescue!  Of course, if you don’t know what I’m talking about or why you would want to do this, feel free to google it or just go visit another site.

For those still with me, you need access to both the local and remote servers (duh).  I’m going to refer to the server/host you are logged into as the local machine, and the one you want to connect to as the remote machine.

First, on the local machine you need to generate your public and private keys.  To do so, enter this command…

ssh-keygen -t rsa

Be sure to just hit enter to the questions you’re prompted with (otherwise you will have to enter a password when connecting with the keys – which goes against the whole point of this post).  This will create a couple of files in your .ssh directory (something like id_rsa and id_rsa.pub – your private and public keys respectively). Your public key (the file you want to distribute) ends in “.pub”. Assuming you have that file, send it over to the remote machine (perhaps with scp, yes?)…

scp ./id_rsa.pub user@server.com:/home/user/.ssh/id_rsa.pub

Of course password authentication isn’t enabled yet so you’ll have to enter the password. Next up, you need to login to the remote machine and visit your .ssh directory, and cat the .pub file into your “authorized_keys” file (don’t worry, the command below will create the file if it doesn’t exist. I leave it to you to know how to create the .ssh directory if needed)…

cat id_rsa.pub >> authorized_keys

It’s then a good idea to secure your file and delete the temporary public key on the remote machine…

chmod 600 authorized_keys
rm id_rsa.pub

Once you’ve done all this, you should now be able to connect without a password! Just use your private key…

ssh -i ./id_rsa user@server.com

Have fun!

SSH, SFTP, and SCP on non-standard ports

One common suggestion for securing a secure shell connection on Linux is to change the port that ssh runs on.  But how exactly do you connect to a server on one of these non-standard ports?

Naturally, the syntax is different for each so here goes:


ssh -p 33432 user@server.com

Yes, ssh uses a lower case p command line argument. Just wait until we get to scp.


sftp -o "Port 33432" user@server.com

Of course sftp uses a plain English option parameter of “Port XXXX”


scp -P 33432 /home/user/file.txt user@server.com:/home/user

And naturally scp uses a capital P

Gotta love consistency!