I believe in working smarter so that you have more time for the things in life that really matter (or for general laziness, if that is your bag). But for a while now, I’ve been trying to get my multitude of tasks in hand and managed. After much frustration with NUMEROUS methodologies and applications I think I’ve come across something that works for me, maybe it will work for you as well.
Here is what I needed:
- REAL TASKS, not calendar entries, real tasks.
- Online synchronization and access
- Outlook synchronization
- Mobile synchronization
- Multiple lists for separating personal and work tasks (as well as several other categories)
I will refrain from going into the myriad of things that DIDN’T work and instead go directly into what did. This solution provides synchronization between my Outlook in the office, my Android phone, my Android Tablet (iPhone/Pad will work just fine) and is accessible from any web browser.
First, I set up my task lists in Google Tasks (this is in Gmail) and transferred all of my tasks into these lists (dividing for Personal, Work, etc). However, I really like the enhanced Google Tasks interface directly from this link.
Secondly, I wanted to get my phone and tablet syncing. This is where the excellent app Any.DO comes into play. There are a number of applications out there but Any.DO’s minimalistic interface is both attractive and easy to use. It also has several other enhancements that I didn’t know I couldn’t live without. For example, when a phone call is missed, Any.DO gives you the option of adding a task to call the person back later. On Android 4.0, Any.DO monitors your meetings and pops up an option for you the option of adding action items arising from that meeting… I mean COME ON… THAT IS HANDY. But most importantly, Any.DO syncs to Google Tasks. This is simple to set up just head to the options and select sync.
Finally, I needed to get the tasks in Outlook syncing with my work list in Google Tasks. While maybe it isn’t for you, this is an important step for me. I deal with a significant volume of work emails and many of them I convert into tasks by flagging the email for followup. I tried a number of different sync applications and settled on gSyncIt. There is a 20 dollar price tag attached to it, but considering its flexibility, it is really pretty great. Along with the task syncing I get calendar syncing to Google Calendar as well as the ability to sync any Outlook notes to Evernote. gSyncIt’s flexibility is top notch and allows me to select the specific task list/Outlook label I want to sync.
Even if you don’t have the desire for a all-inclusive task management environment like this, give Any.DO a try, it really can help you get your **** together.No Comments »
I wanted to start compiling a list of the apps that I find myself using on a daily basis and without which, I feel as if I am sitting at my PC with my thumbs cut off. This is mostly for my own record, but I hope that someone will find it useful.
Launchy: While officially only available in a 32-bit version, links to a couple of solid x64 builds can be found here if you take the time to look through the thread. I am happy to report that I have a build working on Win7 x64 and I am happily back to launching my apps with Alt+Space the way God intended.
Pstart: This portable app is an indispensable gem for all of my portable application toolboxes.
Ok… I know what you are thinking… BROWSERS?!?! He really has a category for BROWSERS. I get it. Everyone has their go-to browser and for people like myself, it may change from release to release, day to day. If you do any web development, you know you need to have an army of browsers at the ready for testing.
Browser Chooser: Sick and tired of opening shortcuts with various browsers via dragging and dropping or cutting and pasting? Then download Browser Chooser and set it as your default browser. Browser Chooser will intercept the request and let you choose which browser to launch.
XMarks: I’ve sung loud the praises of XMarks, a plugin for almost every browser under the sun. Go mobile with a premium subscription for 12 bucks a year… all I can say is that if you are still managing your bookmarks the old way… get with the program.
LastPass: Here again, I’ve been lauding LastPass for years now, it is simply THE best way to manage your plethora of passwords across all of your browsers just as with XMarks, the Premium subscription is worth every penny of of the 12 dollars per year.
HostsMan: I don’t know about you, but I get really sick and tired of opening the Hosts file in windows and Flushing DNS. HostsMan takes the sting out of doing this on a regular basis.
PuttyCM: Tabbed Putty… what more do you need to know
Terminals: A tabbed interface for multiple server protocols. It helps keep your server management managed.
WinSCP: I love Terminals, but I have a hard time using it as a replacement for WinSCP, it is a killer FTP SFTP client with flexible features.
MS Office: Alright… I’ll say it… everyone else wants to jump on the open source free office package bandwagon, but I am sorry, compared to MS Office, they suck… HARD. You read that correctly. I don’t recommend Open Office or what ever the darling of the open source office movement is this week. MS Office eats their lunch, twice and on the weekends. Please note that I will cover online office suites in a different post.
Celtx: Want to write a script or manage a complex production? Celtx Media Pre-Production System has what you want.
Notepad++: I use it for nearly all text editing, I have not run into a need that it cannot fill. The plugin spread is incredible and it is configurable beyond measure.
DVDFab: It is expensive, yes, and there are a number of free apps that, when cobbled together can do most of what DVDFab can do… however, if you don’t want to mess around and you want to convert your DVD and BluRay discs to portable files for multiple devices… this is absolutely your best alternative.
Calibre: Want to get more out of your eReader or eReader software on your Android or iOS device? Want to manage your collection of DRM-free ebooks? You gotta check out Calibre.
Sigil: If you need a great WYSIWYG ebook editor, Sigil is money.
ABRViewer: I use a lot of custom brushes in Photoshop and it gets impossible to tell what is what. ABRViewer lets you see the contents of your custom brush files.
MysticThumbs: Right at the top of the list of things that pisses me off about the latest releases of Windows (if you believe Adobe) and Adobe Creative Suite (if you believe Microsoft) is the inability to get thumbnails for PSD and AI files. MysticThumbs rides to the rescue with thumbnail and preview support for a massive number of file formats. It is well worth the modest price tag.
QuickPAR: There is nothing better for the management of parity files. If you do a lot of archiving of large files, creating parity files with QuickPAR can save your bacon when you encounter a corrupt file.
WinRAR: Some people are WinZip people, some people are 7-zip people and then some of us are WinRAR people. Get it, use it, love it.
I am going to do an entirely separate post on my preferred file management utilities, but I will list a couple of my most-used applications.
Belvedere: This little app from the folks over at Lifehacker is great for keeping your file system nice and tidy. You can set up any number of rules and Belvedere will move files around for you. I use it to keep my Download and Documents directory from dominating my time.
Renamer: I can’t tell you the countless hours that this tool has saved me. The ability to batch rename files is nothing new, and neither is this tool, but over the years it has proven to be the best.
SyncBackPro: Not all file sync tools are created equal. This tool is simply the best and is worth every penny.
PrintFolder Pro: Sometimes you just NEED to print off the contents of a directory. PrintFolder Pro is the PERFECT go-to when the need arises. Well worth the modest price.
Beyond Compare: Before I start gushing, let me be clear, I have tried EVERY file comparison tool under the sun. Beyond Compare is simply that… beyond compare, it is the best of the best of the best file and directory comparison tools on the market. Directories, Archives, Merge, Move or Sync. Whenever you have a bag of snakes, lay them out straight with Beyond Compare.
Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection: Ok, here again, when we are talking the best, I have to talk about Adobe. Sure their pricing sucks without equal, but the open source alternatives are so far behind the curve, they can scarcely be considered alternatives. This is one of those moments that it is worth laying down the cash for the 25-year old single-malt.
Painter: Photoshop is great, but when you want a real natural media feel, Corel Painter kicks Adobe in the pants. Again, another product worth the premium price tag.
Axialis IconWorkshop: For creating large sets of icons, be you a pro or a novice, IconWorkshop is the go-to tool.
Snagit: I know that screen captures can seem mundane, but for great office integration, and quick annotation Snagit is unparalleled.
Rainmeter: I love desktop customization, and if you love it, you will love Rainmeter. Rainmeter has massive community support and a super-flexible framework.
Winsplit Revolution: Windows 7 native Aerosnap is a pretty cool feature, but WinSplit Revolution turns Aerosnap up to 11 with configurable zones and hotkeys.
DisplayFusion: If you have multiple monitors and want a way to maximize their usability, DisplayFusion is a must-have utility. With Multi-Monitor taskbars, advanced wallpaper management, customizable titlebar buttons and more, display fusion will make you fall in love with your multi-monitor configuration all over again.
ToggleFileExt: A simple utility to enable Win+Y to toggle the visibility of your windows file extensions.
ToggleHiddenFiles: A simple utility to enable Win+H to toggle the visibility of hidden files.
Windows System Control Center: I don’t know if you do, but I use the living bat-crap out of the Windows Sysinternals Suite and the NirSoft Utilities. WSCC manages installing and keeping all of this handy little apps up do date for you.
Default Programs Editor: The Swiss Army knife of program / files association tools.
Startup Manager: A simple, unobtrusive Windows startup managerNo Comments »
A friend of mine asked me for this: as with many of the things I make, I have the “real” way and the “cheater” way.
1/4 cup mayonnaise (Make it yourself or use Hellmann’s, Don’t use Miracle Whip)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (I just use a generous squeeze.)
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (This is negotiable, depending on how vinegary you like it)
salt to taste (I used 2 pinches salt)
Depending on the consistency you want you may want to thin it out with some water.
1/2 Cup T. Marzetti’s Bleu Cheese Dressing
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Nexus One passed away prematurely during a confluence of tragic events following an accident involving Diet Mt. Dew and Sectional Chocolate. Sectional Chocolate still survives today, however Diet Mt. Dew unfortunately perished later that day. Diet Mt. Dew is survived by a never-ending parade of identical twins. Nexus One passed away several nights later in its sleep mode.
Nexus One was LOVED by Chad, and everyone who knew Chad knew it because he wouldn’t shut-up about it. Like every relationship it had its annoyances but over-all it was the best phone he have ever had. And it remains so… even in death.
A couple of people have asked me about the demise and replacement of my Nexus One and how the new phone was treating me, so I thought, what a great idea for a blog post, since I NEVER post on my blog. So away we go…
First let me say that I have had an EXCELLENT experience with my Nexus One. I was running a slightly customized version of CyanogenMod 6.1 on it, and it ran beautifully. The only downside was that I was constantly fighting the storage space issue, which other N1 owners are sure to understand.
After a trip through the washing machine, it looked like it was going to be OK, until I made a phone call with it and behold… I could hear but could not be heard (some would say that it isn’t that big of a problem). So I called about my warranty through T-mobile. After a 130 dollar deductible, they replaced the N1 with a Samsung Vibrant (a Galaxy S variant). I didn’t have any other choices, and not wanting to shell out 500 bucks for a new smart-phone, I relented and took the deal.
Out of the box, the Vibrant sucks… HARD. They did their best to make it like an iPhone (which it isn’t). Like the iPhone, the Vibrant is a bit too wide and the back is nearly Teflon in its frictionless-ness. The OS is laggy and slow, contrary to its technical specifications.
So I rooted the phone, unlocked the SIM and installed ClockworkMOD to get Cyanogen up and running on it… but all of the download links had been removed from the Cyanogen site.
Ok, rather than going through everything I did I will just say that I ended up trying a number of ROMs and landed on Bionix-V 1.2.1. One Problem solved… No longer an iPhone clone OS… now it is back to the Android I know and love (for the most part, Bionix-V, while good, is no Cyanogen)
First the Good:
- The Vibrant’s storage is MUCH better than the Nexus One.
- I have not decided on the speed, for now I will say it is nearly equivalent.
- While I have heard reports of the Vibrant coming hardware locked, my phone did not have a hardware lock that prevented me from doing 90% of the stuff I did to it.
Now the Bad:
- No trackball
- While it was a feature of the N1 I didn’t think I would use, I did… a lot. And I miss it a great deal.
- No LED notifications, AT ALL
- this was in the trackball of N1 and every other phone on the planet has SOME indication of a waiting VM. On the N1, the color of the LED could be changed based on type of notification, and it was KILLER. This is a design flaw of epic proportions. I am now looking for some way to use the key back lights for notification, but I am not optimistic.
- No LED light for Camera/Video.
- Oh SURE it has a 5mp camera, but don’t you dare try to take a picture in anything but full sunlight.
- The backlight on the navigation keys goes out after a second
- Adding to the problem of the short backlight, the keys are not visible, even in a lit room, I find myself tilting the phone around trying to find the right key (also a problem because Samsung put the keys in some ass-backwards order, at least for someone coming from the N1.
- The way Samsung handles their bootloader and download mode seems unnecessarily convoluted.
- As I mentioned above the stock OS is abysmal, the only option is to flash.
- Also as above, the phone feels slippery and just a bit too wide.
In the end, I’ve made it not suck completely, and it will hold me over until I have an opportunity to upgrade my phone or leave T-mobile, at which time I can weigh my options.No Comments »
100% Beta I promise and 100% Beta I shall deliver. We live in a time where purveyors of hosted software don the “beta” badge to let their audience know that the product is a work in progress. With this in mind I decided to promise that this site, much like myself, will be “beta” in perpetuity. This means this site
- is broken
- will be broken
- has been broken
- will have too little content
- will have too much content
- will go offline
- recently came back online
- will look different
- has new features
- is missing old features
- has mispelligns
- over uses verbs of being
- has lots of lists
- has lots of unfinished lists