Desktop, laptop, iPad, iPhone.. – more often then not you feel like you might have too many gadgets. You are constantly searching for a website you glimpsed at only 2 days ago, and unable to find it in the browser history – so you wonder – Was I on my laptop when I found that article? Or was I on the iPad? Or maybe it was a Twitter link that I clicked on my iPhone.. ? Also, that quick note I had.. where on earth did I save it.. and on which device?
To get you sorted in this digital mess, we present to you the 5 most important tools you can use to de-clutter your digital existence Evernote, Simplenote, Dropbox, Push the Page and Instapaper:
You don’t really need a reason to try out these Mac OSX tips and hacks. But they are fun, probably useful and definitely will get a nice reaction from your friends. They all involve typing some commands in the Terminal.app(each command is followed by the Enter key); if commands start with sudo, you might be asked to also type down your Mac administrator password(which you ought to have set when you first logged to your computer). For instructions on finding Terminal.app and tips on using it, see our great Terminal.app tutorial.
Tip #1. Quickly prevent your Mac from going to sleep
If you are doing something important but not interactive enough(reading an ebook/article or demoing a slideshow to your boss for instance) and get frustrated by your computer repeated attempts to go to sleep, there’s a quick and simple way to prevent this temporarily and without messing anything up: in Terminal, type down pmset noidle
Just remember to type Ctrl+C (^C) in the same window when you’re done.
If you don’t already use Dropbox, you probably should. Dropbox is the amazing file sync service and utility that I’ve told you about it in a post from a few months ago. You might also remember that it has a neat referral program, giving out 250MB extra space for each friend referred to the service.
What I didn’t know and only learned about today is that, this year, Dropbox has a pretty awesome internet contest / puzzle / scavanger hunt, called Dropquest 2011, with various prizes.
Now, since I missed the actual contest, I didn’t qualify for the mega prizes(which included 50GB of space, branded t-shirts and more). However, for all those who answer some(or all) of the puzzle questions, there’s a consolation prize of up to 1GB of space to be added to your Drobox account.
The complete list of questions and answers, as well as explanations for those, can be found on several places online; I found the most thorough solution page to be that of erroneus, with other versions available over at tuqiri or boio. For your convenience I’ll shamelessly paste, below, the walkthrough from tuqiri/erroneous:
And before I leave you with this resourceful online quest, here are a few of the tricks you can use to increase your Dropbox free account quota(for the full list check out this page):
use a referral link when signing up with Dropbox; it will give both you and your referee an extra bit of space
complete any of the tasks from this page and connect with Dropbox on Twitter/Facebook, for up to 640MB extra
complete the Dropbox “Get Started” tour for another 250MB of space
refer other friends to it; make sure they use other email addresses, and that they install the Dropbox client on different machines than yours
I’m not the kind to praise apps, but once in a while a recently downloaded app makes me so happy I need to share it with the world. Today I feel this way about Hyperdock, a currently free beta app (the developer warns us that once it gets final it will cost a small fee – although if you want to keep it free you can probably just disable the automatic updates). To be noted that there’s no hidden reward for me for this tiny review – the developer didn’t contact me about the app(as a general rule I tend to ignore all email I get that promotes web services or apps), I’ve hard about it from a Tweet and decided to give it a try.
Hyperdock installs itself as a System Preferences pane, and replaces the OSX standard Dock with a much more powerful version of it, kind of like a swiss knife of system goodies:
Window previews – when you hover over the icon of an opened app in the Dock, you get to see a small bubble with live preview of the app’s opened windows.
Powerful shortcuts – for all the apps in the Dock, you can configure particular or general shortcuts. Take the default shortcuts for instance – Option+Left click on any of the Dock apps will trigger Expose to show the windows opened by that app. Shift+Left Click will hide it, etc.
Window Management – by far the best feature, allowing to quickly snap and resize windows(Windows 7 style) by simply dragging them to the screen edges, etc. It successfully replaces the $14 Divvy app and adds, on top of that, quick shortcuts for moving and resizing windows.
There are other features listed on the app’s page, but I stop at this for now. I can only hope that the developer will chose a small enough price for the app(I’d expect less than $10, but I’d really hope something like $5) to encourage wide adoption of this pretty great all-in-one app. Give it a try and let me know what you think of it in the comments below.
Everyone knows that multitasking is usually bad for your productivity, and that in order to get ‘in the flow’ one would need to focus on the task at hand and nothing more. Having your app maximized to your screen size might be enough most of the times, but a real full-screen mode(that is, covering also the Dock and the MenuBar) would be even better.
Apparently the next operating system version for your Mac(OSX Lion) will add native support for full-screen apps. But until then, neither of these two options are made easy by the current Mac OSX version.
If you’re in the same place as I am and too impatient to wait for your full-screen productivity boost, I found a temporary solution. An awesome one which, best of all, is completely free(although donations to their developers are welcome)! Continue reading →
I promised a long time ago to tell you more about the most underrated yet one of the most powerful tools on your Mac OSX: the Automator.
I’ll be speaking here about the Automator version on Snow Leopard (OSX 10.6) which, although highly similar to the one in Leopard (OSX 10.5), has a number of extremely cool usability improvements. If you haven’t yet, you should upgrade to Snow Leopard, anyways – it’s highly worth it.
By teaching better ways to use your computer, recommending new software tools that make your life easier, or suggesting ways to improve your personal mindset or lifestyle, this blog was all about improvement: personal improvement and technological one alike. This is why, although self-promotional, I won’t shy away from recommending you my latest creation:
The iPhone E-book collection
Created using my own personal iPhone ebook software (TouchBooksReader), this unique ebook app collects the major classic masterpieces in the fields of Self Help, Personal Improvement or Productivity and delivers them to you in a low-price high quality iPhone and iPad ebook app format. Continue reading →
Quick question: what is the One and only most essential tool for any productivity fan?
You guessed it – the calendar.
There are many reasons why you’d want to use Google Calendar for your time management: first of all, it’s free; second, it’s online(you can access it from everywhere). Third, it has SMS alerts, which is probably the single feature I use most. The one major downside of Google Calendar has is… being an online tool; a less than perfect user interface, less than instantaneous responsiveness. Luckily, this all is in the past as of today:
Google announced CalDAV support for Google Calendar in Apple’s iCal(version 3.x – on Mac OS X v10.5+ ). In layman’s terms, this means seamless bidirectional synchronization of calendar events. No more awkward emails, no more missed meetings(actually.. this isn’t such a good news, as we all know it – meetings are productivity killers).
Here’s a step by step walkthrough in setting up Google Calendar synchronization:
1. First, you download on your OSX 10.5 mac the setup tool, called Calaboration. It’s in zip format, so you’ll want to unarchive it. Go ahead and run it, entering your Google login credentials, then click Sign In.
I never really managed to get GTD working for me.
The basic concepts of the GTD (Getting Things Done) method are really easy to grasp and pretty useful: Write stuff down instead of trying to remember it, do the easy tasks quickly to get them out of your way, divide projects into smaller tasks and review your tasks periodically.
However, just like so many things in my life, turning a nicely put “method” into a productive habit is… almost impossible for me – my attention span lasts at most a couple of weeks, as if I were related to the common goldfish.
The one method that’d work for me… generally, would be one where I could write down my projects and goals, somehow mark my progress (I’m in constant need for confirmation and gratification, just to keep me going), automatically have it under my eyes on a regular basis (I kept forgetting to open up the GTD software I’ve been trying for the last couple of years), help me prioritize between different tasks and, most importantly, be really easy to use(no complicated setup, hierarchies or folders).
There is a lot of software out there that meets this criteria, offline or online. The one I use for the time being is TaskFive. Gorgeous, really easy to use, pretty effective.
During the last year I almost never reposted the links and resources readers of HackTheDay have send me. It took a simple comment(might be a spam, but I hope it’s not) to make me want to get back to blogging over here on HTD.
So, here’s a couple of productivity-related links received from my readers during the last year or so, togetger with a bit of link love :