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:
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
.. and now on to Dropquest2011
The ultimate guide about jailbreaking(removing the DRM) your Kindle & Nook ebooks for your Kindle, Nook and Mobipocket ebooks is to be found over here. Or you could skip the drama and get down to it with this quick and dirty summary:
This year I promised myself not to make any public personal New Year resolutions. Life is unpredictable enough as it is, and year-long commitments are way too often bound to be broken. So, why purposely aim to disappoint myself later on? Why should I want to feel like shit sometime later for not having been able to do stuff that was not in my power to do so, in the first place?
Instead, for the past days I’ve started to try out some new professional, productivity and lifestyle changes. The difference from New Year resolutions is that they are just that – try outs; I won’t feel like shit if they don’t work out, but I will like it if they eventually turn into habits.
One of the things I decided to try out (for the past 4 days, but the outcome looks promising so far) is to use of a more organized note taking method(and tool). There are countless methods to do it, some of them already built into your computer. However, the difficulty is to stick to just one system, and to use it at its full potential.
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)!
To mark my comeback to HackTheDay blogging, I’ll share with you three amazing apps I use on a day-to-day basis:
- Jumpcut – minimalist clipboard buffering for OS X – it’s a free(even open-source) tiny app that stays in the menu bar and remembers every fragment of text you copied or pasted lately. So whenever you’re in a IM discussion and are too afraid to copy-paste something in order not to lose something already in the clipboard, don’t panic – with Jumpcut you can manage more than a single item in the clipboard. You can even define the keys to switch around them – mine is Ctrl+Option+V
- Dropbox (referral link, if you use it you get an extra 250MB of storage)- one of the hottest startups of the moment, provides seamless sync of a special folder and all it’s contents onto the web and all the computers connected to it. The free account allows for 2GB of disk space (upgradeable up to 8GB of space – you get 250MB extra for each friend referred to the service) but you can also pay $99/year for 50GB of space or $199 for 100GB of space. The way I use this is by saving all my text files and docs inside, so they are safe in case of disk crash. Also, I can easily access them using lots of 3rd party tools – including your’s truly ‘Clean Writer‘ – iPad simple text editor app.
- Sparrow – a new email client designed specifically with GMail users in mind that’s quite the rage lately. It looks beautiful(way better than the default Mail.app OS X email client) and integrates seamlessly with GMail, with live updates and more fun features. Above all, it’s pretty minimalist, letting you focus on the email writing instead of useless extra features.
Those were about it for today. Other tips for a more inspired and productive day will come soon.
After updating to Firefox 3.6, I started having issues with WebDeveloper, the single favorite Firefox extension I’m using on an almost daily basis.
Namely, the keyboard shortcut I was using most frequently ⌘-⇧-F had been overwritten by the latest Firefox update; instead of calling the ‘Display Element Information’ function from WebDeveloper, it now called View in Full Screen mode.
Frustrating, to say the least.
Since I didn’t want to change my typing, a bit of Googling led me to KeyConfig, an amazing Firefox extension (more info here http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=72994) which allows you to change almost ALL keyboard shortcuts in Firefox and the installed extensions.
Hope this proves useful to someone else as well.
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.
It’s a common symptom among new Mac users to be really ecstatic about their new MacBook, praise the speed and functionality, then after a month or so start seeing some flaws; much like in any relationship, where your passionate blind love from the first weeks starts to fade, giving way to more realistic assessments.
Some hard-core Linux geeks will probably miss their configuration files, kernel hacking and source code install. Windows users might miss their favorite software(Picasa, Winamp or Total Commander). I didn’t miss my Windows machine one bit, partly because I got used to other essential Mac software, partly because I use my Windows software from within Windows virtual machines, and mostly because I realized the Mac offers me all the productivity tools I ever wished for, out of the box or for free.
This article lists several essential but frequently forgotten configuration tips that make the most of your Mac. A future article will cover some vitally important FREE (or really inexpensive) Mac OSX software for your daily chores.
Faithful readers might have already read these tips here, on HackTheDay, but I do hope they’ll learn a few new things as well.