One of the areas of interest for me is organization. There are so many tools out there that allow you to keep track of things. Some of my favorite sites to find out about these are Lifehacker and 43 folders. Both of these sites have all sorts of suggestions on making life easier. (take anything posted on April 1st with a grain of salt, as it was April Fools day).
I have an ongoing search for the perfect project tracker. At the present time I am using Microsoft’s OneNote. What it lacks in features, it makes up for in simplicity. The key thing about OneNote is that it allows me to easily make a list in outline format. This is how I think. Major bullets divided into smaller actions. The one feature that is lacking would be a way of assigning a bullet to a person and then being able to summarize a person’s list of actions. Maybe they’ll add that to Office 2007.
A newer site that is getting a lot of attention is 30 boxes. This site is a online calendar application. It uses some newer technology called Ajax to give the user a better experience on the Web. This site is on the list of Web 2.0 sites. Check back soon for my posts about Web 2.0.
Along with 2Go SyncIt that I talked about in a previous post. Another one of my favorite utilities is Lookout for Outlook. It is an add in for MS Outlook that loads into the menu bar. It is the same a the Find function, but far faster. It actually indexes every word of every email as it is added. The first time you run the software it could take 15-20 minutes to index everything. But that is a one time occurance. After that it indexes on the fly. What is great about it is the speed. Just this morning someone asked me about a document I had sent them in Sept. ’05. I simply typed in one key word and had the results back in under 3 seconds. This product is so good, that Microsoft actually bought them to incorporate into future versions of Office.
UPDATE: Still available for download.
Being the Gadget person that I am, I own an iPod. I was late to the party though as I only got one about 4 months ago. I have to tell you, this thing is obsessive. I have the 4th generation 40GB model. When you first get the iPod it is great to carry your complete music library with you. You can never get bored.
Then it starts…first I had to listen to it at work. So I bought the JBL Sound Stage. Of course, who wants to plug and unplug speakers every day. So I bought a JBL unit for home. Let’s not forget the car! So I bought a Sonnet Podfreq. Then I heard about the new Shure ear buds. The sound is amazing.
Somewhere out there is a 12 step program for iPod accessories.
But seriously, the iPod is a cultural and marketing phenomena. Recently I discovered Podcasts. These are basically radio like broadcasts, that you can download and listen to on your iPod. They have everything from Technology to business to how to make bar drinks. Whatever your interest, someone out there has a Podcast on it.
I recently picked up one of those USB memory sticks. However, this one had the new U3 standard included. U3 allows you to run applications from the memory stick. There are several companies that are supporting this standard. McAfee, Skype, Trillian, Open Office, Firefox and many others. It’s a rather interesting concept. As more and more people want to take their data with them this idea could be promising. Do you take your 4 pound laptop with you or your 2 ounce memory stick? The price of these memory sticks is dropping quickly. I have seen 1GB for less than $50. Capacities have increased to 8 GB. When you sit down at a computer and plug in your U3 stick, you get a launcher window, similar to Windows Start menu. It allows you to run and save all your data on the memory stick. When you’re ready to move on, you simply hit the eject button on the menu and all of your data is saved on the stick. There is full password protection available.
This device is perfect for the runner, cyclist, skier or any outdoor activity. Anything you do outside, you will want to have this with you. A company called Motion Lingo is about to release Adeo. This device has built in GPS and speech. You can plug your MP3 player or iPod into it. Then plug in your headphones. Let’s say you’re out running. While you’re listening to your MP3 player a voice comes on and says “1 mile, 6 minutes 37 seconds”. The device keeps track of speed, distance time and elevation. When you have finished you can upload onto your computer. Motion Lingo has a web site that will track your activities and even link to the weather of the day.
This falls under the “just gotta have it” category of gadgets. ModooFree has designed several models of rear view mirrors with varying levels of hands free features for cell phone users. Their top of the line has Bluetooth, so you can leave the cell phone in your pocket and still take calls. It has caller ID that projects onto the rear view mirror. And in the interests of safety, so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road, it will speak the incoming phone number. And just when you think they have it all…they added a remote sensor that you attach to your bumper. When you back up it will show you in the mirror how far away you are from an object. How cool is that? Installation is simple, just clips over you existing mirror.
I have been using Skype for about 2 years now. Skype is software that allows you to talk to anyone in the world for free. When I was in Beijing, I was talking to my wife and kids. When I travel to Fremont I talk to my family. The clarity is better than the phone lines. Most people that I have talked to do not know about Skype. They have heard about Vonage and their VOIP phone plan. Skype is basically the same thing, but it costs nothing. As long as both parties have the Skype software and a headset. You can talk for free. The latest version now allows for video. You can do conference calls with up to 5 people. Skype was recently purchased by eBay for $3+ billion. With that kind of money it will be interesting to see where they go. Check icon below or the one at the top to see if I am online
How many times has this happened to you? Someone you know finds a good web site and sends you an email with the link. You want to add it to your favorites. Problem is, you have your PC at work, your notebook that you travel with and then there is that PC (or PCs) at home. If it’s a good website you would want it on all of those PCs. So you send yourself and email, then go to each PC and open up the email and copy the web site into your favorites. What a pain!
Now there is a simpler innovation. 2Go SyncIt. You download the utility from here. The first time you install it on a PC, you will be asked to set up an account or login. Once you install it on your PCs. Any change you make on one PC, is automatically updated on every PC you have the software installed on.
One of the bonuses of this software I discoverd a few weeks ago. I was doing some house cleaning and accidentally erased about 80% of my bookmarks. An email to 2Go got a response within a couple of hours that showed me how to restore all the bookmarks. It seems they hold on to any deletions for 30 days.