Tag Archives: Web

Still want a Chrome Notebook?

If you’re like me you made the attempt to get into Google’s Cr-48 program when they first announced it. They had 60,000 of those notebooks to hand out and if you really are like me, you didn’t get on.

All is not lost however as it would appear that there is another round of chances for those that would like to fill out the forms again. The folks at Google in conjunction with Box.net, Zoho and a few others are giving users of those online services a chance at getting a Chrome notebook.

So if you want to try and take the plunge again check out the post Living on the web with the Chrome Web Store (and the Cr-48!) for the details.

If you decide to give it a shot, I wish you the best of luck.

“Your crops are withering”

It was a comment my wife made to me this past weekend and was, of course, in reference to Farmville that addictive game on Facebook.

At one point I had tried the game out, left it for a while, and then returned to it – like an addict getting a fresh taste after going through detox. I worked on my farm a lot. I was trying to compete with my wife, the amount of money on hand, the number of neighbors, the size of the farm, I think you get the picture. What I didn’t realize was what was going on.

“Your crops are withering.”

In game terms I hadn’t logged into the game in a few days and my latest round of crops had died – metaphorically speaking a lot more had died while I was off playing at running a farm.

I stopped logging in and posting on my blogs (all of them), I put off research I had been doing, I put off projects I had intended to start or continue work on, I even neglected items that others counted on me to deliver.

In short, “my crops were withering.”

Like so many things in life we don’t realize what we may be giving up or neglecting until we are struck down by lightning – in my case it was a simple statement which caused me to realize that I has put an awful lot on hold for the sake of a computer game (to all those WoW players out there, I now understand).

So what to do? First off I decided to cut back on farm time – not go cold turkey and completely leave the game as I do enjoy it but instead a scale back. I cut back on the high maintenance items and increase those that needed less tending but would still be beneficial. I’ve also “dusted off” my list of blog ideas and projects so that I can hopefully become a more productive member of society again.

So, are your crops withering? What are you going to do about it? Why not share in the comments.

Xmarks no longer marks the spot

Xmarks, a very popular bookmark syncing tool is closing its doors and shutting down the service on January 10, 2011.

I was a user of the service but when I made the nearly wholesale change over to Google Chrome it was no longer needed – I could sync what I needed through my Google account. That said the service was great and while I did use it I was very happy with it.

Todd Agulnick, the Co-Founder and CTO of Xmarks wrote up a great blog post covering the history of the company and how they came the decision to close the doors, including a mention of the browser syncing tools.

I’m sorry to see this company go – while I may not be a user of the service it did fit a need for folks that use more than one browser and I wish everyone an Xmarks the best of luck in the future.

Be sure to check out the Xmarks Shutdown page which has links to FAQs and further information along with suggestions on syncing services you can use in the future.

Gmail’s Priority Inbox – a great tool

The last few weeks have been pretty thin around here for postings and the main cause for that is I actually took a vacation. So I spent the first part of August getting the desk at my current employer cleared off (not an easy task when my boss took the first two weeks of August off) and then moved the family into a new home – which leaves little time for my online pursuits.

Well, now it’s time to get back into the swing of things and as I’ve started plowing through the hundreds of emails and RSS articles the notification that Gmail’s Priority Inbox was available to me to try out popped up in my tool bar. Let me say if you have not checked out this new feature you should – it’s a great tool.

Here’s a short video from the folks at Google to explain it:

The default settings work quite well and for most folks will work just fine but I have a tendency to let some things sit – they don’t need a response or action any time soon but I don’t want to archive them into oblivion so they sit in my inbox and eventually get buried. I know, I know, that’s not very GTD like but hey, we all fall off the bandwagon once in a while (ok, I’m about 50/50 – but I’m improving). So in order to work through the huge backlog I have it sift things just a bit by making a small change in the section set up:

Priority Inbox Section Settings

I added a section that gives me just the unread items in my inbox, 10 at at time. This allows me to work through the backlog I have without seeing all the read items that need me to make some decision on at the top of my reading list. I know that it is better to take action on an item immediately so that you can get it off your mind but I trust that I’ll get back to the item eventually (it’s not critical or important otherwise I would do it) so it can sit in my inbox – I just don’t need to be constantly reminded of them as I work through everything else.

So, give the new Gmail Priority Inbox a try – it works well.

[You can read all about the new Priority Inbox on the Gmail Blog.]

An Evernote Use Case: Work log with notes

If you’re like me you need to pull together some time of status or expense report (personally I have to submit a weekly one) and I always use to struggle with remembering what I did that week. Typically I would review my calendar (always a good practice) and email threads and piece something together – a time consuming and not always accurate way of doing it.

I figured there had to be a better way – enter Evernote.

The first thing I started to do was keep a note in Evernote for a given month (June for instance) where I would simply put the date (e.g. 6/1) and then jot down a few words about what I did that day (Met with Adam re:Status Report). It was simple, easy to do, and it slipped right into my daily workflow without much issue or retraining.

Now for most folks that would be good enough, a quick memory jog and your off and running – status report done. Unfortunately I found myself wanting to review my notes – not the ones I typed into Evernote but the ones I had jotted down on paper.

Yes folks, I still use pen and paper once in a while such as when I’m on the phone with a customer, or in my staff meetings (I purposely don’t take my laptop – a post for another time). Following the meeting I drop a few words into my work log in Evernote and then continue my day.

Now here’s where the “with notes” from the title comes in. At the end of the day I pull out my iPhone and snap a picture of the pages in my notebook and send them along to Evernote. Again this is a good spot to stop for some but I then merge the photo of my notes onto the end of my work log forming one large work log with my hand written notes at the end. This means that all my notes are in one spot for the month and since I put the date at the top of each page of my handwritten notes I can easily search the note for additional information if I need it.

I should note that in order to merge the notes you need to use one of the desktop clients.

This is just one way that I use Evernote, I’ll be sharing more in future posts. In the meantime, are you and Evernote user? If so, share a way you use Evernote in the comments.