We often think of the 'calm before the storm', but rarely do we recognize or even witness the 'calm after the storm'. This sunset occurred less than an hour after a severe storm, near Otter Falls, MB, that brought down a hundred trees near a cabin we had rented. The clouds became soft like cotton balls (mammatus clouds) and the sky was at peace.
It’s been too long since I have blogged… It’s good to be back!!!
Time to highlight my best digital tips, life tricks and apps that have helped me in 2012. I hope you are looking forward to 2013 being your best year ever!! FYI some of these tips I really had my GEEK HAT ON so if one doesn’t interest you…skip on to the next!
This list is in no particular order, but these 10 are the ones that have had the most dramatic impact for me and I know you will benefit the most from. Each one is truly worthy of its own post.
1. Text Expander/ Breevy: Although from a geek stand point I am probably a few years late to the party, I truly discovered the power of short codes in 2012. The power of never having to type the same thing twice has literally saved me 3-4 hours per week. These two programs that cover both PC and Mac have the power to change the way you work and or play. Why type out lengthy email addresses, frequent comments, passwords, paragraphs, templates, follow up emails, complaint letters, and the list goes on and on and on!
As a recap the efficiencies you can create are nothing short of amazing. I saved 3-4 hours a week in unnecessary typing this past quarter alone.
* my motto is ‘Never Type Twice’ * What follow up emails, meeting notes, marketing, or anything else can you create short codes for? * Remember to create short codes that you won’t commonly type. For example I use ‘xm’ to bring up my meeting note template.
Let me know if you need any help with this.
PS. In typing this entire email I only had to type your name and ‘xbreevy’
2. Dropbox: I have been using the cloud to store data for a few years, but until mid 2012 never truly integrated into my digital life. This is the year I took the plunge and decided to move my entire PC to Dropbox.
Why? As I am using windows computers (desktop and laptop), an iPhone and an iPad I wanted access to everything on my computer regardless of platform (device agnostic 🙂 I also no longer wanted to have to worry about backing up various computers and devices. Now I don’t have to! Everything is available from any device and even if a computer blew up I seriously don’t care as I have EVERYTHING important to me in the cloud.
Call it digital peace of mind.
3. Slow Carb Diet: Although this has been a previous tip of mine, and is now very main stream, I still come across people who have not heard about how to lose 20lbs in a month with out feeling hungry! This is a lifestyle must have for me as I am frequently on the road, eating in too many restaurants and too often am not able to exercise ( an excuse I know)! I frequently eat slow carb and drop 10 lbs in two weeks mostly after falling of the healthy eating bandwagon at Five Guys Burgers and Fries 🙂
My three favourite slow carb foods are Indonesian Scrambled Eggs, Black Beans w/Red Peppers, Onions and Jalapeño, Curried mashed Cauliflower. Drop me a line if you want t o share recipes.
4. For Songwriters: My Voicelive 2 has changed the way I write music. No longer do I have to wonder how a chorus would sound with a female harmony in 3rd or 5th, a gang vocal in the bridge, a lower baritone harmony in that pre-chorus is all just a click away. It will never replace the real thing, but has become an essential tool for me to work out song ideas!
5. Gmail: Year after year stays on the top of my list as the best free email platform on the web. If your still stuck with an email address and held hostage to the monthly bill from your Internet provider… You’ll never regret the switch!
6. OneReceipt: Earlier in 2012 I had a great idea for a mobile phone app after sending my associate pictures of receipts for expense report, as we had hit a deadline and was out of town. Wow! wouldn’t that be a great app; just snap a pic of your receipt, tag it and throw away the receipt knowing it is in the cloud forever, properly dated and tagged gas, office supplies, etc! Again my brilliance was trumped by someone else who HAD already created an APP for THAT! Never lose a receipt again … Priceless!
7. Mint.com and Mobile Apps: Although slightly depressing at times when I realize just exactly where my cash is going each an every day or month. There is NO SIMPLER way to get a grasp on your household budget. Just securely input your bank accounts and automagically your inflow and put flow of cash is crunched for you. Easily see where your cash is going, set alerts, and work towards having your money work for you, instead of the other way around!
8. Jotpro: Allows me to write on my iPad as seamlessly as I do on paper.
This one is specific to tablet users and I will not lay claim to discovering such a life changing product, but it has allowed me to ditch paper entirely during my work day. I only carry a real pen these days for emergencies or when a server at a restaurant forgets to bring one along with the bill. I use the following note taking apps on IOS; Notes Plus and Daily Notes (integrates with Text Expander for pure digital utopia!)
9. GoToMeeting (PC, MAC and IOS): I often do 20+ meetings per week. I had dabbled with GoToMeeting in previous years with minimal success, but the latter part of this year I pushed remote clients to truly buy in to meeting with me more regularly on a virtual basis. The result has been astounding! I have found that the 100+ meetings I have done have been nearly as productive as face to face meetings. If you meet with or could be meeting with people (anywhere in the world) GoToMeeting should be on your must try list! To try it Free for 30 days: CLICK HERE
10. Skype:I know almost EVERYONE uses Skype for free video chatting. Skype is so much more! Probably 2% of the calls I do are video calls, 20% instant messages and 80% of the calls I make are outbound phone calls to long distance numbers in North America. Skype long distance calling is cheap as borsch and the call quality is 100x better than the cell phone reception I get in my basement home office.
Again, Happy New Years and I hope 2013 will be your best year ever.
Warning: Skype is Addictive but there are NO EMERGENCY calls with Skype, it is not a replacement for your ordinary telephone and can’t be used for emergency calling.
I have been using Skype almost since the beginning and although I love Skype and recommend it to almost everyone, there are a few things I wish I knew before using their many different services. Skype isn’t just for calling your friends for free over the computer anymore; it is a virtual gold mine alternative to using regular landlines, long distance, voicemail and more.
Update Jan 2010: My parents who are in their 60’s are now using unlimited long distance from Skype while they travel for several months (they were shocked that it only costs $2.95/month in North America!)…
I am going to summarize for you what Skype is capable of via features and hopefully point you in the right direction to save you time, money & headaches. I will leave out and assume you know that you can talk, instant message & video chat with anyone in the world for free, as long as both computers have downloaded the free version of Skype.
Skype Phone Number (SkypeIn):An online number is perfect if you have friends, family or business colleagues who don’t use Skype. Anyone can dial your online number from any phone or cell phone and hey presto, your Skype rings and you pick up the call – wherever you are in the world.
Skype Voicemail: People leave you messages when you’re unavailable. Personalize your voicemail greeting. Store your messages and listen later. Pick up your voicemails anywhere in the world. Voicemail is the simple solution to never missing a call. Your unanswered calls are sent to voicemail and you can listen to messages when you want, wherever you are signed in to Skype.
Unlimited calls to landlines with Skype: Starting from 3$ unlimited long distance with in your country to about $13 per month anywhere in the world. You can make calls any time of day, any day of the week without the need for a long term contract. All subscriptions contain online numbers that let your friends, family or business contacts reach you directly on Skype. And with your Skype To Go number you can reach your friends and family abroad at great rates using any landline or mobile phone.
Skype Out: You can pay as you go if you don’t want a monthly commitment. Calling rates as low as .02 cents per minute.Skype to Go: Service is no longer available.
Skype for Business: Now you’re up and running, utilize features that can help your staff keep in touch while they’re out of the office, like voicemail and call forwarding. You can also buy and distribute calling credit amongst your team so they can call phones and cell phones to talk to people who don’t use Skype, and save money at the same time. Plus you can set up online numbers so clients, partners and potential new customers have a number they can call you on from any phone or mobile, and you pick up in Skype.
Small Business Pack:Get business phones, headsets and everything you’ll need for your business on Skype.
Use Skype for cheap SMS (.09 cents): Sending a text message directly from Skype is perfect when you want to quickly reach a friend or colleague. You can even group a bunch of people together and send them the same message with one click. You can send text messages to phones on any network, in any country.
Take texting to a whole new level whether you are in school, in business or in love!
Hope you found this helpful, and again if you think I have missed an important feature (or feel something is out of date) please let me know and I will update this posting. You can connect with me on Skype using my user name leeraito. I decline all connection requests on Skype unless you send me a message commenting on my blog, or where you found me online. I would recommend you do the same if contacted by anyone you would consider a stranger online!