Lee’s Ten Best Apps and Life Hacks of 2012

best-apps-2012

best-apps-2012HAPPY NEW YEAR’s EVE!

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.

Text Expander Breevy1. 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!

 

 

Here is an example:

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Hi ,

Here is the link to the windows software: http://www.16software.com/breevy/

The unrelated version for iPad/iPhone/Mac is called Text Expander. There link is here: http://smilesoftware.com/TextExpander/touch/index.html

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.

Cheers,

Lee

PS. In typing this entire email I only had to type your name and ‘xbreevy’
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Dropbox2. 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.

 

 

Slow Carb Diet3. 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 :)

Here is my first blog post on slow carb: http://leeraito.com/slow-carb-diet/

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!

Onereceipt6. 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.

Cheers,

Lee

 

 

Four Hour Body Slow Carb Diet

I just finished writing an email to my parents that I thought I would share with you. It’s important because it involves your health,  losing fat (not just weight) & adding years to your life on this planet. I don’t typically write about weight loss, but today is an exception. Today, I share with you  the dead simple food(s) I have ate over the past two months that directly resulted in my losing 21 pounds of fat on the ‘Slow Carb Diet’. After the email below,  I will share with you the link to the  book  I read  that started it all.

Here is the email:

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Re:  Slow Carb Diet Recipes

Hey Mom & Mur,

As you will see below I am a creature of habit and just like the book says settled on variations of just a handful of meals I ate ALL the time. I like my food spicy so cayenne, curry & cumin are my thing but may not be yours :) Especially at first, make WAY more than you think you should. If you make too much just save it in the fridge until your next meal. Quite often I could make breakfast in 3 minutes because I just had to reheat last nights leftovers and add my scrambled egg mixture.

I would also suggest doing a Google search for ‘ slow carb recipes” as there are a ton of people posting stuff these days. You may find something  you want to give a shot!

Breakfast:

Always cooked in Macadamia Oil ( Olive oil and eggs suck). Macadamai Oil is about $10 at Safeway

1. 1 egg, 2-3 egg whites, Spinach  & Lentils (Minced Garlic, Salt, Pepper, Cayenne & Cumin to taste)
2. 1 egg, 2-3 egg whites, Black Beans & Corn (Garlic Salt, Pepper, Cayenne & Cumin to taste)
3. 1 egg, 2-3 egg whites, Turkey Bacon & Lentils  (Garlic Salt, Pepper)
4. 1 egg, 2-3 egg whites, + last nights slow carb left overs

Lunch  and or  Dinner:

If needed cooked in Olive or Macadamia Oil

1. Chilli  (mmmmmmmm) (Chicken or Lean Beef)
2. Cajun Chicken, Mixed Vegetables or Broccoli,  & Beans (Black or 6 bean) (Garlic Salt, Pepper, Cayenne & Cumin to taste)
3. Chicken or Lean Beef, Re-fried Beans, Vegetables Optional…. as I like to add Guacamole & Salsa on top of my meat & mushy beans
4. Lean Steak, Chicken or Fish, Black Beans & Corn (Garlic Salt, Pepper, Cayenne & Cumin to taste)

Drink:

  • More water than I have ever drank in my life. Not only a large glass with each meal, but an additional 2-4 bottles throughout each day
  • Wine. Hard to stop at 2 glasses a night, but I found as long as paired with water I still lost weight with 3-4 glasses per night
  • Black coffee ( i add cinnamon & cheat with fat free creamer)

Snacks:

Major caution here. Theses snacks I think are best reserved for an emergency only. After all you get to gorge yourself one day a week :)

1. Celery & Almond Butter ( Not as good as peanut butter but gets works in a pinch)
2. Almonds ( I chose to only eat 5-8 lightly roasted almonds for a snack as I don’t like plain almonds)
3. Veggie Platter ( no dip)

Cheat Day ( 1 per week):

No rules. Make yourself sick if you want… :) I did eat a slow carb breakfast though and then went nuts with beer, potato chips, chocolate bars & anything else I had a craving for.

Caution:

Eat lots, Drink Lots and watch the salt intake as canned beans seem to be high in sodium (hence rinse them well)! Do make sure to take your vitamins especially Calcium, Magnesium & B12)

Remember the Rules: I kept the book handy and re-read those two chapters probably 6 times.

Love ya.

Cheers,
Lee

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End of email.

Original Wieght Was 200lbs Started Tracking My Weight Daily After I Lost First 5lbs

Fact: By following just two chapters on weight loss of the Four Hour Body I lost over 20 pounds in just over one month.

Fact # 2: Anyone can do the same.

Although there are tons of other goodies in this book. Even if you only read the two chapters on weight loss, and nothing else, I am confident you would have similar results as I have. In two sentences or less, the ‘Slow Carb” is not a diet in my mind,  but a shift in how you eat every day. You  still get too eat as much pizza and beer as you want one day a week, but for the first time in years you may experience a way too eat (lifestyle) that doesn’t leave you hungry….. EVER!

Here is the book:

Affiliate Link

Note: If you have any questions just ask. There is only very basic information here and I truly want to ensure that if you are interested in losing weight using  the Slow Carb Diet that you are successful.

Lastly, many thank to Timothy Ferris for writing the Four Hour Body and helping change not only my life, but thousands of others.

Here are a few other blog posts you may want to look at as well (including Tim Ferris’s original post on the diet):

http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2007/04/06/how-to-lose-20-lbs-of-fat-in-30-days-without-doing-any-exercise/
http://gizmodo.com/5709913/4+hour-body-+-the-slow+carb-diet
http://thefourhourbody.org/the-4-hour-body-superhuman-review/
http://fitnessblackbook.com/main/the-slow-carb-diet-my-mixed-review-after-30-days-on-the-diet/