Tag Archives: HowTo

GSD(or GTD) Like a Boss with Focus Booster App

Recently I found out about a really cool app designed to help you increase your productivity. Focus Booster like many productivity apps out there are based on the “Pomodoro technique“. Pomodoro is a time management technique created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo. The technique is super simple system to take focused work periods and divide them up into 25 minute intervals and then take scheduled five-minute breaks in between set intervals.

The most important parts of this technique are as follows;

  • decide on the task that is to be done
  • set the Pomodoro timer for 25 minutes
  • focus on that task until the timer rings, of update status of that task in your task management program ( I recommend Tracky.com)
  • take a short break for 5 min. Really get up and stretch this legs and get the circulation flowing
  • and for every 4 Pomodoro cycles take a longer break (15 to 20 minutes)Focus Booster unlike most of the other Pomodoro timer apps out there this one is totally free, works on Mac, PC and Linux. Focus Booster also has an online Web app version at focusboosterapp.com/live.

In this video I give you a quick review on Focus Booster and I hope you find that it works to help you get more things done.

Trey Ratcliff Tips on Shooting Fireworks featuring Tom Anderson

During the Oahu Photowalk Trey Ratcliff (stuckincustoms.com) and Tom Anderson (formerly of Myspace.com) give us a few tips on shooting Fireworks

Shot on a Sony NEX-5 with a 18mm-55mm lens in the pouring down rain on Oahu, Waikiki Beach behind the Sheraton Waikiki during the Oahu Festival.

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Oolong – Brewing the Perfect Pot

Oolong or Wulong Cha is one of the best and healthiest teas around. Oolong tea is also referred to as an aromatic tea, and it features popular flavors rich in exquisite aroma. Oolong is sometimes referred to as white tea as it’s right between green and black in the oxidation process and the leave have a whitish color. Many people have been turned off by oolong or wulong because the only experiences they’ve had were most likely from burnt and bitter brewing techniques. I’ll show you how to brew the most perfect pot of oolong tea.

My Supplies:

- Octavia Silver Dragon Oolong
- Breville Variable-Temperature 1.8-Liter Kettle
- Manchester United Cup
- Tea Strainer

High quality oolong can be brewed several times from the same leaves and, unlike other teas, it improves with rebrewing: it is common to brew the same leaves three to five times, the third or fourth steeping usually being considered the best. There are many taste in oolong ranging from refreshing, invigorating flavors to mellow, soothing flavors, all with their own distinctive appeal.

Good High Quality Oolong from Adagio and Lupicia Oolong or a few more of my favorites. You can get really good quality teas for a lot cheaper in your Chinatown district of your home town but you may need to ask for the good stuff or they’ll sell you the tourist crap if you are not stern on wanting quality.

“Back It Up!” – Podcast: Nonstop Tech Episode 1

This is the first edition of NonstopHonolulu.com’s Nonstop Tech Podcast. In this episode we are covering Backups, Clean Installs, Chill.com and Browser Security with Ghostery.

In the episode I mention Jamcloud is a Mac app but I got an email from Jason at Jamcloud and he assured me it was both Mac and PC. This app is worth a look.

Please send any question comments or feedback to doc@nonstophonolulu.com

In the show, we keep speaking of the “Show Notes,” and below you’ll find all the relevant links for topics we’ve covered in the show.

Created by:

Special Thanks to our Sponsor:

TextExpander: My Favorite Mac App

TextExpander (formerly Textpander) is the best of the best Text Macro Apps. In this post I hope to explain to you why you must get TextExpander.

If you were to ask almost any Mac Power User what they have installed on their computer in the way of must have utilities, a sure answer is TextExpander. What exactly is TextExpander? Well it and automated typist for your computer. Ok let me clarify that a bit, it can take the very tedious task of typing the same bits of text over and over again and make them simple abbreviations. Ok that may not sound that important at first; however, after you install TextExpander you can see how easy and effective it really is.

TextExpander can do a whole lot more once you understand the basics of what it can do. It is very easy to take large blocks of boilerplate text and make them expandable in a few keystrokes, but the real power comes from using TextExpander with the many collections of snippets shared on the Web. Smile Software (formerly Smile on My Mac) has made a great list of “Predefined Snippet Groups” available on their site for you to download, install and maybe be inspired to create more of your own.

Examples

HTML: leading character is a comma

Example: ,img expands to:

<img src="%fill:url%" alt="%fill:image description%" width="%fill:width%" height="%fill:height%" border="%fill:border%" align="%fill:alignment%" />

When you trigger this snippet, TextExpander will prompt you to fill in the attribute specs. You can leave any of the specs blank, if not needed.

ACCENTED WORDS

Fixes words that are spelled with diacritical marks, aka accents. If you are used t typing these words like an American TE will autocorrect them so as you won’t offend anyone, like your third grade French teacher.

Example: creme brulee => crème brûlée.

TidBITS AUTOCORRECT DICTIONARY

This list contain 2400+ of the most common misspellings compiled by TidBITS, the newsletter and Web site for Mac users. I find this one very useful as it doesn’t just point out the mistake like spell check, It autocorrects them and makes a ping sound so you know you just misspelled a word.

Some Heavy Lifting

TextExpander can do some every heavy lifting for hardcore scriveners or code monkeys. I use these tools a lot but rather than messing up the explanation I’ll send you to read Brett Terpstra’s post on TE tools and how he uses them. Thanks to Brett, I’m becoming a Markdown Maven using TextExpander tools to get my writing done light years faster.

Another great plus to TextExpander is the integration with it’s mobil app offspring TextExpander Touch which brings many of the snippets and auto completion features to you handheld devices. I have found this to be a lifesaver when needing to get a fast response out via my iPhone or iPad. This also make the mobile platform perfect to blogging or just free-writing. It does have some limitations on iOS but Smile offers this note as a work around:

Given the current feature set of the iPhone OS, TextExpander touch cannot work in the background (as it does in Mac OS X), expanding text snippets while you work in other apps, except for apps with TextExpander-integration built-in. You must first compose your text in the TextExpander touch Compose screen, and then transfer it to another app.

TextExpander is available in the iTunes AppStore

How to Get TextExpander

TextExpander normally sells for $34.95, Mac Update Promo is running a special for $17.95 for a limited time and then $26.21 for the duration of the sale.

Check out the Tutorials on the Smile Software site for a great quick start to this wonderful application

If Your Marketing Department Is Not This Creative…Fire Them

Ok first to put tis in an American perspective AC Milan vs Real Madrid is the equivalent of The Cowboys vs The Steelers of the eighties only much grander. AC Milan is the most revered Italian football club and Real Madrid likewise for Spain. (footbal = soccer if your really lost). The game they played on October 21, 2009 had the fever of a old school Super Bowl and needless to say no real football fan would miss a game of this caliber…. well except cute overload girlfriends, sadistic professors and slave driver bosses. Well that is exactly who “The Green Bottlers” had convince these die hard AC Milan and Real Madrid fans to miss the big game. They we all sold or coerced on the idea of attending a classical music recital over watching sports history go down.

The rest of the story is magic. Watch the video to get the full monty on this. Oh the look on their faces when they finally heard the beautiful rendition of UEFA Champions League Theme crescendo from the orchestra…. classic

The magic is 1.5 million people saw them suffering on live TV and another 5 million on Heineken’s web site for this event and of course the huge press cavalcade afterwards.

This is guerrilla marketing history and how companies need to be thinking not out of the box but on the edge as Seth Godin would put in in his new book Linchpin.

Posted via email from Doc’s BrainDump

Has Twitter Lost it’s Power? Eh… No!

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

The is a lot of fodder flying around the blogosphere after Neilson’s report on Twitter Retention.  I think the study was a bit flawed and needed a bit more foundation on real people not just numbers.

My chime in on the conversation as posted on Linkedin.com Twitter Group:

As with any new from of communication there will always be those that dont get it. This was true, of email, pagers, cellphones and blogs. All of the aforementioned are very pervasive now and are just common vernacular today.

Twitter has bot the power and the buzz to be the next household communications word.

You may not get it now but than you may not be trying to get it because there is no immediate upside for you business today, don’t let this get you out of the conversation.  Todays memetic behaviors of consumers often spread faster than the swine flu when the right catalyst hits.  Twitter is just waiting one of these catalyst. ie: @AplusK and @CNN battle and @oprah

My advise hang in there, just start communicating with people, network, look around but don’t try to sell yet, when the damn burst you’ll be there.  Keep the big white Motorola Cellphone in the back of your mind thinking of the days when we all said who the heck needs to be that ready to use a phone… my god that thing is huge… cellphones “I don’t get it…

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HotStuff: TBUZZ Links sharing via Twitter

Image representing Arc90 as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

The uber code designers at Arc90.com have just blessed us with yet another url based link sharer for Twitter.  The DiggBar, HootSuite, TwitPwr and Tweetie all have this feature but this one is different.  Arc90 is famous for their successful app Readability , which added the end all be all feature of removing the clutter from what we like to read online.  Completely outdoing InstaPaper, Readability just got it right.

Well I’m here to tell you that for now there is no better link sharer for twitter than TBUZZ.

TBUZZ offers the same basic features but also allows you to see who else is trending what you are sharing.  Sounds funny but watch the video and you’ll get it.

You can install TBUZZ in just a few seconds by visiting:

http://tbuzz.arc90.com

If you have not tried Readability then please try this one too. You’ll be much happier.

Evernote for Mac: There’s an App for That!

Evernote
Image by Stephanie Booth via Flickr

I love Evernote for both my MacBook Pro and My iPhone.  I started using Evernote when they first came out and am now trying to find ways to superuser this damn thing. It already rock so much it is actually hard to find a way to hack out any cooler features. especially when they keep updating it so fast. Thanks Evernote Crew for an awesome app.  Below are some details from http://blog.evernote.com about the latest features of Evernote.app for the Macintosh

UPDATE: Today they just dropped Evernote for the BlackBerry:
DOWNLOAD Evernote for BlackBerry http://blog.evernote.com/2009/05/11/evernote-for-blackberry/

The latest Evernote for Mac update introduces some great user interface enhancements, as well as a number of behind-the-scenes fixes and improvements.

Get the latest Evernote for Mac: DOWNLOAD NOW

Best thumbnails ever

We designed Evernote for Mac to be a visual memory aide, and easy-to-scan thumbnails are a big part of the fun. We’ve completely redesigned the thumbnails in this release to make them easier to use and prettier to look at. The thumbnails now have different shapes based on the content of your notes; adding a new dimension to your visual memory. They now also sport badges to quickly indicate and identify file attachments. These new thumbnails are available in both Thumbnail and Mixed views.

Other visual enhancements

  • Visual update to left-hand navigation
  • Improved the search explanation menu alignment
  • Improved Mixed View thumbnails and text layout
  • Updated look for the Monthly Usage meter

There are also a bunch of bug fixes, as well as support for the “audio/amr” file type for both free and premium accounts. If you already have Evernote for Mac installed, just check for updates and grab the new version. You can also download it from here.

For all of you Evernote for Windows users out there, do not fear. There are some exciting updates coming your way soon.

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HowTo: Evernote for Business Cards

Business cards are essential, but the form factor — and the business practices based on it — are stuck in the 20th century in their form. They take up room, are inherently difficult to organize, and come in all manners of shapes and sizes. At the same time, who has gone to a meeting, a conference, or even a PTA meeting, and not walked away with a dozen or more cards with names, email addresses, phone numbers, titles … information that later on, down the road, you may want or need to use.

If you are like me, you have no time to fool with keying in all this hypothetically useful information, and since I have no assistant just waiting to demonstrate 60 word per minute keyboard skills, the cards simply have been piling up over the past years. [In fact, in my case, I have been amassing cards on both coasts, since I have San Francisco and DC offices.]

I am aware that there may be services that will take this off your hands for a fee, and various applications that theoretically handle scanning and OCR of business cards, automatically putting contacts in your address book. I haven’t tried the former, but if it involves me mailing stuff to India or something, it’s just too much work. I have tried the scanner applications in the past, like Scanr, but I have never gotten anything like the OCR quality that would allow me to rely on them.

Enter The Cell Phone Camera

Not too long ago, I started an experiment. Since I have a five megapixel camera in my cell phone, why couldn’t I simply take pictures of business cards and then throw the cards away? That failed as an experiment, simply because there were still too many intermediate steps:

  • Take the pictures.
  • Transfer pictures from the cell phone to my Mac.
  • Move the business card pictures to an appropriate folder on the Mac, or upload to a web service, like Flickr, and in either case, name the file the name of the person on it.

This is significantly less than the headaches involved with keying in all the data, but still too much work.

Enter Evernote

A few weeks ago, I bumped into a new application called Evernote that is the answer to my business card prayers. Evernote is both a desktop application for the Mac and a hosted website service, where users’ notes and images are synchronized between the two.

Not only does Evernote allow me to organize both text notes and pictures of all sorts of things into folders, it also has very sophisticated OCR capabilities, able to find words on pictures of oddly shaped objects — like pictures of wine bottles. This capability works handily with relatively flat things, like, no surprise, business cards.

I tested it by moving in all the business card images in that I had captured, and found an extremely high capability to find cards based on name, company name, zipcodes, and nearly anything else in the text. There are some glitches, but the success rate is very high.

The beauty of this approach is its ease. It’s so easy that I actually take pictures of people’s business cards when they hand them to me, and hand them back! After an event — like the recent Web 2.0 conference — I simply move the pictures to my Mac, and then drag any business card images into the Evernote Mac application. If I revert to actually bringing back cards from an event, I can either snap them with my cell phone, or use the Evernote Snapshot tool, which relies on the iSight webcam in my Mac to take pictures. These are not as high quality as I get with my phone, however, and as a result the search capabilities on these images is less reliable. I was recently advised that I could email images from my phone directly to the Evernote application, which I have yet to try.

I have boxes and boxes of business cards stockpiled, and I may never actually work through those. In fact, I recently just tossed several hundred cards that stretch back to the beginning of the Pleistocene. I did fish out a few, and snapped them, but mostly they went into the recycle bin. After all, people change phones and addresses frequently enough that a three-year-old business card is probably at least 50 percent wrong.

Note that I also can use this to take pictures of whatever I find of interest, or of critical importance, on the web. I could use it to take a screenshot of a LinkedIn profile, for example, in lieu of a person’s business card. As another example, today I screenshot a travel itinerary (via Skitch) and dragged it into Evernote, and I brought it back up by searching for ‘oakland’ and ‘friday’. I am also moving my loyalty cards into Evernote — like my Jetblue, KLM, and Expedia Elite cards — so I don’t have to schlep those around with me, either.

Next?

So don’t be too surprised when colleagues begin taking cell snapshots of your business card at the next mixer you attend, and then hand it back to you. They’ve probably gotten wise to Evernote.