Why I Use… (6 of 6)

I hope that you have enjoyed this series. I am always looking for new tools that can allow me to have more time to spend with people and make connections deeper and more effective. Just last week, I signed up for two new services which I am trying out.

  • Remember the Milk – Is, according to their website, “the best way to manage your tasks.” I have transferred all my tasks from Outlook to RTM and have enjoyed the additional functionality, web 2.0ness and flexibility to access on various platforms. I am considering purchasing an iPhone as a Happy 2009 and look forward to integration on this platform.
  • Evernote – Is, according to their website, “Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at any time, from anywhere.” I am not yet as convinced of the utility of Evernote, but have begun to save items there.

What are tools that you use to make your job easier or more efficient?

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4 thoughts on “Why I Use… (6 of 6)

  1. Flickr.com Great for storing photos and videos, making quick slideshows.

    Blip.tv free online hosting of videos

    Kuler is a great place for color ideas

    OpenOffice is a good alternative to Microsoft Office

    YouSendIt is a free and nifty way to send files that are too big to email

    Bible Gateway saves me the hassle of having to manually type out scripture passages!

    E-Sword is a great free bible study application. Comes with numerous translations, greek and hebrew versions with in-text links to concordances and lexicons as well as various commentaries.

    Stock Exchange is a good place for free photos.

  2. I’m not sure that I’m ready to let go of the ‘security blanket’ of my Outlook Calendar, but I did sign up for Evernote and am giving it a try. So far it looks like a pretty slick application.

    I use the Pulse Smartpen for handwritten notes. It is able to record sound while writing and then playback what was being said while you were taking a specific note or review the whole session to enhance your notes. Notes and audio are automatically updated on your computer when the pen is docked and are fully searchable (even with my ‘chicken-scratch’ handwriting). You can also upload notes to the company’s website and specify privacy options or upload to Facebook. The downside is that you’ve got to buy the pen ($149-199 for 1GB & 2GB respectively), use special paper (also pricey although the journal style notebooks are about the same as a nice hardbound journal), and the pen is not very ergonomically designed (think writer’s cramp to the tenth power). The jury is still out, but I’m leaning toward rating it very good, but not excellent.

  3. deviantmonk – Thanks for sharing your expertise through the plethora of links.

    ddbub74 – I don’t think that there is any getting away from Outlook completely, especially at church. I’ll be interested to see if you find Evernote to be helpful. Also, I had not heard about the Pulse Smartpen – a fascinating combination of features. That is pretty cool. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Andrew,

    Since I may have prodded you into writing this series (https://thoughtsofresurrection.wordpress.com/2008/10/29/resources-at-thoughts-of-resurrection/) I might as well contribute.

    I use Zoho for most of my Office type application needs. I’m not very versed in GoogleDocs, but I’ve read reviews that say Zoho compares well. I like the fact that I can use Word and Excel add-ons to save my desktop documents directly to Zoho as well as the numerous options to share and export my Zoho documents.

    I’m also using Zoho’s Creator application for online forms for situations where I need/want to collect information from others. It’s very powerful in helping build the interface, manipulating the data and storing the data. I’m not very good at it yet, but have had reasonable success in using it in practical real-world functions.

    I use Microsoft’s Skydrive for document storage (and sometimes sharing). Currently they offer 5Gb free and are expanding to 25Gb soon. (It’s a little restrictive right now, but the next upgrade brings a nice set of improvements and is good enough for my needs today.)

    I use Microsoft’s Live Spaces to store photos, but I’m not happy with the fact that they imply that you can upload full-resolution pictures when behind the scenes they trim them down to around 300K. I’m close to moving to Flickr and have decided it’s probably worth paying to have unlimited storage of hi-res pictures in case something would happen to my hard drive or any of the backups I have laying around.

    I haven’t started looking yet, but would like to find a free online tool that will take any document as input and create a secured PDF. Creating a PDF for free isn’t an issue these days, but I might be a little more willing to load some more things to the cloud if I had a password on it. Encryption is also a possibility, but I haven’t come across anything yet that will work for a document that I want to access from any computer (and I’m not sure I trust myself to encypt or password protect something if there’s a chance I’ll never get to it again if I forget the password.)

    I use youmail.com to manage voicemail. I enjoy the fact that I can record a custom greeting for specific callers, can access messages online (and save locally or forward them) and can use those custom messages to ditch someone if necessary. If I don’t have a signal, I can still monitor my email for notification that I have a message (and the ability to listen to it).

    Where I’m not able to eliminate an email account, I’ve been successful using Yahoo Mail as a place to manage it all centrally and respond to mail as if I were logged into the account someone had originally addressed the mail to. Great for business, personal and disposable emails for websites. I’m sure Gmail and others work just as well for that.

    For those who could benefit from an appointment tool, I’ve enjoyed using genbook.com. It allows you to define your typical day/week, block out special times when you’re not available, define services people can make an appointment for (time needed to conduct the specified service, minimum lead time to book an appointment, etc) have multiple people offering multiple services visible on a scheduling calendar, and appropriate customizable reminders and information for the customer/client.

    Although it’s not as common (and probably not as slick) as others, I use Yahoo Bookmarks instead of bookmarking locally so I can have them available at any computer.

    Acrobat.com is also a great place to create, edit, share and store documents. It’s main application “Buzzword” is maturing quickly as a word processor and “ConnectNow” looks to be a leader in online meetings. I don’t have as much experience here, but see value in exploring further.

    I had a location where I uploaded MP3s that I could listen to by streaming, but it’s not performing well and I still wonder if they’ll be shut down my the record labels. I own the music I uploaded, but I’m not sure if that’s legit enough these days.

    While I have documents scattered around the web in various sites (which will be indefinitely until the killer cloud app comes along) I think someone could satisfy a niche by providing a single location for a user to aggregate his documents from other sites. At registration time I envision completing a profile that would contain userids and passwords for all of your data repositories. Then once logged in, the new app would show links to (and information about) your documents in their remote locations. Clicking a browse or edit link would take you to that remote location for it’s functionality, but when done you would return to the central location.

    If I haven’t already, I could go on and on with the things I use for utilities, reference, communication, etc, but I’ve pretty much hijacked this post.

    Thanks Andrew for sharing how you’re able to be most effective and efficient by using cloud services.

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