In which organised is inaugurated into my personal dictionary
Recently the government authenticated my work desk as an archaeological dig site. Which is a relief because for a while there it was a toss up with the police and the crime scene tape. The lesson we can take away from this is that I am about as organised as a Facebook Newsfeed. When it comes to working I can, however, assure you there is method in my madness. You just have to be me to comprehend it. Or maybe Charlie Sheen.
So I discovered WorkFlowy.
Workflowy is a simple way to outline and order your daily tasks. Just open it in your browser and create a clean tabulated list of the things you need and want to accomplish. Workflowy gives you a blank page, type in your tasks and tab indent to create infinite subcategories for those bigger work tasks. This may sound cumbersome, who wants a to-do-list that takes four minutes to scroll through? But the subcategory feature helps to keep your list all on one page, you never need to navigate anywhere else, simply zoom in to a task you want to pay particular attention to and zoom out again once you are finished. When a task is complete you can check it off the list or delete it all together.
Now, I am the kind of person whose top item on a to-do-list is always “write a to-do-list.” Traditionally I hate this stuff. Actually, I forced myself to try this tool. I cannot see the point in wasting valuable time writing a list of all the things I need to do which is subsequently obsolete the moment I get around to finishing it. Plus I always add something I have already done, just so I can have the fun of crossing it off. Which is just counter-productive. And a little…nuts. So I was heavily sceptical when I approached Workflowy. However, what I discovered was a simple and clean way to break down tasks into manageable chunks.
The power of the application doesn’t lie in the checklist, that is a feature common to any surface you can write on. What Workflowy provides is a method for clarifying your thoughts and ideas. Because it is so easy to list and categorise ideas, I am able to convert or organise them into achievable goals. The navigation is peculiarly suited to helping me plot a method and order of accomplishment.
A swift, sensible and logical way to organise your thoughts into coherent outcomes. The effect this application has is astonishing, just look at that last sentence! Not even one crazy convoluted reference to obscure (not that) popular culture. It might even be worth reading this blog at some point.
- 2 years ago
Strawberryj.am really satisfies that tweet tooth
If Enid Blyton had rescinded the more traditional modes of burial and consented to be cryogenically frozen, I can’t help but feel that her reanimation would have manifested the literary equivalent of the Winklevoss twins. Her first startup? Strawberryj.am. Which, may I just say, is a service rapidly acquiring the level of affection I once reserved for such erudite masterpieces as Malory Towers and The Folk of the Faraway Tree.
Strawberryj.am is essentially an aggregator for your tweet stream and, soon, your Facebook news stream. It links in with your Twitter account and curates all the links tweeted by the people you follow. Now most Twitter addictees will admit that if they ever want to get any work done, they either need to convince LulzSec to apply their sticky fingers to the servers at Twitter HQ. Every day. Or they need to put their phone on silent and never open their internet browser. Exactly, largely impossible feats that you won’t be thinking of before breakfast. That’s when you first check your Twitter.
Strawberryj.am was designed with people who leverage their Twitter accounts for resources and who find it difficult to keep up with an ever-growing Follows list in mind.
Just like Enid knew how to take the best of British war provisions and construct a delectable midnight feast (seriously, who else could manage to make tinned fruit and ox tongue sound like the most guilty of culinary delights??) Strawberryj.am takes the most popular links in your tweetstream, the most re-tweeted and most clicked on links, and orders them in a nifty feed with short summaries of the content and the ID of the tweeters.
Sure, the site may look like it was designed by Shirley Temple on uppers, but the feed is focused and easy to scan, I find it is the best way for me to quickly source any content I may have missed throughout the day. The popularity based order is immensely useful as well, it helps me to quickly distinguish what was the most important news of the day. Furthermore, it portrays what the people I follow find most significant.
There are also some great little bonus features. You are able to “follow” lists in your Jam Stream, making it even easier for you to isolate content by topic and you can easily search the list of links for specific phrases of topics using the search box at the base of the page. Finally, you can elect to receive emailed summaries of the top links for the day.
Strawberryj.am is a real winner for me, I think it has managed to fill a significant need in the ever-evolving Twittersphere. But if anyone knows of other services that manage similar content I’d love to hear from you!
- 2 years ago
What’s the shipping fee on an elephant these days?
The Zoo sent me a Lion, but he was too fierce, so I sent him back.
Only I kept the crate. Those things come in handy. It’s true, just ask Let’s Crate the “ridiculously easy file-sharing” site. Put it this way, if Let’s Crate was around back in 1982, Rod Campbell would have no inspiration for Dear Zoo. Which would have saved children everywhere hours and hours of lift-the-flap, rip-the-flap fun. Which would probably have put sticky tape manufacturers out of business. So maybe timing is a good thing in this instance.
Let’s Crate may be yet another filesharing service, (I know, we practically need a file sharing service to store and share all the websites that help you to fileshare) but there are a few nifty little tricks here that make Let’s Crate stand out. Besides the comfy straw padding you get at the base of the crate, I mean.
The first bonus? Let’s Crate doesn’t make you register. Don’t commit your details to a lifetime of Nigerian Prince emails, simply drag the files you want to share and drop them into the crate.
The second bonus? It’s super quick. A personal URL is generated instantly. Send it to your share-e and one click instantly downloads the files you “crated.” Let’s Crate stores all the files you want in the cloud, making them accessible from anywhere.
The third bonus? If you do register (there are a variety of plans ranging from free to not-so-free) you can use Let’s Crate as a cloud storage service, as you would Box.net or Dropbox, etc.
The Christmas bonus? It’a a whole lot easier to mail elephants, camels, snakes and frogs back and forth. Heck, send me a menagerie! I’ll send it back ;o)
- 2 years ago
These gardening gloves make texting difficult
If Donkey Kong has taught us one thing, and I don’t know about you but Donkey Kong has formed the foundation of my social education (you never know when you’ll need to toss a barrel), it’s that monkeys need vines like a camel needs salivary glands. Anyway, given the obvious proclivities of this blog what I’m saying is it should come as no surprise that I am predisposed to like a service called Photovine.
Photovine is a photosharing service with a major in horticulture. “Plant a photo, watch it grow.” At the risk of sounding like an ANZ ad ripping off a sub-standard tv show ripping off any self-respecting Gypsy carnie at the showgrounds, I know what your thinking. Not another photo-sharing service. Did the game not end with the inception of Instagram? Probably, but the premise of Photovine is super clever. Take a photo, tag it and watch as others add their photos to your theme. For example a popular vine at the moment is “Breakfast of Champions” (I am a little concerned for the person who took the photo of a rum bottle, mostly because they could be a pirate) or “Things that I love about Summer.” Each user can add a photo to any theme that represents their interpretation of a tag. You can also elect to follow the wittier contributors and see their vines in your feed.
Photovine is brand spanking new so it will be interesting to see whether it grows. (Hyuck hyuck, pun most definitely intended.) Early prediction, if it can gain traction behind Instagram I think it certainly will. There is enough difference in appeal, it’s not so much about the visual, more about the social comment or nuance, Photovine is building a series of photicons and we know how sticky those retched emoticons were. ;o) XD \m/ Interesting side effect, my thumb is totally green right now.
- 2 years ago
Touche, mon petit choux, touche
Whatever happened to the days of throwing down the gauntlet? When “I challenge thee to a duel” was uttered six times before breakfast. When facing a dirty, squinty gunslinger at sunset was a common end to the working day (at the saloon, you know working the tap). When a joust was the appropriate response to a yo’ mama joke. I’ll tell you what happened. ChallengePost happened. Fear not, my (t)rusty comrade in breastplate and chainmail, far from an exclusive postal service for litigious mail ChallengePost is a website with a problem they want you to fix. No, no, in a good way. They pay you and stuff.
“ChallengePost lets individuals and organizations challenge the public to solve problems and innovate.”
Sometimes an idea only gains substance and traction when others contribute to, challenge and change the initial thought. And sometimes the solution can only be seen by someone else. ChallengePost uses these ideas to find solutions to big questions or challenges. It lets organisations pose a question or a challenge and uses the collective creativity and innovation of the world to find the best solution. A challenge is posted, it may be collating healthy and delicious recipes for school lunches, or creating a flexbook on modelling and simulation for NASA, then a price is set for the best answer. Anyone can answer the challenge brief, the most innovative and useful answer gets the carrot and the organisation gets the solution they were looking for!
At the moment, you can only answer challenges on the site but after a new round of funding ChallengePost is working on opening the doors for anyone to post a challenge as well as answer briefs. You can read more about the concept and the founding of the company at Mashable.
But for those of you looking for a quick buck now I hereby offer $100 to the person brave enough to clean my room. In the interests of full disclosure, I feel I must just say it does look rather like it has been attacked by a plague of locusts with a hankering for shoe boxes. Or the aftermath of a localised earthquake . Or the before photo in an extreme skin-fold makeover advertorial. Ok, all of the above. Good luck!
- 2 years ago
Watch This Space - Oh Voxy You’re So Foxy
Three minutes to boil an egg.
Three minutes to listen to a song.
Three minutes to microwave popcorn.
Three minutes to read one of my blog posts(on a good day).
Three minutes to load a page on Internet Explorer. (High five @chrome.)
Three minutes to<Insert (in)appropriately lurid example here.> Chortle.
Oh, and it takes three minutes to learn a language.
Well, according to Voxy that is. Mais c’est vrai! Voxy is a language app with a few small differences. Three, even! Voxy works on the premise that there are two key factors which influence your ability (or inability) to learn another language, physical proximity and time. The easiest way to learn a language is exposure but it is not always easy to jet off to Kyrgyzstan everytime you decide to learn Kyrgyz, nor is it easy to find the time to sit and repetez s’il vous plait after Thierry the pocket Frenchman. Nor is “My hair is long and black” spoken in perfect textbook-enunciated Spanish all that useful when fielding propositions at the Magic Club in Barcelona.
Luckily Voxy has you covered with an app that uses geo-location to teach you the phrases and words most suited to the kind of life you lead.
Heading to the supermarket? The Voxy app will send you a lesson of useful words and phrases that relate to the place you are and the things you are doing. A few taps on your phone and you’re ready to shop en francais. Plus every time you go back to the supermarket, you get quizzed on the words and phrases you’ve learnt! It becomes convenient to study regularly because you are essentially integrating your study into your daily life. Better still, your vocabulary is built around tasks and places that are common to you and the things you love. Which explains why my phone shouts “¡ay caramba!” every time I walk through the red light district. (Chill pill! Kidding, I don’t visit the red light district. Only on cheap Tuesday.)
The unfortunate news? The app is in beta and only for English, Portuguese and Spanish learners at the moment but keep your eye out as they are adding more language soon!
- 2 years ago