Firefox/Chrome: RightInbox is an awesome tool for boosting Gmail's capabilities.
Chrome: Streak is a new web service and Chrome extension that adds a ton of useful features to your Gmail account, including the ability to compose messages and schedule them to be sent at a later date, text expansion that works by menu or keyboard command, and the ability to manage your personal projects, whether you're planning an event with multiple people, scheduling a vacation, or otherwise just want to keep track of a project that involves lots of people and even more emails in your inbox. More »
Chrome: Location-specific reminders are a handy way to help remember tasks related to specific places. They're widely available on smartphones, but if you're looking for a laptop solution, Geo Notepad is a Chrome App that pings you with a reminder when you open your laptop in a certain area.More »
This week we're sharing the hardware, software, tips, and tricks, that keep our blogging wheels spinning.
Chrome: Sometimes you don't want to deal with bookmarking an article or site for later viewing and you just want a simple nudge to look at it again later. Page Snooze does just that, letting you "snooze" a tab for up to two weeks.More »
<!-- videoId: 29351194 --><!-- /videoId: 29351194 --> Web/Android: Want to ramp up your address book? Sure you do.
Firefox/Chrome/Safari: Previously mentioned to-do manager and browser extension Taskforce has rolled out a number of new updates to its service, including the ability to share and collaborate on lists with other users, add recurring tasks, and fully integrate with Google Tasks, so you can manage your to-dos even when you're using a computer or device where Taskforce is unavailable. More »
Chrome: The new Google Tasks Chrome extension is perfect for any Tasks user, providing quick access to your to-dos and effortless task creation right from the keyboard. More »
Firefox/Chrome: Gmail's address book is nice, but isn't mind-blowing.
Chrome: Opening a ton of tabs in your browser can have disastrous effects on your productivity (and the stability o
For the last six days, I've used a Chrome OS netbook as my primary computer, and it's been a blast. Using a "just enough", basically Chrome-only system provides a rare chance to reexamine what it is you really need to be productive. More »
To-do lists are pretty important for getting things done; and much like text editors, every person has their own favorite flavor, and it seems like every developer has a slightly different idea of what an ideal to-do manager would look like.
Todo.ly is one take on the do-do list manager. It also comes as a Chrome Web app, so if you use multiple synchronized Chrome browsers (or Chrome OS) and install the Web app, you instantly get the same to-do list manager across all of your machines. Just that may be reason enough to set it up.
In terms of functionality, Todo.ly is pretty much what you'd expect. It supports due-dates and filters (Inbox, Today, Next). It also lets you divide your work into projects, which may have sub-projects. A task can also have sub-tasks.
One area where Todo.ly is lacking is linguistic processing: If I enter "Do something tomorrow", it doesn't set the due date accordingly. It also doesn't support hash tags, which is too bad (at least for me - I love hash tags).
Todo.ly is not team-oriented at the moment: You can't assign tasks to other people, or receive tasks. I guess they're saving that one for a future paid version.
Chrome: Browser extension Chrome Time Track is a simple tool to measure the amount of time it takes to complete a task or milestone from inside Google Chrome. More »
Bit.ly recently released link bundles -- a feature that lets you share multiple URLs using the same shortened bit.ly link -- but it's not the easiest feature to use. The Tab Bundles extension for Chrome makes copy-pasting links into bit.ly a thing of the past, by allowing you to bundle all your currently-open tabs with one click.
Tab Bundles works with both bit.ly and j.mp (a bit.ly-owned even shorter URL), and it allows you to create custom filters that automatically tell it which tabs to include in your bundle. Basically, it's a real time-saver for anyone who regularly shares a pile of links on Twitter. Even if you only need to use it once, installing and uninstalling an extension in Chrome might be easier than copy-pasting half a dozen links.
Android owners know after about 2 minutes of going through the Android Market how much you can do to personalize your device. Usually people go for the fun apps like live wallpapers, themes and games. One overlooked type of application is a new home screen app.
Sure you may have a nice UI for your home screens (eg. HTC sense), but if it is lagging, functionally crippled or take up plenty of resources, it is definitely not a good experience for the end users. Previously, we have covered 5 free home replacement apps that you can use, however that was before Froyo, LauncherPro and QuickDesk even existed, so some of the mentioned apps are already outdated. If you are still looking for a great home replacement app, LauncherPro + QuickDesk are the one to go for.
LeechBlock is one of the cornerstones of my online life; it is an add-on that lets me set up a list of "time-wasting" websites and forces me to stop using them after some time has elapsed. It's one of the main add-ons that's keeping me on Firefox (rather than Chrome or Opera, which I really do like).
StayFocused tries to bring a very similar feature set to Chrome. I looked at this extension a couple of months ago, and a second look this morning shows that, with many new features added, the developer has been hard at work.
In addition to specifying which sites to block, you can now configure active days and hours (meaning, when to apply the blocking), blocked sites, and allowed sites (for white-list functionality). There's also a "nuclear option" for blocking access to all but the white list (or all including the white list, which would render your browser useless), and there's a "require challenge" option that forces you to type in a random string before you can change the options.
If any of these seem familiar to you, that's because StayFocused seems to have taken a page right out of LeechBlock's book. LeechBlock has all of these features and many more. For example, LeechBlock lets you configure five different blocking sets and control the length of the string. With LeechBlock, I can configure it to let me access my time-wasting websites for "5 minutes every hour."
Don't get me wrong, StayFocused is taking steps in the right direction. If you're serious about blocking distracting websites, though, it doesn't come close to the versatility and simplicity that LeechBlock offers. Also, I wish that StayFocused would give a bit of credit where credit is due; I could find no mention of LeechBlock in the FAQ or elsewhere.
There is always at least two ways of doing something on a Windows PC. If you've learnt by doing, rather than from a book, you probably only know one way. Watch your mother use a word processor one day -- I bet she uses File > Save rather than hitting Ctrl+S. What about you? Do you know your shortcuts?
Keyboard shortcuts are by far and away the best way to a) speed up your work flow and b) prevent RSI. The single worst thing you can do, as far as your wrist and elbow is concerned, is move your hand to the mouse. The best thing you can do is read this list of shortcuts and be amazed at what you can do with just a couple of keystrokes.
I've sorted these
lifefinger-savers into three categories: life-changing, really neat and kinda cool. Some of you will already know most of them, but you won't know all of them. You owe it to yourself to read the first block -- but try and keep going until the end!
Life-changing Keyboard Shortcuts
First, the shortcuts that are so fundamental to computer use that you'll wonder how you ever lived without them. Almost all of these shortcuts should be performed with the LEFT hand, with your thumb on Alt or Ctrl.
- Ctrl+T -- opens a new tab in all major Web browsers.
- Alt+Tab -- cycles through currently-open programs. If you also hold down Shift, it cycles backwards.
- Ctrl+Tab -- cycles through Web browser tabs (you can use Shift to go backwards too).
- Ctrl+W -- closes the current window or tab. Some applications can be closed with Ctrl+W, but Alt+F4 is universal.
- Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V -- copies selected text (you can use Shift and arrow keys to select text!), and then paste it. Use Alt-Tab to switch between source and destination for bonus points.
- Ctrl+Z -- undoes your last action. This works in almost everything except Web browsers. 'Redo' varies from program to program (check the 'Edit' menu to find out!)
- Ctrl+Mouse scroll wheel -- zoom in, zoom out. This works in almost every kind of app, including Web browsers. Great for increasing the size of tiny 'aesthetic' text on normal websites... or tiny thumbnails on nefarious ones. Also scales the size of icons on your desktop, if they're too small for you!
- F5 -- refreshes your current folder/directory or Web page. Yes, you can hammer a button on your keyboard rather than foolishly clicking a button over and over!
- Alt+D -- selects the address bar in your Web browser or folder/directory view! Yes, I know -- how awesome is that?