Advertise with us

Enjoying this blog? Check out the rest of the Business Channel Subscribe to this Feed

Pimp Your Work

October 20th, 2007

How to go through RSS feeds quickly (and not let it eat your day)

If you’re a blog addict, odds are you subscribe to hundreds of sites.  These sites often have multiple updates, so you thought you’d go through all of them more quickly if you used an RSS reader.  Now that you have the reader, you’re still viewing hundreds of site updates a day.  How do you go through all that without watching your life pass you by?

You don’t have to read everything.  That’s right - you really don’t.  Simply scan for headlines that contain keywords which interest you.  Read those and ignore the rest.  I use GreatNews as a feedreader, and like most readers it also lets me click on headlines and bookmark them.  If you can do this with your feed reader, you can postpone reading some entries until later.  If you read everything in one go, it’ll definitely eat up a lot of your time.

Categorize your feeds.  You can organize feeds into different categories such as “Friends’ Blogs”, “Business”, “Job Listings”, etc.  Arrange them according to importance.  If your feed reader insists on arranging the feed categories alphabetically, place a priority number before each category, with 1 being the most urgent.  By doing this, you can go through your priority feeds first without having to read all the things that don’t require immediate attention.

 Orient your feed display for better vertical scanning. GreatNews lets me select the type of format I want to view the feeds in.  I used to view it with a table-like format that had rows and columns.  The downside? It wasn’t optimal for quick scanning.  My eye movement had to go from left to right, trying to read headlines in each column.  Now, I changed to format so that all the feed headlines will be displayed like a long list.  This allows my eyes to simply scroll down and scan for updates that I really want to read.

Trim down your list.  Eventually, you’ll notice that you read some feeds more often than the others.  If you seem to skip reading feeds from a specific site, it’s best to remove it from your reader.  After all, skipping over those items regularly also eats up your time.

If you want more information on RSS reading productivity, Rober Scoble has an interesting video on Tim Ferriss’ blog with additional RSS reading tips. (It’s in video!)

By Celine -- 2 comments

March 13th, 2007

gSyncit brings Google Calendar and Outlook together

Like Google Calendar but use Outlook to manage your day?  That’s my problem too.  Looks like there might a solution in gSyncit:

This Outlook plug-in supports one-way or two-way synchronization (you can go Google-to-Outlook, Outlook-to-Google or both) and works manually or automatically. After installing the program, look for a new two-button toolbar in Outlook; click the Settings button to access gSyncit’s surprisingly robust configuration options.
Source: Download of the Day: gSyncit (Windows) - Lifehacker

I gave this a shot and it worked great with my personal Google Calendar, but I couldn’t get it to work with a hosted version.  Still, it was pretty fast and it didn’t make my Blackberry barf!


By Tris Hussey -- 0 comments

March 11th, 2007

Open the hood and tweak Vista and XP

Yeah I’m one of those folks who likes to tweak my machine a bit.  Nothing really serious, just tips here and there to make the whole computing experience a bit better.  Everton Blair seems like the same kind of guy.

One of my goals over the weekend was to get under the bonnet of Vista and do some tweaking and to try and fix some bugs. The most annoying bugs that I have currently are that my TV Card still isn’t working as Hauppauge still haven’t released working drivers and my network card randomly stops working every now and then, and I have to reboot.
Source: Windows Vista Tweaks And Tips | Connected Internet

Me, my big thing is to try to squeeze every once of speed out of my Net connection.  Always looking for tweaks to make TCP/IP just a bit faster and efficient.  Vista, I’ve noticed, is a heck of a lot better in this respect than XP.  In fact it was one of the first things I noticed about Vista.

Anyway via Everton’s blog I found some nice documents for tweaking XP and Vista.  I skimmed through the Vista guide for a bit.  Picked up a few things.  I’m not one to monkey with my registry unless required, but there are some really simple things you can do.  Turning off un-needed Windows services is a huge one.  I’ve got a “real” laptop, not a tablet, so why should I have all the pen-based and tablet stuff loaded?  Yeah, exactly.

One thing I will say, read the docs carefully and if you’re not sure about a tweak, don’t.  If you’d like my opinion, for what it’s worth, feel free to ask.

Good reading in any case.


By Tris Hussey -- 0 comments

March 6th, 2007

The Cult of Innovation

You must innovate. Your company must innovate. If you don’t innovate, you will be gobbled up in the competitive global marketplace.

Um…maybe not.

Challenging this assumption is Dan Saffer in Business Week’s Outside Shot column (subscription required).

Innovation in and of itself, he contends, is a hollow mantra that will fail in the end because companies are simply after the new and the different - and not the meaningful.

Meeting needs of customers through innovation, not just providing “purple ketchup,” is what will enable innovation to succeed. What we innovate must make our lives or work better — not just be a new and different feature that makes ketchup purple.

By Scot Herrick -- 0 comments

February 28th, 2007

WordPerfect Lightning Beta-I’ll take a pass

I love note taking apps.  Sometimes you just want to jot something down.  So when I saw on Lifehacker a new note taking application from Corel, I thought I’d give it a whirl.

This note-management application includes four components: Navigator, a notebook-style document organizer; Viewer, which supports Word, WordPerfect and PDF documents; Notes, a basic word processor; and Connector, which links you to free online storage, calendaring, collaboration and e-mail.

At first blush, WordPerfect Lightning seems like little more than a glorified text editor. But it’s actually a pretty nifty tool for creating, organizing and sharing notes and documents. I particularly like the Take Snapshot to New Note function, which lets you “clip” anything on your screen just by drawing a box around it. The contents of that box immediately appear in a new note.
Source: Download of the Day: WordPerfect Lightning Beta (Windows) - Lifehacker

First problem with it is the sign up process to get the beta.  The installer would also like you to download (26 freakin’ megs) the WP Office trial too.  I took a pass on that.

I hadn’t gotten to trying it yet, then catching up on my feeds I saw TDavid’s post on it.  Well, he took a pass too.  He stopped at the install process.  This peaked my interest.  I saw another post, sorry can’t remember where I saw it, talking about a bad UI and such.  Okay, enough reading time for trying.

Yeah, it’s bad.  Not intuative to me.  Not only that, but any note taking app needs to stay running in the status bar, not the task bar.  You should be able to click and start a note, not click and have another window come up.  I also think it’s a tad of overkill to have all the text editing functions in it.  Note taking apps need to be simple, clean and straight forward.  Ever for a beta, this app is way off the mark.

So, I’ve downloaded the latest beta of Evernote 2.  I hadn’t reinstalled it since the whole XP-Vista thing.  Well, right after this post, I’m installing it.  Evernote has what it takes to be a great note taking app.  In fact I have to be in a class tomorrow.  Might not be the type of class where taking notes on a computer is going to be common, but I might just be my geeky self and do it anyway.

Geek pride baby!

By Tris Hussey -- 0 comments

February 26th, 2007

Advanced WindowsCare Professional for Free Today Only

As you know I’ve been battling with fixing a machine for Lorraine’s bosses since Friday.  Sunday I thought it was licked and well I was wrong.  Still getting Blue Screen of Death, still unstable (rebooting and shutting down randomly).  I was getting really worried.  If I couldn’t keep the machine stable, then I couldn’t even back up critical files so I could wipe it and start over.

I had to stay up late last night so Jim and I could finish a proposal due this morning, so checking my feeds on a break I caught today’s giveaway of the day from Giveaway of the Day: Advanced WindowsCare Professional

Unleash the full power of your PC now. Advanced WindowsCare Professional provides an Always-On and Automated, All-In-One PC Care Service with anti-spyware, privacy protection, performance tune-ups, and system cleaning features that find errors in your Windows OS that other utilities miss.

With our “Install It and Forget It” feature that works automatically and quietly in the background, you will keep your computer safe, error-free, and running at top speed. We highly recommended this program for your home and/or small business.
Source: Giveaway of the Day » Advanced WindowsCare Professional

Hmm, I thought to myself.  System tweaking.  Hmm, works with Vista.  Okay, let’s give it a shot.  First loaded it on my laptop.  Ran the checks, fixed some minor issues, tweaked some stuff.  Okay.  Next onto the old Dell machine that the kids use.  Yep, good again.  This morning with both machines still good I decided to take a chance running it on the PITA machine.  Well, boy did it work.  The machine is stable enough that I think I can take it back this afternoon.  Okay I couldn’t get AVG to work anymore and had to manually ditch it and use Avast instead (Lorraine did suggest maybe a virus, unlikely, but I checked anyway).

I’m not usually one to get these free apps.  One problem is that if you have to re-install it, you can’t.  The 24-hr activation window is gone so your out of luck.  In this case, it was worth it.  Oh so worth it.

I recommend giving it a try.

By Tris Hussey -- 1 comment

February 26th, 2007

Speed up you work with keyboard shortcuts

I’ve always used lots of keyboard shortcuts and I’m kinda narked when one doesn’t exist or is inconvenient (the Control-F4 for closing windows is one that I think is a pain).  I’m surprised how often people don’t use shortcuts in their day to day work.  It really speeds up tasks (like writing) if you just hit cntrl-i for italics, cntrl-b for bold, etc.  And of course, cntrl-s for save.

Steven Mack of TiVo has launched a new blog called Windows Keyboard Shortcu of the Day, which should get you on your way to useing the mouse less and keyboard more (which is better for your hands, etc).

Hat tip to DownloadSquad for this one.

By Tris Hussey -- 0 comments

February 21st, 2007

Let this be a reminder, check ALL the cables when something isn’t working

Got this from Chris Pirillo today:


Oh I have so been there.  I’ve done it myself, I’ve seen tons of other people do it.  Sometimes the cable looks like it’s in, but just isn’t seated all the way.  So, take it from Chris and I, check all the cables.  Then check them again.

By Tris Hussey -- 0 comments

February 21st, 2007

PDF file links don’t have to open in your browser

PDF files are great.  I use the all the time and when I have a government form to fill out, I try to see if they have  a PDF version.  Well that’s great, but the most annoying features of Acrobat is that by default it opens PDF links you click on within your browser.  Firefox has a handy extension to take care of this.  For us IE/Maxthon users all you have to do is open Acrobat, go to preferences on the Edit menu, select Internet options and uncheck the open in browser option.

Isn’t it annoying when you accidentally click on a link to a PDF document? Then your system stalls for about 20 seconds as it tries to open Acrobat Reader?
Source: Don’t Let PDF Files Freeze Your Browser at The Blog Herald

Not only should this speed up your surfing, but it should also reduce your browser’s memory load and keep it from hanging.

Technorati tags: , ,

By Tris Hussey -- 0 comments

February 20th, 2007

Microsoft releases Virtual PC 2007, and it’s still free

Last year Microsoft released Virtual PC 2004 as a free download.  At the time I didn’t see much point.  Today Microsoft announced it’s successor Virtual PC 2007 and, yes, it’s still free.  Yeah you might be wondering about Microsoft’s motives in all this.  So was Wired and this is what they had to say:

For the suspicious among you who find it hard to believe that Microsoft would give anything away, the company claims that “virtualization technology moving forward will be in the management and the operating system rather than in the virtualization stack.” So I guess the value is in the OS, not the virtualization of the OS. Perhaps that’s why lower-end versions of Vista aren’t licensed for virtualization.

Microsoft is obviously pushing Virtual PC as a means to maintain legacy and custom applications that don’t work with Vista, rather than as a way to run Windows and Linux apps side-by-side as many virtualization enthusiasts like to do. For that there’s always Wine.
Source: WIRED Blogs: Monkey Bites

Okay, I’ll buy that.  Encourage businesses to jump to Vista and not have all their machines dual-boot to XP or something.  Just run VPC07 with XP and use your old apps.  Well the proof will be in the pudding, of course.  How fast does it run, how well does it play with other apps and peripherals. Want to give it a try? Download Virtual PC 2007 now.

By Tris Hussey -- 0 comments

Site Meter
E-mail It