Most everyone has used Google to search for information on the Internet. But there are some special tips, tricks and resources you may not know about.
Search within a specific website (site:)[Site:] Search within a specific Website, or within a type of domain, such as a government website (.gov), non-profit (.org) or educational site (.edu).Google allows you to specify that your search results must come from a given website. For example, the query [ poverty population site:census.gov ] will return pages about the poverty population, but only from the U.S. Census Bureau website. The simpler query [ poverty population census bureau] or [poverty population census.gov] will usually be just as good, though they might return results from other sites that mention the Census bureau or the poverty population. Great for sites that might not have a good search function for the site itself.
Expand the Additional Search options menu to search for images, maps, books, by time period, reading level, and more.
History and Starring Keep track of translations you need for later on. Conversation mode Speech-to-speech translation makes it possible to have a natural conversation with someone in a foreign language. (Android phones only)Available for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Nokia, or S60 Windows. Not all features on all phones;
You might have heard late last year about Project Glass, aka. Google Glasses, an experimental project that will produce augmented reality glasses that that will allow you to navigate the Web through your field of vision. While that product might still be far from launch, you can use Google Goggles.To get Google Goggles, you need to have the Google Search App loaded on your smartphone. Google Search App also allows you to do searches by Voice. App is available for Android, iPhone, Blackberry, Nokia S60, Windows - Download Google Search App - http://www.google.com/mobile/google-mobile-appGoogle Goggles allows you to conduct searches and other functions using the camera on your smartphone. For instance, if you are travelling abroad, you can take a picture of a menu or sign and it will translate it for you. Or, you can take a picture of a landmark, and it will find relevant information about it. The feature I think is most useful is for contact information, such as a business card.
Take a photo of a business card, Google Goggles will recognize the contact information, and give you an option to call, email, find directions to the location using Google maps, or Add to Contacts. Here, I’ve chosen to add to contacts, and it automatically puts the name, phone number and email address in my contacts.
Google Voice ActionsSend Text, Emails, Get Directions, Listen to Music, Call Businesses and Contacts, Searchhttp://www.google.com/mobile/voice-actions
The WriteClearly.org project also provides additional resources including a Plain Language Library of sample documents, materials from an online course provided through a partnership with Transcend (www.transcend.net), a California translation company that also specializes in transforming documents into Plain Language, a a list of other Helpful Websites.
The Pomodoro Method is a light-weight way to beat procrastination and focus on one task at a time. The method incorporates many common principles of time management – like breaking big tasks into smaller chunks to make them more manageable, and minimizing distractions – but it’s super simple and easy to remember. Here’s how it works: Choose your task Set a timer to 25 minutes and devote that time to completing that task Take a short break Every 4 Pomorodos, take a longer break, say 20 minutes. You can adapt the method to you liking – such as taking a break every 3 Pomorodos instead.
There are lots of freePomodoro tools out there, but the best ones are as simple as the method itself. Three I like:Two web-based timers – just open them in a browser and you’re ready to go: Tomato.ist Tomato-Timer.comAnd Chromodoro – a browser extension for Chrome.
Whether you use the Pomodoro Method or not, StayFocusd also helps you concentrate on the task at hand. It’s a browser extension for Chrome that allows you to create a “gray list” of websites to spend an allotted amount of time on each day. For example, you can give yourself 20 minutes to surf Facebook and after 20 minutes StayFocusd will block your access to that site. There’s even a “Nuclear Option” to block access to ALL websites.
Spam is email you don’t want. Bacn is email you want, just not now. Bacn includes email you’ve subscribed to but that isn’t especially time-sensitive- for example e-newsletter subscriptions , Google News alerts, or special offers from stores. If your inbox is bulging with these types of messages when you log in in the morning, or if you find these emails distracting during the course of the day, set up a folder called “Bacn” and create a set of rules to automatically route emails from Bacn senders to that folder. Outlook, Gmail and other major email clients support this type of routing. Look over your Bacn once a day at your convenience. It will keep your inbox lean for the emails you want to see and act on right away.
What about emails we send? How we can we make it easier for recipients of our emails to process them and respond with the information we need? “The average time taken to respond to an email is greater, in aggregate, than the time it took to create.” (http://emailcharter.org/problem.html ) Here are some strategies for breaking through email overload while getting faster responses. These ideas come from four sources: http://emailcharter.org/index.html http://www.fastcompany.com/1764114/can-teds-chris-anderson-solve-email-overflow http://video.fastcompany.com/plugins/player.swf?v=95cee1651fe70&p=fc_social http://michaelhyatt.com/10-strategies-for-getting-faster-responses-to-your-emails.html
Nutshell Mail is a free tool from Constant Contact that allows you to have a digest of all of your social media updates sent to you at a regular time – or regular intervals – each day. It allows you to keep abreast of Facebook, Twitter and Linked In on a regular schedule. You can decide what types of updates the digest includes – for example wall posts on Facebook, new Linked In connections, etc. It’s helpful for personal use, but if your organization has a more than one social media presence, it can be used for a “listening” dashboard to monitor activity in your social networks in a simple, regular snapshot. According to its website, NutshellMail's mission is to “keep users connected yet productive at the same time.”
Sciweavers is an academic network for scientists and researchers to share academic papers online. Sciweavers also offers an amazing range of free online tools to improve productivity. A few highlights of things you can do with Sci2ool’s online tools: Create print-friendly versions of webpages without images or background printingConvert PDF to TextMerge and split PDFsExtract images from PDFsUse an international on-screenvirtual keyboard to type in any language, and then copy and paste the text into an email, Word doc, or any other formathttp://www.sciweavers.org/sci2ools The best part is that all of these are available for free. You don’t even have to register or provide your email. And there’s no software to download – all of tools use simple web-based forms.
Readability is a free browser extension and mobile app that converts webpages into a clean, comfortable format for reading on your computer, phone or tablet. It zaps all of the online advertising and “noise” from newspaper, magazine and other websites that have lots of advertising. Readability extensions are currently available for Chrome and Firefox, and there are free apps for Android and iPhones. The Readability extension has three options: 1) Read Now, 2) Read Later (a virtual filing cabinet for articles you want to read later) or 3) Send to Kindle.The Read it Later option allows you to sync your reading list across multiple devices. Readability is similar to Instapaper and ReaditLater, but has some extra features for use with Kindles.
There’s a lot of debate about whether the listening to music will increase your productivity. It seems to come down to personal preference and work style. But there are a lot of reasons why someone might want to listen to music at work – to tune out background noise, to kick-start a project, or simply to boost your mood. If you’re a believer in the “Mozart Effect” that listening to classical music unlocks your creativity, http://musopen.org is a copyright free library of classical music that you can listen to online. It’s organized by composer and instrument, and you can play the pieces online or easily download the files to play on an iPod or portable device.
If music is too distracting but you need to tune out a noisy office, SimpleNoise.com is a great option. It generates so-called white, pink and brown noise that can help you concentrate and mask background noise. There’s no download or registration involved – just go to the website, select the audio spectrum you want, and use the tuner to adjust the intensity.
Giftly.com is a website that allows to you create a customized gift certificate online any business or restaurant on Yelp, and email it to the recipient. You go to Giftly.com and create a gift certificate. Giftly has several nice templates available and makes it easy to add a picture and write a message. Then you can select up to three places the Giftly can be used, and email the Giftly to the recipient. The recipient will pay the restaurant or business themselves, but then redeem their Giftly for the amount you offered. It’s a convenient option for giving a gift certificate when fewer businesses are offering them, or when you want to give the recipient a few options to cho0se from. You can even bundle a few gifts together – for example by giving someone a Giftly for dinner and movie.
And the moral of the story is: don’t believe every tech tip you read online. But you can trust in the EJC Tech Tips!
alternativeTo.net is a site that let’s your find alternatives to the software you are using in case you are considering switching. As you can see in the menu bar, it is divided into many different categories and for many different operating systems. It is not only for computers but for tablets and phones.
In this example, I asked for alternatives to QuickBooks and you can see three of them that were returned. Also, you could use this as a place to start by finding your options, not just alternatives.
Ever wonder if that website you can’t reach is really down? Here is a site that will test it for you so that you don’t have to wonder if it is your system. In this example, I typed in a site and it returned results assuring me the site was down for all.
99designs.com allows you to hold a contest for a design you need, be it for a logo, business card, brochure or the like. You set the prize amount, from $299 to $699 for a logo, then review the designs and pick a winner.
Here is the new design for StatesideLegal.org which cost $499 including all fees for 99designs.
Zamzar is a site that allows you to convert files from one type to another, such as from one word processor to another or between video formats. It is free until you get to larger file sizes, which will likely only be an issue for audio and video files.
One of the more interesting types of conversions is from text to speech, such as from a Word document to the MP3 format. This means it is quite doable for having audio help files on websites or in A2J Author interviews.
If you have a tablet but miss your MS Office, OnLive Desktop is your answer. Install this app on your iPad or Android tablet and you can run a remote desktop that delivers Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.
Here is how the desktop looks on your tablet. In addition to MS Office, you have Internet Explorer and Acrobat Reader X.
When you open one of the programs, it looks just like it does on your computer. To make the best use of this, though, you’ll prefer having a mouse and external keyboard.
Google Docs has now changed to Google Drive, an online storage site much like MS SkyDrive and Dropbox. You still get to your Google Apps here, but now you can install Google Drive on your computer, notebook, tablet, and smart phone and have your stored files available from all.
Once installed on a computer it shows up just like a local drive. You can save files other than those created with Google Apps.
Here is how it looks in the app version.
I’ve been a fan of MS OneNote, a program for taking and storing notes, for many years. Just released is the app version of OneNote. If you store your notes in SkyDrive, you’ll be able to take them and see them from all of your different devices. The free version is limited to 500 notes.
Here is how notes looks in the app version.
Like Google Drive and Dropbox, MS SkyDrive gives you free storage in the cloud. New users get 7 GB of free storage (veterans are grandfathered in with 25 GB!). While there is no local app to install to create a local drive like there is with Google Drive, you can do it yourself if you follow these four simples steps. In Word, PowerPoint, or Excel, open a new file, then click File, followed by Save & Send.Choose Save to WebIf you haven’t already, log into your SkyDrive, then click Save As. When you do you will be shown a pop up box like the one above. Find the address that starts with https://d.docs.live.net and copy the whole thing to the clipboard.Right click on My Computer and select Map Drive. Choose a drive letter you want for your SkyDrive, then paste in the address from step 3, check Reconnect at log in, then Finish. Now your SkyDrive will be mapped to the drive letter you selected!
Ever get tired of this new “feature” of IE 9, the bar at the bottom of this slide? The idea was to let you uninstall add-ons that slow down your browser but to me, clicking Ask me later every time you start IE is much worse. To get rid of it, click Choose add-ons. Then go to the next slide in this presentation.
Here you’ll see the offending add-on from my computer, Adobe PDF, that was taking an excruciating .35 seconds of a second to open and the default setting is .20 seconds. If you don’t mind waiting a third of a second longer for IE to open, click on the box that shows 0.20 seconds and pick a longer default. So long as what you pick is longer than the time displayed by your slowest add-on, you’ll not see this reminder again.
MS has come out with a free Consumer Preview of its yet to be released Windows 8 operating system (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/download). The main emphasis for this new systems seems to be the tablet market.
Since it is optimized for tablets, using it on a computer or notebook without a touch screen takes some getting used to. This is not the desktop that you’ve come to expect. If you hover the mouse over the right edge of the screen, you’ll get these choices.
To launch an app, you start typing the name in the search window.
If you want, you can get a more traditional desktop to display, but there is no Start button! So be weary of rolling this out to users of traditional computers until you have tested it and made sure you think you can teach them how to use the new interface.
Add Gdrive and Dropbox to your right click menu.
iPad and Mobile Apps. DocScanner scans various types of text items – from magazine articles to receipts. It allows you to easily save them as images, pdfs, or text documents. It’s one of the only scanning apps that uses OCR. The OCR didn’t work too well on my iPad, but iPhone uses reported better luck.
PaperKarma is an app set up to easily reduce your junk mail.
The app has you take a picture of junk mail that identifies the company it came from. It has an extensive database of who you need to be contacted within that company to be removed from their mailing list.
Based on some information you provide, PaperKarma generated an email that asks the company to remove you from the list. I’ve already tried this with Discover card and Citi and it seems to have worked.
Notability is nice note taking app with one really great feature. Notability allows you to record meetings as you type notes – of course you need to ask permission before doing this – and then you can jump to different portions of the recorded meeting based on where you typed the notes. So say we discussed presenter order 15 minutes into this meetings. If I want to jump to that part of the recording, I just click on “Presenter Order” and it will advance to the appropriate point.
Last year, I mentioned Eli the Computer Guy, who provided great enterprise IT trainings online for free through his YouTube channel. This year, I wanted to mention all of the great online courses that have sprung up. Schools like Stanford, MIT, and others have offered courses online for years, but their latest courses are more interactive, comprehensive, and immersive. Stanford’s Introduction to Databases course is a great example. It’s taught by Jennifer Wisdom, who is a leading expert on databases, and it gives you an experience very similar to an actual college course, except that it’s free and available online.
edX is a new initiative from MIT and Harvard that is going to offer similar immersive courses starting this fall.
Join.me is a new entrant into web conferencing; it has a a good free meeting option. http://www.onlinemeetingreviews.com/reviews/join-me-review/
Of course, the best deal for web conferencing is probably still GoToMeeting/GoToWebinar through TechSoup.Only organizations with annual operating budgets of $5 million or less are eligible to receive this donation.
If you use GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, or GoToAssist , I found a great blog that covers those three applications. The blog keeps track of new features and also provides walk throughs of features not normally used. http://glenndcitrix.wordpress.com/
Basecamp redesign. Still a great, affordable tool for project management.
With the close of Borders and the decline of Barnes and Noble, our nation is facing a serious crisis. No, I’m not talking about declines in literacy; I’m talking about the lack of public restrooms in cities.
Free or discounted version of Google Apps foryour organizationGoogle Grants - Free Adwords advertisingPremium branding and increased uploads onYouTubeFree licensing for Google Earth, SketchUp, andMaps APIhttp://www.google.com/nonprofits
A recipe for time management: The Pomodoro Method Choose your task Set a timer to 25 minutes devoted to that task Take a 5 minute break Every 4 Pomodoros, take a Via mellydonut / Flickr longer break
Trim the fat from your inbox with a Bacn folderBacn = Email you want, but not right now
Get faster responses to your emails1. Use a specific subject line2. Emails under 3 sentences have a 60% higher response rate3. Put questions first emailcharter.org4. Make questions easy to answer5. Cut down cc’s
Google Drive Google Docs now built into Google Drive 5 GB for free storage for any file type Upgrade to 25 GB for $2.49 a month, 100GB for $4.99, or 1 TB for $49.99. Appears as a drive on your PC or Mac Drive app for Android In development for iOS