Posts Tagged

Productivity

In 2012, the Mac community lost one of the Mac OS X mail clients that many considered to be the best on the market: Sparrow. Development has stopped (which doesn’t mean you can’t still use this app, though, at least for now) since the team has been acquired by Google.

Some claim that the whole email concept needs a refresh and solutions are offered, and the previously reviewed Mail Pilot and its upcoming Mac client, or the upcoming .Mail app are proof of that. Others still prefer to use web-based apps like the popular Gmail.

I, for one, still think that Mail.app, since its OS X Lion revision, is the best. It’s built-in, offered at no cost, and is completely integrated with OS X. I’ve customized it to fit my needs and developed my own workflow to deal with emails.

In my humble opinion, you should be able to jump into your emails, process them quickly, and then get back to work. A mail client, for me, is just a way to send and receive emails, not a big messy, clunky, filing cabinet with hundreds of manually created and sorted folders. Read on to find out why, in that case, Mail.app is the best for me, even when processing hundreds of incoming messages per day.

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Cute eyes, button nose, a sweet smile—I must admit that I was drawn to BlankDesk’s Noted and its adorable app icon. Officially launched just a couple of months back, it’s a “simple, yet powerful note taking app” that may just bring something interesting and useful to the round table of notes apps.

In spite of the fact that there are many (maybe even too many) notes apps for the Mac, I wondered if Noted could have something that other notes applications lacked. I’m sure you’re asking the same questions as you’re reading this: What new features does Noted bring to the table? Is it capable of doing all and more than what my existing notes app can do? And why does Noted look like the foster child of Evernote and Notational Velocity?

Let’s find out.

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As a blogger, I’m always anticipating new apps that could take on a fresh approach to desktop blogging. Desktop blogging apps for the Mac are merely by the handful, leaving users with just a couple of blogging apps that can create and publish posts with ease. We’ve got MarsEdit 3, MacJournal, and Ecto as top recommendations, but the fact is we haven’t seen anything new in this sector of the app market for quite a while.

You can imagine my excitement then when I came across BlogEasy, a minimal desktop blogging app that publishes to WordPress blogs. Will this app finally break the silence and provide bloggers with something new and innovative to play with? Let’s find out.

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Taking down notes, whether by hand or on my computer, has always been an integral part of my workflow. Capturing information wherever and whenever, notes always in handy considering that I have such a short memory span to work with.

As such, note-taking apps like NotesTab are of great interest to me, and since version 3 of FIPLAB’s note-taking menu bar app is available for download, I thought I’d take a look at what has changed and what features were added since reviewing it a couple of months back. Likewise, the pro version offers several additional features to make the note-taking experience even better, which I will touch on later in the review. If you’re hesitant to spend an extra $4.99 for the upgrade, but would like to know what you’d receive if you do, read on.

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In the previous instalment, I covered quite a few topics. Ranging from search and working with URLs to the various little neat features that make working with your Mac all the more pleasurable. As overwhelming as it all may have seemed at the time, I did warn you that there was still more to Alfred. Much more in fact.

So without further delay, let’s continue on our quest and wake this beast from its slumber once and for all.

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In 2002, a book entitled Getting Things Done was published by author David Allen, to widespread critical acclaim and quickly began to amass an almost cult following. In it, the author set forth a method for improving the efficiency of work processes by employing time management techniques, task prioritisation, and concentration on the most important tasks. Ten years, and many improved work-flows later, Allen’s theory remains as prevalent as ever, but not necessarily in the state he first imagined.

Despite being the title of Allen’s book, Getting Things Done, or GTD, has since become the byword for any method of improving productivity, regardless of relevance to the author’s original. Allen’s paper-based method has become outdated in the ten years since its publication, and, largely in response to technological advance and the Internet, other more relevant GTD theories have emerged, such as David Sparks’ Paperless.

With the myriad of electronic devices that now dominate many work flows and work places, making distractions easier to come by—ahem, Twitter—new ways of boosting productivity have come about. However, not everybody has time to read, implement, and stick to a special system. So, how do we bridge this impasse? It’s simple: take away the Internet, or at least part of it. Intrigued? Find out more after the break.

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Think of a typical task on your to-do list, and I’m sure there’s an app that can help you accomplish it. You’ve got Mac apps designed for a plethora of purposes, each designed to solve or complete different kinds of tasks in a number of unique ways. In fact, there are apps that are made to bring different standalone apps and services together to easily manage and keep track of. Off the top of my head are Words for save-for-later articles, MarsEdit for publishing to different blogging platforms, and Favs for all your social favorites.

For today’s review, I’ll be taking a look at Notesdeck for Mac, a relatively unique app that consolidates all of your iCloud, Dropbox, Simplenote, and Evernote notes into a single dashboard to view, edit, and sync in real time. Developed by Michael Petruzzo of Dark Heartfelt, it’s an app where notes—whichever service or note-taking app used—are editable and available at a click of a button.

With this concept in mind, can Notesdeck assist the everyday note-taking Mac user? How does Notesdeck fair in the productivity circle? Let’s find out.

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To the untrained eye, Alfred may seem like just another simple frontend to spotlight, allowing you to launch apps and search your Mac. However, beneath its seemingly humble facade lies a dormant beast. A powerful and flexible beast, that is, that with a little knowledge can be woken from its slumber to bring your productivity to new heights.

Join me on this epic quest as we set free the beast within Alfred and have it do your bidding.

Be sure to check out second article on Alfred to find even more productivity tips and tricks.

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Writing for the web has always been burdened by the need to format content in HTML. It isn’t enough to just write and publish content—you need to capture the reader’s attention as well.

You can’t simply write a blog post or a web page and slap it onto the site. Headers, bolding, emphasis, bullet lists, and numbering are necessary to hold down and guide your readers all the way to the last sentence. The process can be quite tedious, which is why the birth of Markdown is a huge breath of fresh air for content creators of all experience levels.

But Markdown isn’t just for those who work online. It’s a simple syntax that makes formatting and writing in plain text easier for everyone. With these writing apps, you’ll have an easier time putting your thoughts down on screen, whether you’re writing a note for yourself or a Markdown formatted file for publishing online.
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With the advent of the shift to a Paperless world, OCR has gained even greater importance. It’s the often overlooked detail that you may take for granted. That is of course until you try and search a PDF you scanned and realize it’s just an embedded image. Chances are that you may already have a good document scanner that does OCR. If, however, you don’t, then Prizmo 2 may just be what the doctor ordered.

Now I could just say that Prizmo does OCR with style, but the truth is that it does so much more. Read on after the break to find out what I mean. (more…)

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