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23 June 2010 0 Comments

Google Voice: You’ll Want to Try It

Google VoiceExciting news: Google Voice is now available to everyone. I was a Grand Central user since 2007 – before Google bought the company and turned the service into Google Voice. While I never switched to using Google Voice as my primary phone number, I still use the service extensively as my voicemail service.

Google Voice is fantastic for voicemail, since it transcribes your voicemails, allows you to forward those messages via email, allows you to set up different greetings for different people. If you want to learn more (and I suggest you do!) check out the Google Voice feature page, or watch the introduction video below.

18 June 2010 1 Comment

iPhone App Review: Streaks

Streaks iPhone AppJerry Seinfeld shares a simple yet very powerful way to be consistent, as recounted by Brad Isaac,

He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day. But his advice was better than that. He had a gem of a leverage technique he used on himself and you can use it to motivate yourself — even when you don’t feel like it.

He then revealed a unique calendar system he was using to pressure himself to write.

Here’s how it worked.

He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.

He said for each day toat I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”

“Don’t break the chain.” He said again for emphasis.

Now there’s an iPhone application that lets you do exactly that — Streaks.

Streaks allows you to set up multiple calendars to track whatever task you want to continuously maintain, such as exercising, writing to your blog, professional development, etc. The settings allow you to specify the frequency of the task (every day, every three days, weekly, etc.) as well as what days you want to skip.

Using the app is as simple as selecting a particular calendar and marking the day with the red x. To move to the next calendar, you simply swipe the screen up (which is a bit counter-intuitive at first).

The app shows your longest streak of your primary calendar as a icon badge, and you can also get more detailed statistics on streaks for each calendar.

Streaks Calendar View Streaks Stats View

I think this is a great app to help with those “slight edge” activities that are important to do, but easy to skip. Of course, you’ll have to get into the habit of launching the app on a daily basis for this to work, but it still might be easier and more convenient than having a wall calendar.

17 June 2010 0 Comments

WordPress 3.0

I just upgraded to WordPress 3.0. There wasn’t a whole lot that got my attention in this new release. But, the ability to create custom post types will definitely be helpful as I expand the content on the site.


16 June 2010 0 Comments

Maps Preview in Gmail

Gmail has added new functionality that inserts an interactive map into any email you receive that includes an address.

You need to enable this feature from the “Labs” page of Gmail (the green beaker in the upper right of the page).

Once you have it enabled, you’ll get a expandable link at the bottom of your email that includes maps for each address contained in the email.

Gmail Maps

You can expand the map within your email or open into a new window as a full-fledged google map.

Note: I picked up this tip from my all-time favorite podcast, “This Week In Google.”


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13 June 2010 0 Comments

Google Wave On Your Smartphone

MicroWaveI love Google Wave. No doubt, it will take some time to catch on. If you grew up with the e-mail paradigm, chances are you’ll struggle with Wave. It’s a whole different way to think about communication.

I often use Wave to create documents I know will build over time. An example would be a reference document for SEO best practices I come across. Certainly, Wave would be more effective if I were using it collaboratively to build these types of documents. Unfortunately, it’s currently a lonely world for Wave users.

While researching ways to embed a Wave into a WordPress blog (which I won’t  be doing in the near future), I stumbled across MicroWave. It is a tiny, mobile-friendly Google Wave client. It allows you to quickly and easily access your Wave information on your smartphone, which can really come in handy.

If you Wave, you’ll surely find it useful.


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