Tag Archives: organization

Get Ready for Gmail Revamp – New Inbox on Desktop and Mobile Gmail Coming

Google has been doing some major updating as of late to try and make it all work together. Gmail is one of those items that is getting a revamp. Today on the Official Gmail Blog, Product Manager Itamar Gilad announced the new features of this version to Gmail.

From the Gmail Blog: We get a lot of different types of email: messages from friends, social notifications, deals and offers, confirmations and receipts, and more. All of these emails can compete for our attention and make it harder to focus on the things we need to get done. Sometimes it feels like our inboxes are controlling us, rather than the other way around.

The new Gmail inbox will include tabs to organize different emails. Inbox groups (as Google calls it) will organize mail into categorized tabs. So spammy posts can go to an “Offers” tab and friends can be put into another tab.


The mobile version of Gmail will also have this option. You will need to download from Google Play or Apple iOS App Store to get these features.

If you don’t like the new inbox, simply switch it off and it goes away.

This feature is rolling out slowly. When you get the new feature, you will see a “Configure Inbox” option in the settings (the gear icon on the top-right).

The Neat Digital Filing System

The Neat digital filing system helps you organize your receipts and documents. It is a full system including both software and a hardware scanner. There are a number of ways you can get the information into the Neat system. You can scan the information in. You can email digital receipts using your Neat email address. You can use the Neat app on your iPhone or android phone and take a picture of the receipt and upload it to the Neat Cloud. If you want you can send a box of receipts to Neat and they will process them for you. The Neat system allows you to categorize and organize the information for tax purposes. It is fully searchable and with extended search it will also search such apps as Evernote and Dropbox. You can export the information and save it to PDF and you can also share the information.

The Neat mobile scanner is $199.95 and the desktop scanner is $399.95. There is a monthly fee for the service which starts at $5.99 for the basic service. If you are trying to go paperless and get organizer Neat maybe exactly what you need.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network and by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor.

Getting Organized with Workflowy

I have trouble organizing my thoughts, when working on a project or a blog post. For this reason, I have been looking for a good organization tool for a while. I want something that is easy to use, and is available on multiple devices and platforms including the desktop, iOs and Android. I also didn’t want to have to spend a lot of money for it.

I have tried various organization applications including iThoughts HD. The Index Card App and Circus Ponies Notebook.  They are all good applications and for some people they work great, but I found a problem with all of them. iThoughts HD which is a mind mapping tool is an excellent mind mapping tool, however I have trouble getting my mind around the idea of mind mapping. I keep thinking I am doing it wrong and I end up spending more time trying to fix the mind map rather than actually writing. Then I decided to use what I had used in school when writing a report, index cards which again worked well. However after using the application for a while I remembered that I don’t like using index cards. Finally there is Circus Ponies Notebook it is great for large projects, like planning a trip. However it is overkill for doing simple outlining also it is expensive $49.95 for the Desktop app and another $29.95 for the iPad app.

Then I found Workflowy. Workflowy is a web application, so it is available on any platform as long as you have internet access. It is simple to use just start writing.  To indent just hit the tab. To outdent hit shift-tab or enter on an empty line. If you want to add a note hit shift enter. You can move a line around by either hitting control shift and then the proper arrow or by using the indicator at the end of the line. You can expand and collapse and search your notes. You can also add tags including # for items and @for people. To share you can either do it by a secret url you are given or if you have a pro account you can send it to an email address. When you share you can say if you want the person you are sharing with to be able to just view the document or be allowed to edit it. Changes they make in a workflow will show up in your template. If someone shares a workflow with you it will be embed in your home “folder” but you can move it any where. To create a “folder” you create a parent title and then indent titles underneath that fit under that parent title. The video What if you want multiple WorkFlowy Documents shows an example.
A Pro Account cost $4.99 a month or $49.00 a year and allows:

  • automatic backup to Dropbox
  • unlimited number of list (non-pro accounts are limited to 500 a month)
  • The ability to customize the look.

I like Workflowy however it does have some downsides it is online only so you must have an internet connection. I did find that some of the keyboard shortcuts interfered with ones that were default system shortcuts within Mountain Lion. There is no ability to add a due date to a workflow. I recommend trying Workflowy for at least a week, I think you will be using it for a lot longer.

iMicroData new Filing System

iMicroData If you’ve worked in an industry or government agency that is required to keep a lot of paper work. You know how difficult it is some times to find a folder and how often they are misfiled. iMicroData is introducing a new system which uses a systems of RFID tags and integrated circuits to enable users to locate folders quickly by title or keyword. The standard filing cabinet is modified electronically. The rails along the inside of the file cabinets are used to conduct both power and information. Each folder will have a conductive contact installed on the tab that sits on the rail and an integrated circuits and a led light installed along the top. There is a motherboard installed in the cabinet, which generates the system address of a given folder. When you want to search for a folder you go to the application on a computer, input in the keyword or title for folder and the file cabinet where that folder is will light up. Once you open up the cabinet up the correct folder will light up.

The system can handle up to 5300 cabinets or about 530,000 files. They are still establishing pricing but are looking at about $800 per three drawer file cabinet with folders included. Extra folders are expected to cost between $1.50 and $2.00. For more information about the product at the ImicroData Web site. This the type of product where a company can start small and build up overtime. There is a high initial cost, but overtime it can save a lot of money in man hours.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net 

Anonymous Plans November 5th Facebook Attack – Needs to be Stopped

The following message showed up on YouTube. I have transcribed:

Attention citizens of the world. We are anonymous. We wish to get your attention hoping you heed the warnings as follows. Your medium of communication that you all so dearly adore will be destroyed. If you are a willing activist, or a guy who just wants to protect the freedom of information, then join the cause and kill Facebook for the sake of your own privacy. Facebook has been selling information to government agencies and giving clandestine access to information security firms so they can spy on people from all around the world.

Some of these so-called “White hot infosec” firms are working for a formatarian governments such as those of Egypt and Seria. Everything you do on Facebook stays on Facebook regardless of your “Privacy” settings and deleting your account is impossible – even if you delete your account all your personal info stays on Facebook and can be recovered at any time.

Changing the privacy settings to make your Facebook account more private is even a dilusion. Facebook knows more about you than your family. You cannot hide from the reality in which you – the people of the internet – live in facebook – is the opposite of the anti-sec cause.

You’re not safe from them nor any government.

One day you will look back on this and realize what we have done here is right. Think for a while and prepare for a day that will go down in history.
November 5th 2011. We are anonymous. We are legion. We do not forgive, we do not forget. Expect us.

Why Nov 5th, 2011?

Guy Fawkes Mask
Guy Fawkes Mask

This is Guy Fawkes Day, which commemorates when Fawkes and others placed explosives under the British House of Lords in 1605. Fawkes is the mask Anonymous wears. Therefore, they chose this date to bring a social network down.

Joke or Reality?

That is tough to say. Anonymous is an established group, so the attempt can be taken a little more serious. Since we don’t know who makes up this group, it makes this harder to determine. For all we know, several of the members used to work for Facebook. Possibly even a programmer that might have created a secure back door to initiate this attack.

Bottom Line: This Needs to be Stopped!

This is a terrorist action and Anonymous should be treated as such. There is a famous term that most of us take to heart – We shall not succumb to terrorist threat. Violence does not beget violence.

If Facebook is doing what Anonymous says, then they need to be prosecuted in a court of law. No one group gets to decide their fate.

What will be next? Google+? Twitter? Your website?

Zero Tollerance – FBI Needs to Get Involved.

Think about it – You take down a giant in Facebook like that and it has a major economic effect. People build business around Facebook and with the site forcefully taken down like that, people can literally lose millions. Bringing in a new financial crisis to an already unstable economy.

We do not know how this organization will bring Facebook down – and that is the most important part. We assume that it’s going to be something like a DDoS or major virus. What if it’s a physical attack on their server farms or offices?

Remember: Guy Fawkes Organization used explosives to take down the British House of Lords.

This is not the way to do it. With these actions, Anonymous might find that they are protecting the one thing they want to bring down. A threat is a threat, whether a joke or not.

Facebook has many protocols in place to prevent such an attack. I would suggest, however, that Facebook change some policy and review their systems just to make sure there is no back door. Then make sure they have security in place on November 5th.

This is never something you should joke about. I hope they take Anonymous down. Period.

My New “PDA”

My New PDA
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by technology and need to unplug yourself? I know I do. I have stuff stored in my cell phone, on my laptop, in an online calendar, and on a clipboard. The bad thing is I have a hard time finding what I need when I need it. It seems like I have all the tools to be organized but the tools themselves become clutter. An example is a simple list of oil & fuel filters I use for all our vehicles. I have it on a piece of paper (somewhere), in my phone (when I can find it), & on my email application. But when it is time to buy the filters I have a hard time getting to the information I need. So last week I de cluttered a lot of stuff. Some crap went on ebay but more went in the trash. Then I went to the Dollar General store in town & picked up my new PDA….. a 3×5 inch spiral note pad (Personal Declutter Assistant). Everything that I need to schedule immediately or remember I write down in this little book and I keep it with me all the time. I also use a pencil with an eraser to write with, something I never used to use except in school. I can hear the giggles coming across the bandwidth as you read this. I used to make fun of older guys carrying notepads with 3 inch pencils but you know what they had very organized & “clean” lives. I am not getting rid of my gadgets or downing technology. I am just cleaning up the life a bit.

The greatest example of this simple lifestyle was when I was right out of high school in 1992 -1993. I was working at a automobile distribution center. We had to purchase our own tools so two different tool companies came around weekly, a Mac Tools guy & the Snap On guy. The Snap On guy was younger with a computer on the truck and some kind of hand held device to enter information. This was the early nineties so high tech is a relative term! The Mac Tool guy was an older gentleman with …… a small notepad and a pencil. Can you guess which one was more successful (at least in my workplace)? The Snap On guy was not there some weeks and rarely had the tool you needed and you had to wait longer to get it. The Mac man was always there every week & usually had what you needed and if not he would get it the very next week. Now if we reversed the guys & tools I think the older guy would have still been more organized. So it really is an attitude & life philosophy more than a tech or non tech thing. I think that we just let our brains get scattered with too many devices to store too much information.