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Building a Smarter To-Do List, Part II

Building a Smarter To-Do List, Part II
Conclusion of our two-part series on improving the quality of your to-do list. Yesterday's post covered some basics and whys, the concept of the “next action,” and the importance of physicality. « Start with yesterday's “Building a Smarter To-Do List, Part I” Keep it Current While you can and probably should track more than one next action at a time for each project (these are all the things that can be done now), it's vital to differentiate a true next action from any of the garden-variety items that just need to be done at some point later. Now, now, now Avoid the trap of littering your horizon with piles of crufty pseudo-tasks that can't actually be addressed (or, almost as often, can't be addressed yet). Remember: you should theoretically be able to choose any item from your list and, given the proper tools and context, start on the task immediately. Trim, toss, and refactor Make a habit of pruning your list of completed, dead, and obviated tasks. Why Am I Doing This Task? Related stuff

Updating Excel from the Web, Excel Web Queries Too often, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets are updated through the laborious and tedious process of manually importing data from a website - or, worse yet, by cutting and pasting. Do you need get web data into an Excel spreadsheet? With iMacros, you can create a fully automated solution in just minutes. Do you know how to create and use Excel macros? iMacros for the web browser automates functions much like VBA macros automate functions within Excel. iMacros can also enter data from your Excel sheet into a web form. Why iMacros is the Best Choice for Excel Web Automation: iMacros integrates directly with Excel VBA, so there is no need to learn a new language to work with iMacros. How to connect iMacros and Excel - Software Demos Screenshot: Submit Excel data to a website Screenshot: Retrieve data from a website and import it directly into Excel More Excel Web Automation Tips People who use iMacros with Excel also appreciate these Features:

:: My Life Organized :: Task Manager Looking for a Task Manager? Every day many of us spend the time on urgent but low priority tasks while the most important tasks get put off until another day. Unfortunately, “another day” never seems to arrive. If you keep putting things off, you'll eventually wake up one day and realize life has passed you by. MyLifeOrganized software helps you to think and act differently – and doing things differently is the first step in digging yourself out of the procrastination rut. The main idea of MyLifeOrganized is to help you to plan and organize your time in such a way that you accomplish your most important goals as quickly as possible. One of the key advantages of MyLifeOrganized is that despite being a very powerful and sophisticated piece of software it is extremely easy for even the most novice computer users and the "feel" of the program is very lightweight. Case studies: Getting Things Done® (GTD®). Here is an example of how MyLifeOrganized can help you to achieve your goals:

Google Operating System Useful Google Bookmarklets I've always been a fan of bookmarklets, small pieces of JavaScript code saved as bookmarks in your browser. Often they provide features only available if you install a plug-in and they're pretty easy to backup. Here's a small list of bookmarks related to Google's services. zenFolders - zenFolders Your files. When and where you need them After the succesfull instalation of zenFolders, a new icon appears on the desktop. This is the root zenFolders. It does not contain any files, just some predefined folders for some of the most common searches. zenFolders can be browsed in Windows Explorer like any other folder. And like any other folder, they can have subfolders. Subfolders are created by right-clicking on the empty space in the list view on the right side of Windows Explorer and selecting "New Folder" option from the sub menu. A new subfolder appears waiting to be renamed. In this example, we've created a folder called "Astronomy". Now, we don't really need to see those ".js" and ".css" files, so we right-click on any of the ".js" files and select "Hide all '.js' files" from the popup menu. Similar to the "Hide all '.js' files", there's a command "Show only '.pdf' files". For those files we wish to see but somehow grouped together, there's the command "Move all '.jpg' files to 'jpg files' folder".

Tips for Google Reader Search While Google Reader's new search feature has many limitations and is still far from Bloglines, there are some features that help you find a post faster. 1. You have three ways to view search results: * snippet view, similar to the way Google displays web search results. * expanded view, that shows the full posts. * list view, which only shows the title of the post. 2. 3. For example: "has * * * new features" matches: "has just announced several new features", "has recently added two new features", "has released a few new features". 4. 5. Example: 6. / - add focus to the search boxTab - choose a folder or a feed to restrict your searchEnter - instead of clicking the Search button, press Enter Alternate between the three views: 1 (expanded view), 2 (list view), 3 (snippet view). To select the first search result, press j. Press Enter to read the full post and go back to the search results by pressing Enter again. 7. 8. 9.

Interclue - Clever Link Previews Interclue is a Firefox extension that adds more information about a link when you hover over it. It's not that annoying as the famous Snap tooltip and it certainly provides much more information about the page. As you can see in the screenshot above, you need to hover over a link, and then over the site's favicon that appears next to the link. Interclue shows a preview of the page that includes most of the actual content, a thumbnail, information about the last update, the number of words, links, images, a tag cloud with the most popular tags. But the most impressive thing is that all this data loads almost instantly and it's actually useful, especially when you want to judge the quality of a search result (including if it returns a server error). When the link points to a file (for example, a PDF), Interclue shows its file size and the last modified date, as reported by the web server.

Microsoft to integrate Windows Live tools into Visual Studio | I Microsoft is planning to add the ability to develop Windows Live applications to its Visual Studio toolkit as a way to build more of a developer base for its online services platform. The company is adding controls to Visual Studio 2008 that will allow developers to connect Windows Live services to new applications they're building, said Adam Sohn, a director in the Online Services Group at Microsoft. The company is currently testing the technology internally and may also include it in the current 2005 version of Visual Studio, but that is yet to be determined, he said. A public beta of the technology is expected in October or November, Sohn said. Details of the Windows Live toolkit first appeared online a public interview posted on the LiveSide blog with Angus Logan, a Microsoft technical program manager. direc.tor: Delivering A High-Performance AJAX Web Se June 20, 2005 What is it? direc.tor is a prototype for an alternative web-based rich UI for It leverages the XML and XSL services of modern browsers to deliver a responsive interface for managing user accounts with a large number of records. The main features are: In-browser handling of bookmarks (tested up to 12,000 records) Find-as-you-type searching of all your bookmarks, with basic search operators Sort by description, tags, or timestamp Ad-hoc tag browser How do I use it? Because of the restrictions on the browser, you'll need to load this using a Javascript bookmarklet. Create a bookmarklet by bookmarking the following link: Go to Launch the bookmark you just created while you are still on the page Login to, if prompted(Try the static demo if you don't have a account.) NOTE: This only works on Firefox and Internet Explorer. Supported operators direc.tor supports the following operators:

Hyperigo 15 Ways To Create Website Screenshots Taking screenshots of web sites is probably one of the most commonly done tasks on the internet - doubly so if you have a blog or work as a journalist. This week, we wrote about Thumbalizr, a service that lets you take screenshots of websites. However, there are several other tools for easy screenshot capturing - some standalone and some in the form of a browser plugin. Plugins Save as image - an aptly named Firefox plugin that lets you save a page, frame, or part of either as an image directly from Firefox. Pearl Crescent Page Saver - Save images of web pages in jpg or png format; save the entire page or just a portion of it, with the ability to automatically scale the image to a smaller size. Picnik for Firefox - if you use online image editor Picnik this Firefox plugin enables you to easily import a screenshot of the currently opened webpage into it. Snissa - simple Firefox plugin for taking web page screenshots. Screengrab! Standalone programs Paparazzi! Web based

FindSounds What is FindSounds? FindSounds is quite simply one of the most useful (and fun) sound search engines that I've come across. There are only a handful of dedicated sound search engines out there, and FindSounds is definitely the cream of the crop. What's different about FindSounds? FindSounds focuses only on sounds when crawling the Web, and is the "only Web search engine devoted to finding sound effects and musical instrument samples." You can find many different types of sound files on the Web using FindSounds, and you can narrow down exactly what kind of file you're looking for-file formats, number of channels, minimun sound resolution, minimum sample rate, and maximum file size are all available to customize right on the Findsounds home page. While most of these parameters probably wouldn't make any sense to the casual sound searcher (that's me included), serious sound searchers will appreciate the depth of sound searching they're able to accomplish with these. Find Sound Effects and More

Blist Prepares Easy Web-Based Database Application I recently had the opportunity to see a demo of a product coming out in early 2008 called Blist (pronounced like “bliss” with a “t” at the end) that will take on DabbleDB and Trackvia by giving users the tools to easily create and manage databases online. Blist’s initial target demographic will be Excel users who need more functionality and are trying to make their spreadsheets act like databases, but who don’t have the skills or tolerance to even use Access. Blist will not require users to know any SQL, the language commonly used for interacting with databases (in contrast, recently reviewed Zoho DB does require knowledge of SQL). The company behind Blist seeks to eventually replace traditional databases completely by making its product robust and appealing enough for database application developers as well. The end result: no more databases behind the firewall, since they all end up existing in the cloud. Blist’s plans are obviously ambitious.

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