Top 20 reflections on 2013: A Blogger’s Retrospective

blogging,funny,

  • 2013 Regrets? Zero.
  • Take any 2013 posts back? No. (But I do grimace at a few.)
  • 2014 Goals (Resolutions)? None.  Marching forward headlong.
  • Blogging Challenges? Staying fresh. (Not good enough. This one feels tired. Who cares?)
  • Grateful for? Followers, Likes, Comments, Engagement, Community. Re-blogs.
  • Secret for finding High Quality Content? (1) Read. (2) A silent partner(s). (Thank you.)
  • Wish I Had More Time for? Reading and writing. (Especially Reading)
  • Few words leaving deep tracks? “Lately, I’ve been leaning toward kindness.” (Gillian Flynn)
  • Best blogging platform? WordPress. (Can it get any easier?)
  • Request for WordPress? Make customizing blog design easier. Enhance Search Function.
  • Best writing aids/apps? For me (an amateur): All a waste of time and money. Skip them.
  • #1 Blogging App? Evernote. For clipping, storing, saving, composing, everything.
  • Most useful Utility Apps? 1password. TextExpander. Snagit. Dropbox. Alfred.
  • Most critical Reading/Content apps? Feedly. Mr. Reader. Tumblr. Pocket.
  • Best blogs to follow? Authentic. High quality writing and/or content. Succinct.
  • Wish I knew how to? Photoshop images. Understand Adobe. (No time. Zero competency.)
  • Mac vs. PC? Mac/iPad/iPhone wins hands down. Syncing and stability worth price premium.
  • Google Chrome vs. Safari (for Mac Users)? Moved to Safari for integration/syncing.
  • Niggling Nuisances? Spam. Self-linking. Guest blogger requests unrelated to blog theme.
  • Why Blog? Why not?

Related Posts: Two Years and Counting

Image Credit.  Note: “Got Blog” is a spin-off from the “Got Milk” advertising campaign.

There’s only one lady I dance with…

And given that I don’t dance, this is saying something.  (I watched Dancing With The Stars last night so dancing is on the mind.)  I’ve tried them all.  Safari.  Firebox. Internet Explorer.  And others.  The Google Chrome Browser is simply in a league of its own.  Nothing comes close.  Here’s a quick review of why it works for me and why you might find it helpful as a blogger, writer or a PC/Mac desktop/laptop user:

Syncing.  It follows me where ever I go.  I log in on any computer and bang!  There are all my tabs, extensions and folders.  It’s like I never leave my favorite cozy couch and comforter.  It syncs across all computers.  I have immediate access to all of my tabs and extensions from any machine.  I can get started immediately without interruption.

Tabs: Tabs are Tabtastic as a PC Magazine’s review describes them.  I can set frequently-used tabs that I can click to access sites immediately.  I can park less frequently used sites into folders.  All easy to set up and access.

Extensions.  These are BIG.  I use them often.  You can hang free productivity apps from the browser (and they follow me on all machines).  There is a simple download process from the Google WebStore.  There are hundreds of apps.  My favorite 1-click extensions are the Evernote clipper (stores articles, jot notes, clip articles for sharing); Diigo (for quick bookmarking and highlighting); 1Password (password setting, storage and auto login – because who can remember all of their passwords? This works great);  Addthis (for sharing via email, twitter, tumblr, facebook and many others);  Chrome Notepad (handy, simple note taking app that I use all the time) and Readability (save articles to read later online or offline and syncs to Ipads and Iphones.  Works beautifully.) [Read more…]

Emails and Files: Searching. Searching. Searching. Never Finding. Frustrated?

I’m a pack rat with emails and files.  Current count: 287,658 going back more than 10 years.  (That’s a topic for another day.)  If you use Microsoft Outlook as your core email software program and if you spend any amount of time searching for documents, files or emails, a software solution is a must-have addition to your efficiency arsenal.   I have tried manual solutions (see Cro-Magnon Man Method below) and a significant number of software solutions.  I’ve used X1 for over 5 years now.  I use it multiple times daily and it is an indispensable productivity and efficiency tool for me.

  1. DK’s Cro-Magnon Man Method:  I created a number of specific folders in outlook.  Then I would drag and drop. Sounds good but Folders bulge with emails.  Then need to be archived.  WAY too slow.  Archaic.  For-getta-about-it.
  2. Google Desktop:  Used older version.  Free is good.  Didn’t search Outlook emails. Too messy.  Believe they may have discontinued Desktop.  Source: Google Desktop
  3. Lookeen.  Price at ~ $30 is reasonable.  It works.  But couldn’t handle the vast emails that I had in various PSTs.  Good basic solution.  Source: Lookeen
  4. Outlook’s Built-in Email Search:  Free is good.  Integrated into Outlook.  Doesn’t index old archived files in PSTs.  Slows down Outlook.  Source: Microsoft Outlook
  5. Xobni:  The new kid on the block.  Social network connections blocked by corporate firewalls.  Slows down outlook.  Interesting eye candy information – much of it not useful to me.  Source: Xobni.com
  6.  X1: Winner by a landslide. $49.95. Lightning fast. Fully integrated with Outlook. Indexes every word in every email and every file – finds files and emails as fast as you can type.  Indexes all archived files.  Handles email and file tonnage with ease.  Can search by sender, receiver, file type, keyword.  You can open, delete, print,email and drag and drop files directly from X1.  Terrific, clean interface.  Source: x1.com

One word of warning.  If you can’t remember keywords or file names or something unique to tie you to the search, no software will help you with memory recall.  And if you are searching using a common word or name, you can get hundreds of search results that you’ll have to wade through.  (For example, if I was searching for an email with the word “soup” in it, X1 returns 350 emails with the word “soup” in it. I used Soup as the name of a newsletter a few years back.  You would need to either scan all of the emails or simply add another search parameter to chop it down.  If I added a sender (me) and a recipient (Jack Smith), this would reduce the email count to < 5).

If you have a better email/file search system or program, I would be keenly interested in hearing about it.

Image Sources: X1 & Tangle-Tree-Interiors