Tuesday, November 18, 2008
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Springpad Helps You Get Things Done

Springpad is a web-based life organizer built around a system of virtual notebooks. These notebooks, or springpads as they are referred to, are highly interactive. You can create task lists, add and edit notes, create calendar events, and tag every item for easy searching and list generation. Everything in Springpad can be dragged and moved both within and between the notebooks. Accessing related but scattered data is easy. For example, if you tag items that need to be purchased for your various projects within their special notebooks you can pull all the items tagged as purchases together into a master shopping list. Intelligent use of tags is one of Springpad’s strong points, allowing you a higher level of interaction with your data than most traditional task managers. For an overview of Springpad’s interface check out this demonstration video from their site:

Hot Corners Adds Actions To Desktop Corners

Windows only: Hot Corners, a free utility for Windows desktops, adds the “hot corners” abilities of OS X’s Expose system to any Windows desktop. The system tray utility can assign actions like minimizing all windows, locking a system, showing the My Documents folder, and others to any corner of the screen you run your cursor into. There’s also a “Mouse Move” feature for those who’d like fewer accidental actions which requires holding the Windows and X keys while dragging the cursor before acting. While it lacks the full-fledged Mac-cloning features of DExposE2, it’s pretty handy for being so small. Hot Corners is a free download for Windows systems only. Hot Corners [via gHacks]

Get 3D Compositing Effects In Linux Without Compiz

If you’d like to use desktop apps or features that require a 3-D compositing manager but lack the hardware power (or patience) to enable Compiz effects, the Tombuntu blog points out that the standard Metacity window manager can fit the bill. As noted, enabling metacity’s compositing gives you just a few effects—mostly window previews on Alt+Tab switching, drop shadows, and window movement smoothing—and relies only on the CPU for power, so nearly any graphics card can use apps like the OS X-style Avant Window Navigator. To enable Metacity’s built-in composite manager on most any modern GNOME-based Linux distro, open the gconf-editor tool (by launching with Alt+F2 or through a terminal), head to apps->metacity->general, and enable the “compositing_manager” option. Hit the link below for a command line switch you can script or shortcut to turn compositing on and off.

Metacity Compositing Effects in Ubuntu 8.10 [Tombuntu]

Free Graphics To Promote Your Twitter Presence

TwiTip rounds up 181 graphics designed to promote your Twitter identity on your Web site, your email signature, or anywhere else you fancy pointing out that you tweet and you’re proud of it. (A depressing number do feature birds though.) 181 Free Twitter Buttons, Badges, Widget and Counters to Help You Find Followers [TwiTip]

20 Cliches To Avoid (At All Costs)

The BBC News Magazine rounds up 20 loathsome cliches — a good blacklist to keep handy when you’re trying to tighten up your own writing. Actually, to be fair, I’m not being funny but you know by the end of play today you could touch base with the team and, let’s face it, roll out a raft of proposals to ensure communication is 110% going forward with these initiatives in the pipeline. Can’t get your head around that? Basically, the fact of the matter is, to be honest, you can’t just talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk — the reason being that way, lessons will be learned.

20 of your most hated cliches

Vodafone BlackBerry Storm Plans To Feature Unlimited Browsing

When Vodafone starts selling the touch-screen BlackBerry Storm on December 1, the plans will include a feature that’s common overseas but rare down under: unlimited access to email and Web browsing on the devices, with monthly plans starting from $69. There are still a couple of limitations: you have to use the built-in BlackBerry browser (so no Opera options), streaming video isn’t included, and you can’t download individual files bigger than 3M without incurring excess usage charges. Nonetheless, it’s a nice change from the complex range of data plans that have characterised the iPhone and other smart phones. Now if only they’d roll the same plan onto the more productive BlackBerry Bold . . .


Gizmodo AU Editor Finally Gets Organised

Nick Broughall, editor of Lifehacker’s sibling site Gizmodo AU, had an organisational epiphany last week (clearly, he should have been spending more time here at Lifehacker) and decided to adopt Things and his iPhone as the centrepiece of a new getting-stuff-done approach. What’s notable about Nick’s conversion is that it came about after a seminar about how to get more efficient using a BlackBerry and Outlook, which proves yet again that technology is not really key to an organised life: it’s making the decision to commit to a process and then sticking to it. Read the full post for how Nick’s currently managing his working life; we might check back in a few weeks and see how well the system has stuck. How I Organised My Workload And Emptied My Inbox

Lorem 2 Offers Text Samples For Copy And Paste

If you’ve ever mocked up a web page, print publication or set of presentation slides for a project but didn’t have any copy text yet, visit Lorem 2. Graphic designers and typographers have long used a stock set of Latin gibberish commonly referred to as “Lorem ipsum” to mock up projects, evaluate layouts and preview typefaces before any text had been provided by a copywriter or client. What sets Lorem 2 apart is that it provides samples of text for short paragraphs, long paragraphs, short list items and long list items so that you get a better sense of where text will break in your layout and change the size of columns or fonts accordingly—and it’s just one click away once bookmarked in a browser. Microsoft Word will also generate sample text for you. For you pixel-pushers out there, what’s your favourite way to generate placeholder text? Lorem 2 [via Delicious]

Which Mobile Devices Are Getting Flash-Happy?

We noted earlier today that Flash is coming to Windows Mobile and Android, but for other platforms, the reality is a little more complicated. As I report in an article for APC, while Adobe maintains that work continues with Apple on building a Flash implementation for the iPhone, the BlackBerry has been put in the too-hard basket because of the “code it in Java” requirement. At least there’s a technical reason in that case. I can’t help suspecting Apple’s holdout is because a flash-enabled iPhone would open up a world of applications which it couldn’t control through the AppStore.

Adobe explains: Why there’s no Flash on iPhone or BlackBerry [APC]

Create An MP3 Mix From The Command Line

Windows only: Looking for a way to create a mix of MP3 files to send to your crush but aren’t sure what playlist format their media player supports or whether or not they’d know how to unzip a folder of individual tracks? Check out this tip using the Command Prompt interface in Windows:

Only one line of code is needed to join multiple mp3 files: copy /b *.mp3 c:\new.mp3

The /b modifier is the trick, with the asterisk playing a wildcard to catch all files in a directory. To choose invidividual files, list the filenames separated by the + symbol. Yes, the conjoined files aren’t easily separated and the recipient won’t be able to skip from track to track. But it’s super-fast to do, will play reliably in almost any environment and the listener is forced to think about the emotional arc the music describes—which, after all, is the whole art and science of music mix creation for those of us who remember the 80s. Any readers out there know a similar trick for Macintosh or Linux?

Join Mp3 From The Command Line [gHacks]

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