No matter how digital your life, your doctors, sports clubs, and children’s teachers won’t be at the same level. A “Central Home Binder” is a convenient, centralised way to keep all your life’s paper together. Sue at the Unclutterer blog uses a simple binder with a plastic cover to keep her family’s paperwork in one location—right next to the cookbooks, in fact. Here’s her other equipment and basic tab setup:
The Categories (one per binder tab): Contacts Health & Fitness Food House Travel
The Tools: Simple Binder Tabs Plastic Pockets for In Between Tabs
As the author notes, even if you’re a devotee of your digital address book, unnecessary or occasional phone numbers, like phone trees for children’s groups and events, fit nicely into the “Contacts” tab, while the rest are self-explanatory. Creating a Central Binder for Your Home [Unclutterer]
A tech site noted for getting its Microsoft leaks right has posted details of a Windows 7 upgrade program, which would give buyers of the higher-end Vista versions a free copy of the new OS. According to Tech ARP’s details, pulled from a document sent to computer manufacturers in early December, a consumer who buys a copy of Windows Vista Ultimate, Business, or Home Premium on or after July 1, 2009, through Jan. 31, 2010, could obtain a free upgrade to Windows 7. Those dates can be shortened or modified by the manufacturers themselves, but Microsoft, in its Technical Guarantee Program, seems fairly set upon July 1 as a start date. And if the documents are right, Vista upgraders will get the equivalent copy of Windows 7 for free—Windows Vista Home Premium goes to Windows 7 Home Premium, Ultimate to Ultimate, and so on It’s not an entirely new program for Microsoft to offer free upgrades within a certain calendar radius of a new release, but it seems like a valuable bit of information for anyone reluctant to buy a new system because of Vista concerns—mid-year, in other words, might be a safer jump-in point. But check the fine print with any system maker before going ahead, of course. The Microsoft Windows 7 Upgrade Program [Tech ARP via Slashdot]
iPhone/iPod touch only: Flickr’s got a nice iPhone-optimised site, but the free Flickit application is its truest friend on an iPhone or iPod touch. Choosing, detailing, and uploading photos with Flickit is beautifully simple and convenient. After grabbing Flickit from iTunes and installing, you’ll have to give it credentials to access your Flickr account. Conveniently, it loads the Flickr authorization page within the Flickit frame, and then you simply hit “Done.” You then select whether you’re going to shoot directly for Flickr or pick from your screenshots/web grabs/synced library. You can then give each pic all the details you’d offer in a web-based upload—descriptions, tags, sets, even geographic location—and select multiple photos to be uploaded at once. It gives Flickr uploaders a bit more control over their uploads than most shoot-and-upload apps or hacks, and it all works to seamlessly get your photos online. Flickit is a free download for iPhones and iPod touch models running at least 2.0 firmware.Flickit [iTunes App Store via Just Another iPhone Blog]
Excel is loaded up with functions, but even changes like the Ribbon interface in recent releases don’t mean people find it easy to perform common tasks. Microsoft’s Inside Office Online blog has started a rundown of the most popular time-savers for Office (based on comments on existing posts). In the first batch, one for Excel stands out: how to convert rows to columns or vice versa using the Paste Special Transpose command. Hit the post for full details. Excel 2007 users will find Transpose under Paste in the Home tab. Convert columns to rows, or rows to columns [via Inside Office Online]
Since we posted about Cubees earlier this month, I’ve become mildly addicted to building these block-shaped paper characters. If you’re looking for a quirky extra.gift for your special someone on Valentine’s Day, try out the site’s 2009 project, The Love Machine. But do it properly — Cubees work much better on stiff card than plain old office paper. Cubeecraft
When you’re faced with a shiny new mobile phone or great sounding deal, the last thing you want to do is spend time checking over the details — but doing your research is still the best way to ensure you don’t get ripped off, as a recent decision by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) demonstrates.
Hotspot provider Tomizone — probably best-known to Lifehacker readers for offering free Wi-Fi to iPhone users last year — now claims to have Australia’s largest Wi-Fi network, with around 6,000 hotspots Australia-wide (up from 600 back in July) according to an analysis by Agitavi. Second place went to Telstra, with 1,450 locations. Tomizone largely relies on individuals and businesses reselling their own connection via the network, which means coverage in some areas will be patchy, but it’s a useful option to remember if you need Wi-Fi in a hurry and don’t want to leech. Tomizone
The long-discussed testing of ISP-level Internet filtering, with six companies taking part: Primus Telecommunications, Tech 2U, Webshield, OMNIconnect, Netforce and Highway 1. Primus is the largest of those, and the absence of top-tier ISPs (like Telstra, Optus or iiNet) has attracted much comment. A test involving smaller ISPs might not be very conclusive, but look on the bright side: it could go so badly that the plan gets abandoned altogether. We can only hope. Meanwhile, If you are using one of the participating ISPs and have opted in for testing, share your experience in the comments.
Windows only: Desktop wallpaper switching application Wallpaper Juggler not only chooses between random images—it also downloads beautiful desktop wallpaper for you. Using the application—which lives in your system tray—is simple, requiring first a quick trip to the preferences panel to add your local wallpaper folders, after which you can switch between wallpaper images using the Juggle Now option on the system tray menu, or use the automatic option to rotate to a new wallpaper on a set interval. The best feature of the application, though, is found in the Download Wallpapers option, which will automatically download high quality images from InterfaceLIFT and WallpaperStock web sites—and it will even grab the images that correctly fit your display resolution, making this a great tool worth a look for anybody looking to customise their desktop. Wallpaper Juggler is free and open source, requires no installation. For more high-quality images for your wallpaper needs, check out the best places to find multi-monitor wallpaper.Wallpaper Juggler [via WinVistaClub]
The Feed Reader gadget for Gmail displays items from any RSS feed in your inbox sidebar, giving you easy access to your most important feed. Adding the gadget requires first enabling the “Add any gadget” feature under the experimental Labs section of Gmail’s settings panel, which will add a