Tagged With emailmanagement

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Windows only: Create, save and play back YouTube playlists (they're even saved in classic Winamp M3U format) in your Firefox sidebar with Windows-only extension YouPlayer. After you install the extension, just open your YouPlayer sidebar to get started. From YouTube, you can drag and drop any video url from YouTube (like the search results page) and it's instantly added to your playlist. Of course YouTube has got its own built-in playlist feature, but with the YouPlayer extension it's easy to search YouTube and build playlists on-the-fly while videos are playing in the sidebar—making this ideal for building music playlists from YouTube. YouPlayer is free to download, currently Windows-only.
YouPlayer

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Anyone paying attention out there in the productoblogosphere knows that every week, there's a new web application that helps you keep your to-do list. But which ones are you actually using to, you know, actually do things? After the jump, cast your vote for your favourite web-based to-do manager.

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Windows only: Clean up and organise your Windows Start menu with free, open source application SMOz (Start Menu Organizer). With SMOz you can arrange your Start menu content by category through a simple, Windows Explorer-like interface. If you're not sure where to get started, try using one of the automated templates, which will move recognised applications (like iTunes) into pre-defined categories (like Multimedia). Granted, fewer and fewer of us still rely on the Start menu since the proliferation of application launchers like Launchy, but if you still prefer the old point and click of the Start menu, SMOz is an excellent tool to clean up the mess. SMOz is a free application, Windows only.
SMOz

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If you've ever scratched your head at dress code jargon for interviews or business meetings and still don't know the difference between "business casual" and "semi-formal," worry no longer: web site Dress Code Guide recommends all the appropriate articles of clothing for different situations. For example, if you're a male and need to know what counts as "business casual" garb, the site suggests a collared shirt with an optional jacket or tie, high quality pants and dark leather shoes. The guide suggests women wear pressed white blouses, knee-length skirts or slacks and closed-toe shoes (does this seem a touch archaic?). Dress codes can be difficult to nail down since they're ultimately very subjective, so share your interpretations of the casual to formal gamut in the comments.
Dress Code Guide

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When negotiating your fee for a job with a potential business client, it can be tricky to come up with a reasonable estimate. Web Worker Daily suggests that you estimate your numbers from small to large: Estimate in inch-pebbles, not milestones. When you're faced with a large piece of work to estimate, don't try to come up with a single number to cover the entire job all at once. Break it down into pieces, and then break those pieces down into pieces until the pieces are small enough that you can see how you would do each one and put a number on them.If you regularly estimate your costs for a potential job, please share your best tips for doing so in the comments.
Estimating Basics

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You can head down to your local stereo store and get fleeced for about $150 (or more) to buy a good pair of noise reduction headphones; or you can watch this video demonstration from Metacafe on how to hack your very own noise reducing headphone set for around $20. You can find the headphones that the video talks about at any home improvement store—all together, this simple DIY project takes about five minutes (not counting your visit to the store). Definitely worth a try, especially since these things are so dang expensive.
Headphone Hack! Make You Own Noise Eliminating Headset! Video

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You might be worried about your boss reading your email (it happens). You can't necessarily stop this practice, but you can at least prevent Big Brother from accessing the links that you include in your email by using HideLinks. HideLinks is a free service that operates much like TinyURL in that it shortens long internet addresses; however, it goes one step farther and lets you password-protect links as well. Of course, you'll have to figure out a way to get the password to your email friend—obviously, including it in the body of your encrypted super email sort of defeats the whole purpose. HideLinks

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The CyberNet weblog details a reliable Windows standard: How to map an FTP drive in Windows Explorer using the Map Network Drive dialog. It's a very simple process provided you've already either got a hosted FTP server or set one up yourself, and when you're finished you'll be able to access your remote FTP server like you're browsing any other drive on your computer. The one thing you won't get is the ability to mount the FTP site with a drive letter that shows up in My Computer, so if you need that for some reason you might want to try out NetDrive instead. If not, this is a very simple, useful solution.
CyberNotes: Map a FTP to a Drive in Windows

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Learn to accept criticism—no matter how harsh—with aplomb by following tips from weblog Zen Habits. For example:Thank the CriticEven if someone is harsh and rude, thank them. They might have been having a bad day, or maybe they're just a negative person in general. But even so, your attitude of gratitude will probably catch them off-guard.I don't know how many times I've fielded extremely negative criticisms sent to the Lifehacker inbox with a "Thank you" and then received an apology. Of course, not all criticism is unfounded, and the post discusses how to handle the ego blow that comes with a critique and how to work toward improving where the criticism is valid. Let's hear how you handle criticism in the comments. Photo by Zara-Jay.
How to Accept Criticism with Grace and Appreciation

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Wired magazine profiles productivity guru David Allen and offers a good summary of his Getting Things Done system, its history, and some great quotes from The David. First, for folks who say GTD is too complex:realises that his system can be difficult and that he's often accused of going overboard with elaborate schemes. He responds with a shrug. "Look, the workings of an automatic transmission are more complicated than a manual transmission," he says. "To simplify a complex event, you need a complex system." The people willing to take on that complex system? They're the ones who know they need help and are trying to improve.

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The Freelance Switch had a really interesting piece on freelance networking and "co-working" today. Matt Soniak interviewed Jason Hillman on the development of a freelance network which now operates from a central office in Philadelphia called "Independents Hall":

"On September 1, Philadelphia’s first dedicated co-working opened its doors for business. Picture the hippest coffee shop you know. Now add broadband internet, a kitchenette, a shower, an air hockey table, a conference room, a mini-fridge for your beer, your own workspace and a handful of other like-minded creative folks. That’s Independents Hall. On one level, it’s a community of freelancers interested in getting out of the house while still independently doing what they love to do, as well as meeting, supporting and encouraging others like them. On another level, it’s a physical place for this community to do all that and more."

I read about it this morning, felt really inspired and mailed off a link to a freelance writers mailing list I read. Then I noticed on the Whirlpool forums that a few readers over there had been similarly enthused. Thought it was worth sharing with Lifehacker, since it tackles a few of the thorny issues of freelance working - namely, how do you network with others in your profession, how do you promote your own business and stay abreast with potential business partners, and how can you afford office space while freelancing if you don't wish to work from home.

Independents Hall

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Windows only: Freeware application Foldr Monitr watches any user-defined folder and automatically uploads any new photos to your Flickr account. After installing the program and authenticating with Flickr, just select the folder you want to monitor and that's that. If you've set Foldr Monitr to start with Windows and point it to your main photo folder, the app will automatically back up all of your new pics to Flickr as soon as they hit your hard drive. I hacked together a similar solution for automatic folder monitoring and uploading to Flickr that works across platforms, but this freeware, Windows-only solution brings a much friendlier user interface and many more advanced options to the process.
Flickr Foldr Monitr

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Mobile web start page Paged Mobile provides shorthand web navigation from their mobile start page. From its short URL (http://pa.gd/) to its web URL shorthand (which generally uses the first four letters of a URL followed by the last), most popular shortcuts on Paged only require four keystrokes. For example, you can navigate to Lifehacker by entering lifr, or Remember the Milk with remk. In addition, Paged Mobile employs YubNub web command line-like operators and shortcuts, so you can search Wikipedia by typing .wp Lifehacker (searches Wikipedia for Lifehacker). Granted, you've probably already got a lot of your favourites bookmarked in your mobile browser anyway, but Paged Mobile's simple shorthand makes it a very useful mobile start page.
Paged mobile

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Blogger Dumb Little Man says that being ambidextrous with the mouse can increase your brain power: By switching the side of your mouse-pad you will force yourself to use your non-dominant hand. This, in turn, will stimulate the neural connections between the right and left hemispheres on your brain. Scientific research confirmed that people that use both hands equally have 10% more nerve fibers joining the two sides of the brain. Mousing "goofy" can also help you stop RSI. Here's how to train yourself to mouse with the other hand.
3 Easy Ways to Improve Your Brain Power

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The Age has written up a Vodafone offer giving a year of free GPS to new subscribers to its Vodafone Compass GPS service.
The service, only available on the Blackberry Curve 8310 handset, is free if you sign up before 1 December 2007. The normal charges are $2.50 per 24 hour pass, $8 per month or $79 per year.
Details of the Vodafone offer are here.
The Age article says Vodafone will offer the Compass service on more handsets by Christmas.
Telstra offers its Whereis navigation service for $15 a month on the Blackberry 8800.
I have to admit I'm a bit of a GPS novice. I've tried and liked the Tom Tom, but not used any mobile phone equivalents. I have to admit I like the idea of being able to use the phone GPS to avoid having to have a standalone GPS gadget, so I'd be interested to hear from users who've tried mobile phone GPS.

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Windows only: Customise or clean out your cluttered right-click shell menu with freeware application ShellExView. Once you run the lightweight executable, you can edit any existing entry in your right-click menu spanning contexts from normal Windows Explorer menus to Internet Explorer-specific menus. The program could be more user-friendly, but it's very effective. For example, if you've got a heavy right-click menu from apps you don't need access to from your right-click, just run ShellExView, do a Ctrl-F search for the name of the program or entry, and disable it. Right-click again and it's no longer there. ShellExView is an effective freeware utility, Windows only. For a more user-friendly alternative, check out FileMenu Tools. Thanks Yoav!
ShellExView

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Store-bought playdough is stinky and dries out really quickly - but you can get around that with Instructables' easy recipe for homemade, non-toxic playdough.
This is an easy recipe that you can customise with your own colours; plus, it's easily rejuvenated if it gets a little dry with just a little water kneaded in.How to Make Playdough (Play-doh)