Category Archives: web/html/tech

iphone app – to do list.

I’m terribly picky about certain things. My latest search involves finding the perfect to-do list app for my iPhone. I need something that is in a to-do list format with reminders (multiple), manual sorting and color coding.

Do you have any ideas?

Here are some I’ve either tried or planning to investigate:

  • 2Do
  • Daily Tasks (To Dos)
  • Eco.To.Do
  • eTodo
  • Evernote
  • Nubi Do
  • Put Things Off
  • reQall
  • SeizeTheDay
  • SmartTime 4
  • Springpad
  • Taska
  • Things
  • Today Todo
  • Todo
  • Toodledo
  • Week Calendar
  • YouDo

Please help!

oops …

Spell check has been failing me lately. Or perhaps it’s me that’s been failing spell check. Either way, this one gave me a good laugh and reminded me of a few other spell check mishaps. Today, my quick clicking had me change “.pdf” to “.puff.” Thankfully, my recipient will likely get a chuckle from it – otherwise, it’s embarrassing.

Reminds me of an oops that happened in college. I had a professor with the last name of Pomroy. Once again, my quick clicking got me in trouble, and my email was sent to Professor Poopy instead of Professor Pomroy. Seriously? Yes, it’s absolutely true. I’ll never forget it.

Note to self – slow down when going through the motions with spell check!

excel: conditional formatting

This would be me giving to you. Though it’s only a small piece of probably not-so-useful information, it’s sharing nonetheless. So Happy New Year, okay?

I love learning new things, and I especially like learning things that work for me and make my life easier. Such a thing happened this morning, and it was a beautiful moment. (Okay, maybe that’s just a bit over the top, but it was still fun!)

While I don’t live in Excel and am much more a graphics/creative type gal, I do have great appreciation for a well-designed spreadsheet or two. This morning, I was on a mission to get my spreadsheet working for me – you know, alerting me when things are different.

If you’re at all into “IF” statements in Excel, you know how much they rock. I wanted an “IF” statement that changed the font color when the value fell below zero … but that wasn’t meant to be through the use of an “IF” statement. A quick google search led me to the “Conditional Formatting …” option under the “Format” menu. Awesome! Here, you can set up several different conditions and resulting changes in the cell color, font formatting, and cell border. Awesome!

I ended up using two conditions – one that changed the font to red if the cell value dipped below zero, and a second that turned the cell orange with a white font if a value was missing.

Try it out – okay, not just for fun (Because it’s really not that fun.), but if you have the need! Get your work working for you!

social media @ work?

Do you use social networking sites at work? I’ll admit, maybe regrettably (The admission, not the use.), that I do.

This look at my use of social networking at work came after reading this article. If you’re at all interested in social media, marketing, human resources, or even business management, I recommend you read it. The author presents some interesting perspectives and quite a strong case for the use of social media in the workplace.

Personally, the majority of my social media use during business hours is instigated by a business need. Among other business uses, I am responsible for my organization’s Facebook page and make any updates and posts during business hours. I use LinkedIn to keep in contact with vendors, get news on upcoming events,  and to stay up to date on marketing and construction industry trends. I can honestly say that 75% or more of my Twitter stream is business related, and that’s nearly all I check on that particular site. I use Delicious to organize my business association links, vendor sites, and creative references and refer to them at least once a day. And yes, I check my RSS feed for blog updates throughout the day, again most of which are job related.

That’s not to say that I don’t stray to post the occasional personal comment on Facebook, breeze through the “parenting” category on my Twitter stream, or add a new link to my Delicious account. I do. However, my use of these sites is not excessive, and blocking them would only hinder my overall productivity.

My employer does not have a policy on social networking, and quite honestly, perhaps they should. It would likely be beneficial to define what is and is not appropriate and how employees should conduct themselves on these sites if acting on behalf of the organization – after all, I’m certain I’m not the only one here using social media for business purposes.

How about you – do you use social networking sites during business hours? Does your employer have a policy on social media? Are you even permitted to use such sites? Just curious.

Happy weekend, everyone!

photoshop: colored pencil

Here’s a cool technique to make your images look like they were done with colored pencil. Again, I modified the original tutorial a bit to suit my particular image, but I essentially followed it as it is presented!

My photo transition …

IMG_8872

IMG_8872e1_col_pencil

photoshop: comic book …

Whoa.

Following this tutorial, I turned a normal picture into a retro comic book type image. See?

IMG_0192e1

IMG_0192e2_cb

Awesome, huh? I had to make some modifications in my version to get it to turn out right (changed the resolution, increased the grain in the “film grain” step), but for the most part, I followed the tutorial.

Hmm, what can I create next!?

unproductive …

It always seems that the one night you’ve got tons to do and the motivation to do them does all go wrong. Peanut and I arrived home only to be greeted by a total mess left for us by our Siberian husky, Cody. He was seriously sick all day, it appeared, and I’d say the mess I had to clean up fully spanned 30 to 40 square feet. I won’t get into any further details, but it was the really not so nice type of sick.

Lily’s hunger, naturally, was super timely. As I cleaned up Cody’s mess, I had Lily propped up with a blanket under her bottle. Thank goodness that worked out; I’m not sure if the smell of my house or the satisfaction of my daughter would have been more important at the moment. About half an hour later, the mess was cleaned up. Justin arrived home shortly after and immediately headed outside to begin trimming – yeah, dinner was going to be late … again. Not more than 15 minutes after he started did I hear a knock on the front door. It was Justin, along with two unidentified men.

IMG_9266e1 Who were the men, you ask? Reps selling Verizon FIOS service – it was recently added in our area, so they were trying to sign up new customers. I’ve been dead against Verizon FIOS for a myriad of reasons, and there was some serious irony in them showing up today; I’ll save the details for a post later in the week or this weekend. Anyway, my husband agreed and signed us up for Verizon FIOS. Oh, fantastic. Just super. That whole escapade cost us about an hours worth of time – yay.

By the time Hubs finished trimming and showered, it was 8:30. Do you think I’m starting dinner at 8:30? Nope – it was a McDonald’s night! Ha! Naturally, the trip over there and back wasn’t without excitement. I almost t-boned this car driven by a woman who thought I should yield to her as she entered the traffic circle. Yeah, I had the right of way, but whatever. If I hadn’t noticed her speed and reacted, it would’ve been all over.

IMG_9262e1 On a happy note, I shared my Happy Meal with Lily, giving her the purple unicorn, Fable. I’ll post pics tomorrow; she held Fable the unicorn the whole time Justin fed her – melt my heart!

Anyway, it’s now 9:49 pm and I’ve just gotten the chance to sit down. There was dinner, a baby’s bath, and some organizing of this crazy house that needed to be done … sigh. So much to do tonight, and absolutely nothing got done. IMG_9271e1 Guess you could say it’s just one of those days! Sadly, I know I’ll pay for it over the next few days. This new life sure isn’t easy … but it’s SO worth it and so much more fun! And in the grand scheme of things, life is good and I’m blessed. I think I’ll take this okay day and move on!

P.S. – One of the things I wanted to do tonight was further research on PUL. I’m learning now that it’s not approved for food use, so I’m looking for more alternatives. We’ll see if I get a chance for some research while feeding Lily tonight – watch for a post either tomorrow or Friday!

what is web 2.0?

- This is an article I wrote last summer for our company newsletter. -

In the vast arena of the world wide web, there are ever-emerging tools and technologies.  Many of these new tools fall under the category of web 2.0.  But what exactly is web 2.0?  From the name, it may seem like an updated version of the existing internet, perhaps requiring yet another download of upgraded software or a new operating system.  In fact, web 2.0 is quite different.  While it does take place over the internet, it’s nothing that can’t be accessed via your current browser software.  In fact, you may already be using web 2.0 software technology and not even know it!  Let’s look further at what web 2.0 means, and then I’ll describe further some of the useful web 2.0 sites out there.

What do sharing, creativity, and collaboration have in common?  All are foundations of web 2.0.  Instead of a platform for retrieving information, the internet becomes the platform for interactive tool resulting from the input of its users.  Still confused?  Simply put, web 2.0 allows users to run applications using only the internet – no installation of programs, lengthy downloads, and costly upgrades.  Rather, web 2.0 promotes interactivity, supporting participation and the addition of value by its users.

Now, aren’t you curious to find out if you’re web 2.0 savvy?  Have you ever looked for a definition or description on Wikipedia?  Ever placed a bid on eBay or posted something for sale on craigslist?  How about downloading songs from iTunes, posting photos on Flickr, or looking up directions on MapQuest?  Have you watched a YouTube video or created a database of your favorite links on del.icio.us?  If you’re into networking and staying in touch with friends, you might be using MySpace, Facebook, or LinkedIn.  Like keeping up with the latest news through tools on Technorati, Digg or NewsGator?  If any of these are familiar to you, then you’ve already used web 2.0 technology!

Wikipedia: This interactive encyclopedia allows users to update entries, making information the collective effort of all of those who choose to participate.  Know something about the Civil War that isn’t posted on Wikipedia?  Feel free to submit it!  See something wrong with a posting about the lifespan of the earless monitor lizard?  Fix it!  Wikipedia is officially, “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.”  There you have it – it’s yours!

eBay, craigslist: If you’re looking to buy or sell something unique, these two sites are for you.  craigslist is organized into local “classifieds” which you can browse, while eBay serves as an online search auction site.

Flickr: Save the time and effort of e-mailing photos back and forth by using Flickr.  Set up an online account, and you can upload your photos to this site and direct friends and family to the site to view any photos you select.  You can also flag your photos as public, sharing them with the world.  Undiscovered photographers, this one’s for you!  Other similar sites include Fotolog and SmugMug.

YouTube: This is a rapidly growing site dedicated to video sharing.  If you pay attention to politics, you may have heard about or watched one of the presidential debates in which voters asked questions of the candidates via YouTube.  Voters created videos, posted them to YouTube’s site, and videos were then selected for presentation to the candidates in the televised debate.  Perhaps you’ve watched sports or news clips on this site.  In addition to watching videos, you can also share your own captured moments with friends, family, and/or the world through YouTube.

del.icio.us: Known as a site for social bookmarking, del.icio.us not only allows you to share your favorite sites with whomever you choose (Or not!), but it’s a great way to keep your favorite links all in one handy place!  You no longer need to remember web addresses, keep a paper list, or waste time thinking about a site you visited two months ago.  With del.icio.us, you can even organize your links by keyword, referred to as “tags.”

MySpace, Facebook & LinkedIn: Is your social network stronger than your real network of colleagues, friends and family?  If so, you’re certainly subscribed to at least one of these social networking sites!  It’s networking without the face-to-face element.  FYI: LinkedIn takes a particularly professional spin as compared with MySpace and Facebook.

Technorati, Digg, NewsGator: Do you follow the latest news?  Subscribe to blogs?  If either of these topics are of interest to you, check out one of these sites.  Serving as either news or blog feeds, these sites give you a single source for all of the news to which you choose to subscribe.  A true one stop shop!

Hungry for more?  Check out http://www.go2web20.net/.  This site has an insane number of links to the latest web 2.0 tools.  As of early January, there were over 1,800 tools listed on the site, and that number is sure to have grown by now!

Now that you’re armed with all of the latest internet tools, get to your computer and start clicking … just don’t forget to save your links to  del.icio.us and share your new knowledge on Wikipedia!

wish list …

My wish list really isn’t that long – I’m a relatively simple gal and couldn’t really care much about material things. There is, however, one thing I do want. And that one thing I want, I can’t have.

I’m a Verizon Wireless customer, and have been mostly happy since I made the switch from AT&T Wireless approximately 7 years ago. AT&T was terrible, at least at the time, and quite honestly, the service I received has completely ruined the brand for me.

See where this is going? I want an iPhone. I adore my Macs – I have one at home and even have a lone Mac in an all PC world at work (“Please? It’s the BEST for graphics!” Well, it’s true, but …). I want an iPhone with Verizon; I simply refuse to go back to AT&T. (Am I headed for a temper tantrum here, or what!?)

What’s a girl to do? According to articles circulating the web today (Check these out: this one, and another, and another …), I could be the thrilled owner of an iPhone on the Verizon Wireless network sometime in the future. But the question is W-H-E-N? No one knows. And unfortunately, I know it won’t be before we’re eligible for “New Every Two” phones – in early August. Sigh.

I guess for now I’ll just have to suck it up and choose something else – it’s just that something that I’m unsure of. Do you have a phone/smartphone that you adore? Or maybe one that you can’t stand? I’d love to hear what you like/don’t like about the device you’re currently using.

Until the day comes that I can purchase an iPhone and use it with my Verizon Wireless account, I’ll just have to keep waiting … and longing …

online organization: rss readers

- This is an article I wrote for our company newsletter back in February. If you’re looking for a way to organize your blog activity and don’t use an RSS reader, you’re wasting far too much time! -

Do you find yourself checking the same websites for updates on a regular basis? Is it the news you wish to follow, via sites like cnn.com, washingtonpost.com, or baltimoresun.com? Perhaps theonion.com is your news style. If you follow sports, you likely check in on espn.com and sports.yahoo.com. Technology gurus probably follow wired.com or pcworld.com. Point is, if you follow news from several sources, you probably don’t have time to keep up.

If blogs are more your type, keeping up with them can also be confusing and time consuming. Whether it’s a blog on news, sports, cooking, a hobby, or one written by a friend, it’s hard to remember to check in from time to time to get updated content.

That’s where RSS feeds and readers come in. First, what’s RSS? The letters themselves stand for “really simple syndication.” So what’s so simple about it? The concept is this: websites using RSS feeds put together what are essentially news alerts with headlines, news summaries and links. These feeds are sent to you through a news reader, also called an aggregator, which you select.

Why use an RSS reader? First and foremost, it’s easy! Instead of hitting your favorite 7 websites and searching for updates, the updates are sent to you! You simply open your RSS reader and your updates are waiting for you. RSS readers can therefore save you the time and effort involved with searching for the news you want to read. The readers can be web-based, mobile, a stand-alone program that you use from your desktop, or integrated into your e-mail.

Now that you’re ready to streamline your online time, what RSS readers are out there? Some of the most popular are:

  • NewsGator – newsgator.com (D, E, O)
  • NewsGator Inbox – newsgator.com (E)
  • NewsGator Go! – newsgator.com (M)
  • NetNewsWire (Mac) – newsgator.com (D, O)
  • Google Reader – google.com/reader (O)
  • Bloglines – bloglines.com (O)
  • FeedDemon – feeddemon.com (D)

* D = desktop program, E = e-mail reader, M = mobile reader, O = online reader

I am currently using NetNewsWire and find it extremely easy to use. I can breeze through updates for nearly 60 blogs and news sites in under 5 minutes, reading only stories that interest me. Can you imagine how long it would take to go to nearly 60 websites individually, looking for updates?

Note: Each of the websites listed in the first paragraph have RSS feeds, and many of the sites have multiple feeds to which you can subscribe, allowing you to hone in on specific information. For example, washingtonpost.com currently has more than 150 RSS feeds. Instead of getting headlines on every aspect of the news published by The Washington Post, you can subscribe individually to election news, health columns, NFL updates and horoscopes.

If you’re looking to save time and effort while staying up to date with news, sports, friends and your many other interests, you should consider choosing and setting up an RSS reader. Choose one that offers the features and accessibility you want and I’m certain you’ll be pleased with your decision!