What’s the Handiest Tool in Your Home Office?

1206626_note_padI confess: I’m a terrible scatterbrain. It takes a lot for me to force my thoughts into a nice, orderly line and to keep them there — particularly in those busy times when I have a lot of competing priorities. In those times, I’ll often find myself working on one project while ideas for other tasks pop into my head at random.

Those thoughts can be as simple as “don’t forget to email Pete about that invoice” or as intricate as a new angle on an idea I’d been working on before. They’re basically the random things my brain spews out while I’m trying to focus on something else. I know I’m not alone — a lot of people experience the same thing.

Through a long process of trial and error, I’ve found that the best way to deal with these random thoughts — thoughts that are important and valuable, but unrelated to the task I’m working on — is to note them down. This way, I can be sure I won’t forget them, but I also reduce their interruption into my focus on other tasks. Read More about What’s the Handiest Tool in Your Home Office?

iPhone 3GS Gaming Advantages Made Perfectly Clear


I’m not going to debate the merits of upgrading with you, since I’m sure you’ve already wrestled with that particular demon yourself, but I did want to take a look at the gaming side of Apple’s (s aapl) new 3GS, and the amazing potential it boasts for bringing cell phone gaming to even more lofty heights. I knew it was better at handling graphics, but just how much better only became really clear yesterday, thanks to a post at Gizmodo looking at how the 3GS handles hardware emulation.

In short, it handles it very well. Much more adeptly than its predecessor, the 3G, in fact. ZodTTD, homebrew coder extraordinaire and jailbreak enthusiast, recently managed to get his Playstation console emulator running on a new 3GS, and the performance gap between it, and the same program running on a 3G, provides a tantalizing hint at what could be coming in the near future for 3GS gaming enthusiasts. Read More about iPhone 3GS Gaming Advantages Made Perfectly Clear

Build Your Own Planner

diyWe’ve discussed the attraction of using paper planners in the past. Even though web workers have access to all sorts of cool to-do list and other planning applications on the web, there are times when getting everything down on paper is the best way to keep track of your day, especially when you’re mobile. Plus (might as well admit it) some of us still have a soft spot in our hearts for the classic Day-Timer and the like.

If you’re in the mood to try paper, one site well worth a visit is D*I*Y Planner. Started by Douglas Johnston and continued by a passionate community of paper-lovers, this is a great source for downloadable templates (in a variety of formats including PDF), all under a Creative Commons license that lets you use them as much as you want.

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Making Nicer Printouts From the Web

PrintWhatYouLike.com {beta}: Save money and the environment printing only what you like. - Mozilla Firefox (Build 2008092414)Even the most devoted of web workers sometimes resorts to printing things out on bits of dead trees, in my experience. Maybe it’s the setup information for a new account or the instructions for some software or even your favorite LOLcat – sooner or later you’ll probably want to print a web page.

Unfortunately, this can be an annoying process, thanks to the bad match between “attractive and ad-laden HTML layout” and “useful printed record.” That’s where PrintWhatYouLike comes in. This simple (and free) service has one purpose: to allow you to customize the contents of a web page before you print it.

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Could UMA be the iPhone’s “one more thing”?

UmaJust a random thought as the morning caffeine gets my brain jump-started this morning. Besides, you all know how much I like to try and predict things in the mobile tech space… as they say: "sometimes even a blind squirrel finds a nut."

I got to thinking about a few developments over the past few months and while it’s a stretch, I’m starting to wonder if we’ll see UMA capabilities in the iPhone… no, "UMA" isn’t an iPhone speed-dial setting to Ms. Thurman. For those not familiar with UMA, or Unlicensed Mobile Access, it’s a relatively new technology that seamlessly routes your cellular phone calls over a WiFi network when it can.

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YouTube to Creators: Sell Your Own Ads

YouTube has a new plan to make money — let the creators do the work. The company will start allowing professional content producers that have their own sales teams start selling their own ads on their YouTube channels, according to Advertising Age.

Creators will be able to sell spots including video overlays and the display ads on the pages surrounding videos. Producers sell the ads, and YouTube takes a cut.

Despite doing the heavy lifting, the good news for creators is that it gives them control over which ads appear with their content and expands the inventory they can offer to a potential sponsor. According to Advertising Age, Revision3 is selling its own ads on YouTube with GoDaddy already on board.

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3 Cool Paper Planners for when Online Won’t Do

I love my Google Calendar, but I also like the physical experience of planning my days, weeks, and months using a paper calendar or planner. Here are three possibilities for when you want to manage your life with pen and paper instead of using an online calendar.
Doodle while you plan
8 Days a Week Doodle PlannerWith a pack of multi-colored gel pens and this 8 Days-A-Week Doodle Planner available from See Jane Work, you’ll be all ready to doodle your plans and dreams each week as you plan out your days. “8 days a week” means it shows Monday through Sunday plus Someday, so you have room to write things you want to get done as you have a spare moment. The Doodle part of it means you get blank pages interspersed with the weekly schedules to draw pictures, do a mind map of your week, or take random notes.
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24 Things You Can Do With an Index Card

While many of us are almost completely digital, and do just about everything on the web, there’s a growing movement to go back to analog. Paper is retro, it’s portable, it’s quick and dirty, and even aesthetically appealing.

And of paper systems, along with my Moleskine notebook, index cards are my favorite. They’re cheap, they come in stacks, and they’re infinitely adaptable.

How can using index cards keep me organized, you ask, ever so quizzically (almost mockingly)? I’ve already got the ultimate web apps to do that? [digg=http://digg.com/tech_deals/24_Things_You_Can_Do_With_an_Index_Card]

Glad you asked. Here are just 20 things you can do with the ever-handy index card.

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Pimp Product, Get Noticed

KFC has produced a new commercial that’s composed almost entirely of clips found by scouring the web, according to USA Today. Videos from thirteen different people made the cut, and the spot will air during tomorrow night’s American Idol.

Advertising agency Draftfcb did the work of combing through clips for the spot, entitled “Celebration.” “The idea of using consumer-generated content and putting together a bunch of unrelated videos to tell one story was so exciting we wanted to move on it,” KFC national marketing VP James O’Reilly told reporter Theresa Howard.

My own search of YouTube for clips tagged KFC doesn’t exactly turn up a bunch of happy customers. It’s mostly video of rats at a KFC restaurant in Manhattan and celebrities like Pamela Anderson and Al Sharpton suggesting that industrial chicken farming is inhumane.

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