Note taking software

Note takingIf you’re like me, you’re much faster at typing than writing with a pen and paper. Here are some great applications to try if you’d like to take notes and organize them on your computer:

  • Google Drive – Create documents, presentations, and spreadsheets for free on your Google account and access them anywhere.
  • Evernote – Create notes and collect your documents in one place. Keep your files in sync over the web so you can access them anywhere.
  • Notational Velocity – Free and basic note taking database. Just search for a note and if it doesn’t exist yet, create it. Makes it easy to organize your notes.
  • OmniOutliner – Simple outlining program for the Mac. It isn’t free ($50-99) but still excellent for basic note taking.

Create automated backups of Word files

Microsoft WordSometimes Word files can get corrupted or accidentally deleted. If you write in Word a lot, it might make sense to keep backup copies of your documents just in case. Word has a built in feature to automate this process. Once enabled, it will generate a backup (duplicate) file in the same directory every time you save your document.

Mac:

  • Go to Word > Preferences > Save.
  • Check the Always create backup copy.
  • Click OK.

PC:

  • Click the Microsoft Office Button, and then click Word Options.
  • Click Advanced.
  • Scroll to the Save section, and then select the Always create backup copy check box.

Read more on how to save and restore backups.

Turn off animation in iPhone/iPad’s iOS7

Reduce motion in iOS7Is all the movement in the new iOS7 making you ill? Thankfully Apple has just released an update (7.0.3) that allows you to turn off the animation (when apps open/close) and the parallax effect (background shifts when you move your phone). Just follow these steps:

  • Upgrade to 7.0.3: Go to Settings > General > Software Update.
  • Go to Settings > General > Accessibility. Turn “Reduce Motion” on.
  • Enjoy the good feelings in your stomach and eat some pizza.

Browse privately

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If you are browsing the internet on a public computer, you may not want others to see what you have searched for or what web pages you’ve looked at. Fortunately there are several browsers that let you look at the web without leaving a trail behind you.

Mac:

  • Safari: Go to Safari > Private Browsing
  • Chrome: Go to File > New Incognito Window
  • Firefox: Go to File > New Private Window

PC:

  • Chrome: Go to Settings (icon next to address bar) > New Incognito Window
  • Firefox: Go to the orange Firefox menu > New Private Window
  • Internet Explorer: Go to Settings (gear icon) Safety > InPrivate Browsing

Sharing screenshots easily

I’ve previously discussed a few services for sharing photos and files and how to take screenshotsCloudApp is a neat, free app I’ve discovered that not only makes it easy to share files, but even easier to share images of your screen.

Once you install it, make sure the “Autoupload Screenshots” option is checked in the menu. When you capture a new screenshot, Cloudapp will upload it automatically to their website, and the link to the image will be copied to your clipboard so you can paste it into an email or chat window.

Download it here

Optimizing PDFs

If you need to share a PDF online (via email or on a website) that doesn’t need to be printed, make sure to optimize it to be the smallest file size possible. No one likes downloading 25mb PDFs!

Here are two great tools I’ve found for PDF optimization: