Advertising
Advertising

12 Free Android Apps to Help Get Things Done (Part 2)

12 Free Android Apps to Help Get Things Done (Part 2)

12 Free Android Apps to Help Get Things Done

    This post continues the list I started in Part 1, adding apps for managing contacts, collaborating, and accessing computer services from your Android phone (or, in the near future, other device). As before, I’m including links to the developers’ homepage when available, but all of these apps can be downloaded from the Google Market on your Android phone. And all are free (or were when I accessed them). So here we go:

    7. PrinterShare

    PrinterShare lets you print over the Internet on your own printer at home or at the office. Sign up for a free account, install and configure the server software on the computer your printer is attached to, and then you can print from your Android phone from anywhere (so long as you have network access via 3G or wi-fi). The big drawback is that you’re fairly limited to the type of content that’s printable: contacts, photos, and webpages. However, with more and more work shifting to the Web, you can usually find a way to get your content into the web broswer to print it (e.g. sending email attachments to Google Docs and sharing as HTML).

    Advertising

    8. RemoteDroid

    RemoteDroid turns your Android phone into a remote touchpad and keyboard to control your PC. The screen becomes a touchpad just like you’d find on a laptop, with right-click and left-click buttons; the keyboard functions normally, except one of the alt keys becomes “CTRL” so you can do CTRL-keystroke combos like CTRL-V to paste.

    RemoteDroid works over your home wi-fi network: you run the server on your PC and enter the IP address on the app to connect. If you’re trying to think of why you’d do this, consider watching video content on your big monitor or through your TV; now, you can use your phone to control the computer from across the room to pause, adjust volume, skip to the next video, or whatever.

    9. ShareYourBoard

    Advertising

    ShareYourBoard

      This app is for storing and sharing whiteboards – after a meeting or presentation, open Share Your Board and snap a picture of your whiteboard. Share Your Board automatically trims the image (saving just the marked-on part of the board), adjusts contrast and color, and adjusts the perspective of the image, producing a flat, legible image that can be shared with others and commented on. You can take multiple images over the course of a meeting to assemble a kind of slide-show, too. Images can be shared via MMS, email, or sent to programs like Twidroid (a Twitter client), PostBot (a WordPress client – see Part 1), Picasa, or PrinterShare.

      The image in the screenshot above was captured in an unlit corner of my apartment; the only lamp is a three-bulb unit across the room which uses compact fluorescent bulbs (which give an awful yellow cast to photos); my whiteboard is surrounded on all sides with index cards and business cards I’ve tucked into the frame. As you can see, it’s done a fairly good job of isolating the relevant stuff (there’s an index card at the bottom) and making a very readable image of the keyboard shortcuts for my transcription software.

      10. Upvise

      Advertising

      upvise

        Upvise is collaborative project management software comprised of several modular “applications”: contacts, notebooks, projects, tasks, and so on. The Android app integrates with an online service (both free, though there is a paid “Premium” level that offers a few more features) so you’re not limited to collaborating with other Android users. Projects and notes can be shared, tasks can be assigned out, and ideas can be voted on by anyone in your group. A sales application allows business users to track and follow-up leads. One nice thing: the contacts application will import all your Google contacts (although, as far as I can tell, it doesn’t sync new contacts back to your Google address book).

        11. StarContact

        Advertising

        starcontact

          StarContact is a replacement for the default Dialer software, allowing you to search your contact list (using the T9-style keypad shown in the screenshot, a more compact version, or the regular keyboard). You can also search within non-name fields in your contact list (like address, company name, and notes) as well as by initials. Other than that, it looks and acts like the normal dialer, making it easy to adapt to if you’re already used to using ANdroid’s built-in software.

          12. Wapedia

          wapedia

            There are several Android apps for searching and displaying Wikipedia articles, and to be honest, they basically all do the same thing. Wapedia does it very quickly, with entries nicely formatted for the mobile screen and very good image rendering and scaling. You can also access specialized wiki sites, like the Muppet Wiki, Wookiepedia, WoWWiki (World of Warcraft), the Recipes Wiki, Wiktionary, and several others. 

            (Note: Wapedia is a site that can be accessed from any browser, but here I’m talking about the dedicated app that acts as a front-end to the website.

            What are your favorite Android apps for keeping yourself engaged, informed, and productive on the go? Since it may not be too long before Android goes mainstream, let us know what we should look for when we crack open our next smartphone or netbook.

            More by this author

            How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide) The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain) The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works) Building Relationships: 11 Rules for Self-Promotion

            Trending in Featured

            1 How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques 2 How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators 3 How to Master the Art of Prioritization 4 How to Find Your Passion and Live a Fulfilling Life 5 What to Do in Free Time? 20 Productive Ways to Use the Time

            Read Next

            Advertising
            Advertising
            Advertising

            Last Updated on September 18, 2019

            How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques

            How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques

            Note-taking is one of those skills that rarely gets taught. Almost everyone assumes either that taking good notes comes naturally or, that someone else must have already taught about how to take notes. Then, we sit around and complain that our colleagues don’t know how to take notes.

            I figure it’s about time to do something about that. Whether you’re a student or a mid-level professional, the ability to take effective, meaningful notes is a crucial skill. Not only do good notes help us recall facts and ideas we may have forgotten, the act of writing things down helps many of us to remember them better in the first place.

            One of the reasons people have trouble taking effective notes is that they’re not really sure what notes are for. I think a lot of people, students and professionals alike, attempt to capture a complete record of a lecture, book, or meeting in their notes — to create, in effect, minutes. This is a recipe for failure.

            Trying to get every last fact and figure down like that leaves no room for thinking about what you’re writing and how it fits together. If you have a personal assistant, by all means, ask him or her to write minutes; if you’re on your own, though, your notes have a different purpose to fulfill.

            The purpose of note-taking is simple: to help you work better and more quickly. This means your notes don’t have to contain everything, they have to contain the most important things.

            And if you’re focused on capturing everything, you won’t have the spare mental “cycles” to recognize what’s truly important. Which means that later, when you’re studying for a big test or preparing a term paper, you’ll have to wade through all that extra garbage to uncover the few nuggets of important information?

            What to Write Down

            Your focus while taking notes should be two-fold. First, what’s new to you? There’s no point in writing down facts you already know. If you already know the Declaration of Independence was written and signed in 1776, there’s no reason to write that down. Anything you know you know, you can leave out of your notes.

            Second, what’s relevant? What information is most likely to be of use later, whether on a test, in an essay, or in completing a project? Focus on points that directly relate to or illustrate your reading (which means you’ll have to have actually done the reading…). The kinds of information to pay special attention to are:

            Advertising

            Dates of Events

            Dates allow you to create a chronology, putting things in order according to when they happened, and understand the context of an event.

            For instance, knowing Isaac Newton was born in 1643 allows you to situate his work in relation to that of other physicists who came before and after him, as well as in relation to other trends of the 17th century.

            Names of People

            Being able to associate names with key ideas also helps remember ideas better and, when names come up again, to recognize ties between different ideas whether proposed by the same individuals or by people related in some way.

            Theories or Frameworks

            Any statement of a theory or frameworks should be recorded — they are the main points most of the time.

            Definitions

            Like theories, these are the main points and, unless you are positive you already know the definition of a term, should be written down.

            Keep in mind that many fields use everyday words in ways that are unfamiliar to us.

            Arguments and Debates

            Any list of pros and cons, any critique of a key idea, both sides of any debate or your reading should be recorded.

            This is the stuff that advancement in every discipline emerges from, and will help you understand both how ideas have changed (and why) but also the process of thought and development of the matter of subject.

            Advertising

            Images

            Whenever an image is used to illustrate a point, a few words are in order to record the experience.

            Obviously it’s overkill to describe every tiny detail, but a short description of a painting or a short statement about what the class, session or meeting did should be enough to remind you and help reconstruct the experience.

            Other Stuff

            Just about anything a professor writes on a board should probably be written down, unless it’s either self-evident or something you already know. Titles of books, movies, TV series, and other media are usually useful, though they may be irrelevant to the topic at hand.

            I usually put this sort of stuff in the margin to look up later (it’s often useful for research papers, for example). Pay attention to other’s comments, too — try to capture at least the gist of comments that add to your understanding.

            Your Own Questions

            Make sure to record your own questions about the material as they occur to you. This will help you remember to ask the professor or look something up later, as well as prompt you to think through the gaps in your understanding.

            3 Powerful Note-Taking Techniques

            You don’t have to be super-fancy in your note-taking to be effective, but there are a few techniques that seem to work best for most people.

            1. Outlining

            Whether you use Roman numerals or bullet points, outlining is an effective way to capture the hierarchical relationships between ideas and data. For example, in a history class, you might write the name of an important leader, and under it the key events that he or she was involved in. Under each of them, a short description. And so on.

            Outlining is a great way to take notes from books, because the author has usually organized the material in a fairly effective way, and you can go from start to end of a chapter and simply reproduce that structure in your notes.

            Advertising

            For lectures, however, outlining has limitations. The relationship between ideas isn’t always hierarchical, and the instructor might jump around a lot. A point later in the lecture might relate better to information earlier in the lecture, leaving you to either flip back and forth to find where the information goes best (and hope there’s still room to write it in), or risk losing the relationship between what the professor just said and what she said before.

            2. Mind-Mapping

            For lectures, a mind-map might be a more appropriate way of keeping track of the relationships between ideas. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of mind-mapping, but it might just fit the bill.

            Here’s the idea:

            In the center of a blank sheet of paper, you write the lecture’s main topic. As new sub-topics are introduced (the kind of thing you’d create a new heading for in an outline), you draw a branch outward from the center and write the sub-topic along the branch. Then each point under that heading gets its own, smaller branch off the main one. When another new sub-topic is mentioned, you draw a new main branch from the center. And so on.

            The thing is, if a point should go under the first heading but you’re on the fourth heading, you can easily just draw it in on the first branch. Likewise, if a point connects to two different ideas, you can connect it to two different branches.

            If you want to neaten things up later, you can re-draw the map or type it up using a program like FreeMind, a free mind-mapping program (some wikis even have plug-ins for FreeMind mind-maps, in case you’re using a wiki to keep track of your notes).

            You can learn more about mind-mapping here: How to Mind Map: Visualize Your Cluttered Thoughts in 3 Simple Steps

            3. The Cornell System

            The Cornell System is a simple but powerful system for increasing your recall and the usefulness of your notes.

            Advertising

            About a quarter of the way from the bottom of a sheet of paper, draw a line across the width of the page. Draw another line from that line to the top, about 2 inches (5 cm) from the right-hand edge of the sheet.

            You’ve divided your page into three sections. In the largest section, you take notes normally — you can outline or mind-map or whatever. After the lecture, write a series of “cues” into the skinny column on the right, questions about the material you’ve just taken notes on. This will help you process the information from the lecture or reading, as well as providing a handy study tool when exams come along: simply cover the main section and try to answer the questions.

            In the bottom section, you write a short, 2-3 line summary in your own words of the material you’ve covered. Again, this helps you process the information by forcing you to use it in a new way; it also provides a useful reference when you’re trying to find something in your notes later.

            You can download instructions and templates from American Digest, though the beauty of the system is you can dash off a template “on the fly”.

            The Bottom Line

            I’m sure I’m only scratching the surface of the variety of techniques and strategies people have come up with to take good notes. Some people use highlighters or colored pens; others a baroque system of post-it notes.

            I’ve tried to keep it simple and general, but the bottom line is that your system has to reflect the way you think. The problem is, most haven’t given much thought to the way they think, leaving them scattered and at loose ends — and their notes reflect this.

            More About Note-Taking

            Featured photo credit: Kaleidico via unsplash.com

            Read Next