When I was a small child, I’d curl up on my parents’ bed after the sunshine had warmed their dark brown comforter. It was an oasis of peace and safety that I struggled to find in later years. I’d made the mistake of thinking that being an adult meant no longer delighting in “silly” things like a sun-warmed blanket. I was entirely wrong.
Each day includes moments that can be deeply enjoyed or carelessly tossed aside. As I learned to identify and enjoy those moments amid the hubbub of regular life, I found more smiles and sunshine than I’d ever thought possible. Try one of the following for best results!
Take 15 – Shut your phone off, close the blinds, rest your eyes and listen to some music. If you like action more than mediation, so be it! Use your 15 minutes in a way that will leave you feeling most revitalized. That’s where the sunshine comes from.
Go for a stroll – The kind of meandering walk that is more about discovering the path than reaching a destination. If I don’t have a camera or pad handy, I like to make a mental list of a few things I discover on every stroll I take. A design element I particularly appreciate, a rabbit hopping down an alley, or a woman singing on her porch; all contribute my perspective and appreciation of the world around me.
Do something nice for a complete stranger – Buy a coffee, pay a toll, give a smile and a “thank you” when none is required. Giving when neither is required will open you up to a world of kindness. It also feels very, very good.
Laugh from your stomach – You know the kind of laugh that shakes your entire body and ends in a half-moan because you’re not sure if you can stop laughing? That kind of laugh. A moment spent in full enjoyment of humor is a great way to release tension and refuel your smile.
Try something not included in your normal diet – Most of us eat from a very short list of foods. Eating something entirely different will do more than expand your palate. It will help keep your sense of adventure alive!
Sometimes I still like to enjoy a bright patch of sun-soaked carpet just like I did that blanket as child. But lets not talk too loudly about that. =)
Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.
If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.
I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.
In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!