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Become More Productive With Launch Center Pro for iPhone

Become More Productive With Launch Center Pro for iPhone

With the release of Launch Center Pro (LCP) a few weekends ago, there has been a storm of excitement of what the app offers and opens up in your iPhone. Because of the restrictions in iOS 5, you can’t use the cool settings hacks that we talked about before, but with the new prompt tag and some creativity in creating new actions, LCP is one of the best apps to become more productive with your iPhone.

Here are a few actions you can add to Launch Center Pro.

Maps

Rather than simply opening the Maps app on iPhone with LCP, you can also use the “built in” Google Maps API to some things like:

Launch Center Pro - Maps

    Search is a little awkward because you can’t give the Maps app your exact location (“Current Location” doesn’t work). But, you can use Safari and the Google Maps app to search instead, Maps will use your current location when you pass the “CURRENTLOCATION” parameter.

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    http://maps.google.com/maps?CURRENTLOCATION&q=[prompt]

    Directions

    You can setup a nice shortcut to get direction from here (current location) to there (an input search) or even from here (current location) to your home.

    From here to there: http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Current+Location&daddr=[prompt]

    From here to home (or anywhere else): http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Current+Location&daddr=your+address+here+seperated+by+pluses

    From home to there: http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=your+address+here&daddr=[prompt]

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    Search Engines

    Launch Center Pro - Search engines

      One of my favorite things about the new LCP is the use of the prompt and how it will correctly encode your input strings to HTTP encoding when necessary. With this, you can input a ‘[prompt]’ into a search URL for any website that uses search paramters. After submitting your search, LCP will open up Safari with your URL. Here are some of my favorites:

      • DuckDuckGo: http://duckduckgo.com/q?[prompt]
      • Twitter: http://twitter.com/search/[prompt]
      • Stackoverflow: http://stackoverflow.com/search?q=[prompt]
      • Namecheap: http://www.namecheap.com/domains/domain-name-search/results.aspx?domain=[prompt]&tlds=&searchall=&type=single
      • Wikipedia: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?search=[prompt]
      • eBay: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=[prompt]

      To get these types of URLs, simply do a search on the site you want to be able to use LCP with, look for the portion of the URL that has your search string, and replace it with an LCP prompt tag. Having all of your search engines and sites in one screen is highly productive and efficient.

      OmniFocus

      If you are an OmniFocus user, then LCP is a dream come true as it works hand-in-hand. OmniFocus supports LCP out of the box with its “standard” add a new item with just a name, new item with name a note, or simply to launch the OmniFocus app.

      But, last weekend, Lifehack contributor and overall badass, Michael Schechter took LCP and OmniFocus integration to a new level with his excellent way of setting up the most common input types of actions that you would need for a true GTD system. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I will let Mike explain the process.

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      But, in a nutshell, you can setup “static” OmniFocus item names like “follow up with Jim regarding” and then put fill out the rest of the item. It can save a ton of time, especially when you are writing similar actions over and over again.

      Another nice addition to Schechter’s OmniFocus workflow is the use of OmniFocus task, context, perspective, and search URLs. You can create a LCP shortcut URL with the following:

      OF context: omnifocus:///context/nogpCbUAcLg
      OF task: omnifocus:///task/oLNpkpCtxhx
      OF perspective: omnifocus:///perspective/Waiting%20For

      To get the links for contexts and tasks you have to have OF for Mac. You simply right click the context or task and choose Copy as Link to get the unique identifier. For the perspectives you simply add ‘%20’ for each space in the perspective name. Only context mode perspective work at this moment, not project mode. If you don’t understand that, you don’t need to.

      Specific time or situation workflow in LCP

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      Launch Center Pro - Morning workflow

        Another use that I have found with LCP is that you can setup some time or situation group launchers. For instance, say you have a ‘Morning’ group. Under this group you can have actions like ‘Write 750 words’ and it launches Byword (or some other writing app) with a new document, ‘Meditate’ with Due being launched with a timer already set for a certain amount of time, your weather app to check the weather, Calendar to see your plans, and even your OmniFocus ‘Waiting for’ perspective to see what fires you have to light in the morning.

        The idea of this workflow is to let LCP guide you through a routine situation by launching disparate apps and taking specific actions within those apps. This can help focus you and keep your moving through a routine of work.

        With this in mind you could setup groups for work, getting home, before bed, etc.

        Launch Center Pro is one of my new favorite apps. The idea of getting into the “guts” of an iOS app with the iOS URL schema is something desirable, and to be honest, will be something I consider before using any apps regularly going forward because of the increase of speed and efficiency in my workflow.

        Do you have any other good LCP hacks that you want to share? Let us know in the comments.

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        CM Smith

        A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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        Last Updated on March 25, 2020

        How to Type Faster: 12 Typing Tips and Techniques

        How to Type Faster: 12 Typing Tips and Techniques

        Typing is a lot of fun, especially if you’re the type of person who loves to write. Whenever an idea comes to your head or you just want to communicate something, the feeling of scribbling things down in a computer is awesome.

        Do you know that being able to type faster makes you more productive? In fact, it’ll save you 21 days every year just by typing faster!

        Many people look up to master typists and wish that to handle a keyboard like they do. The truth is that none of them started that way, and they had to learn.

        In this piece, you’ll learn how to type faster with some useful tips and techniques:

        1. Work on Your Workspace and Typing Area

        A lot of people believe that fast and correct typing will start when you can master the keyboard. But the truth is, you will need to begin with getting a workspace that is clean, properly ventilated, and comfortable. Also, for optimal typing, you will need to get a table and not out your laptop or computer on your lap.

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        If you will be working for an extended period, make sure that you’re comfortable.

        2. Fix Your Posture

        If you want to type well, the correct posture will be seated, straight backed, and with your feet planted a little apart, flat on the ground. You wrists should also be positioned in such a way that your fingers can cover the keyboard. Tilt your head a bit as you can look at the screen properly as well.

        Adjust your office chair so you’ll be able to easily play with the seat and get a proper posture.

        3. Hold Your Posture

        It is also very important that you keep this position as you type. Ensure that your posture is good, and this way, you will be able to avoid getting aches on your wrists. These aches have a way of slowing you down and keeping you out of rhythm.

        Keep your back and shoulders from hunching, and while relaxation should be your key goal as you work on, also be sure to stay upright.

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        4. Familiarize Yourself with the Keyboard

        The keyboard is your tool here, so you will need to get to know it. Fortunately for you, most keyboards that you see will make use of the same layout; the QWERTY layout. It is called that because of the letters that make the top left corner. You’ll also find that a lot of keyboards have keys around these main ones that do several tings.

        Here’s a nice video to help you familiarize yourself with the keyboard:

        So, work on memorizing the positions of the letter keys, as well as some of the most used punctuation marks. You will need to understand where they are without looking at the keyboard. This is the only way you can learn to type fast.

        5. Close Your Eyes and Say the Keys out Loud as You Press Them

        Another great way to get to know the positions of these letters is to look away from them and directly at the screen. Then, pronounce the keys as you press them and see if you’re correct. This step will go a long way in helping you to memorize the keys, and it can easily help you

        6. Start Slowly with Touch-Typing

        Improving your speed as you type is a matter of developing your skill over time. However, the quickest way to master typing will be touch typing. If this is your first time with touch typing, then you might spend a lot of time on this step. However, once you can type without looking at the keys, your speed will increase.

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        Now, this typing method might feel a bit alien, but you’ll improve with time.

        7. Stick with It and Don’t Look at Your Hands

        The whole essence of this step is to keep you from looking at your keyboard as you type, so that your fingers are made to learn how the keys work.

        Again, you might find that your speed reduces when you begin, but just stick to it. Touch typing will help you to reach higher speeds and master it.

        8. Practice, Practice, Practice

        Mastering the touch typing technique will prove to be a bit finicky, but once your posture is up and you get your fingers where they should be, you can only improve by practicing.

        Spare some time on a daily basis to practice and master both accuracy and speed. With continuous practice, you will also notice that you make fewer errors with time.

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        9. Check out Some Online Games

        There are also some websites that can help you with your practicing. They score you and record your words per minute, so you can try improving your record and competing with others as well. Here’re some of the nice sites:

        10. Dictation Practice

        If you don’t know what you can type, another alternative to getting good practice is to listen to something and try to type as you hear the words. There is no limit to the kind of things you can type, and you can even make the practice process more fun. So, get an e-book, an online lecture, or listen to a talk show and type. You could watch a TV show as well.

        11. Monitor Your Progress

        Ensure that you keep track of the progress you make as you go on. But it is important that you don’t get obsessed with how many words you are able to type in a minute. Rather, ensure that you stay comfortable while you type. With time, your words per minute will increase, and you’ll be able to clock up some high numbers.

        12. Get Some Formal Training If You Want

        There are actually a lot of specially designed courses and programs that will boost your typing ability. If you’re willing to improve your skill, get any of these and see how well they work for you:

        Don’t just finish reading this article and expect that you’ll type faster. You do need to work on your skills. It takes time to type fast but, practice makes perfect!

        More Tips About Typing Faster

        Featured photo credit: Cytonn Photography via unsplash.com

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