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Drive-by Tips for Centralizing Your Content on the Internet

Drive-by Tips for Centralizing Your Content on the Internet

Centralized Content

    Last week, I wrote on how bloggers could make the most effective use of the FriendFeed service. A question I heard from a few people went something like this:

    I’m not a blogger, but I want to centralize my content on the Internet. How do I do this?

    There are so many ways to manage information online, and many ways to centralize various types of information. The main decision is in deciding which data you want to centralize and aggregate so that you can choose the most appropriate method of pulling it all together.

    I’ve called this drive-by tips because I’m not going to beat around the bush – I’m going to get straight to the point and direct you to the services you need to start getting your information together, so get ready for a fast ride!

    I want to centralize my notes

    I’m a big fan of Evernote, personally. The beauty of this service is that you can use it on your computer, your phone, from the browser, hell, soon they’ll have firmware for your microwave oven. And it all syncs up seamlessly.

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    You can learn more about Evernote and its many uses by reading this recent Lifehack article.

    The kind folks at Evernote have given me a bunch of invites. If you want to grab one, just leave a comment asking for an invite and I’ll get it to you.

    I want to centralize my bookmarks

    Hands-down, the most popular way to centralize and organize your bookmarks is using del.icio.us. With a domain name like that, how could you not use it?

    You can integrate del.icio.us with Firefox using the plugin they provide on their website, or you can use Flock to save bookmarks locally and to an online bookmarking service at the same time. This creates a back-up of your bookmarks – one copy online and one locally. del.icio.us may be more reliable than your computer, but anything could happen.

    A popular alternative, also supported by Flock, is mag.nolia.

    I want to clip web content

    Want to clip web content without leaving your browser? If you’re already using Evernote to centralize your notes, you may as well stick with that (even though it requires you to switch windows). If not, you can download Flock, the social web browser, that has a web clippings feature built-in. Drag any image or text to your web clippings sidebar while surfing and you can come back to it later.

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    Firefox user? You don’t need to jump browsers just to get a clipping service – ScrapBook is a plugin that integrates web clipping capabilities with the world’s favorite browser. Hey, regardless of whether it’s the most frequently used, we can all agree that Firefox is the world’s favorite!

    Perhaps you want a native web service, not another app or plugin. As always, Google has a solution for your online needs – try Google Notebook. Or do you want a web service, but have joined the anti-Google crowd? There’s always Clipmarks.

    The minimalists among us will enjoy ToRead – a service that sends sites you’ve come across to your email address so you can catch up on them later.

    I want to start a blog

    So I said this one wasn’t aimed at bloggers, but it seems to me that when people catch the info-centralization bug, they soon after catch the blogging bug too, even if it’s just to store some information in a readily accessible place.

    Free Blogs

    WordPress is the most popular blogging system, and in my opinion, the best one. You can get a free hosted account at WordPress.com, but the hosted accounts have restrictions on what you can do with it – no advertisements, for instance.

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    Blogger is another popular free blogging service. It has more of a spam problem, but also gives you the option to put Google AdSense ads on your blog and has SEO benefits thanks to its genealogy – it’s a Google property. Both of these advantages contribute to the bigger spam problem.

    An older service, but still quite popular, is LiveJournal. This is typically for personal blogs that are akin to diaries. Lots of teens use this service.

    Lastly, if you want a blog to post quick links, notes, quotes and reminders for yourself, nothing beats Tumblr.

    Self-Hosted Blogs

    There are three things you need for a self-hosted blog:

    • A domain name,
    • Hosting,
    • Blog software

    You can get the first two from GoDaddy pretty cheaply, and I wouldn’t go past WordPress.org for great self-hosted blog software.

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    Most blog systems are compatible with FriendFeed, bringing you one step closer to true information centralization.

    I want to centralize content for my friends to see

    Done all of the above, but now you want to centralize your content not just for your own convenience, but for your friends too? Assuming that you’re connected with your friends via Facebook, like most people these days, this should be pretty easy for you to achieve.

    First, start an account at FriendFeed. Once you’ve plugged in all your accounts for the different types of content, you can install the FriendFeed Facebook app which will post your FriendFeed updates to your mini-feed.

    Of course, the FriendFeed experience is better when your friends use FriendFeed itself, but this method allows them to catch up with everything you’re doing pretty easily without having to add yet another account to their list.

    Don’t forget that FriendFeed is very useful for keeping track of your own content; it’s not just for the convenience of those who want to track you. Know you said something somewhere, but can’t remember where or what? It’s just a few clicks away.

    Hope you enjoyed this drive-by introduction to content centralization for non-bloggers – and remember, if you want an Evernote invitation, just give me a shout in the comments.

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    Published on September 20, 2018

    11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

    11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

    In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

    Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

    In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

    Minimizing Tabs

    Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

    Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

    Incognito Mode

    Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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    1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
    2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
    3. Download extension New Incognito Window

    This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

    Save Webpages as PDF Files

    Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

    Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

    Open Recently-closed Tabs

    Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

    One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

    The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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    Solve Mathematical Problems

    Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

    For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

    Play Media Files

    Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

    In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

    Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

    With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

    Stay Focus(e)d

    Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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    Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

    With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

    This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

    Grammarly for Editing

    Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

    You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

    Loom

    There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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    There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

    With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

    Chrome Calendar Extension

    No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

    Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

    Final Thoughts

    Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

    Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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