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How to Consume More Information in Less Time

How to Consume More Information in Less Time

Consuming news is a large part of our day. Think aboutit: when you aren’t consuming news and information through television, you are consuming it online. When doing so online, you are open to having news led toward one direction or another with a lot of fluff added for good measure. Clipped, at its current stage, prevents this by bringing news straight to the point (technically in three bullet points), thus changing the way you consume news. Clipped has larger plans that we will discuss a bit more later, but first, let’s go into what Clipped is and how it currently helps you.

What is Clipped?

Clipped

    Calling Clipped an application or program wouldn’t necessarily be accurate. While it is currently expressed in the form of an iPhone application, calling it an app would be as accurate as calling Google an app because it has a Google Chrome iPhone app. Clipped is more of a platform, or algorithm as Clipped says, that takes the text at hand and summarizes it into exactly three bullet points. However, how it works is a bit more than this.

    How Does it Work?

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          Currently, due to how Clipped makes use of digital news articles, Clipped takes a grammar algorithm that scans the article, grabbing the important information that recurs in the article, and incorporating it into three bullet points on the application. As more and more articles are summarized in the application, the power of Clipped increases, and its accuracy also improves. Recently, Clipped celebrated its one millionth article summarized on the application.

          When Clipped grows into other aspects (more in Clipped’s Future Plans), other means of summarization will take hold.

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          How Does it Look?

          The application is simple in design, which prevents it from being distracting and also allows you to focus more on the article at hand. When you first open Clipped, you are asked to sign up using Twitter or Facebook. When I open it even after signing in to either service, I continue to see this pop up as well (going away after a couple of seconds).

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            After signing in, you are presented with the news of the day. At the top, you have a search bar allowing you to search based on a subject, and there’s a logout button on the left side of the search bar. When clicking on a specific article, you are presented with a larger view of the related image, the title, the source, and a share button above the three bulleted text. When you click to share a Clipped article, a Facebook or Twitter prompt pops up allowing you to share.

            Clipped’s Future Plans

            You can currently find Clipped on iOS, Android, as a Bookmarklet, and on Google Chrome. However, in the near future, Clipped hopes to branch out to document issues in real life. This can include making use of OCR (Optical Character Reading) to grab the text and summarize it that way. This takes a more advanced algorithm and will be a bit more difficult to implement that what Clipped is currently working on, but this future plan will allow the service to be used in everything from legal documents to newspaper text.

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            Opinions and Suggestions

            Clipped is a great application that I have made use of since its debut in December. The ability to not only summarize news, but also discover and read news articles I normally wouldn’t have taken the time out to read has kept me informed on several issues as well.

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              There are a couple of pitfalls in Clipped, however, namely that there isn’t as much customization in terms of which articles I am able to enjoy. For example, when I search a website, not only does content from that website appear, but articles on other websites about that specific source shows up as well.

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                When searching for general topics, like Apple, search results are more successful. This is likely to change in the future, when information on Clipped becomes more varied and readily available. All in all, for such an advanced concept, this is a great start for Clipped to compete with the larger competitors in the information consumption field.

                Disclaimer: Tanay Tandon, the sole developer behind Clipped, developed the application through the Teens in Tech Incubator in Mountain View, CA. I currently work as the editorial director for Teens in Tech. All views expressed in this review of Clipped are my own, unaffected by any ulterior motive or confidential information.

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                Last Updated on February 15, 2019

                7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

                Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

                Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

                So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

                Joe’s Goals

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                  Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

                  Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

                  Daytum

                    Daytum

                    is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                    Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                    Excel or Numbers

                      If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                      What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                      Evernote

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                        I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                        Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                        Access or Bento

                          If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                          Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                          You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                          Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                          All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                          Conclusion

                          I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                          What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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