Saturday, May 17, 2014

Work for me baby!

This post has been spurred on by a colleague who was working on my laptop and liked the way I had certain things set up. So here is a list of some things that make my life easier when working on both my laptop and with GAFE:

Although having a pretty image on your desktop is great to look at, for me it was't functional so I went an hunted for images that would organised my desktop.  I am a visual learner and found it frustrating trying to find files on my desktop.

This is what my desktop looks like now.  I have 4 categories (admin, elearning/ IT, Learning Common & in progress - files I am currently using/ needing).  Download image here and save as your desktop image.  I have also changed the icon's for my folders (search for icon sized images, right-click on folder, get info and drag and drop image where the file icon is).  I also have google docs that I use frequently as icons on my desktop (drag the URL onto your desktop and it will create an icon that you can rename).

Desktop Organiser Wallpaper:


More desktop organisers
Use your Google Calendar as your desktop wallpaper
Desktop organisation and how to customise your own

Inbox: Gmail
Making my inbox work for me rather than me working when I use my inbox has given me time back.

As you can see, I have no emails in my inbox - instead I use labels (which organise messages into categories) and filters (set rules for incoming messages) to sort out my emails. Some emails skip my inbox and go straight to the folder I have filtered them into (folder is shown in bold when a new message is there). Some come to my inbox and then I archive them when I have actioned it. I also only show some of my folders - those I do not use often only show if there is an unread email in it (tick show if unread).  Certain folders are colour coded so I can easily see who is involved in the messages.

Although this took a while to set-up (I had thousands of emails to label and archive), it was well worth the effort and now runs smoothly.  
Labs, Apps & Extensions
Here are some apps & extensions I can't live without:
If you haven't explored the labs under the settings in your Gmail, this would be my first stop.  Have a read and enable the ones you want.
Undo Send: get up to 30 seconds to undo a sent email.  Once this is enabled, you can go to your general settings and determine the send cancellation period (up to 30 seconds).

Streak: This is a customer relationship management tool but has a function that allows you to see if people have read your emails and how many times an email has been viewed.  You can also schedule when you want emails to go out.

Chrome Apps & Extensions:
Undo Close Tab: accidentally closed a tab? Use this extension to easily access closed tabs.
Buffer: great way to share content on social media, you can also analyse the content you are posting to see how many people it is reaching. Use the Buffer extension straight from your browser to send content to Buffer.
Pin It: pin straight to Pinterest
Word Cloud: Fan of Wordle? Summarise and share content of any website (either part or whole) in a word cloud.
QR Code Extension: using QR codes a bit, it's great having an extension that with a click of a button will generate the code.
OneFeed: This brings all your social media and news feeds to one place.  Customisable news feeds are great for following blogs, etc, but I often forget to go and check them.  With this extension, when you open up a new tab, instead of the default page being say, it is now your news feed. Customise it by editing the sources to follow your favourite blogs, blogs from your school or any other news source with either searching their data base or using the RSS feed URL (RSS Feed extension).

Presenting Zoom (Mac Only):
I can't live without this feature on my MAC being enabled.  It allows me to zoom in on part of my screen.  Great for when I am teaching students, especially when they ask questions like "where is that button"or you just want them to focus on part of a webpage.  It is also great for giving presentations and you need to zoom in to demonstrate something.
In your settings, head to accessibility
Then enable these functions:

Now when you hold down control and use 2 fingers to scroll, the screen will zoom in and out where the cursor is (you can change the particular settings to suit your usage). This takes a little while to get used to, but well worth using.

Customise Icon
You can use your own images or images from the internet. Download the image, open it in preview. Then copy (command-c) this image.  Right click (or the equivalent) on the folder you would like to change the image of, from the menu that appears, select get info. Click on the small icon at the top left of the folder's Get Info window, and press command-V to paste in the image that you copied from the preview image.  The image should change in both the window and where you folder is.