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Too Many Tabs for Firefox and Chrome

Posted by on Feb 27, 2012 in Time management | 0 comments

Remember when you had to open another browser page to to open another website. You had to constantly flip back and forth between pages if you needed more than one page. Things got even more hectic if you needed three or more. Then came tabs. All of your webpages in one simple browser. They were all listed at the top and easy to see. Then they added the ability to reopen the tabs you had open when you closed your browser. Life got easier.

At least it did until I started using tabs as bookmarks. Everytime I wanted to look at a page later, I would just leave it open in a tab. After a few days I would end up with so many tabs I couldn’t find the the tabs I actually needed to use. Instead, I end up with a lot of wasted time clicking back and forth between tabs I forgot I even had.

A couple days ago I came across a solution. An add-on for Chrome and Firefox called TooManyTabs. The program allows you to save your tabs for later and move them out of view. It sits as an icon on your browser and allows you to have many pages open for later, but keep them out of sight. It doesn’t have a lot of features, but I think that is actually what I like about it. It’s really simple.

However, after using it for a few days, I realized something else: I really don’t need all those extra tabs anyways. If I don’t have time to look at that site now, I am probably not going to look at it later either. I do still use TooManyTabs, but not as much as I thought. Instead, I just limit the number of tabs that I am allowed to keep open to five. At the moment I have four tabs open. One of those is my e-mail and one is this post that I am writing right now.

I use TooManyTabs to store pages that I have to use on a regular basis for work, but don’t need open all the time. Websites that I work on on everyday or every couple days. By keeping them closed most of the time, I save myself a lot of time having to search through a bunch of tabs.

So, if you like to have a lot of tabs open then get the add-on, but realistically you can probably get the same effect by just realizing that you don’t need all those pages open in the first place.

 

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Dropbox: Saving Your Files online

Posted by on Oct 2, 2011 in Other, Time management | 0 comments

Last month I had bad luck with computers. My power chord on my main computer died, so I bought a new one which also burned out. No power chord basically meant that my computer was virtually useless. I decided to switch to an iMac. The reason for this was actually convenience. My dad had an iMac I bought him a couple of years ago that he was no longer using since I got him an iphone.

Losing the ability to use your computer or having a computer die makes you think about your files. I keep all of my important files backed up on an external hard drive, but that can also die. I finally decided what I needed was  a place online to store my files. That way I would have the ability to access them regardless of what computer I was using or where I was.

I wasn’t actually looking for a place to keep all of my files, but just a few select ones that I didn’t want to loose.

I looked at a few different sites, and finally decided on Dropbox for two reasons. One, it had applications on available on many platforms. Two, you start out with 2GB of space, but get an additional 250mb of space (up to 10Gb) for every person that you refer. Not a bad deal.

The user interface is also good. Dropbox shows up as a folder and whatever you put into it gets uploaded to your Dropbox file.

So here is my referral link to Dropbox. If you use this link we both get an additional 250mb of space.

Click here to Sign up for Drop Box

 

Once you sign up, please feel free to comment on how you like it or don’t. Also, feel free to comment if you have found a better service.

 

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Why I got rid of my iPhone

Posted by on Sep 24, 2011 in Money, Personal Development, Time management | 0 comments

The iPhone is a pretty cool gadget. By cleverly combining a computer with a cell phone, the iPhone has basically changed the cell phone industry overnight. And this isn’t just the case in the US. I live in Japan and the market here is now almost completely dominated by smart phones. So why if it’s so great, am I giving mine up? Let me explain.

When I first got my iPhone it was great. It allowed me to make phone calls, connect to all of my social media programs, use Skype, have a decent Japanese program, and not to mention the ability to watch YouTube from bed. It seemed perfect.

However, my love affair was soon ended when I received my first bill. The cost was over triple what I was previously paying. All of a sudden all of those extra features didn’t seem quite as valuable. The idea was that when I was in the house I would use wifi, so I wouldn’t get charged for using data. The problem was that the iPhone switched between the two and my data plan was maxed every month. So in order to make sure this didn’t happen I had to turn off 3G, which meant that I then couldn’t use email.

Now, the problem wasn’t actually with the iPhone, it was with the phone companies. They realized they had something people wanted and could charge a fortune for it. They created all kinds of new plans which REQUIRED you to opt into various services, which weren’t required with other phones even though they accessed data the same way. And since people were so thrilled with their smart phones, no one seemed to care.

After having my iPhone for over two years, I have come to the realization that an iPhone is a cool device. It combines the abilities of a cell phone and a tablet. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do either one if these things as well as the originals. A basic phone costs far less and will allow you to make phone calls easier and cheaper than a smart phone. You also don’t have to worry so much about it getting damaged or lost. I can’t tell you how many times I leave my iPhone in the car (leaving me without a phone) when I go to the beach, for a jog, etc.

Yes, it can be used as a mini tablet, but the screen is too small to make it comfortable to do so. You have to spend too much time scrolling back and forth on the screen.

So yesterday I shut off my iPhone and am back with a regular cell phone. This time I went real simple and my bill is a third of what it was. That will easily save me enough to save up for a tablet in a few months if I choose to do so.

My new cell phone isn’t amazing, but it does something great that my iPhone never did that well: it works as a cell phone.

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Staying Organized and Getting Organized Online

Posted by on Sep 16, 2011 in Personal Development, Time management | 0 comments

When it comes to organization, I am a bit of a conflicted soul. It really bugs me when things are out place, but I am often not as well organized as I would like.


This feeling of disorganization is further enforced with all the time we spend on the computer. We have personal files, music files, photos, work files, bookmarks, favorites, videos, and all kinds of other stuff we need to keep track of. Now that I also do most of my work online, this has compounded even more.

The thing is, I know what causes the disorganization. Correcting the problem however, isn’t quite so easy.

The problem comes from bad planning or no planning at all.

The bigger problem is that once a system is in place it’s not easy to change. If you are like me, then maybe you have bookmarks in several places, photos on multiple hard drives, and in my case, different kinds of files among different types of operating systems. Finding all of those files and then organizing them is a much bigger project than properly organizing them in the first place.  Because of this, most of us just keep using the messed up system that we have.

However, chances to start over can come in unusual forms.

In my case, that was my main computer’s power chord breaking. It was also the fact that I needed to use one of my external hard drives for a different purpose. This forced my to get rid of a lot of documents I didn’t need and consolidate the rest into one place. I also have a new computer on the way that will allow me to keep everything in one place

Getting Organized Online

Now I am by no means an organization guru. However, I try to learn from my mistakes, and have done a few things that allow me to stay better organized.

Email- Over the years I have used a lot of e-mail programs and tried a lot of different e-mail accounts. I like having all of my e-mail available regardless of the computer or location, so I have gone online with that. I have had an MSN account from years and years, but I mostly use Gmail.

Online bookmarks– I have moved all of my bookmarks from my browser to an online bookmarking service. That way I can have my bookmarks no matter what computer I am on. Do be careful however, as I have seen a lot of start up companies shut down, and you don’t want to loose your bookmarks. I use Delicious.

Documents- Word documents, excel sheets, ect are all other things I have brought online. There are several services available, but I use Google Docs since I also have a gmail account.

Photos/videos- This is one I still have difficulty with. I use Picasa to view them, but i keep my pics stored on an external hard drive marked by event and date. I would like to move them online, but I am not sure if I am willing to pay for a service to host my pictures. Companies like Flicker/Picasa Web offer free storage, but only up to a certain limit. Any recommendations? I came across this blog in my search which has a pretty good list of photo sites: photo sites.

Readers- If you are like me, then you are probably subscribed to many blogs. Keeping up on them all can be difficult. Using an RSS reader makes it much easier. I have been using Google Reader for the last several years and I am happy with it. The one thing I recommend is to delete blogs that you no longer read. This will help from the “unread” numbers getting to overwhelming.

Calendar- This is something that I just reviewed recently as I was looking for a better option. I have been using Google Calendar, but since I use it for my classes, I never wanted to let it get cluttered up with daily tasks.  I also felt the tasks tab didn’t work well. However, after looking at other options I decided to stay with Google Calendar and use it slightly different. For my daily tasks time doesn’t really matter. So I mark them as “all-day” and they show up at the very top of the page. I only use the tasks bar for things I need to consider or think about.

Planning out your organization

My new computer should be arriving sometime next week or the week after. How well I implement the system I have created will depend on how well I have planned it out. I have spent countless hours trying to change bad planned organization, so spending a few to make a better system from scratch is time well spent.

Mind Mapping Software

At the moment I am creating two systems. One is how I organize information and data on my computer. The other is my work flow. Mind mapping software is a great option for this because it allows you to put everything down where you can see it and think out the process. However, it isn’t necessary. You can always use a pen and paper as well. For those who are interested in the software, check out this page.

Update: After writing this I tried free mind, and found it to be a bit difficult to use. I finally gave up on it, and then tried bubbl.us. It’s real easy to use and free. It doesn’t have a ton of features, but it gets the job done.

How do you stay organized?

I would love to get your feedback and hear your stories of success (or horror). Let me know what programs you use, and what system you have found best. Do you prefer the way of technology or do you like keeping things on paper?

 

 

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30 day challenges, how-to videos, product reviews, adventure videos, and other updates coming to Simplistic Thoughts

Posted by on Sep 15, 2011 in Enjoying Life, Health, Language, Money, Other, Personal Development, Time management | 0 comments

When I first started this blog several years ago I used to post several times a week. I then moved from Tokyo to pursue Internet Marketing and started focusing more on making a living on the web than just enjoying it. Unfortunately, I tended to ignore this website.

Lately, I am finally starting to learn how to do both. I am really excited with the content I have planned for this blog, and I think you will enjoy it.

Lately, I am really getting into video and editing and I have been wanting to do more with this on the blog. My camera was flooded on a snorkeling trip, but I have a new HD camera on the way and figured what better way to tell you about the new plans for the website than make a video. The camera hasn’t arrived yet and neither has my new computer (I am typing this on a 6 year old laptop). But, I figured rather than wait, I would get started and use what I have.

This was shot on my iphone and edited using a free program on my 6 year old laptop. Let me know what you think, and please leave comments and subscribe (you can find a subscribe button on the sidebar) to my YouTube account. I will have many more vids on the way.

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Browser Tabs: Time Saver or Time Waster?

Posted by on Jul 6, 2011 in Other, Time management | 2 comments

As I write this post, I currently have 9 tabs open in my browser. Do I need them all? Not really, but it seems it is always easier to open another tab than close one if I am not done with it completely. I also tend to use tabs to save webpages. Not a great practice, but I do it anyway. Having the ability to open multiple tabs is definitely a benefit, and can save time having to switch between many pages. But at what point does it become more of a time waster than a time saver?

The ability to have two or three tabs open at one time is great. You can compare products, use it to copy and paste, find out information from one site while using it for another, etc. It is much easier than having to switch between pages and requires less work by your computer. However, if you are like me, and commonly have 5+ pages open on a regular basis, then you are probably wasting more time than you are gaining.

The reason is that it takes more time to find what you want. Each time you switch tabs, you will have to search for the one you want. Not to mention that as you open more tabs, they get smaller, making it more difficult to tell what each one is. It also makes it easier to get side-tracked. You may accidentally open a tab you forgot about and start reading it, loosing track of what you were doing in the first place.

While the solution is simple (don’t open so many tabs), actually applying it is more difficult. I think you have to create a rule/habit. Make a rule that you won’t open more than 2-4 tabs at any one time. If you need to save something, then bookmark it and close the page. You will be able to work much more efficiently if you don’t have a bunch of pages to distract you.

I have closed all but two of my pages, and will try to keep it that way. Can you break the addition?

I am curious to everyone’s experience with browser tabs. How many do you keep open on average?

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