Gmail Has a New Look — And Almost Has An Official iPhone App

Gmail Has a New Look -- And Almost Has An Official iPhone App | 40Tech

In keeping with their Big Push, Google released a new version of Gmail with a major facelift, as well as released — and then pulled — their long-awaited native Gmail app for iOS.

The new Gmail look, as is to be expected, has a few minor annoyances to accompany some great new features, and the app is actually very cool, but was pulled due to a notification system problem.

Check out the feature-list for both below.

 

New Gmail Web App

Gmail's New Look

The new web app has a look and feel that fits in with Google’s updated branding. It’s “cleaner, more modern” and is very similar to the preview theme that the Gmail team released a while back. I’ve been using that theme for a few months and I love it, but I’m not terribly fond of the dynamic “Display Density” feature.

Display Density allows you to control the default amount of whitespace for each email message in your inbox (Comfortable, Cozy, or Compact), but whill actually change dynamically depending on the size of your browser window. This may seem like a good idea, but if you use Minimal Wall’s guidelines for window sizes, it displays as Compact, no matter what, which clashes with your zen by slapping you about with tiny little squished up emails. Google should add a feature that allows you to force the display of your favourite Density, no matter the size of your window.

New Gmail Comfortable Setting    New Gmail Compact Setting

What is awesome about the new Gmail is the sweet new toolbar, the much-improved search dialogue — I always hated the in-field search commands — new themes, and the improved look of threaded conversations. I also like the additional control settings, the ability to drag the size of the chat window, and the awesome little buttons in the sidebar that can make the chat, gadgets, and other annoying sidebar items vanish until you want them.

Give the new Gmail a try, and let us know what you think. If you don’t love it, you can always revert back — at least for now. Check out the video for details on the upgrade:

YouTube Preview Image

 

Native Gmail App for iOS

Once Google gets a handle on the notifications errors (apparently just a silly little mistake on their part, so it shouldn’t be long), the new iOS app will probably kill the iOS mail app for me. I only use the thing because I hate waiting for Safari to load, and the new app looks like it will finally allow me to do what I’ve always wanted to from my iPhone and iPad: reply to emails with the email address that they were sent to.

This is a huge deal for me, because I use a multitude of different email addresses for different things, and they all come through Gmail. I don’t necessarily want to answer my 40Tech email or my work email with my main email address, which I’ve had forever, but might not always come off with the… professionalism… I need.

Unfortunately, you still can’t compose new email in the app and choose what email you want to send from. Baby steps, though, I suppose — and it’s still better than the iOS emai app.

The new Gmail for iOS app is nearly a full-featured Gmail experience. There is universal search, auto-complete from both Gmail contacts and iPhone addressbook, attachment upload (which is basically photos, of course), threaded conversations, priority inbox, easy archiving, labelling, starring, deleting, and spam reporting.

New Gmail App for iOS | 40Tech       New Native Gmail App for iOS | 40Tech

On iPhone/iPod Touch, the Gmail app gets out of its own way, focusing on the content, with a nice expandable sidebar to sort through your labels. On the iPad, you get the standard two-paned view, which makes for easy viewing and navigating on the larger screen.

The only other things to note are that, at the moment, the app doesn’t have offline support, and doesn’t do multiple Gmail accounts, and that swipe gestures — while good for the most part — sometimes feel a bit awkward.

What are your thoughts on the new look for Gmail? And when you get a chance to check it out, tell us what you think of the iOS app, as well! 

Springpad Adds Custom Notebooks, Shareable Notebook Templates — and Have You Seen the New Friends Stuff Yet? [App of the Week]

Springpad Adds Custom Notebooks, Shareable Notebook Templates -- and Have You Seen the New Friends Stuff Yet? | 40Tech

Usually, I like to pull out new apps for the App of the Week. Every once in a while, though, one of my favourites releases something so cool that I have no choice but to add the “extra-special” label. For the second time this week, Springpad pushes itself into the 40Tech stream, first with a slick integration into the iOS 5 notifications system, and now by adding yet another level of personalization and social value to their service.

Springpad vs Evernote is a thing of the past. With every new update, Springpad moves farther away from being just a note-taking/remember everything app, and gets closer to being the definitive service for collecting, sorting through, and acting on what interests you. Their latest leaps into this arena bring you three things:

 

Customize Your Notebooks

Note: Notebook customizations show up in the most recent versions of the mobile apps: iOS 2.6+, and Android 2.4+.

The ability to easily customize your notebooks so that you see only what you want in the sidebar, and cut the extra steps out of the Quick Add process.

Customizing your Springpad notebooks is easy. All you need to do is hover over the notebook (or the open notebook’s title bar) until you see the little wrench appear by the name, click said wrench, and head to either the Navigation or Quick Add button that appears in the pop up settings dialogue.

Navigation

  • Click and drag the navigation items to reposition them or delete them completely.
  • Change the item-type without moving anything (change Everything to Board, for example).
  • Change the way notes are sorted when you open that navigation item (by Added, Modified, Tag, etc.).
  • Change the Starting View for that navigation item to default as title-only, title-with-description, or grid.

Springpad Notebook Navigation Customization | 40Tech

Different navigation types will have different options, depending on their function. For example, the Types Section and Tags Section also allow you to decide how many of their items to show in the sidebar, as well as to decide if you want to sort by note count or name. That last bit, alone, will make life easier for those who use GTD in Springpad, and the other features won’t hurt either.

Quick Add

This is where things get fun. The best thing an app like Springpad can do is make it as fast and easy as possible for you to get things into it. Springpad was already pretty good at this, especially via their mobile apps, but sometimes it was a bit of a pain to select notebook, then select item type (or change item type, if Springpad’s auto-select got it wrong), etc., etc. Now you have the ability to make sure that the notebook only shows the options that you need to see.

You can select by the standard add a Note, Task, By Type, Look It Up, et al, as well as by Recipe, Book, Movie, and more. You can also choose client-specific options. This is fantastic if you do most of your collecting for that notebook by mobile, as you can then set it to collect only by Photo, Audio Recording, Barcode, or Search Nearby. Please note that Android devices currently do not allow adding alarms, contacts, or events, and mobile devices in general do not allow adding from My Stuff. Quick Add can be used to filter these items out.

Springpad Notebook Quick Add Customization | 40Tech

 

Save, Share, and Download New Notebook Templates

The ability to save your new notebooks as a template for other notebooks, share it with others, or easily adopt their shared templates.

Once your notebook is customized just how you like it, you can use it as a template for new notebooks by selecting it from the “Choose template for this notebook” dropdown menu (in the same place you name the new notebook).

Unfortunately, this only applies to new notebooks — there is no option to apply a template to a notebook you already have. If this annoys you, don’t worry, there’s an easy fix:

  • Create a new notebook
  • Add the desired template
  • Open the old notebook
  • Click Edit in the top left of the notes area
  • Click the checkbox to select all or use the dropdowns to filter and select (or just use a saved filter and Edit/checkbox)
  • Use the Notebooks dropdown to add the new notebook
  • Delete the old notebook

Add Springpad Notebook Templates to Existing Notebooks | 40Tech

Sharing Notebook Templates

All you have to do here is open up the settings, and click where it tells you to get the share link. None of your notes are shared, or any other private information, only the template. the link will lead to a page that allows people to Spring and install the theme. Add it wherever you like to add links: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, your blog, a public Springpad notebook just for templates — wherever.

Sharing Springpad Notebook Templates | 40Tech

Springpad already has a few templates available on their blog that can get you started, complete with ideas on how to make the most of them on the web and on the go. Check them out, and follow the prompts to install them: Gift Ideas template, Recipe Book template, Books to Read template.

Adding Springpad Notebook Templates | 40TechSpringpad Notebook Templates in Action | 40Tech

Share your custom notebook templates in the comments! 

 

Friends Stuff + Facebook = More Awesome

In case you haven’t heard, Springpad has integrated Facebook into Friends Stuff, so you can easily check out and add your friends’ Likes and Check-ins. We’re talkin’ movies, books, TV shows, music, places, and the like that your real-life friends recommend; easily viewable and sortable in your Springpad app, and easy to add to your own notebooks for later access.

Springpad Connects Facebook to Friends' Likes | 40Tech

The Friends Stuff Facebook integration is in beta, but if you click the link in the Homecreen’s sidebar and authenticate with Facebook, you should be able to get connected. At the very least, you will be put on the list and Springpad will send you an email to let you know when you can access the new feature.

Check out the Friends Stuff + Facebook video:

YouTube Preview Image

 

So yeah… That’s a lot of Springpad awesome for one day. Kudos to CEO Jeff Janer and the entire Springpad crew for continually thinking of and adding new ways to make their service useful and unique. I can’t wait to see what they do next!

What do you think about Springpad’s new additions?

Springpad Mobile Clipper is the (Near) Seamless Content Clipper You’ve Been Waiting For

Springpad Mobile Clipper is the (Near) Seamless Content Clipper You've Been Waiting For | 40Tech

It’s been a long time coming. Since I got myself an iPhone, and especially since the iPad, I’ve joined the ranks of the millions of users out there who have been waiting for a simple and easy way to clip web content on my mobile device. I’ve used Read It Later and Instapaper, I’ve copied things into email and sent them to Evernote, Springpad, Producteev, and myself. I’ve even used the desktop clipper bookmarklets with reasonable — if time-consuming — success. That’s all in the past now: Springpad has hooked up the mobile world with a new and improved web clipper that is near to seamless.

The new Springpad mobile clipper doesn’t have the fancy bells and whistles of the Chrome extension, of course, but the updated bookmarklet is straightforward and easy on the eyes, and it works just as well in Mobile Safari and Atomic Web Browser as it does on desktop browsers. I used to use the old Springpad bookmarklet, and sometimes the Evernote and Memonic ones as well, but more often than not, they would load or function slowly — if they loaded at all. I’m presented with or stumble across a plethora of juicy things I want to follow upon in any given day – and most of it happens while I’m not at my computer. Now I can grab a bookmark for later, organize it, and move on within seconds. No fuss, no later processing, and no clutter in my email inbox.

 

Clipping Content is Great on iPad, a Bit Neutered on iPhone

Clipping bits of content from an article or page is a bit of a problem, though, at least on the iPhone. When using the iPad, I had no issues at all. Select a bit of the text or an entire article, fire the clipper, and it appears in the bookmark’s description area, complete with formatting — unless you want to edit it, of course. That strips the HTML. On the iPhone, however, no amount of selecting or even copying text to the clipboard will get the content you want to clip to show up. All you will get is the description write-up. I’m not sure why this is, and it definitely limits the iPhone to a quick link-grabber as opposed to a full-fledged clipper.

If you really want to clip that bit of content or entire article for later reading while on the iPhone, you can copy the text and edit it into the description field by doing a select-all-and-paste maneuver. Once again, though, you will lose all formatting, including any links and images.

The iPhone issue aside, the clipper rocks for getting those bookmarks into Springpad and organized in your notebooks and tag structure. Notebooks are an easy drop down, and tags auto-complete as you type. You can also change the type of save you want it to be. Bookmark is the default, but you can change it to Business, Restaurant, Recipe, Product, and all the rest with just a few touches. Almost all the rest, that is — Note is missing, and so is Task. Not a huge loss, I suppose, unless you want to save a bookmark to a task or a note, which could happen. If you really need that functionality, you can always go into Springpad and add a reminder or a note directly to the bookmark.

Springpad Mobile Web Clipper for Mobile Safari in Atomic Web Browser | 40Tech   Springpad Mobile Safari Web Clipper | 40Tech

Selecting Post Type in Mobile Safari Web Clipper, Springpad | 40Tech   Tagging Bookmarks in Springpad Web Clipper for iPad, iPhone | 40Tech

image   image

 

Installation is Easy

Springpad has made it easy to install the bookmarklet to Mobile Safari. They provide step-by-step instructions in the Settings area of the most recent versions of their iPhone and iPad apps. If you use another browser, just follow the instructions and let Springpad load up Mobile Safari, as it will automatically add the JavaScript to your clipboard. After that, open up your browser of choice and add a bookmark, pasting the JavaScript into the URL field. There is no guarantee your browser will work, but I can tell you that Atomic Web Browser does just fine.

image

 

Springpad Has a Few More Tricks Up Their Sleeves

The new mobile clipper isn’t the only thing Springpad’s been up to lately. They also released a Quick Add bookmark for your home screen that makes it faster for you to load up the Springpad app to add a note, photo, or whatever else you choose. This is nice for those of us without widgets like those Android folks.

I also have received word from Springpad CEO, Jeff Janer, that they have some big moves in the works that will differentiate them even more from Evernote. Having a mobile clipper that consistently works and works well is a good start though. They just need to fix that pesky iPhone issue…

What are your thoughts on the Springpad Mobile Clipper?

Memonic: A (Not So) Quiet Rival to Evernote and Springpad [App of the Week]

image

I just confirmed with the CEO of Memonic that the crazy premium account deal ($3.33 Euro for 10,000 notes and 50GB storage) link works until the end of October. And it works for whomever, not just the Swiss/Germans. Translate the page from German and get it while it’s hot!

There’s been a lot of discussion on 40Tech about which is the best note-taking app. While the battle is generally between Springpad and Evernote, occasionally a new option steps in for a punch or two. This week’s contender has been watching, learning, and in many cases even improving upon the competition. I’d like to introduce you all to Memonic — there’s a reason it made App of the Week.

When it comes to note-taking apps, there are five key things to look for: how easy it is to get information into the app, organization and sharing features, overall usability, cross-platform possibilities, and personal preference. That last is a huge factor in user adoption. Depending on what you need your notes app to do, one or another may work better for you.

Evernote, for example, is well suited to those who just need a straight ahead, highly searchable portable filing cabinet. It can do many other things, true, such as be used for a GTD system, but portable (and searchable!) filing cabinet is what it does best. Springpad, on the other hand, is great for taking notes, but has this fantastic capacity for making certain types of notes “smart.” If you like to comparison shop, find good deals, or get value from what the people in your network are interested in, Springpad’s note-alerts system offers you something no other note-taking app can match.

Memonic doesn’t have the budget that Springpad or Evernote has. They’ve been bootstrapping their system for a while now, and when you consider that and then see what they’ve put together, I have no doubt you’ll be impressed. I was — and am. Just as Evernote and Springpad differ in their approach and target markets, Memonic has brought its own angle to the field: research and collaboration. Now, before the Evernote lovers start touting shared notebooks, and the Springpad-enamoured bring up the oh-so-very-cool Board, hear me out. Those are all excellent features — but if you want an app that makes it easy to share and organize notes on a project (or projects), easy to be notified when new notes and research snippets have arrived or been commented on, and ridiculously simple to gather information in the first place, then Memonic is the clear choice. Here’s why:

 

Groups

Memonic can be used as a central collaboration notebook for research, planning, and discussions on projects. You can create a group, invite a few people, and then get to work. The group gets its own page with its own activity feed, too, which makes it simple to be notified and to keep an eye on progress.

If you run into the ever-present problem of working with someone who doesn’t want to use the service, sharing notes with people outside of Memonic is easy, too. You can share via Facebook, Twitter, email, or a link, RSS feeds, and you can even embed notes on web pages — which is a nice touch.

Share Memonic Notes on Facebook, Twitter, Email, or Embed in a Web Page | 40Tech

 

The Dashboard

Memonic’s group and contacts features are fully realized with the feed-like Dashboard. The Dashboard not only shows you a quick clip of everything you’ve posted recently, but it also shows the public posts of your contacts — which can be opened and read in full right from the dashboard itself. See something you like? Copy it to your own collection of notes, or share it with others via email, link, Facebook, or Twitter (or even copy it to Word) with just a few clicks.

Memonic Dashboard | One of the Best Note Taking Apps | 40Tech

 

The Best Clipper I’ve Come Across

I love the Evernote Web Clipper, and I like the Springpad Clipper even better, but both can get a bit irritating if you’re in a hurry. Memonic’s clipper does away with the click and drag highlighting and breaks each section of content on a page into regions that can be selected with a single click. You can do multiple parts of the page, or even the entire page in one go. When you’re doing a lot of web research, this speeds up the process immensely.

Memonic Clipper is the Best Web Clipper in the Business | 40Tech

Quick content selection isn’t the only reason the Memonic clipper stands out over the others. The other big one is Gathering Mode, which is a little toggle switch that allows you to lock in your settings for where you want to put your notes — folder, privacy level — and save you the trouble of having to re-establish those settings for every single clipping. It’s awesome — and I have no idea why other clippers don’t do the same. The only thing I would like to see added to Gathering Mode is the ability to lock in tags, as well.

Finally, the Memonic clipper has a variety of other useful modes that can replace a number of other services with just this one:

  • Read Later mode that allows you to grab entire pages
  • Bookmark mode (which provides a nice snippet description as well)
  • Screenshot mode that attaches an image of the visible browser area
  • Write a note (to get to the note taking without even opening the service)

Memonic Web Clipper Can Replace Read It Later, Bookmarking Apps | 40Tech

The web clipper works with all major browsers — and even works by bookmarklet with Safari for iPad. If that isn’t enough, there is also a clipper for Windows that allows you to clip content outside of the browser.

 

Clean and Simple Design — Across all Platforms

Memonic focuses on the minimal. The way notes are displayed in expandable windows that are neatly separated from one another is easy on the eyes and easy to use. The look and feel is distinctly uncluttered, and is fairly persistent across all versions of the app. And you can get Memonic pretty much anywhere: Windows and Mac desktop apps, iPhone, iPad, Android devices, and the web app for everything else. Mobile versions don’t have the Dashboard, unfortunately, but everything else you could want is there, both online and off.

 

Crazy Integrations

For a small operation, Memonic is throwing around some important integrations, especially for the business set. Here’s just a few: Salesforce, SugarCRM, Confluence, Sharepoint — and guess what… they are planning to integrate with Evernote! That may seem a bit weird, but soon, all those who can’t bear to walk away from Evernote, but love the power of the Memonic clipper, will be able to use the super-awesome clipper to save content directly to their Evernote accounts. A nice, tidy little bit of genius on the part of Memonic, if you ask me.

Memonic Clipper Integrates with Evernote | 40Tech

If, for some strange reason, you need more than the promise of Evernote integration, well, Memonic also integrates a save button into Facebook so you can save your favourite photos, status updates, and wall posts. Want more? How about Google Reader integration so you can clip your favourite posts while reading your feeds? How’s that tickle you?

More ways to Use Memonic | Save Facebook, Google Reader Posts | 40Tech

 

Memonic’s co-founder, Dorian Selz, and the rest of the team have worked their butts off on a bootstrap budget to put together one of the most robust note-taking apps I’ve ever come across — a definite rival for Evernote and Springpad if it gets the notice it deserves. The only issue I personally have with Memonic is that their free version is limited to only 100 notes and doesn’t have Gathering Mode. To get the full service, though, only costs $28/year — which isn’t bad considering Evernote premium is $45/per year — and Memonic doesn’t have any advertising to clutter up your experience. If you do a lot of research on your own, or as part of a student or business team, give Memonic a try — you just might love it. And there are discounts for students, too.

What do you think of Memonic?

Summify Cuts Through the Chatter, Helps You Get The Real Goods From Your Social Streams

Summify Cuts through the Chatter, Helps You Get The Real Goods From Your Social Streams | 40Tech

Summify has been acquired by Twitter and will be shutting down. See this post for more detail.

I’d like to take a moment to step away from the general worship and awe of Google+, and circle back (hehe) to our old friend Twitter. Actually, I plan to talk about Summify, and how it can take the often-overwhelming amount of information that is travelling through your Twitter stream at any given time, and sort it into a “highlight reel” that can be shared as a whole and as individual posts. It’s easy, it’s effective, and maybe just a little bit brilliant — and I have no doubt it will save you time and make your online reading much less hectic.

Multiple Accounts

Summify isn’t just about Twitter, either. Sure, it can connect to as many Twitter accounts as you like, but it also connects with Facebook and Google Reader. In fact, the more accounts you add, the better your summary will be.

Control

You get to decide how often you get a summary, how many stories it contains, when it gets delivered to you, how it gets delivered, who gets to look at it, and whether or not it gets published to your accounts. For example: my Summify is set up to deliver a new summary of 10 stories, twice per day (at 8:30am and 8:30pm), to my email inbox. Others can view it, and I automatically publish a link to the summary on my main Twitter and Facebook accounts. I could have allowed Summify to send me a Twitter DM notification as well, but between email and the recently released iPhone app, I’m covered.

summify-1 Summify-2

summify-2a summify-3

When you select a link in Summify (from email or your main summary), the article opens up with a handy toolbar on top (which you can close, if you want) that allows you to share the post on one or all of your connected networks. You can also see the avatars of the people who shared the article with you in the centre of the toolbar, and hover over them to view the originating tweet and click through to their account.

summify-5

If you don’t like the article and think it shouldn’t have been in your summary, you can click the little thumbs-down button to add it to your Filters list. This is a nice and easy way to weed out spammers and other annoying sites that occasionally sneak through. In fact, when you are in the Summify web app, itself, you can thumb an offending article down right then and there, without ever opening it. You can also filter by contributor, allowing you to block specific people from contributing to your summary. All you have to do is hover over one of the avatars below any given article, and then move your mouse over the little “x” that appears in the top right, and click it. This, and the thumbs-down functionality aren’t available in the email, of course, but they are also missing from the iPhone app; something that I hope changes, soon. Thankfully, though, Summify is smart enough that it gets it right about 98% of the time. And the iPhone app is pretty, and so is easily forgiven.

summify-4

People-Friendly Messages

When Summify sends out a summary message it takes great care to do two things: 1) It mentions some of the people who provided you with the information in the first place; which makes for nice Twitter etiquette. 2) It varies the messages so they aren’t always the same boring words with a new link. As an example, take a look below at three recent tweets (not clickable) that Summify sent out on my behalf.

tweet1tweet2tweet3

It should also be noted that mentions are automatically included in share of single posts, as well, and that you can edit the content of single-post shares before posting.

Easy, Good Looking, and Smart

Take the section-title anyway you like, but understand that it’s true, and it’s awesome! The apps (and even the emails) are easy on the eyes and easier to work with, and the service is smart enough to not only consistently deliver articles that you like, but it also will list out several other stories from websites that post multiple posts. This makes sure that you get all the highlights from Mashable and other large sites without having to visit them directly or open up another app.

I’ve been using Summify for a month or two now, and I’ve lost count of the number of hours I’ve saved by not scanning through the muck that is sometimes Twitter, and by not chasing down every shiny post in my 49 or so RSS feeds. Summify helps keep things clear and easy to manage, and has even kept me relevant on Twitter while I play with Google +. Speaking of Google +, I’m hoping that we’ll see it integrated into Summify soon (they already have the +1 button). Even better, Summify should be integrated into the Sparks feature! Now, that would be sweet! * pokes Google *

Note: For those interested, Summify is located right here in my (rarely) sunny home-city of Vancouver, and they have had the benefit of advising from the CEO of another little local social app called HootSuite. Maybe you’ve heard of it? :D

Give Summify a try and tell us what you think!

UPDATE: Summify has recently updated its look (pretty much the day after this post went up). It was pretty before, but now it’s awesome! It also includes Instapaper integration.

Summify-new.

See What Your Website Looks Like on Different Devices

screenfly.jpeg

If you run a website, you’ve probably run into issues trying to figure out what your site looks like on various devices. If you want a quick way to figure it out, check out Screenfly, a site that lets you see how your site appears on different devices, including desktop, tablet, mobile, and even television. Within each of those categories, you can choose from a variety of devices. For example, if you choose tablet, you can pick between the iPad and four other tablets, including the Motorolla Xoom. Even the desktop selection allows you to choose between several screen resolutions.

READ MORE

GTD, Producteev, Evernote — Bridged!

GTD, Producteev, Evernote -- Bridged! | 40Tech

As you probably already know, GTD and Productivity are creatures that live somewhere deep in my bones. They speak to me, manipulate me, and generally run my life. Not in a bad way, you understand — even if they come across as a little obsessive, the little monsters really do have my best interests at heart. They’re the reason I’m always looking for new and inventive ways to refine and apply workflows. They’re also the reason that I’ve met some cool people who have their own little creatures that bitch and nag them into action.

During a recent conversation on Google+, with a circle of those people, we were discussing the benefits of both Producteev and Evernote as GTD tools, and how it would be great if they worked together. We decided to test out a means of making that happen, with Evernote as the ultimate collection tool, and Producteev as the magic task management/Google Calendar integrator.

Here’s what I proposed (have a read and tell me what you think):

 

The Gist of the Idea

The first thing to do is make Evernote able to send email directly to task@producteev.com. To do this, you need to register the email address that your Evernote uses (to email out a note) in your Producteev workspace(s). Now, any tasks in Evernote that you want to process into Producteev can be done directly from within EN.

The next thing you need to do is make sure your Evernote notes get to the right place in your Producteev setup. Producteev’s email2task functionality is fantastic. It incorporates a lot of simple language that allows you to easily do things like schedule a task from email by writing “Do this task tomorrow at 2pm” in the subject line (more on syntax below). If you are working in the Evernote desktop app, you can easily send out an email by selecting that option under Share, and then changing the subject line to reflect the appropriate email2task syntax. If you are in a mobile app, or unable to change the subject line for some reason, then you can simply change the title of your note to reflect what you want the email subject line to say.

These two steps make it possible to collect information in Evernote and share it with Producteev quickly and easily. Producteev can connect to Google Calendar, as well, for two-way sync (coming first week of February, 2012), which gives you the opportunity to finally connect Evernote to Google Calendar, if only by proxy.

Finally, using the Copy Note Link or Copy URL to Clipboard features found under the Note and Share buttons in Evernote, you can add the note’s own link to the email or note body, and leave an easy to follow link back to Evernote in any Producteev task you create.

 

GTD Use Cases for a Evernote-Producteev Bridge

  • You could manage your GTD system in Evernote, doing everything from collecting to archiving, but use Producteev during processing to set up automated reminders and Google Calendar events. You could also add in email or IM Producteev functionality to easily close and update tasks, including sharing and delegating without ever logging in to the tool itself.
  • You could also manage your GTD in Producteev and simply use Evernote as your main collection tool, as well as for keeping all of your reference material and archives in one easily searchable place. Producteev has many ways of inputting tasks, but Evernote can utilize voice, image, and text entry, as well as the clipper, and a crazy number of integrations, to collect and organize information.

 

Why Bother?

  1. Evernote has superior collection capability but no true task management functionality.
  2. Producteev’s notes system and ability to add attachments simply can’t compare to Evernote.

 

Notes

  1. When you send an Evernote item into Producteev, the body is converted to a note. Actually, you end up with several notes, as any images that Evernote uses in the background of the note are added as separate (and useless) note items in Producteev. HTML is stripped out entirely, and this will sometimes leave garbage code in the text of the Producteev note. See the image below (thanks to Daniel Gold for doing the first test run!).
  2. Even though the Producteev notes are in plain text, the note itself is still in both tools. In Producteev, the notes system can be used to conduct a conversation around the task with others who have access to the workspace, or to leave additional notes for yourself if you are using Producteev as your main management system.

GTD in Producteev Evernote Bridge | 40Tech    pdtv-en2.

GTD in Producteev, Evernote | 40Tech

 

General Workflow & Syntax

  • Collect in Evernote
  • Process to Producteev via Evernote email-out and Producteev email2task syntax (with scheduled items going to Gcal, as well, for the visual calendar)
  • Manage tasks in  Evernote with Producteev used only for scheduling and reminders OR
  • Manage tasks in Producteev and/or email with Evernote for archival reference

 

Syntax tips can be found here, but the basics are as follows:

  • today, tomorrow, days of the week, next week, specific dates (today 8pm, August 10 8pm, 8pm August 10 when combining date and time)
  • done (to register a task as being completed)
  • @ to assign a task to a workspace collaborator (@Michael, @Michael Lewis, @Lewis, @ML)
  • * to indicate a priority level using our 1-5 starring system (4* or ****)
  • # to indicate workspace name (#Personal)
  • ## to indicate the appropriate label (##Marketing)
  • “” to add task notes (“follow up” or ‘follow up’)
  • / to have the beaver run searches for you (/today for a list of all of your tasks due by the end of the day)

 

Your Turn!

So what do you think of the possibilities of integrating Producteev and Evernote into one system that is relatively seamless? Thoughts? Concerns? Is this worthwhile? Let us know in the comments!

How to Watch US Netflix on Your iPad/iPhone When Outside of the US

How to Watch US Netflix on Your iPad/iPhone When Outside of the US | 40Tech

If you have Netflix, you have the ability to stream a wide array of movies and television shows for less than $10 per month. The digital streaming library isn’t as impressive as their mail-out catalogue, but any way you look at it, that’s a pretty decent price for what you get. And what you get is a lot. Old shows, new shows, crazy amounts of anime, and even some favourites like Glee, the now (sadly) cancelled Stargate Universe, and 2009′s Star Trek movie are on there. Unless you live in or visit a country other than the United States, of course.

If you do happen to be on the other side of that imaginary border line, however, and you have an iOS device, you can use a VPN to access the US Netflix streaming library — and you can do it without spending a dime if you use Hotspot Shield.

Note: Please note that, while this is a fun workaround, and can be useful in certain situations, the inability to access Netflix or any other media site mentioned in this post outside of the United States is due to international licensing agreements. These sites and services may prohibit broadcasting or accessing certain content from outside of the United States in their terms of use. As such, this post’s workaround is used solely at the device owner’s and account holder’s own risk and is for educational purposes only.

UPDATE: Hotspot Shield’s iOS configuration page is currently down. I’ll keep checking to see if and when it comes back up and will update you here. You could also try other VPN options, such as Witopia, but that one comes with a $40/year price tag.

UPDATE 2: I’ve been in touch with Anchorfree support (they are the purveyors of Hotspot Shield), and have been told that they are working on the issue. Apparently, they are re-launching the iPhone version of the VPN. I will update again when I know more.

UPDATE 3: The iOS app for Hotspot Shield is officially here! Check this post for more info.

We’ve talked about Hotspot Shield before, and even though the free version forces ads down your throat, it’s pretty handy when you want to access Hulu, Pandora, or US-only website content from across the border. It’s also handy for surfing securely at public WiFi locations, and all of the other fancy things you can do with a VPN.

So why bother with an additional post just for Netflix? Because Netflix isn’t a US-only site, but it does have US-only content. This content is accessible depending on where you are, as I found out by accident when visiting a friend in Washington state a couple weeks ago. I pulled out the iPad for my kid, loaded up Netflix to keep her busy, and was immediately boggled by the amount of new content I found staring back at me. I was hoping that we Canadians had suddenly gotten a slew of new titles, but was sadly disappointed when I returned home that evening.

Out of curiosity, I tried out Netflix on my laptop with Hotspot Shield enabled. That didn’t work. Generally (unless launched via the Chrome app, oddly enough) Netflix thought that I was trying to access the US site with a Canadian account. No dice, there. Then I remembered that Hotspot Shield was also configured on my iPad… and I was pleasantly surprised that it worked!

Here’s how you can try it out

Go to the iPhone configuration page on Hotspot Shield’s website, and follow the instructions there. You’ll want to be on a separate device for this, for simplicity’s sake.

Basically, they will have you turn off your iPad’s (or iPhone’s) WiFi, and then head to Settings > General > Network > VPN > Add VPN Configuration. From there, you do the following:

  • Select the IPSec tab/pane
  • In Description, type HotspotShield
  • In the Server field, type 68.68.107.101
  • Go back to the website and click the “Get Account ID” button
  • Type the code that the button generated into the Account field
  • Type the same code into the Password field
  • Make sure that Use Certificate is set to OFF
  • In Group Name, type hss
  • In Secret, type hss
  • SAVE and then turn your WiFi back on

Hotspot Shield iPhone Configuration

Once you are set up, turn on the VPN. I’ve noticed that, if you try and turn it on from the iPad’s Settings dashboard, it will fail to connect. No idea why that is, but, if you turn it on from the Settings > General > Network > VPN switch, it connects just fine. Once the VPN says it’s connected, load up Netflix and watch in wonder as the app believes that you are in the United States and loads up the US Netflix library!

Things to note

  • The VPN will slow you down a little bit, but not enough to affect video playback. Netflix technology is very good at figuring out how to play videos optimally, even at slower speeds.
  • The VPN will disconnect periodically. This is annoying, but if you are already playing a video it will not affect it. The movie or TV show will play through to the end unless you pause it and let the iPad time out. If you find that you are having difficulty launching a show, check to see if the little VPN icon is in the upper left corner of the iPad’s notification bar. If it is, then you may need to restart the app. If it isn’t, then head back into the VPN settings and turn it on again. You may want to close Netflix out completely, first to make sure that the VPN takes with the app (double-tap the iPad’s hardware button to see the running/recently running programs, press and hold Netflix till it shakes and gets an X in the corner, then tap the X to close it).

There you have it! Access to US Netflix on your iPad whether you have a non-US account, or just happen to be visiting another country. It is important to note that this trick may only last until Netflix figures a way to block it out, but HotSpot Shield is versatile. They have managed to get people back into Hulu every time they’ve been locked out so far, so it will probably be the same with Netflix.

Thoughts?

How to Give Toodledo a Visual Makeover, and Turn It Into a Standalone App, With User Styles

toodledo style.jpeg

I love Toodledo. Ever since I crowned it my task manager of choice over a year ago, it has remained as one of the main tools in my productivity arsenal. Read our prior review for a look at why it stands as such a strong task management app for geeks. One shortcoming of Toodledo, and a factor that keeps many people from using it, is the user interface. To put it bluntly, it’s ugly. But it doesn’t have to be. With very little effort, you can turn Toodledo into a visually appealing productivity tool.

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Find Google+ Users By Occupation, Location, Popularity, and More

Find People on Plus.jpeg

Are you on Google+ by now? If not, head on over to our invitations post, and request an invitation. While Google+ puts Facebook to shame in many areas, one feature that it lacks is a tool to search users. You can hack together some attempts to search Google profiles, but that’s about it. At least one site is attempting to fill the void. Find People on Plus is a site geared towards- you guessed it- finding people on Google+.

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