All Posts in Tech & Gadgets

August 25, 2018 - No Comments!

Devices, apps and random gear I’m currently using

People frequently ask about the devices, apps and other random gear I'm using. Since I'm often testing new stuff I'll update this page every month or so.

If you have questions or there's something I missed, comment below or send a quick message.

iOS apps that live on my home screen

I keep a clutter free home screen, with only four apps in my dock. My traditional home screen, full of apps I use most often, is just a swipe left.

  • Drafts
  • OmniFocus
  • Launch Center Pro
  • DayOne

iOS apps I couldn't do without

  • 1Password
  • Fantastical
  • Workflow
  • Overcast
  • Evernote
  • Dark Sky

Devices

  • iPhone 6s
  • iPad Pro 10.5"
  • MacBook Pro 13"

Gear and protection

Gear - devices and accessories

  • Apple Magic Keyboard
  • Apple Magic Mouse
  • Apple Pencil
  • iPad stand
  • MBP lifts
  • MBP charger

Protection - cases and sleeves

  • 5.11 Tactical - COVRT18™ 25L Backpack
  • Spigen Tough Armor case – all black, both iPhone and iPad
  • Speck Matte Black case - keeps my MBP safe from scratches
  • Amazon Basics Poly Sleeve - keeps my MBP safer from scratches
  • Apple Pencil sleeve
  • Apple Pencil case
  • Mouse case
  • Keyboard case

On my Mac

  • Alfred / Alfred Workflows
  • TextExpander
  • OmniFocus
  • Quiver
  • SublimeText 3
  • Airmail 3
  • Fantastical
  • FileZilla
  • DayOne
  • 1Password
  • Evernote
  • Hemingway Editor
  • EncryptMe
  • Duet
  • MindNode

Mac Menubar Apps

  • Bartender 3
  • Amphetamine
  • Magnet
  • Hemingboard

July 26, 2017 - No Comments!

Google Business Review Link Generator

The impact of Google Business listing reviews continues to grow. Aside from providing credibility from past customer testimonials, Google's search algorithms also prioritize websites that have a reasonable number of customer reviews.

Getting a direct link for customers to easily submit reviews on your Google business can be a bit tricky so I've created a simple Google Business review link generator.

https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=

 

Once you paste your URL into a browser, it will change to a longer URL. So be sure to share the original one that's generated below.

**Not currently supported on mobile, please use a computer.

 

August 23, 2016 - 1 comment.

Effective emails using A.I., Boomerang Respondable Review

I've been using Boomerang for Gmail for a few years and it's great. Super reliable and definitely helps to manage communication expectations.

Today I saw the promo video for Boomerang Respondable.

Write Perfect Emails with Artificial Intelligence.

First and foremost, the video is outstanding. Nicely done, Baydin! 🙂

What is Respondable?

Respondable is a browser extension for Gmail to help you write better, more actionable emails in real time. Based on data from millions of messages, Respondable makes every email you send more effective.

I've installed the free version, which includes these real time metrics:

  1. Subject length — It recommends 2–6 words.
  2. Word count — It recommends 50–150.
  3. Question count — It recommends 1–5 questions.
  4. Reading level — It recommends 3rd grade.

Here's a sample rating while I'm typing a bogus message:

Message rating using Boomerang Respondable

The concept is cool. Obviously, it's hit or miss depending on your audience but generally I could see this help people compose more effective emails. Maybe it'll prevent someone from emailing me with the subject: "website".

Nah, doubt it.

I suspect Baydin will be tweaking the algorithms over time, right now it's too easy to vastly sway the ratings by adding one more question, or removing a big (regular-sized(?)) word. But hey, it's guidance nonetheless.

Overall, I'm curious to see how it develops over time. I don't think I'm quite ready to upgrade to Pro for $15/mo. but I'll let it hang out for now. I could definitely see it becoming a bit of a distraction though but I'm okay with that—it's rare for me to compose emails in the browser anyway.

I'll give it a week or so and check back with more.

Give a shout if you have thoughts or questions!

Read more about it at Boomerang's website.

 

August 23, 2016 - No Comments!

Connect Shazam to Evernote

Ever wondered if you can store your Shazam music in Evernote?  Yes, and it's pretty awesome. It'll take about 7 minutes to get up and running.

What you'll need to connect Shazam to Evernote:

  1. Shazam App for iPhone or Android
  2. Evernote Plus or Premium
    (Don't want to pay for Evernote yet? Here's a free workaround using Gmail instead of Evernote)

If you don't have a paid Evernote membership, you can get started here for free with an optional upgrade - $35 annually.

Create a free account


Alright, assuming you're set with Evernote Plus or Premium, let's get started.

First, find your Evernote email address

It's a unique address you can use to save emails directly into Evernote, it looks something like this: username.5199b42@m.evernote.com. You'll want to find the address and copy it, we'll use it for the next step.


To find your Evernote email address, go to your account settings:

Mac

Select Help > Account Settings.... Your email address appears in the 'Email Notes to' section.

 

iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

Tap your username to access your account settings. Scroll down and select General > Evernote Email Address.

 

Windows Desktop

Click on Tools > Account Info. Your email address will appear next to 'Email notes to:'

Android

Tap the 3-dots button in the upper right, select Settings > Account Info, and scroll down until you see your Evernote email address.

Evernote Web

Click on your profile photo, the select 'Settings'. Your email address appears in the 'Email Notes to' section.


Next, create a new Contact in your phone

You can name this whatever you want, but "Evernote" seems sensible for this example. Create a contact and paste your Evernote email address as the primary email for the contact.


Lastly, sending from Shazam:

Step 1: Shazam some tunes

Step 2: Tap the Share button, then select Email

Step 3: Start typing the name of your new contact (Evern...) and select that contact.

Step 4: Click send

 

Head on back to Evernote and you'll see your newly Shazam'd tune saved as a note! It'll appear in whichever Notebook you've saved as default.

Where you go from here will depend on what you're trying to accomplish. Personally, I'll review my saved song notes about once a week. If I decide to buy something, I'll add the tag "purchased". The really great part about using Evernote to manage music is that you can add as much context to a note as you'd like. Sometimes it's easier to recall the name of the venue or train-spotee where you heard the song—typing a quick "Dave's 30th, grill out at the park" could save a ton of time later on.

Later, I'll walk through a similar process using a few other tools with Evernote.

Message or comment if you have any thoughts or questions!

Still don't have Evernote? Create a free account

 

February 10, 2016 - No Comments!

[ Update: Goodbye Sunrise :_( ] How Sunrise Calendar helped me quit my job

Sunrise Calendar is a free calendar app made for Google Calendar, iCloud and Exchange. I'd first downloaded it and created an account in late 2014 when it was just a common, though refined, calendar interface.

To begin, I am in no way endorsed, supported by or in contact with the folks at Sunrise.

https://calendar.sunrise.am/

At some point around June of 2015 Sunrise introduced a new feature; the "Meet" button. This was also right around the time when I quit my job in order to start my own company. To skip ahead, the Meet button fixes a very fundamental problem—scheduling meetings with busy people.

While I was trying to build a client base I was spending a solid chunk of my time cold calling and responding to potential customers. Even once I had a lead identified, it could sometimes take a week or two before we could find a mutually agreeable time to meet. Multiply this by 5+ contacts per day, this equates to potentially months of time lost by email and back and fourth texts.


 

Here's what it does:

Sunrise's Meet allows you to propose multiple days / times to a person, and they can select whichever works best. An event is created, and you're done. As if that wasn't enough, the syncing happens so often that if you propose the same time to two different people, and one of them selects that time, the option will be removed from all other contacts.

Sunrise Calendar - Meet Interface

 

It has support for both desktop and mobile (iOS & Android) and possibly to coolest part—it works from directly within text messages and email by use of a custom keyboard. I've been able to confirmed scheduled meeting, directly from a text message, within two minutes of tapping Send. 

Photo credit http://blog.sunrise.am/post/132088346354/this-is-just-the-beginning-part-2

Photo credit http://blog.sunrise.am/post/132088346354/this-is-just-the-beginning-part-2

 


 

I've put some thought and basic math into how much time I've gained by scheduling meetings this way. I gain about six hours every month. That's almost a full working day to do—whatever I want. Usually, it doesn't consist of scheduling meetings.

Try it out!

https://calendar.sunrise.am/