Week 18/19 of 2010

Well it finally happened. I missed writing a post. I now realize that I live a pretty boring life. Nothing much happens or I just forget what did happen the previous week. In any case, I am going to dedicate this post to different web sites I use on a daily basis.

I am a big proponent of using technology to make my life a little easier to manage. For example, at work I use 3 monitors. Overkill? Maybe, but I can get a lot of stuff done. I am a software developer. Screen real estate is a major want/need for most developers. It allows me to code in one screen and see the changes in another. For example, here is a picture of what my desktop looks like right now. My current screen resolution is 4240 x 1050 so decreased the size of the picture to not be to big to download.

Note: I am working on a website for “The Cr3w”. I pulled this up as an example because I do not know if I can post work sites here.

Starting on the left, this is where I usually keep my test website opened. As I make changes, I can see them without having to find the window. In the center screen is where I do all of my coding. Here I just loaded up a java program that parses log files. On the right screen is where I keep my email opened. I also use this screen to view the html source for the web page I have opened on the first screen. (Plus, I didn’t want to show all my emails.) If I have to make database changes, I also have another program opened to do that, but didn’t want to open it up. I also don’t have as much memory on this desktop as I had on my previous one. Things really start to crawl when I have too many applications opened. Which reminds me, I need to ask for more memory.

But I am getting off topic, as I usually do. I am going to try on a high level to show you the sites I use. Maybe later on I can get more in depth on how I set up my preferences, etc.

Google

I use Google sites for a lot of my day to day activities. I use Google Gmail,  Docs, Calendar, Contacts, Sync, Reader, Wave and Voice. I will touch on these for now because I just now realized how many google sites I use. (Disclaimer: I do not work for google. I just like using their services.)

Gmail

So I have been using gmail for quite a while now. I like it a lot. I can get my emails from all my accounts loaded into one view. As you can see, I use labels a lot. This helps me organize all the different types of emails I get. Blue for facebook emails, red for bills so they stand out, etc. (If you need help, let me know and I can show you how to do this.)  I do need to get better at cleaning up and removing emails I don’t need anymore. You can see I have 2,799 emails, but I am only using 8% of my available space. That is pretty crazy. And all of it is free. I also use some Lab items like Send SMS, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Chat.

Google Contacts

Part of Gmail is contacts. I like having the ability to see all my contacts on the web. I don’t have to search my phone for email address or phone numbers. Plus, it is easier updating contact information here than trying to input on a phone. If I ever lose my phone, I know that my contact information is here, so no messages on facebook saying “Please send me your phone number because my phone crashed!”

Google Calendar

Love using calendar. One of the best things about it is that you can link calendars together. Right now you can see that I have 2 calendars for me. I can also see Crystal’s calendar and can update and even add some events if I wanted to. In the Other calendars section, I can view some of my friends calendars. I only have permission to view what they have and not change anything. This lets me know what everyone is up to and if we need to plan anything, I know who is available. Could be good or bad. 🙂

Google Sync

Tying the previous google services together is google sync. Here I can link mail, contacts and calendar all together to my devices. So when I change a contacts phone number on my iPhone, it will update online automatically. Then, when I go to my MacBook, I can see the change in my address book. Same with calendar. I can add an appointment online and when I load up the iPhone calendar application, it will download any new appointments. I highly suggest that people with an iPhone use this service. It is dead simple to setup and like I said earlier, if something ever happens to my phone, I know that all this information is stored on the web. Once my phone gets fixed, I just have to setup sync on my phone again, and everything gets pushed down to my phone. No lost contacts, lost appointments or emails. They support numerous devices so there is really no reason for you not to use this. If you need help, let me know and I can walk you through the process. I have it on my PC, MacBook, iPhone, Windows Mobile phone, and Blackberry.

Google Docs

Don’t use this one as much as I should. Just started using it for planning The Zac Galaviz Benefit Concert. I can create a document and share it with other google users. They can have view or edit permissions so this lets us collaborate with one document without having to email everyone the file. Plus keeping up with changes makes it easier. Almost like an online version of Microsoft Office. But better. 😮

Google Reader

I started using reader a couple of months ago. Before, I had a normal list of websites I like to view on a daily basis. I wanted a way to be able to read all of them from one place. Google reader was that tool. Most, if not all websites, have an RSS feed. Reader pulls all of those feeds into one website making it easier to read any new content gets posted. If I see an article that I want to view on the original site, I just click the title and it will direct me to the story on that website.  So much easier than what I use to do.

Google Wave

So this is one of the newest apps I started to use. This year for the benefit concert, I am going to try and use google wave to plan the event. So far it is working ok and a little easier to keep track of suggestions, changes and adding people into a wave. Once a new person joins, they can play the entire conversation and watch how the wave started and progressed. Really cool to use. If 2 people are looking at the wave, you can watch in real time what they are doing and typing.

Google Voice

Signed up for this a while ago and finally got a number. I have not used this at all. My plans are to try and save some money buy replacing our home phone with this google number. Again this is a free service. If you don’t know anything about google voice, check out this website, as it describes the service and how you use it. Right now Crystal will not let me get rid of our home phone yet, but I am still working on convincing her that this is a viable solution to replacing our home phone. We really don’t use it that much cause everyone calls our cell phones when they want to talk. The only calls we really get are sales calls, and we ignore those calls just like everyone else.

If anyone needs/wants help setting up any of the application so you can use them, let me know.