5 Ways Google Keep will Unclutter Your Brain

Google Keep

Remembering the little things are difficult, but incredibly useful.

Instead of telling you about the features of Google Keep (Which you can watch from the video below), let me tell you how it’s made my life so much simpler by using it every day for several months.

I’ve been using it for quite a long time: since it was codenamed ‘Memento’, and I’m still a daily user even now, when it’s the current Google Keep state, so everything I mention below is what I actually do, not what think the app could be used to do.

So here’s what I’ve been using it for:

1. Record down ideas throughout the day

When do you get your best ideas? It’s not usually ‘brainstrom sessions’, but it’s typically in places where you’re free of distractions, like in the shower, toilet, right before bed etc.

Those are also the times where ideas get lost. Recording down ideas as an when it happens is the best way to make sure you follow up on them. Because Google Keep can be integrated into my phone lockscreen, it just takes me no longer than a swipe and a button press to record an idea.

Having such a low barrier to entry also results in two things. You tend to capture ideas regardless of how strongly you feel about them at that point in time. You don’t limit yourself to capturing the ‘best’ ideas, you just capture ideas, and move on.

It can be pictures, sounds, text, a page in a book, anything.

There is currently no way to sort them, tag them, etc. but you can search, which is what you need 99% of the time, so speeding up the capturing of ideas is a worthy trade off, because things are so much faster. It’s absolutely frictionless.

2. Find Receipts and warranties when you need them

Sorting through mountains of receipts, adds a ton of stress when something breaks down. To solve this, just snap a pic with Google Keep, and label it “blender warranty” (if you bought a blender of course). Then just proceed to move on with life, and when you need it, just search ONCE and find the receipt.

3. Keeping a spare copy of transit maps

I don’t normally take the subway, but when I do, I’d like to use Google Keep to snap a map on my phone just in case I’m in a corner where I can’t see the printed map on the train. Again, this is something I want to find easily, and can pull up in seconds.

4. Making an on-the-fly-to-do-list

For very short term to do’s like making a list of things to buy once you arrived at the store, is something you can easily do, and Google Keep comes complete with checkboxes for easy task management. Dead on easy.

5. Never forget crucial parts of a manual

Manuals, especially for electronics (camera folks – I’m looking at you) tend to be a very extreme dump of information which makes no sense to most people (including me). Most of them are however, smart enough to include a ‘Quick Start’ section which you should read first. If you’re a first time user of the device, it also happens to be most read and used section.

The issue is that in most cases, you’re out and about and you don’t bring that unreasonably large manual with you. Just use Google Keep to keep photos of the parts of the manuals you actually want to read.

These are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, because I’m sure you’d have much more uses for it in your own life situations.

Try Google Keep, and leave a comment below about what you’re going to use it for!

Friedbeef’s Tech is Back :)

Hey all,

This is probably the longest hiatus I’ve ever taken from blogging since I started, but I’m really glad to be back – and the regular posts will resume shortly.

Long story short, I collapsed doing a half-marathon on June 24th 2012, and have been recovering ever since. For reasons which are still sketchy, my heart stopped and at one point, I was literally dead for more than 10 minutes. I really have to thank God (and everyone that was praying – including my whole church) that no permanent damage occurred especially to the brain, and I’m on the road to a full recovery (even back at work now).

I just want to say BIG THANK YOU to every one of you for your prayers, visits, gifts, wishes, notes, Facebook, email and Twitter messages (I read them all), and encouragement throughout this whole ordeal. It really meant a lot to me and my family during this tough time, and it helped me recover much faster.

Finally, also big thanks especially to YOU, as reader of my blog. It’s because of people like you who visit my site, that I’ve been able to meet so many new wonderful friends, both online and in real life. Because you read my work, it gives me the drive and passion to keep going on, no matter how busy I have always been, and you’ve changed and shaped my life for the better.

Anyhow, sticking to what I set out to do with this blog in 2005 – I’m truly honored that so many of you have read, and continue to read – and I hope to continue to be helping people “solve everyday problems with simple technology” for a very, very long time :)

How to Make Your Own Instant MashUps Online

iftt header

With today’s web services becoming more and more niche, web mashups (combining data from two or more services) provide a great way to get amazing things done online.  For example – Portwiture, a cool service which matches photography from Flickr and the content of you most recent Twitter updates – resulting in a visual representation of your Twitter profile.


Now, while mashups like this are very cool, you needed to have some level of web programming knowledge in order to pull something like this together.  Until now that is.

Enter, IFTT (If – this – then – that) – The roll-your-own mashup creator which is incredibly easy to set up – and will make the services you already love – even better!

IFTT combines the power of more than 40 different services to help you automate the web.  For example, if you want to have to backup all your facebook photos to dropbox, just create a task within a few clicks which simply states that IF there’s a new facebook photo, THEN upload it to Dropbox.  That’s it. 

Creating mashups is now as simple as eating cake if you follow the very basic instructions

If you want to see how other people have put this service to good use (433,065 good uses to be precise), just head on over to the recipes section where people share their own ways of how they’re using IFTT.



BONUS TIP 1: If you especially like Dropbox, you can try Dropbox Automator for an even more powerful experience.

BONUS TIP 2: Check out Pushing Social’s post on “Why IFTTT Could Be the Best Blogging Tool Ever’”.  Useful reading if you’re a blogger.

My Favorite Steve Jobs Moment

steve jobs portrait

Yesterday was an end of an era as Steve Jobs stepped down from Apple as CEO.  Steve is known for many things – Revolutionizing mobile phones, creating amazing portable music devices, coming up with sexy computers, and giving some of the most compelling presentations you’ve ever seen.

My favorite Steve Jobs moment however has little to do with technology.  It is a commencement speech he did back in 2005.  Although I’ve watched it several times, it never fails to resonate with me every time I listen to it. Here are some great snippets from the speech:

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.


Watch the video.  No matter where you are in life, I’m sure if will speak to you.  The full transcript is also available online.

As for me I’ll Stay Hungry. I’ll Stay Foolish.

Thank you Steve for everything.  It’s been a blast.

How to Get a Google Music Invite [Closed Beta]

google music

Hey – Google’s new awesome cloud music service is out on closed beta!  It syncs to the cloud so all your music is synchronized across all devices.  It supports both online streaming and offline listening in a very seamless manner.  Create instant play mixes across your whole music selection whenever you want.  That, any many more cool features. 

Chris from the Google Music team does a much better job of explaining it in this video, than I ever will.

Sound good? 

Well it’s currently a closed beta but I have 5 super-exclusive invites to giveaway.  Please note that it’s only open to US based users.

Enough talk – are you going to give them away or what?

Yes – just fulfill this simple criteria:

1. ‘Like’ my facebook fanpage (If you have already liked the page just proceed to step 2)

2. Drop a comment on this blog post saying you want an invite.

At the end of this week, I’ll randomly pick 5 lucky people to get an invite to this closed beta.

Go ahead, join my facebook page and drop a comment :)

UPDATE: 16/8/2011: And the randomly selected people who walk away with a cool and exclusive Google Music Invite are:

1. Scot Merrick
2. Havilson
3. Zeffri
4. Gladys
5. vhick

Congrats to the lucky ones, and to those who participated and didn’t win – thanks for supporting this giveaway. Your participation means a lot to me.