Archive for the ‘Productivity’ Category

How to DOUBLE Your Android Phone’s Battery Life [Juice Defender]

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

This is a typical smartphone…

nokia 3310 vs iphone

This is MY smartphone

battery life remaining

Yes, that’s an actual screenshot of my phone.  Juice defender is a battery management Android app which is so good that I swear by it, and it’s one of the first apps I recommend putting on your Android phone (sorry Apple folks).

So good that it typically doubles my battery life!

juice defender 

How it works:

In a nutshell all it does is turn off data when you don’t need it.

When my phone screen is on: All my data runs normally.

When my phone screen is off: It turns off ALL my data and turns it back on every 5 minutes for just to check if there’s incoming data like email or twitter notifications.

Now, because data is only turned on every 5 minutes, there is a chance your received messages will be 5 minutes late if your phone screen is off, so this is where you make your conscious trade off…I have to say though, through personal experience, that 5 minutes is really no big deal, and you hardly feel any sort of delay at all.  After all, If you’re expecting some urgent messages you can always turn Juice Defender off.

FriedBeef’s Verdict:

The basic version is free, but I’d recommend you pay for the ultimate version for maximum effect… After all it’s hard to argue with doubling your battery life :)

5 Handy Tech Tips for College Students

Friday, January 6th, 2012

college girls

Assignments, social circles, classes – so many things – so little time for the college student.  Thankfully, we have 5 tips here that are absolutely relevant (and useful!) to the techy student in all of us.

1. Connectify – because you want to share your wifi connection with other devices

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Anyone who has lived on campus dormitories know that there are strict rules to abide by, and one of them tends to be a restriction on tampering with college property – even if its as simple as connecting your own wireless router to make your life easier. And without wireless access or an expensive data plan, mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPod touch, Android tablets etc. harkens back to the days of featurephones in terms of usability.

Gratefully, and we mean this in the sincerest way, there’s Connectify. Connectify is a service which allows you to transform your laptop into a wireless hotspot; and there’s no messing around here – it’s an Apple-esque one-click process. Since it looks like just about any other program, you won’t need to worry about it being detected by any tracking software the college authorities may have mandatorily installed on your computer.

2. Google Chrome Portable – because computer labs don’t usually have the best browsers

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College campuses usually provide students with the luxury of computer labs; but unless you’re attending a rather reputable school, you’ll most likely have to contend with sub-standard services beyond the bare necessities – for example: limited range of wireless access, imperfect air-conditioning which is either too hot or too cold, and… Internet Explorer 6. If you’re among those who are stuck with Internet browsers from the 90’s and whose college computer labs restrict the installation of third-party programs, take comfort in that there is a solution for you.

Google Chrome Portable takes the speed and efficiency of its desktop variant and crams it into the tight confines of a thumbdrive. Taking up barely 100 MB of disk space, it’s nary a problem for even those constricted by 2GB thumbdrives, and the portable version works just as well as the desktop version – the differences are hardly noticeable in all practical aspects. As an added bonus, Google Chrome Portable handles a large number of open tabs just fine, making it a boon for those in the midst of writing their thesis.

3. Dropbox – because all your work should be instantly backed up to the cloud

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If you’re constantly forgetting to bring your USB drive to campus, then Dropbox will be a lifesaver for you. Dropbox works by automatically uploading the contents of an entire folder on your home computer to its cloud servers, of which you can proceed to download from www.dropbox.com – so as long as you have access to an Internet browser, you’ll have immediate access to all the files which were originally saved on your home computer.

If you live constantly in fear of losing the contents of your entire USB drive to a washing machine, Dropbox may become more to you than merely a way to quickly share files across multiple computers. What’s more, it also has offline saving features for its apps on all the major smartphone platforms, so if you want access to lecture notes on-the-go, Dropbox will be especially valuable to you.

4. Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool – because you can’t afford to lose time reformatting a PC

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Whether it’s your own computer or a friend’s, reformatting a Windows 7 computer can be a pain sometimes, especially when you have to search high and low for the installation CD after months of neglect. Fortunately, Windows has a nifty tool which helps you to reformat your Windows PC straight from a USB drive.

The Windows USB/DVD Download Tool handily creates a series of files which makes it bootable from the BIOS, and it has been tested to work even if you make a backup of those files and return them to your USB drive the next time you need to perform a fresh install. Best of all, since a USB drive has faster read/write speeds than a CD, your Windows 7 installation will be at least twice as fast, making reformatting your laptop a breeze.

5. KatMouse – because multi-tasking should be simpler on Windows

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If you’ve done a proportionate amount of assignments on a Windows PC, you’d probably have started to realize that you can’t scroll in applications without first clicking on them. This makes it frustratingly difficult to do your research and type your assignment in Microsoft Word at the same time, because you’d have to click on the Internet browser to scroll through the website you’re researching, then click on the Word document to scroll through it, and rinse-and-repeat – even if you have both windows visible across your screen.

KatMouse does away with this little but noticeable irritation by allowing you to scroll up and down pages just by hovering your mouse cursor over them and moving the scroll wheel. This way, you can keep your Word document open as your main application, and still be able to scroll through the website you’re researching without having to click on it everytime you need to review something.

6. CopyTrans – because students love music

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Ever performed a fresh install of Windows on your computer, only to realize that all your playlists in iTunes, which had been meticulously and painstakingly put together over a number of years, had been wiped clean? The endevour is made even more heartbreaking, by the fact that Apple has failed to acknowledge in iTunes the simple task of transferring the songs and playlists already residing on your iPhone or iPod back to your computer.

iTunes’s all-encompassing backup function has its advantages in simplicity, but if you’re just trying to copy your playlists over from your iPhone, tough luck. Well fret no more, as CopyTrans just does that. You can choose to backup your songs and playlist from your device straight into iTunes, so that things appear to have never changed at all. In addition, CopyTrans is also able to selectively backup your photo album, apps, contacts, messages and the like, so you’re actually capable of selectively backing up pretty much anything you wish.

This post was written by Aaron Pek

How to Create Instant Invoices Online : No Sign Up, No Registration

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

billable

I don’t freelance regularly, but every once in a while I do something adhoc, which requires me to come up with an invoice for a client – usually just to satisfy some finance department somewhere.

Now because I’m not running a business where I need to do lots of invoicing, I’m just too damn lazy to sign up for any service or free trial.

I just want to make a simple invoice.

Now.

So say hello to billable.me, a free web service which allows you to quickly fill in a few fields to quickly create an instant invoice.  (Also does simple calculations on the fly in eg. tax), and lets you print, or save a PDF of your final invoice.

No registration, no welcome page, nothing – just you and your invoice.

It also saves your last invoice in the browser cookies, so you anytime you revisit the site, details are already populated.

Bear in mind because of it’s simplicity, it doesn’t come with bells an whistles like tracking and reminders, but then again that would defeat the purpose of this super simple web service.

Only thing on my wishlist – the ability to email the invoice directly.  Not only would it save the hassle of PDF attachments, it would also be possible to create instant invoices from your mobile phone. 

*Fingers Crossed for the future*

How to Set the Default Zoom Level in ANY Web Browser

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

zoom

I love my 13 inch Macbook Air to death.  I also feel as if I’m blind when I try to read on the damn thing.   

That’s why learning to set the zoom levels on a browser is so valuable.  Most browsers respond to Ctrl + and Ctrl – to zoom in and out of pages (Tip: Press Ctrl 0 to reset zoom to normal levels).  Most of the good ones like Chrome also remember the zoom setting for any particular web page – which is a great if you ever revisit the page again.

The thing is – many a time, you’ll end up on a web page where you’ve never visited before, and then you’ve got to do the zooming song and dance again. 

What a drag.

Now you might be thinking – yeah the text is small, but I can read it, so what’s the big deal? 

Well try zooming in on text just a little bit and you’ll suddenly find that everything’s so much easier to read.  Keep at it a while and you actually feel less tired and more productive. 

So how do you set a DEFAULT zoom level on your browser so that all web pages have a zoom factor already automatically applied to it when it loads?

1. How to set the default zoom level in Chrome

autozoom chrome

Autozoom is my weapon of choice on Chrome, and this free simple extension will allow you to quickly define how much zoom you want all your pages to have, tweaked right from a discrete button near the address bar. 

2. How to set the default zoom level in Internet Explorer

 IE zoom

Interestingly enough, unlike most things involving IE, setting the default zoom on that browser is incredibly simple.  Just find the magnifying glass icon on the bottom right of your browser and select the default zoom. 

3. How to set the default zoom level in Firefox

firefox zoom

Default FullZoom Level is probably the most powerful of all the extensions on this list.  Let me tell you why I love this add-on.  Yes, setting zoom levels can easily be set just like on all the other browsers, but here’s what sets it apart: One of the issues most people have when zooming web pages is that images have the potential look incredibly ugly and pixelated once blown up.  To address this, you can configure it to ONLY zoom text, so it leaves your pictures unzoomed.

It also has some nifty features like ˜fit-to-window’ which automatically selects the optimal zoom for that particular web page so you don’t have to bother experimenting.  This extension really gets two thumbs up for ease of use and power.

4. How to set the default zoom level in Opera

opera zoom

Just like IE, you configure the default zoom levels by selecting that same magnifying glass at the bottom right of your browser.  It is slightly more feature filled than IE though and has Fit-to-Width capability as well.

What should your default zoom level be?  This differs from person to person, and really depends on the sites you visit, but I typically set my default zoom at 130%.

Do you use browser zoom to read the web?  Tell us about it in the comments :)

Update: 18/6/2011: Check out this video response!

How to Generate Image Placeholders : 3 Elegant Solutions

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

If you’re putting together a design example, it always helps to have convincing placeholders.  Whether you’re piecing together a mockup of a website or an advert draft, getting the layout right is always important.  Here are 3 simple solutions which can help you generate image placeholders so you can quickly communicate your layout.  All 3 allow you to define the size of your placeholder and to download the image, but each comes with its own little benefits.

1. How to have an image placeholder with descriptive text

dynamic dummy image generator

 

The Dynamic Dummy Image Generator is a simple generator which allows you to describe the placeholder and scale it to an actual size so people understand what they’re supposed to be looking at.  Although not aesthetically the best solution, This is often the most straightforward and will eliminate any confusion as to what the the image should actually be.

2. How to use color to represent your image placeholder

random image generator

If you’re personally stepping a client through a presentation, the Color Random Image Generator can help to make it much more pleasant to look at as it allows you to choose between different shades of oil painting textured colors to represent your idea.  The only drawback though is that it can be ambiguous as to what you’re supposed to be looking at, but if you’re walking a client through the layout, it shouldn’t matter.

3. How to use beautiful photos as image placeholders

flickholdr

Flickholdr creates lovely placeholders simply by grabbing a random picture with relevant tags.  So tell it what your picture should be, and it automatically sources a relevant photo for you which you may then use as a placeholder.  The only major drawback to this is that sometimes – Flickr tags may be very general and although you’re assured of a gorgeous image, you may find yourself tweaking tag names to find a truly relevant image.

So there you have it – 3 simple ways to generate image placeholders.  Do you like any of them in particular?  Tell us in the comments!