We continue our Cross platform productivity week posts this week and focus on that one little application we use the most on our computers these days … The browser. (or the World of Warcraft Executable, depending on your taste). Chrome is a little bit of a cross platform blessing since it not only straddles most of the Operating systems we talk about, it also has access to a wide range of extensions. We listed a couple that help you to be more productive.
Writebox for Chrome.
When I write blogposts I hate to be distracted. No matter how advanced my laptop is, or how multitask-friendly my operating system tries to be … when it comes down to doing some writing I want something plain and simple. Writebox is just that : A text editor in a window that gives you text on a plain background. You can tune the colors to your liking (amber letters on a black background for me) and start typing. Writebox syncs with Dropbox and your Google drive so you can ‘pick up’ where you left on on another computer or on another OS altogether.
Dictate with Dictation.io
All the cool bosses of the 70’s had secretaries. These girls would sit behind giant typewriters while their bosses dictated all kinds of important letters to their management (or mistresses) So why don’t WE do that ? Forget the typewriter and the mistress part, how about you start talking to your computer right now. Dictation.io is a great website/extention that lets you dictate whatever you want to write and spits it out in plain text. Copy – Paste – Done. No matter what OS you are on.. as long as you are running chrome. https://dictation.io/
Whenever I need to prepare a podcast or do a presentation I use a mindmap to organize my thoughts. Some people type stuff out, but I have found out that my brain just doesn’t work that way. After a little looking around for a great (free) chrome friendly Mindmap tool, I stumbled across Mindmup. It lets you create as many mindmaps as you like and store them on your Google Drive or in Dropbox. Unlike Mindmeister we mentioned a while ago, Mindmup does not have a restriction on the number of mindmaps you can create using the free service.
File system for chrome os.
This is actually a collection of several applications/extensions for those of you using a Chromebook. With this extension you can connect your Chrome file structure with either Dropbox, Onedrive or a webdav service; tying the different locations where you store your data together. Gone are the days of having to upload files and open websites/services to get to your teletubby wallpaper collection.. Enjoy !
When I’m punching away on my Mac, writing blog posts or trying to come up with the ultimate geek-sequel for 50 shades of Grey, my iPad is mostly parked right next to the laptop. This is part of my “try to focus” routine, where, when I create content on one machine, I offload my communications and distractions to another device. The downside to this approach is the awkwardness when you need to “switch screens”. From a flawless keyboard rattle sequence on my laptop, I suddenly have to adjust my motor skills to deal with the much smaller and touch-based keyboard of the iPad. A solution to this problem is of course hooking up a separate Bluetooth keyboard to your iPad, but that is far from perfect. What if you could type on your Mac and with a touch of a button continue to type (from the same dddd) on your iPad or your Apple Tv.
1keyboard offers such a solution. The idea behind it is pretty simple.
- Install 1keyboard on your Mac
- Link your ‘other device’ (iPhone, Android Tablet, iPad) to your Mac via Bluetooth.
- Use the 1keyboard app (in the menu bar) to ‘switch’ your keyboard AND mouse input over to the mobile device.
1keyboard is available from the Mac app store and is one of those applications you either love more then your unborn child, or never ever use. For 5.50 euro’s its not that bad a deal if you would like to use your ‘second screen’ device with your ‘first screen’ keyboard. 1keyboard is available from the Wiener (yes ! I said Wiener) App store. If you aren’t sure , you have a two day trail version available to make up your mind.
Nothing on YOUR tube .. what about YOU-Tube.
There is nothing on TV, I hear it over and over again. Somehow mainstream tv entertainment is indeed turning into brainless putty these days. Endless reruns of sitcoms, shamelessly repeated head-to-tale make the viewer believe that he either needs a lobotomy .. or has just had one. Recent trends in commercial television include hopeless star searches like Idol, X-Factor and what have you, where we zoom in on the rise (or attempts to rise) of countless wannabee pop stars who claim their 15 minutes of fame and are upsett to find out nobody even remembers them in the next series. But somehow that is not even enough. After a hard days work we come home and try to relax in front of the television but instead of this mindless crap we get fed OTHER peoples misery in a never ending string of reality series about the most idiotic subjects. There are the Ego driven ones (Osbournes, the Pfaffs etc), The location driven ones (Airport, life at the Zoo) and the Subject driven ones ( The Nanny etc). What strikes me in all of this is that besides other peoples misery, we get to see content that is actually made by people like you and me. Of course its edited down for maximum-drama-factor (sorry , was that entertainment-value perhaps) but the core is the same.
User generated content.
The great thing about the internet though is that it is the great equaliser. If we are replacing professional actors with ordinary people anyway, if we are replacing drama-plays with real life anyway. Why the heck don't we replace cameramen, producers, and broadcasters by normal people. That is to me the next step. While the masses are slowly making the transfer from linear entertainment to time-shifted (tivo-style) couch lounging (where they watch what they want , when they want) the early adopters are already bathing in the dawn of the new day in entertainment : User generated content. Lets take a site like You-tube where people can produce their own movies ( with stuff as simple as digital photo camera ) and put it on line for everyone to watch. No money-making producer, no add-riddled schedule.. Just plain old home-brew entertainment. Ok , so 80 percent on YOU-Tube is crap (now) but the 20 percent that’s left is hilarious, addictive and just plain old FUN entertainment. Its wonderful to see how creative people can be and its fantastic to see them use a medium like this. YOU-Tube is more then just the next blog-full-of-funny-video's we've all seen before countless times. Lets call You-tube an entertainment station where you decide what to watch .. and others like you decide what they want to produce.
And finally , some parody.
The little movie below cracked me up, it shows you what people can do with the simplest equipment, time on their hands and a medium like You-tube to distribute it. Ok , I might think its great because I'm a Star Trek Fan .. but still you don't see THIS on Fox everyday.