Category Archives: Technology

IndieWebCamp

I recently stumbled across this IndieWebCamp site and I love the concepts that they are describing. Basically, you own your own content and then share it out. As I previously described in How I Make Social Media Work For Me the heart of my infrastructure was actually Google Plus and TwitterFeed to make it all connect.

I’m now going to try and make this blog the heart of this infrastructure.

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Quantified Self – Google And Android – Reporting

In the previous series I showed you how to

  • capture your data automatically,
  • collate and summarise your data.

Now it is time to show you how you can extract this information, with the final goal being the ability to get your (android in this case)phone polling for the data, and using it to make decisions.

In order to do this we will be using:

Google Apps Script (GAS) javascript functions to obtain values from the Google Spreadsheet where your data lives.

Google Web Services to provide a web interface to call the function and return the data over the internet.

Tasker to provide a programmatic interface on your phone to call the web service, handle the resulting data and do “something” with it.

Minimalistic Text to display the output on the home screen of your phone.

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Useful Outlook Macros

Quite often I want to create a task immediately off the back of sending an e-mail – usually to remind me to follow up with the recipient after a period of time. I created a macro to do this rather than having to remember to go into tasks and do this manually – better to keep the flow rather than having to remember the steps.

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Add Reminders To Outlook Appointments

A Reminder
Creative Commons License photo credit: Andrew Coulter Enright

If like me your Outlook calendar can get a bit hectic and others can add meetings to your calendar sometimes you end up simply “reacting” to your schedule and jumping from one appointment to the next on “autopilot”. It’s at times like these that Outlook’s ability to create a reminder can save your dignity.

However, sometimes the meeting organiser does not set a reminder. I have created an Outlook macro that will look for incoming meeting requests, without a reminder set and give you the option to set a reminder.

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Stay Focussed – Stay OUT of Outlook!

One of my main productivity “sinks” is continually monitoring Outlook to see if any mails have arrived.

I have a rule set up that notifies me if an “important” email lands but for this to run, outlook needs to be running (minimised of course). I can’t resist the temptation to just “have a peek” outside my first thing in the morning, last thing at night email window.

To get around this I want to be “discouraged” from opening Outlook.

To implement this I have used Antonio Franca’s fantastic WinTrigger AutoHotkey script.

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Favourite Shortcut Keys – Outlook

Apple Keyboard (with Avid shortcuts; Letterboxed)
Creative Commons License photo credit: laffy4k

If you look at the left hand menu you will see the items:

  • Mail
  • Calendar
  • Contacts
  • Tasks
  • etc

These can be quickly accessed by using the following shortcut keys:

  • (Ctrl+1) – Mail
  • (Ctrl+2) – Calendar
  • (Ctrl+3) – Contacts
  • (Ctrl+4) – Tasks

In addition, when you use Ctrl+1 to access mail, this takes you to the folder that you were last using, if you would rather jump straight into your In-Box – use (Ctrl+Shift+I).

Google Spreadsheet & SQL Queries

Learning SQL
Creative Commons License photo credit: therefromhere
I am a big fan of Google Spreadsheets, they give you most of the features of a desktop “office” based spreadsheet but your data is stored online, no more need to carry your data on a USB stick.
I’m also a huge fan of databases, SQL is a fantastic tool for querying data.
Now you can combine the best of both worlds: store your data in a spreadsheet and then summarise the data using SQL.
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