November 27, 2012

A few shoutouts for productivity

These are some very interesting discoveries I've stumbled upon the recent weeks which I think may be useful to you.

Stereomood

http://www.stereomood.com
Stereomood is one of many Internet radio stations, providing free, streamed music. What makes Stereomood different is that you can choose the music channel appropriate for your mood. Thus you can listen to ambient background music for paper-work, inspiring drummy tunes for an energetic hour or just dreamy instrumental music while taking a nap. If you suddenly feel like jumping to the "opposite mood" there is a button for that, for example when returning to work after napping!

The mood tags are collaboratively done by the listeners so they are pretty natural and music rightly tagged most of the time.

Everytime you hear a tune that impresses you more than others you can "favorite it" for playing later. For all music there's a link to buy the tune or whole CD if you like the artist.

Finally, there's a smartphone app for both iPhone and Android.

TalkTyper

http://talktyper.com
Image from http://paulhami.edublogs.org Here is a little gem that caught me by surprise as I didn't realise how easy it has become to translate speech to text now a days. Well, TalkTyper, does that exactly and it does it amazingly well. As you talk to the microphone sentences are converted to text almost instantly and collected in a mini-notepad.

You can select input language and all major languages are provided for and I expect the list to grow quickly as the web is in the background using a Google based speech to speech server. On a technical level, it is a built in Chrome feature (version 11 and above) being decorated with additional tools.

An excellent productivity tool worth knowing about!

Online XPS to PDF converter

http://xps2pdf.co.uk
Internet Explorer is notoriously stubborn, refusing to implement features users need. Printing a document to PDF file is one such feature, whereas Chrome allows you to just select "Save as PDF" as target printer. Explorer has a similiar feature but uses a Microsoft only technology called XPS instead of PDF. And most institutions force us to use Explorer. Thus, an online XPS to PDF converting tool was very much welcomed in my productivity link/tool collection.

Pixlr

http://pixlr.com
Image from http://www.thegeeksclub.comThis is the web-application of the century and should be topmost in this list but I've mentioned it already a few times. It's the one web-app I use almost everyday and is indespinsible while working with images or photos. It has all of Photoshop's most used features, it's free, it can sync your images with Google Drive or Picasa... its' totally amazing. If you haven't used it, you should now!

Finally,  a few IT tips

I love keyboard shortcuts as they make computer life so much easier - these are the latest I've discovered and definitely worth sharing!

Middle-mouse-clicking a link in your web-browser (Chrome and Firefox at least) will open it in a new tab. Also, middle-clicking an open tab closes it. So lovely!

While doing a Google search, you can anytime start writing again if you want to change your search - just start typing. No need to move mouse pointer to input field!

Impatient while scanning a Youtube video? There's a button for changing playback speed, you can play up to 2x times faster, great for example to quickly browse through a ultrasound tutorial you've seen before. Notice this works only in the HTML5 player, switch here if you're still using Flash.