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My thoughts on the tools for the Thirty Day Challenge ’08, part 2

1 Aug

Yesterday I told you about some of the tools we’re using in the Thirty Day Challenge this year and as my post got a little long-winded, I decided to break it up into 2 parts. So, here’s Part 2!

So, today we’re going to talk about StumbleUpon, YouTube, Google Subscribe and FriendFeed.

StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon is a tool we used last year as well and if you’re not familiar with it, basically, it’s a social bookmarking sharing site. (That’s a mouthful!) You “stumble” sites you like (or don’t like) and let everyone know what you think. You can share links to just about anywhere and anything. Like most social networks, you can add friends and you have profile page where others can view what you’ve liked/disliked. There’s also a handy toolbar you can install on your browser if you choose. Personally, I find toolbars annoying as hell and only use them sparingly. The one exception, of course, is the 30dc toolbar.

YouTube

If you don’t know what YouTube is by now, I think you’ve been hiding under a rock. 😉 My 3 year old even knows what YouTube is. (He likes to watch Thomas the Tank Engine videos.) For the 30dc, YouTube comes in very handy for a variety of reasons, the major one being that this is where Ed Dale shares all of this seasons training and tidbits. Ed teaches you how to search, subscribe and effectively use this handy site.

Google Subscribe

I’m still a little mystified with this one and don’t really quite it fully. I’m sure by season’s end, I’ll have it down pat, but right now, not so much. According to the pre-season training,

“What it means for you as a 30DC participant is that Ed will be able to help you with your searches on Google. Including opinions reviews, and any relevant info depending on what you’re searching for.”

So, I guess it’s usefulness truly remains to be seen at this point.

FriendFeed

This is another awesome tool. FriendFeed allows you to see what your friends are doing all over the web. Yes, of course, it’s another social media networking site but isn’t that what it’s all about? 😉 There’s just much about it, I can’t even begin to describe it. If you use Twhirl (which I talked about yesterday), you can follow your FriendFeed as well as your Twitter updates. Very cool.

So there you have it. Those are all of the tools we discussed in pre-season. I’m sure there’s more awesomeness coming down the pike, so stay tuned!

And if you’ve figured out the whole Google Subscribe thing, please feel free to tell me all about it in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

See you again soon,

~ Annie (lsandrsn on the 30dc forum)

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Another List of Cool Tools

20 Sep

Many of the tools I’ve shared with you in the past are available on both Windows and Mac machines but today, I’ll be sharing some Mac only programs. I apologize to all you Windows users out there and if I knew of Windows comparable apps, I’d share those. Unfortunately, I don’t. But if you do, please post them in the comments.

StickyWindows. This is a cool little program. It makes the edges of your screen “sticky” – and you “dock” open programs there when you aren’t using them so they’re not taking up space on your desktop. Now, you can basically hide open apps with the dock, but this takes a bit further so they’re open and very easily accessible. I love this program and I use it everyday.

Skim. If you read or use a lot of PDF docs, this app is a must-have. It allows you to make notes, comments, and much more on your PDF’s for future reference. It also has a bookmark feature, snapshots feature and even allows copying and pasting quite easily. Skim is like Preview on steroids.

PTHPasteboard. Where Skim is Preview on steroids, PTHPasteboard is your clipboard on steroids. It will remember 100’s of items you’ve copied and allow you to insert any of them with just a few simple clicks nearly anywhere you want to paste them. I copy and paste A LOT in my writing and design work and this little app speeds up that process so much, it’s not even funny. It doesn’t have a lot of fancy bells and whistles but it powerful nonetheless and like the other tools I share, I use it daily.

So, there you have it! Another segment of the cool tools series. I hope you find these useful. And please do post any Windows apps you use that are similar to these. I’ll be back soon with another Product Creation post, though I am still feeling under the weather so it might be late today or possibly not until tomorrow. We’ll see what the day brings!

~Annie
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Another Set of Useful Tools

10 Sep

I wasn’t going to post my next in the Useful Tools series until later in the week, but as I’m sitting here brainstorming, I came up with another set of useful tools I use often, if not daily. So, I thought what better time to share them with you than now.

NovaMind. An awesome MindMapping software, available for both Mac and Windows users. The power of this program is amazing! And I’m sure I don’t even know a miniscule portion of what it’s capable of. But it’s awesome and I love it. Until I began using NovaMind, I wrote/drew my MindMaps by hand because nothing worked the way I wanted it to. And if you don’t do MindMapping yet, you owe it to yourself if you’re serious about your business endeavors to give it a try. There’s a GREAT book by the creator of MindMapping, Tony Buzan. Go to Amazon.com and get it, too.

Bluehost. Seems everybody who’s been online for any length of time has a favorite hosting company. And, mine is Bluehost. I’ve been with them for going on 2 years now and I’ve never had an issue. I keep adding domains to my account and it all just keeps running smoothly. It’s about $100 if you pay annually and $10 for new domains. You can even transfer existing domains free.

Adobe Creative Suite. Though CS3 is now on the market, I am currently using CS2 and will probably upgrade here soon. In any case, it’s a suite of Adobe’s best design products and I highly recommend them. I’ve been using them since the early days of PageMaker – which at the time, was produced by a company called Aldus. (Yes, I’ve been around a while in the design market! 😉 ) And yes, CS3 is expensive if you’re looking at it from a financial perspective. At the least, learn to use Adobe Acrobat so you can produce PDF documents that are both Mac and PC friendly as well as Photoshop or Photoshop Express for making your pictures look spectacular. You can buy those 2 products separately from the Suite.

So – those are my best tools for this time. Let me know if there’s something you use every day or regularly that I haven’t mentioned yet. Perhaps I’ll take a look at it. 😉

~Annie (lsandrsn on the forum)
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Still More Useful Tools

7 Sep

Some of the most popular posts on this site have been my Useful Tools threads so I’m back again today with another post on those tools I use in my business that make things easier.

And the big one for today is something I just started using – MarsEdit.

MarsEdit. It’s a Mac app for posting to your blog or blogs straight from your desktop. No need to login. No need to open your web browser and go to your admin panel. Just type and send! It’s that easy. And I’m loving it! If you use a Windows based computer, I’m sorry – I have no idea if there’s an equivalent application for you but if someone knows of one, please feel free to post it in the comments.

UPDATE I read yesterday after posting this that Windows Live Writer can do the same thing for Windows based systems but I have no idea what blogging platforms it is compatible with.

Bloglines. It’s a feed reader for all those blogs you love to keep track of but don’t have the time to check every day. Now you can. Subscribe using Bloglines and it’ll tell you every time a post is added to your favorite blogs. You can read it from there, save the ones you like and more. And it’s free, too.

Scrivener. This is one fabulous piece of software! I’ve been using it for several months and love it. I can write everything there, complete with formatting and all kinds of cool stuff. It’s Mac only, sorry. But there is a cool app for Windows called KeyNote (not to be confused with the Apple program of the same name) that is very functional and I used it all the time on my Windows laptop. It’s no longer in development, but it still works great.

That’s all for now. I’ll write another post in the series probably next week.

~Annie (lsandrsn on the forum)
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Testing MarsEdit

6 Sep

I downloaded a trial copy of MarsEdit today. It’s a desktop blogging software for Mac. I’ve tried using ScribeFire, but I just can’t get the hang of it. (Sorry Ed!) So, in reading my bloglines today, I found a post where MarsEdit was mentioned and decided I’d give it a try. So far, so good.

And all the kids (and my sweetie) are tucked into bed so I have a few moments to myself (hopefully). They should all be sleeping by now – it’s almost 11 pm.

Anybody use MarsEdit? I’m interested in hearing your comments if so.

~Annie (lsandrsn on the forum)
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Quicksilver

30 Aug

This is not what I intended to write about today, but I just had to share another cool tool – Quicksilver. Now, if you’re not on a Mac, this will mean nothing to you but read on anyway. 😉

I have had Quicksilver installed for months but never really knew how to use it. Just hadn’t had the time to figure it out or look at any tutorials for it. Anyway – I saw Ed use it a week or so during one of the 30dc videos and thought I really should learn how to use it.

Well, let me tell you – it’s really cool. I can find any THING on my computer, launch any program on my hard drive with just a few keystrokes. Very cool.

Here is a good intro video – enjoy!

And if you want to learn even more, here are two good websites –

VJArmy – QuickSilver – A Better OS X In Just 10 Minutes
The Apple Blog – Screencast: Quicksilver for Beginners

~Annie (lsandrsn on the forum)
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Review: blog i360

29 Aug

If you’ve read my previous posts, you know I’ve mentioned a blogging platform called blog i360. I use it for my TheWritePoint.com website – a site about writing/copywriting/editing etc – that had been sitting dormant for a year or so because I really had no idea what to do with it nor how to implement any of the ideas I did have from time to time.

logo2.gifA couple of months ago, I was introduced to New Media Marketing and Blog interactive 360 by a friend of mine. Since then, I’ve met the owners Deb and JP Micek on Myspace – great people! And their team is wonderful. Anytime I have a question, they respond quickly and professionally and it’s been a pleasure to work with them.

Although I have not gotten TWP up and running exactly as I want it yet (mostly due to concentrating on the 30dc all month), I know blog i360 is the way to do so and I hope to have it finished by next week.

What’s so special about blog i360?

Lots! First, it’s built on the WordPress platform so it’s easy. But blog i360’s “Pushbutton Persuasian” makes it even easier. And – it’s optimized for ALL the stuff we’ve learned during the 30 Day Challenge! From SEO to Tags to Social Bookmarking and more.

There’s even stuff we haven’t learned at 30dc – OTO pages, squeeze pages and lots of good stuff you might have heard big name marketers talk about. It’s all there in the blog i360 system.

The best part is that you can get in for only $1! Then, it’s – I think but don’t quote me – $39 a month. Heck of a lot less than most others services like this. And you get more too.

In your members area, you’ll find HOURS of videos that you show step by step how to set up and use all of blog i360’s features. Plus, you automatically become an affiliate. Deb and JP have conference calls now and then that are included with your service where they go over nearly everything too. In fact, I think there’s one coming up tomorrow.

There’s also downloadable training materials too.

Here’s what sums it up for me – more than blog, easier than a website. I get the best of both – customization like a website with the ease and simplicity of a blog. What could be better?

If you want to check it out, please go to the blog i360 website and watch Deb and JP’s video and read the sales page. Or just click on the banner in the sidebar.

~Annie (lsandrsn on the forum)
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