Standup Desk Revisited

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I have been using the Standup Desk for 3 months now.  I added a Dual Monitor Stand and screwed the base into the the 2 laptop stands supporting the desk.  The first month was hard, I am pretty used to standing up all day.  It no longer effects my workouts at night.  However, by the time it hits 5pm,  I go home.  In a regular desk,  I would always work later.  At 5pm my legs start to hurt.  Therefore with the standing desk you can only put it about a 9 hour day standing up. 

 

I like it better then sitting and am more productive.  I will not go back to a sitting desk. 

Previous Post: The Commando 450 Stand Up Desk

Free Transcribed Voicemail for iPhone and Droid

http://yapinc.com/voicemail.html

One of the worst feelings in the world is to walk out of a 12-15 hour day of work and see that you have 20 voicemails on your phone.  Quite demoralizing, but years ago I found a product called phonetag which transcribed all of my voicemails for me and sent them to me as an email.  It worked extremely well and it allowed my assistant to check my messages and put out fires while I was working with clients.

I have discovered a similar service called Yap which basically does the same thing, but is free.  When I get a Voice Mail,  it is transcribed and sent to me as an email with an audio attachment of the vm in case the transcription had problems. 

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There is also an app on the iphone which shows all your messages as well.  I like this because I can see how many people have left voice messages without having to go through all my email.  After using this product I can say the transcription is about as good as phonetag’s and again the service is free.  Hard to beat that.  For now it works on the iPhone and the Droid. 

How to Flawlessly Backup Large Music and Video Files

I use a great program called Dropbox to backup all my documents and pictures which are about 50gb.  This is fine since the  maximum Dropbox  account is 100gb.  The real problem I have is backing up all of my media (Music and Video files) which total size is about 700gb.  As of now, I find it too timely and cost prohibitive to back these up to the cloud. 

All this media is kept on a  Western Digital 1 Terabyte Hard Drive.  It is small enough to easily carry with me.  In my house, I also have a Linksys Network Storage System.  It has two 1 terabyte hard drives that mirror (copy each other) each other.  Therefore if one of the drives fail, I will still have all the data on the other drive.  

My initial strategy was to keep all my media on my portable hard drive and copy everything to the Linksys Storage about once a month.  The first initial copy was easy, however it was extremely hard to copy the updated files on a schedule.  So, hard that I basically just backed everything up once a year.  

That all changed when I found SyncToy,  a free program from Microsoft that will sync two folders.  All you have to do is press a button. 

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The options are:

  • Synchronize: New and updated files are copied both ways. Renames and deletes on either side are repeated on the other.
  • Echo: New and updated files are copied left to right. Renames and deletes on the left are repeated on the right.
  • Contribute: New and updated files are copied left to right. Renames on the left are repeated on the right. No deletions.

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Since I only download new files to the left (My Portable Drive) hard drive and not the right (Linksys Storage System),  I have it set to echo.  If I were adding Items to both drives, I would set it up to Synchronize.  There is no way to automatically set this up to sync, so I manually run it about once a week.  It took me about 3 days to do the initial sync and about 4-6 hours to run the echo. 

Virtual PC’S

I also use the program to backup my virtual pcs.  I keep demos of different software packages on virtual pcs.  They are usually between 6-10gb in size and it works perfectly as well for that.  This also makes it very easy to copy and send virtual pcs to other people in my office. 

Overload – A Process to Intake Information for the Web

I have streamlined the system that I use to gather and process information.  It meets the following criteria: 

  • Cross Platform – I want to be able to use a Windows, Mac, iPhone, Droid, iPad and have everything synced.  If I read an article on one device, it should be marked read on all of them.  If I add a source to one device,  it should be added to all.   
  • Cloud – It has to be backed up online.  It also needs to be viewable through a browser but have the option of downloading to go offline. 
  • Cheap or Free.
  • No new Programs to install on my PC.
  • Easy to add articles to Twitter and Facebook. (So people think I am smart)

 

RSS

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Most blogs and websites have an RSS Feed.  You take that feed and plug it into an RSS Reader and it tells you when the site has been updated.  So instead of going to 25 different sites a day and hoping there is new content, the RSS Reader will display all this information on one page. 

Google Reader

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I chose Google Reader as my RSS Platform because it’s the industry standard and most apps syncs to it.  It is also free and easy to use.

Outlook

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I found a great article on Life Hacker on how to hook your google reader account to Outlook.  Therefore, no new software on my PC. 

 http://lifehacker.com/#!5187172/use-google-reader-from-within-outlook

iPad / iPhone

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There is an app called Reeder available for the iPad and iPhone which syncs with google reader.  It also allows you to download content to view when you are not connected to the internet.  The iPad version is $4.99 and the iPhone is $2.99.  As soon as I add something into google reader, it automatically updates the app.  It also links to Facebook, Twitter and Instapaper. 

Flipboard

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After using RSS Readers for a couple of years I have determined that they are best for sites that update once or twice a week.  Sources that update hourly tend to drown everyone else out. 

For those sites,  I use an app on my Ipad called Flipboard.  Apple named Flipboard its app of the year,  and I have to agree.    I don’t have the words to describe it, but its rendering of articles is beautiful and simplistic.  Its also free, but it only works on the iPad and nothing else. 

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Flipboard also makes it very easy to post articles to twitter and facebook, plus lets you look at your google reader account.  It also links to Instapaper. 

Instapaper

The last piece of the puzzle is the ability to save articles to be viewed at a future time period.  There are many times that I am looking at something on my iPhone and want to be able to file it away for future reference.  To get this accomplished, I use a program called Instapaper which hooks into Flipboard and Reeder as well as the browsers on my pc and iPhone/iPad.  When I see something interesting,  I just tag it to Read Later.  The service is free. 

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Conclusion

Besides Dandy Don, the LSU sports website that had no RSS Feed, I process all other information through this method.  Before I put this system in place,  I was kind of lost in the stream of information.  In the end,  the web should make your life more efficient, not waste your time in a puddle of mass confusion. 

Regions Online Banking and Quicken

If you like to download your account information into Quicken you need to change your account in Quicken from Regionsnet to Regions Bank - New.  It only took me about 2 hours of my life to figure this out.  I guess Regions did not think it prudent to tell its customers. 

 

Furthermore my auto loan is now all screwed up because it has been sold multiple times.  These banking mergers are really a pain in the ass.