What follows are products I’ve recently discovered, that now I can’t live without.
Let’s start with the best backpack I’ve ever owned
This is the Cocoon, which sells for about $100.
There are two main pockets. The larger has a suspended pocket for your Mac (or if you insist, your Lenovo ) and a second one for your iPad (Surface?).
The outer pocket is where the magic happens. There are criss-crossed strips of expandable nylon that securely hold everything from your USB stick to your power supply, iPhone or anything else you carry. It makes finding the wire you need right now, a snap.
Run out of room? They also sell rectangular supplements that do the same, but slip into your backpack, for the stuff you use less often.
I’ve had a number of scanners. They all fail in one way or another, except the Evernote ScanSnap. First, let me point out that while you can scan directly to Evernote, you don’t have to, you can scan to file and/or you can scan to other similar products such as Eagle Filer (see below).
Among the great features of this scanner are that it works on your wifi, it automagically detects single sided or double sided documents, can handle documents of different sizes (down to business cards), can differentiate a document from a receipt from a business card and most important, it is fast and it works, reliably, every time.
Next in my effort to get organized are two programs that integrate into most mail programs seamlessly. The first is SpamSieve. This eliminates spam using Beyesian logic combined with “white-listing” anyone in your contacts, or anyone who you “mark as good.” You can, if you want, look at why a message was allowed or blocked and carefully tweak the algorithm but it isn’t necessary, SpamSieve gets it right, nearly always.
The second is SaneBox. This incredible and wonderful program looks through my mail and separates my mail into my Inbox, SaneLater (mail that can wait) and SaneNews.
There other choices as well. There are also snooze mailboxes, such as SaneTomorrow and SaneNextWeek, and you can make custom snooze mailboxes.
Training SaneBox as to who is important and who is not is a snap. Drag an email from SaneLater to your Inbox and that sender will always show up in your Inbox, unless you override that on your dashboard. There’s much more, but this is truly a great organizer that helps you get through your mail quickly
Before you go, this looks suspiciously terrific. They advertise themselves as a free service that you provide with accurate and out of date contact info from you address books and they anonymize that data with their half billion entries, cook lightly with AI and then return current, completely up to date records back into your address book. Caveat: I’ve not used this enough to know if it works, and if it is really free, but looks pretty good.
In sheer productivity increase, YouMail (stupid name, great product) is the hands down winner. This wonderful phone call manager lets you set your greetings and block numbers from telemarketers. In fact, it can give telemarketers a message that says your phone is no longer in service.
It transcribes messages and emails them to you.
Your message can be automatically personalized (using your contact list) and can be informal, business like or comic. For example, here’s my business greeting.
What is even nicer, is that with YouMail you get an extra phone number, which you can give out appropriately, that does not ring your phone but goes directly to voice mail.
I love Evernote and have over 1200 notes, so switching to anything else, even OneNote, is out of the question.
That said, I’ve started using EagleFiler, which does, more or less competes with Evernote, but is really more of a document manager. Drag just about anything in and find it fast when you need it. Great way, for example, to archive your email.
Text Expander is one of the best “auto hot key” programs I’ve seen. I under utilize this program, but it is very powerful. For me, so far, it is enough to have it take short acronyms and expand them into anything I want. It also has long lists of auto-corrects which it does automatically as you type.
I’ll write a proper write-up of iPhone apps I love, but here is the short list of the ones I use every day or find particularly useful (in no particular order):
- Fantastical (calendar app)
- Meds, track your health info
- Event Board (made by Falafel) for conferences
- Threes (very addicting)
And that doesn’t include the apps that come with the iPhone, such as Podcasts