So after all of one week doing a Tip of the Tuesday, missing a week, and now 20 minutes away from Wednesday, I have even more respect for bloggers who are consistent and punctual. To better organize myself, I'm definitely going to have to keep a list of tips I'd like to blog about in Evernote. If you're not already an Evernote user, I highly recommend it for its affordability (free!) and great features like syncing, formatting options, and notebook/tag organization. For online retailers like myself, it's a great place to keep track of descriptions for products you sell (specifically, for Minted challenges, I keep track of all my entries in Evernote; that way when something doesn't get picked, I can easily copy and paste a description when I sell it elsewhere).
Speaking of free apps, here is my actual tip, great for the thrifty app-aholic: when you see a free app that you are remotely interested in, don't hesitate: DOWNLOAD it. You don't have to keep it on your device, and you can always re-download it later. Why encourage this pack-ratish/hoarder behavior? Some apps don't always stay free. There have been countless apps that launched free or went on sale as free, but later jumped to prices well over the $.99-1.99 "comfortable" range. My favorite example is Adobe Ideas, which launched free but after a major update a year or so later, the price jumped to $9.99. I didn't use it for the first year I had it, but it's now one of the apps I use the most for sketching out ideas on my iPad.
It's a tiny tip, but could save you a lot of money in the longrun
I'm hoping to force myself to blog more consistently with a "Tip of the Tuesday" weekly post. While most tips will be design/productivity focused, I can't promise that a random tip or two might slip through!
Today's tip won't wow any of my former apple coworkers, but it's something I use many times a day on my Mac: SPOTLIGHT.
It's kind of a misnomer because it's actually the tiny magnifying glass icon sitting in the top right corner of your screen, but in this case Apple didn't name it as literally as it has done with other apps like "Address Book" or "iCal". The keyboard shortcut for Spotlight is command+spacebar (unless you have changed your default shortcuts). While Spotlight can definitely be used for searching anything on your local drive in a manner of seconds, and give it to you categorized, I actually also use it for a few other reasons, and below are my top three:
1. Application Launcher
If you're like me and you don't like cluttering up your dock with Apps you don't use on a regular basis, simply "command+spacebar" and start typing the first couple letters of the app. The app usually pops up by then and you can just press "enter" if it's highlighted on the app you want. I still find it faster to use than Launchpad, although I haven't upgraded to Mountain Lion yet.
For calculations, you don't even have to launch the calculator app, you can just activate Spotlight and start typing -- i.e. "1499*1.0775" will yield the cost of the $1499 item plus sales tax in my state. Just use the asterisk for multiplication and the slash for division. You can also include parenthesis to indicate priority (A+B)*C.
Simply type in a word and if you hover your mouse over the "Look Up" section, the definition will pop up. If you click on the highlighted word, it will launch the Dictionary App and you can then have access to the Thesaurus and Wikipedia.
Have any Spotlight tips for me? Would love to hear them!
Testing out the new look for the site using weebly.com, a free website and blog builder that includes free hosting. I was looking into virb and squarespace, and thought I'd try this out first. So far, so good. It's super easy to use and with the death of Apple's MobileMe hosting, at least my website is up and running again. Best of all, it's free hosting! For those of you not ready to take the plunge into paid hosting, this is a great alternative. While there are some definite limitations in the non-paid level (i.e. no videos), it's great for a portfolio and information site.