Top Nav Bar Categories

Archive | Technology

Solutions for 7 Annoying Problems

Solutions for 7 Annoying Problems

I have a guest post over at today.

It gives solutions and handy references for 7 annoying problems of modern day life including:

  • Cell Phone Contracts – How to Get out without the penalty.
  • Rebate Runaround – How to get your money without a hassle.
  • Expensive Tech Support – Several Free Solutions.
  • Unused Airline Miles and Reward Points – How to Get the Most out of them.
  • Get a Live Customer Service Person on the Phone
  • Spyware and Viruses
  • Identity Theft

Check it out here: Solutions for 7 Annoying Modern Day Problems

Please Share!

Please share how you overcome annoying problems! All comments big and small are very welcomed!

If you found this post valuable, please SHARE THIS below with a Stumble or Delicious bookmark. Votes are always appreciated!

If you want to Support Life Learning Today, you can visit one of my sponsors, make a donation, or make a purchase at Amazon through one of my links. Thank you!


Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Groovy New Pocket Mods: GTD and More!

Pocket Mods

Many of you may already be familiar with Pocket Mods. For those who aren’t Pocket Mods are cool little 8 page booklets that you can create with one sheet of paper. You can go to to create a modular paper calendar and to-do’s to your liking. The Pocket Mod folks have also made it possible to convert any pdf document into a pocket mod. Subscribe here to stay tuned for how to make your own!

Below are 5 Free PocketMods that I created for you to download. They help with Goals, New Habits, and 2 have condensed versions of my top posts for handy reference!

Shrek says “You know you want one! What are ya waiting for? They’re Free!”

5 Pre-Made Pocket Mods: Free Downloads

1) My New Habits
This booklet has one page to list your next 7 new habits you want to adopt this year, plus 7 monthly calendars for tracking the implementation of each habit. Simply put an X in each day of the month that you successfully do your new habit. When one month is done and your new habit is in place, add the next habit and track it in the next month. To read more about implementing one habit at a time read my guest post at, The Amazing Power of One.

2) My Life Goals – Simple
One page for listing your life goals, category (personal, work, home, etc) and target date for completion. Then there are 7 Goal Action Steps tracking pages.

3) My Life Goals – Near, Short, and Long Term
Pages for: Mission Statement, This Month Goals, 6-month Goals, 3-5 Year Goals, and 4 Action Steps tracking pages for 4 Goals.

4) Best of Life Learning Today 1
Keep these top posts at hand in your wallet or purse:

  1. Meditation Naps – How To
  2. 10 Steps for Maximum Energy
  3. You Can Do It!
  4. Do It Anyway!

5) Best of Life LearningToday 2
Keep these top posts at hand in your wallet or purse:

Folding Instructions Download
Download this document for instructions on how to fold these pocket mods!

Please Share!

If you found this post valuable, please SHARE THIS with your friends or with a Stumble or Delicious bookmark! Thank you!

If you want to Support Life Learning Today, you can visit one of my sponsors, make a donation, or make a purchase at Amazon through one of my links. Thank you!



Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tudumo: Getting Things Done at the Speed of Life!

Tudumo: Getting Things Done at the Speed of Life!

I recently put together an ultimate resource guide on GTD applications, online, software and paper. Today I want to share with you, my favorite, Tudumo. This downloadable free GTD software came to my attention after I wrote the guide and I’ve since added it to the updated guide.

I’m going to review this software and share with you why I love it so much and why I think you should check it out.

Why You Should Check It Out

Aside from all the great things already in Tudumo, you will have the opportunity to provide feedback to the developer to help shape the functionality of this tool. How cool is that? This is a new software and the author is keen to add more features. He is very interested in hearing feedback and making this the ultimate choice for people looking to manage their time and implement David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” process. (Please note that there will be a charge for Tudumo in the future, but while it is in Beta, it is still free to use.)

The Beauty of Tudumo

Tudumo provides it all: simplicity, ease of use, and a complete system. Usually you can only get one or the other. For instance I like the speed of entry with something like WorkHack, but this simple to-do list, which is wonderful, leaves me without a complete system for multiple project lists and multiple states and tags. Another good system that is totally complete is Thinking Rock. I really like this one too, but at least for me, the process is not quick enough. Tudumo affords me all the things that I need: simplicity, ease of use, and a complete GTD system.

Let’s Take a Look Under the Hood

What can you do with Tudumo? You can:

  • Easily tag your Tasks.
  • Easily assign a state to you your actions: (Next action, Action, On Hold, Done, Waiting For, Someday/Maybe).
  • Organize Tasks under Headings (Projects for GTD)
  • Each Task can have a due date, tags, and notes.
  • You can view by multiple filters: Tags, Headings(Projects), States, Due Dates or a combination of all.
  • Print any of the views you choose.
  • Multiple selections.
  • Drag & Drop editing, re-ordering.
  • Hot Key navigation, data entry.
  • Popup reminders for due items.

And even with all this functionality, the application is very uncluttered and with the use of hotkeys or your mouse, data input is a breeze.

Tudumo in Action

I’ve taken the following demo from the Tudumo website to show you how it works:

Simple can be powerful – an example of how to use the filters

A view of the inbox – just the projects with no tasks:

I want to see what to do at the computer,
so I select the @Computer tag at the bottom:

Looking just at the items at your computer

I see that I have an action that involves Derek –
so I want to know what else involves Derek. I click on the “Derek” tag:

Looking just at the items with a person

One task has a note in it, so I expand just that task to see what’s inside:

Expanding a single task

Now let’s focus just on the anniversary project –
I want to hide everything else.
So I click on the arrow on the right of the project, and get:

Focusing on just one project

Now I’d like to see absolutely everything, so I remove all filters:

Everything in the project

That’s just one part of Tudumo. There are notes and dates and states and autocomplete for tags,
but I’ll show you that later. If you like what you see and think you could put it to good use,
download the beta on this page.

What Does the Future Hold for Tudumo?

Some features being worked on are:

  • Being able to increase/decrease font size for customized viewing preferences.
  • Being able to print to a Pocket Mod format.
  • Syncing with Outlook.
  • Possible web interface.
  • Windows Mobile phone capabilities.

Everyone Has Their Own Unique Needs

I love Tudumo. But you need to judge for yourself. Give it a try and see how it works for you. And then send the developer some feedback to help him improve this already wonderful software. You can also join the Google Group: Tudumo help, tips, and tricks. You’ll need to download Microsoft .Net environment if you don’t already have it, but don’t worry, it’s free, quick and easy. If you have Vista, then you already have it.

Go Try It Now: Download Tudumo!

Please Share!

Please share your comments on Tudumo or your Ultimate GTD setup and preferences! All comments big and small are very welcomed!

If you found this post valuable, please SHARE THIS below with a Stumble or Delicious bookmark. Votes are always appreciated!

If you want to Support Life Learning Today, you can visit one of my sponsors, make a donation, or visit Amazon through my “Books� page at the top of this page. Thank you!


Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Google Power – The Complete Guide to Google-ize Your Life!

Almighty Google – It’s All About YOU!

If you don’t already have an account with Google, you should get one by clicking here. Why? Because Google has developed a powerhouse of technology applications that can benefit you in so many ways. And just about all of them are free. Presented here is a guide to the most useful applications Google offers and how YOU can use them everyday to improve your life.

Let’s Dive into the Google Juice!

The Basic Productivity Tools

Gmail Gmail Fast, searchable email with less spam. If all the techies love it, it must be the best! One of the nicest features is being able to label each email under multiple categories, which is essentially like being able to file it into multiple folders. And then you simply “Archive” all email that you are done processing. Searching for any email couldn’t be easier with the power of Google search. Here are some great articles on making the most of Gmail: 20 Ways to Use Gmail’s Filters, Turn Gmail Into Your Personal Nerve Center, and Better Gmail with Greasemonkey. And you can also  add “Getting Things Done” functionality with GTDMail.
Calendar Calendar Organize your schedule and share events with friends. Sharing with friends, integration with Gmail, invitations, reminders (including to your mobile phone) and more. Here’s one open source application that allows some cell phones to sync with Gcal. I haven’t used it so I can’t vouch for its effectiveness, but I found it at WebWorkerDaily and they may have more information on it there. However if you have web on your phone, you won’t need this. Google Mobile (see below) allows you to see your calendar right on your phone!
Talk Talk Instant Message (IM) and call your friends through your computer. Works great and it is integrated with Gmail. IM conversations automatically archived in Gmail.
Reader Reader RSS news and feed aggregator. All your news and blog feeds in one place. Many reviews rate this the #1 reader including Click here if you need to know what a Reader is.
iGoogle iGoogle (Google Homepage) – I have written a review of iGoogle (Google Homepage) and I highly recommend this cool dashboard where you can have all kinds of gadgets, news and RSS feeds all in one place. Similar to MyYahoo, but better because it integrates with all Google tools as well as many many many others made by other vendors.
Notebook Notebook Clip and collect information as you surf the web.” Notebook has really great functionality: it’s simple, easy to use, searchable, and more.  I use it in place of yellow stickies. I can type in a piece of code or email response that I use frequently and label it so I can find it easily anytime I need it. You could use it as a journal, recipe book, a goal list,or whatever you can dream up.
Desktop Desktop “Search and personalize your computer.” I totally love this. Google indexes your WHOLE computer and when you need something you type it into the search box at the bottom of your task bar and voila! Google finds any document, image, folder or application Instantly! And this is Free!
Pack Pack (Google Pack ) A free collection of essential software. You can see my review of this awesome package here. It has since been updated to include even more goodies. I have this myself, I love it, and I highly recommend getting this FREE package! If you decide to get this please click on the link in the right hand sidebar. Thanks!

Google Bookmarks Online bookmarking.

Creation Tools

Docs & Spreadsheets Docs & Spreadsheets “Create and share your projects online and access them from anywhere.” I am creating this article right now using Google Docs. It’s simple and Google Docs makes blog publishing a breeze. No more funky Microsoft formatting when I copy and paste into my blogging editor. I can access my documents from any computer and I don’t have to use up my hard drive space storing the documents. Check this out! I love Google Docs!
Blogger Blogger “Share your life online with a blog — it’s fast, easy, and free” Simplest way to start a quick blog. For more information check out my other articles on blogging.
Picasa Picasa “Find, edit and share your photos.” Makes photo management so easy. You didn’t realize how difficult managing your photos were until you use this and feel the relief! This comes with the Google Pack. I highly recommend it!
Page Creator Page CreatorThis is part of Google Labs which means it is in development.  But it is 100% up and running. Need to put up a page or two on the web quickly and for free? Look no further. No hosting, no costs, no difficulty figuring out how to use it. Maybe you’re hosting an event and want a place to send people to. If so, you could use this. There are many potential uses. And it’s FREE.

Google Bookmarks – (Update) oops, left this one out originally. Online bookmarking.

Little Apps – Big Power

Translate Translate Translate text or whole web pages into another language. Couldn’t be simpler or easier.
Maps for mobile Maps for mobile “View maps and get directions on your phone.” Works great on my phone. Love it!
Mobile Mobile “Use Google on your mobile phone.” It doesn’t get much cooler than this. Or easier. You get full access to GMail, GCal, Reader, Maps, Search, News, SMS, and Blogger! Talk about integration!
SMS SMS Use text messaging to search for quick info. Just send a text message to 466453. A message with your search result will be sent back to your phone in a matter of seconds. Very powerful, useful, and quick. There is nothing easier for getting information quickly when you’re on the go. Some example searches:

Search Features Example query
Local Listings sushi 94040
Weather weather NYC
Flight updates* New! LH454 or AA 2111
Airline information* New! United Airlines
Sports** lakers
Movies*** the departed 94110
Stock Quotes tgt
Glossary define zenith
Zip Code 72202
Translation translate hello in french
Driving Directions pasadena CA to 94043
Web Snippets g hubble telescope
Q&A abraham lincoln birthday
Area Code 650
Calculator 1 US pint in liters
Currency Conversion 8 usd in yen
Help local

Toolbar Toolbar This one is pretty self explanatory: Add a search box to your browser. It is very helpful. I can start a search from whatever page I’m on without having to go to a search page first. Handy.

Fun Tools

SketchUp SketchUp “3D modeling software tool that’s easy to learn, simple to use, and lets you place your models in Google Earth. Are you remodeling a kitchen, landscaping your back yard or adding a deck to your home? Google SketchUp makes it faster, easier and a lot more fun. From simple to complex, from conceptual to realistic, Google SketchUp helps you see your vision before you build it.” Haven’t tried it yet. I want to though. Sounds cool. And the basic version is free. The Pro version is $495.
Earth Earth Explore planet earth from your PC. Part of Google Pack. Very fun cool tool. Gotta try it!
Images Images Want to see a picture related to a news story you’re interested in? Whatever image you need, search for it directly with image search on Google. So easy!
YouTube YouTubeNew! You know this one! Find some cool videos!
Video Video I’m sure this will be integrated with YouTube at some point. They’re essentially the same thing. With both you can share them via email with friend or embed them into your website.

Search Tools

Alerts Alerts Get email updates on the topics of your choice. You can choose which medium you want the info from such as “blogs” or “news” or “Web.” You can get them daily, weekly or as they occur. Excellent way to stay on top of news in your particular field.
Blog Search Blog Search Find blogs on your favorite topics. Technorati isn’t the only way to find cool blogs. What I like about Google Blog Search is that it is lightning fast and there are not a lot of distractions in the search results.
Book Search Book Search Search the full text of books if available. Results include links to purchasing sites, library, reviews, scholarly references, and more!
Patent Patent SearchNew! Got an idea or new invention? Search the full text of US Patents to research if your idea is original.
Scholar Scholar Search solely in scholarly papers to ensure you find what you’re looking for.
Directory Directory Browse the web by topic, kind of like what you would find over at, but powered by Google!
Specialized Searches Specialized Searches Search within specific topics. Includes: Public Service Search, University Search, U.S. Government, Linux, BSD, Apple Macintosh, and Microsoft.
Web Search Features Web Search Features Find movies, music, stocks, books, and more– Many specific areas to help you pinpoint what you’re searching for. Includes:

 • Book Search Use Google to search the full text of books.
 • Cached Links View a snapshot of each page as it looked when we indexed it.
 • Calculator Use Google to evaluate mathematical expressions.
 • Currency Conversion Easily perform any currency conversion.
 • Definitions Use Google to get glossary definitions gathered from various online sources.
 • File Types Search for non-HTML file formats including PDF documents and others.
 • Groups See relevant postings from Google Groups in your regular web search results.
 • I’m Feeling Lucky Bypass our results and go to the first web page returned for your query.
 • Images See relevant images in your regular web search results.
 • Local Search Search for local businesses and services in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada.
 • Movies Use Google to find reviews and showtimes for movies playing near you.
 • Music Search Use Google to get quick access to a wide range of music information.
 • News Headlines Enhances your search results with the latest related news stories.
 • PhoneBook Look up U.S. street address and phone number information.
 • Product Search To find a product for sale online, use Google Product Search.
 • Q&A Use Google to get quick answers to straightforward questions.
 • Refine Your SearchNew! Add instant info and topic-specific links to your search in order to focus and improve your results.
 • Results Prefetching Makes searching in Firefox faster.
 • Search By Number Use Google to access package tracking information, US patents, and a variety of online databases.
 • Similar Pages Display pages that are related to a particular result.
 • Site Search Restrict your search to a specific site.
 • Spell Checker Offers alternative spelling for queries.
 • Stock and Fund Quotes Use Google to get up-to-date stock and mutual fund quotes and information.
 • Street Maps Use Google to find U.S. street maps.
 • Travel Information Check the status of an airline flight in the U.S. or view airport delays and weather conditions.
 • Weather Check the current weather conditions and forecast for any location in the U.S.
 • Web Page Translation Provides you access to web pages in other languages.
 • Who Links To You? Find pages that point to a specific URL.

Search Tricks: try these quick searches on regular
“Weather + your zipcode” – will give you weather for the next few days.
“Movies + your zipcode” – all the movie listings in your area. Click to drill down and buy tickets. Quick links to reviews too.
“address + zip code” – instant Google Map. One more click to “get directions to this destination.”

For Techies

Analytics Analytics Track your web logs stats for any website for free. Very comprehensive!
Code Code “Download APIs and open source code.”
Co-op Co-op – now with Custom Search EngineNew! “Contribute your expertise and customize the web search experience.”
Labs Labs “Explore Google’s technology playground.” Includes many applications including Reader, Experimental Search, Music Trends, Code Search, Google Mars, Google Sets, and more. If you like technology, swing by and check out some of these newbie projects.
Webmaster Tools Webmaster Tools – For getting your site indexed by Helps with setting up a site index. Visit to learn more.

News & Information

Finance Finance “Business info, news, and interactive charts.” You can set up portfolios of stocks and you can drill down for quite a bit of information on individual stocks.
News News – now with archive searchNew! Search thousands of news stories. Pretty self explanatory. You can choose from many categories, and you can personalize it. Of course you can take the best from here and add it to your iGoogle (homepage.)
Local Local  Find local businesses and get directions. This is a Map featured search.
Web History Web History If you choose to enable this, Google will allow you to go back to every website you visited indexed by date and time. This way, if you are trying to remember that cool site you visited but forgot to bookmark, you’ll be able to find it. I like it. If you share a computer, your information will be private because you need to enter your password to view the information.


Groups Groups Create mailing lists and discussion groups. The possible uses are endless. Swing by to see some examples: user groups, hobby groups, mommy groups, social groups, etc.
Orkut Orkut“is an online community that connects people through a network of trusted friends.We are committed to providing an online meeting place for people to socialize, make new acquaintances and find others who share their interests. Join orkut now to create and connect with your own social circle.”

Catalogs Catalogs Search or browse mail-order catalogs. I’m not a big shopper so I don’t have a lot of use for this. I took a peek and wasn’t too impressed. Let me know if you find something good about this one. Otherwise I recommend Product Search instead.
Google Checkout Checkout Complete online purchases more quickly and securely. The idea here is you buy from many places using one account to pay and track it all.
Product Search Product Search (formerly Froogle) Search for stuff to buy. This is for if you only want products in your search results. If you like to shop and browse, you should take a look. It allows you compare prices from multiple vendors.

Sellers & eCommerce

Base BaseBest way I can describe this is it’s like a cross between Craigslist (as in Free), Ebay (as in sell your stuff), and Groups (as in you can share anything here.) It’s also high tech so that you can upload multiple items at a time. Worth taking a look.
AdWords AdWordsAdvertise with Google to find buyers searching for what you sell. There are a gazillion resources on how to use this best. Here is the link to Google’s guides on Adwords. And here is a commercial guide that comes highly recommended by The Snowflake Method Guy. and is free is the 5 day email course by Perry Marshall. He has a book to sell too, but I’ve heard that the email course is enough to get you started.
AdSense AdSenseGenerate revenue by placing Google contextual ads on your website or blog. Pays per click. Again, there are many sources of guidance for how best to use Adsense. Here is Google’s online webinar. And here are a few more guides: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Effective Adsense Link Units …(Dosh,Dosh), and Ultimate Adsense Guide – Video: Google AdSense Secrets (Joel Comm).

Big Brother?

I’d like to address the concern about privacy. Google must abide by all the same privacy laws that any online provider must follow. If you use email or if you process transactions online, then you are putting a certain amount of trust in the vendors who provide those services. If you don’t trust Google, then you probably shouldn’t trust any vendor, and probably shouldn’t transact any business online. This is how I personally look at it: so much of our information is already out there in cyberspace and even in analog form, that this is something I’m not going to worry about unless I need to. This is how I look at it personally. I respect that others may have different feelings. If you have thoughts on this, please feel free to share them.

Please Share!

Are there any new Google apps that I’ve missed? Do you have any special uses for Google apps that you love? What are they? Please share!

If you found this post valuable, please SHARE THIS below with a Digg, Stumble or Delicious bookmark. Votes are always noticed and always appreciated!

If you want to Support Life Learning Today, you can visit one of my sponsors, make a donation, or visit Amazon through my “Books� page at the top of this page. Thank you!

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Cool GTD Applications – The Ultimate Resource List

Getting Things Done

Getting Things Done by David Allen details a fantastic system for getting organized, reducing stress and improving your productivity in a world full of To-Do lists that are too long. Another place to find great help daily is over at I like his version: “Zen to Done” for its simplicity. For electronic tools, there are many to choose from. In this post I will provide links to some of the cool online applications available to help you keep track of your Most Important Tasks as well as Contexts, Projects, and more.
Getting Things Done
Paper Tools

Among the tools needed are a good filing system and good system for collecting, processing, and keeping track of your tasks. For many the best GTD system includes both paper and electronic tools. A simple notebook or, if you prefer, a fancy Moleskin is all you need for collection of your thoughts and tasks. For free printable PDF’s for paper calendars, to-do lists and much more check out D.I.Y. Planner, SVG Planner (for index cards), and 43 Folder’s Hipster PDA Wiki. And for the coolest paper based system, take a look at Pocket Mod.

Electronic GTD Applications – Online and Software Downloads

All the applications listed here are free unless otherwise noted. On all of these I give my opinion. If I don’t like one, that doesn’t mean you won’t love it. So explore. They are all good.

Simple To-Do Lists

My To-Do’s – Features – sharing, RSS feeds from friends, chat. Nice looking notebook style. Includes calendar planner, projects, and priority levels for to-dos.

TODOIST – Features: calendar, projects, keyboard shortcuts, gmail integrations, mobile access, quicksilver, iGoogle plugins, more. Wasn’t the one for me, but it is nicely done.

Joe’s Goals – for simple tracking of your gosls and daily notes. Good for your daily and recurring to-do’s.

Ta-Da List by the BackPack folks (BaseCamp ). I like this one because it is very simple, nice format, easy to use.

Mojo Note – Simple design. similar to Ta-Da List except it has more features such as sharing, linking, date/time due. Free up to 99 notes, lists, reminders. For $5/month you get: – 100 Lists– 100 Notes– 100 Active reminders– Email tech support– Ad-free experience. Lists have check boxes, but tasks don’t which seems weird to me. I like Ta-Da List better.

– Simple minimalist to do lists. Easy to use. RSS, printing, mobile acccess, and sharing make this attractive. It’s a little slow and you have to enter your curser to make each new entry which is a pain. Can’t see all lists on one page like you can with BackPack (see below). For some people this is a feature they like so that they can’t worry about more than one list at a time. Still worth checking out.

Jotlet – todo list and calendar together. Very nice and simple. Can view by list, day, week or month. Reminders available.

Complete GTD Systems

ToodleDo – This one is very cool. Here are some features: To-Do List, Sharing, Calendar, Scheduler, Goals, Statistics, Learning, Search, Contexts, Import/Export, Connections, Booklet Printer. Some are free (i.e. to-do list & more), some are partially free (you can track life goals, but stats with tasks linked to goals is a paid upgrade) and some are only with the upgrade (such as scheduler). You can sync with Google calendar and more. You should check out this one for sure!

Simple GTD – I like this one a lot because it is simple and at the same time it is flexible.

Thinking Rock – I’ve heard great reviews of this one. I’ve watched the demo’s and it looks very comprehensive. If that is what you are looking for, you should take a look.

Nozbe – Free: limited contexts, projects and file storage. Upgrades cost $2.95/month and up. I haven’t used this much. Backpackit is similar and I like it better. If you want something very complete, you might like this. I tend to like simpler applications.

BackPack – This is one I keep coming back to because it didn’t take a lot of time to figure it out. I can have lists with different names (projects). It has lists, notes, reminders, and “Writeboards” (which can be accessed by multiple users). Calendar feature is a paid upgrade feature, which I don’t need. It has sharing. And you can have multiple pages (5 pages for free), each page with multiple lists, notes, writeboards (2 with free account) etc.

Foldera – “Foldera is a free and intuitive filing system of web-based folders that automatically organizes your work WHILE you work.” In Beta, aimed at teams. Has folders, file sharing, IM, task manager, email, calendar and more.

Stikkit – “little yellow notes that think” talk to the productivity applications you already use, as well as to friends, coworkers and family, giving you a universal remote for your life.” Not for me because it was a little too much work.

– more than just GTD, it aims to have all your info easily at your fingertips including files, images, webclips (RSS), email, documents, sketches, to-do. You need to download this application. Seems like a computer within your computer and the benefit is that you can sync with other computers to “carry” all your “notes” on everything with you. Neat idea. I personally don’t need it, but it looks very cool.

Tasks – this is by Alex King. It is $29.95. The cool thing about this online application is that it can sync with your PDA to bring it with you. And it has a free 21 day trial to see if you like it.

Tasks Jr – free earlier version of Tasks. Here’s the feature comparison chart to see which one is best for you.

GMail GTD – this is a Firefox extension that turns your Gmail into a GTD application. I haven’t used it but I’ve read that people like it. If you love Gmail, this might be the thing for you.

Tracks – nice complete package, uses colors for organizing projects etc. It was more than I needed.

Free Mind – this is a mind mapping software that is free and opensource. It can be used for many things including as a task management system. I haven’t used it this way, but I’ve seen it done. It is worth having for any creative projects you need to think through.

GTD TiddlyWiki Plus – this one looks very cool, but I haven’t had time to really experiment with it too much. You save it on your own computer – client side application.

D3 – another wiki based system. I think this is for real techies. Correct me if I’m wrong. It looks way cool, but more complicated than I have time for.

TiddlySpot – using this “plain” wiki it is a neat tool for having an online journal that is only on your computer, not on the web. But you use this tool in a browser. Of course the uses for this is truly infinite. (This is the plain version of D3 and others that you can choose.)

Neptune – free for 15 day trial. After that it is $10 per year. I’ve checked it out. It’s nice. Not as fast as others. Simple GTD is just as good. But again, you never, know. You might love it.

TaskToy – I like this one too. Can view by Today, Week, or All. It has preset “locations” which are like contexts (home, office, shopping) which doesn’t seem like you can modify. And it has up to 40 projects to which you can color code and assign priority of Low, Med, or High.

Winners – Ones That I Like Best

The ones I use most are: ToodleDo Ta-Da ListJoe’s GoalsBackPack
The ones I plan to learn more about: TiddlySpotTudumo(see review)

UPDATE: Additional Applications Suggested by Commenters

Jello Dashboard: for use with Outlook
Tudumo– I checked this out. Very nice! Free software download.
IGTD for use with Macs
the upcoming OmniFocus
todo.txt: “For Mac and Linux there is the uber-geeky”
Accomplice “no-frills, no-gimmicks scratch paper for the ubiquitous little notes I want to take anywhere and retrieve anywhere else.”
Remember The Milk “offers great list management, smart lists, RSS, and Google Calendar/iCal integration. Plus you can email or IM new tasks.”
Ghost Action “free Mac app, simple, syncs with iCal”
Nexty – “a simple web based GTD tool”
Hiveminder “GTD for business. Tasks lists, online docs and spreadsheets.”
pyGTD seems to be a more techie system.
Greendoc. “Which is a online text processing tool.”
MonkeyGTD “because is a really nice application that permit organize my “next action” paradigm very easy and it’s an online and offline application.”
Gubb. “To mantain lists, like: wish list, films to watch, books to read, list of the purchase,etc. I use ”

Lastly, you can search for folks using Excel templates for GTD.

UPDATE: April 2008 – More GTD applications – Currently free. Looks very nice. – online application. Very nice look and layout. Has free, basic, and premium versions. This is definitely worth a look!

UPDATE: June 2008 – More GTD applications – Software. Free trial. Looks very user-friendly and clean. –  Online application. Free. Very quick signup and easy to use. In beta. – Software. Free trial. Looks very complete with folders, sub-folders and/or tags. Much more.

Additional Resources

If you’d like to see more productivity software including ones you can purchase, you can check out this GTD Software List from Listible.
Check out The Ultimate Getting Things Done Index for RSS feed of many top notch GTD websites all on one page.

Goals On Track – very cool online goal software that integrates well with GTD. “an easy to use, web 2.0 style goal setting, goal tracking, task and time management software that helps you accomplish any goals in life.” It is a pay service, but it’s got a 100% money back guarantee. Hey, if it helps you reach your goals, especially financial ones, it will probably pay for itself many times over.

Please Share Your System!

Please share your Getting Things Done System: ideas, testimonials, and experiences. All comments big and small are very welcomed!

If you found this post valuable, please bookmark on Delicious or your favorite social media. Votes are always noticed and always appreciated! Thank you!

If you want to Support Life Learning Today, you can visit one of my sponsors, make a donation, or visit Amazon on the side of this page. Thank you!

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

What is RSS and How Does It Help Me?

You’re Not the Only One Wondering

I forget what is was like back when I first heard the buzz about RSS, and I hadn’t a clue what it was. I thought that since I know it now, that everyone does. Well my readers have reminded me that not everyone knows what RSS is. This is a quick guide to explain what RSS is, how to use it, and how to supercharge it on your blog.

What is RSS?

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. You probably know the word syndication from newspapers. This is when a writer’s column shows up in many different newspapers across the country such as humorist Dave Barry (who is retired now but his columns live on!) or advice columnist Dear Abby. You don’t have to buy their local newspaper to read them. They are syndicated in YOUR local newspaper.

It’s the same thing with online content. With websites, news sites, and blogs that are updated frequently, you can choose which ones you want to see in your personalized online “newspaper” everyday. Your personalized online “newspaper” is called an RSS Reader. I’ll explain how below.

In short, RSS is the vehicle that delivers your chosen content to your Reader. You don’t have to go to all your favorite websites. They come to you! Isn’t that nice!

How Does RSS Help Me?

If you are a reader of news and blogs, it will save you time. All the information you want will be on one page where you can organize it how you like.

If you are a blog owner, it will help you to amass a subscriber base. Why do you want subscribers? The more subscribers you have the more people will be reading your content, referring others, and if you advertise, the more revenue you will earn.

How Do I Use RSS?

  1. Sign up for a reader account. Google Reader is rated #1 by several sources including That’s what I recommend. If you already have an account with Google this is a no-brainer. If you don’t have an account with Google, sign up. You won’t be sorry. If you want to try other online readers you can check out Pageflakes or Bloglines or search for others.
  2. Add RSS feeds to your reader from blogs and web site. Start by clicking on the RSS icon on any blog or webpage that has it. It usually looks like this. If you click on this icon you can add Life Learning Today to your reader! Once you click on this button it will ask you which reader you use. If you use Google, you can add it to your Reader or Personalized Homepage.
    Subscribe to Life Learning Today
  3. Add RSS Feeds directly into your Reader. On Google Reader you would type in the RSS feed URL for the site you want to add. In the case of Life Learning Today that feed would be:
  4. Read Your Personalized Feeds. Here are three great guides on optimizing your use of Google reader:,, and Johnny’s Thoughts.

How Do I Offer RSS on My Blog?

Most blogs come automatically with an RSS feed that looks something like this: So if you want a simple solution, you don’t have to do anything. But if you want to be able to track how many feed readers you have I suggest you supercharge your RSS.

Supercharging Your RSS Using Feedburner (don’t worry it’s easy)

I wasn’t sure about doing this when I was first starting out with my blog. Let me tell you one thing: don’t worry, do it. Feedburner is great and most of its services are FREE. Most blogs seem to use it.
Tracking with Feedburner:

  • Visitor stats including geographical origin, OS, browser, screen resolution.
  • Subscribers: including email subscribers.
  • Page views.
  • Incoming Links: how did visitors get to your site.
  • Outgoing Links: to where did visitors leave your site.

Functionality with Feedburner:

  • Tracking RSS subscribers.
  • Tracking Site statistics.
  • FeedFlares: these allow your blog posts to include things like social bookmarking links, comments links, and much more.
  • Email Subscribers: your subscribers can choose to receive emails when your site is updated instead of or in addition to an RSS feed in their Reader.
  • So much more.

Over time you can explore more goodies, but the basics are listed right here and the basics are pretty powerful and free. (They do have additional functionality for a fee, but I haven’t needed it.) For many new bloggers, Feedburner will give you everything you need in terms of tracking. If you want more tracking capabilities, head over to Google Analytics. Here is a guide to Google Analytics if you are interested.

RSS is a powerful technology that benefits both readers and publishers of content. Do take the time to explore this. You will be glad that you did. Once you become a big Google Reader user, I have a guide on how to keep Google Reader from eating up all your time. 🙂

Please share your comments and tips on RSS. All comments big and small are very welcomed!

If you found this post valuable, please SHARE THIS below with a Digg, Stumble or Delicious bookmark. Votes are always noticed and always appreciated!

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Easy Link Building Tip: Check Out the D-List

What is the D-List?

The D-List (see below) is a list of blogs who have disabled the “no-follow” in their comments. What does this mean for you? Everytime you make a comment on one of these blogs, you will obtain an actual link. From an SEO standpoint, every incoming link that you can get will increase your Technorati ranking.

The better your ranking, the better your earning potential from the standpoint of increased traffic as well as ability to command higher advertising rates with sponsors on your site.

The DoFollow Blog list is courtesy of Courtney Tuttle and was created originally by Coleen as the D-List. This list does not include profane or pornographic sites.

Should You “Follow?” What’s In It For Your Site?

By joining the “Do Follow” movement, you make your site more attractive for readers to visit your site and comment while they are there. More comments make your site a more active place that readers will want to return to.

If you are concerned with the possibility of linking out to profane, pornographic or other sites that are against your morals, never fear. If you moderate your comments you always have the ability to delete the comment or delete the link.

How to “Follow” – “DoFollow” WordPress Plugin

Here is the link to the “DoFollow” WordPress plugin. It is very simple to install. Just download it to your computer and then upload it to your ‘plugin’ directory. As always, when installing new elements to your WordPress site, make sure you have a backup before you install!

How to “Follow” – Removing No Follow from Blogger.

Here is a link to BetaBlogger who explains how to remove the NoFollow attribute from your Blogger template. As always, whenever changing your template, make a back up first!

Life Learning Today Comment Policy

  • If you have opinions, thoughts, ideas to add, please share them by commenting!
  • Links will be allowed in comments as long as they are relevant and contribute constructively to the site. Disagreements and differing opinions are very welcome. Mean spirited personal attacks are not.
  • Links may be removed from one-liner, stop-in comments such as, “I like the site”, “You have a good site”, and “Thanks for the articleâ”?. I’m sure that everyone on the D-List would agree that these comments defeat the purpose. Most of these comments will be deleted.
  • I reserve the right to edit comments for grammar and spelling errors, when appropriate, and to remove comments that are profane.

How to Gain More Links Right Now!

Check out the D-List below! Visit some of the sites and contribute valuable ideas, thoughts and opinions to the conversations on those sites.

The D-List

UPDATE FEB 6, 2008:

Life Learning Today is no longer a Do-Follow site. The reason for this is we have been receiving many comments that link to inappropriate sites and we no longer have the time to check each one before approving the comments. If you have a comment regarding this, please feel free to contact us.

If you find this list useful, please consider linking to it.Additionally, you may copy this list in its entirety and place it on your site, as long as you link back to it using the code below this paragraph which will give credit to both the creator of the D-List, Coleen, and to Courtney, who has added to and maintained this list.

This <a href=””>DoFollow Blog list</a> is courtesy of <a href=””>Courtney Tuttle</a> and was created originally by <a href=””>Coleen</a> as the <a href=””>D-List</a>.

A Writers Words, An Editors Eye
Aaron Roselo
Advertising for Success
And to Think
Andy Beard
Ang’s Chicken Coop
Are we there yet
Army Mom:New Jersey
Art Kauffman
Article Writer, The
Ask Jason
Ask Jason Business
BenSpark, The
BenSpark 2: Electric Boogaloo
BizMark Tech
Blogging WV
Body, Mind & Solar
Buy better – Have a Better Life
Buzz Queen, The
By the Sea
Cade’s WriteToRight
Candid Quips
Charmed and Dangerous
Cheffin\’ It!!
Clapping Trees
Comedy Plus
Confessions of a Housewife
Confessions of an Everyday housewife
CoolAdzine for Marketers
Crafts 4 Dummies
Curious Cat
David Airey: Creative Design
Dont Fear the Truth
Down Memory Lanes
Ecomm Tips
Endangered Spaces
Fibromyalgia Experiment, The
Finding Life\’s Enchantments
Flatwater Tech
Fools Wisdom
FootPrints On the Moon
Fuzzy Future
Geek Ramblings
genki desu yo
gimme a break
go get global news & views
Guitar Licks
Hockey Dad, The
Home Biz Blogger
Home Office Women
JMH Techtronics
Jones PC
JOIN – Do Follow Bloggers **
Julies Journal
Just Not Martha
Kansha Shite
Knitting Fiend, The
Last Blogger
Last Blogger
Life in the Fast Lane
Life Is Risky
Life Of A School Bus Driver, The
Life Passion Travel & More
Life through eyes of Krissy
Live Life Organics & Your Health
Magical Rose Garden
Master Cleanse
Midlife Musings
Mom is Nutz
Mothering Many
My Dandelion Patch
My Home Recipe
My Muddled Mind
My Opinion Counts
My Thoughts, Ideas, and Ramblings
New Century Politics
No Average Mom
Odd Planet
On the Horizon
Open Road Biker
Patrick Says v2.0
Paula Neal Mooney
Pegs AZ Life
Pencil Thin
Pink Poison Store
Pond, The
Ramblings Of An Undisturbed Mind
Randa Clay Design
Raw Vegan Momma
Reasoner, The
Sassy Southerner, The
Scribble On The Wall
Scuttlebutt Pipeline
Selena’s Travel and Culture
Shopping Flavor
Simple Kind Of Life
Simplify Every Obstacle
Skeets Stuff
Solo Technology
Sophistishe.Org | Personal Blog
SQKIKs Simple Tech
Sun-Flower Family, The
Table for Five
TDZ Travel
Teenage Angst Regression
Texas RV Travel blog
Tricia\’s Musings
Two Dog Zoo
Utterly Geek
Wanders World
Web Files, The
Whatever I Feel Like
Wild & Crazy Ride
Winding Threads
Wired Kayaker, The
Women Mumbles
Work At Home Mom Revolution
Yoga Blog

As always, all your comments, thoughts, ideas and the like are welcomed here! U Comment, I Follow! Thanks to recent commenters: Brian, Mark, Dee, and Paula.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

9 Super Cool Search Engines to Jazz Up Your Creativity

See Something Exciting Today!

Do you always search with your favorite like Google or Yahoo? When was the last time you tried something new? How about today?!

These Search Engines can help supercharge your creativity by coming up with results you won’t find on the standard search engines. And they can inspire you to think beyond your usual day to day thought patterns. For anyone who blogs this experimentation is a must!

They’re not all brand new, but if you’ve never seen them before then they’ll be new to you!

Super Cool Search Engines:

  1. PageBull – results display images of the websites that are relevant. This is a really cool one.
  2. Vivisimo  – I love this search engine because the display of results is so useful. You see the top 20 results. On the left there are “clustered results” which show the different categories into which the search results fall. It allows you to narrow your search on the fly.
  3. ClustyVery Useful and Cool. This the branded search engine by Vivisimo. Same thing except it is “Wii Friendly“Â is also optimized for searching using the Nintendo Wii.
    • Â
  4. MsDewey – ok, this one is a little strange, a bit of a time waster, and designed for guys. An attractive “prerecorded” woman responds to your search request. You kinda have to see it. Try clicking on Best of Dewey for some fun. By Microsoft.
  5. AlltheWeb Livesearch – this one produces results as you type in words so you can narrow results or widen them just by typing.
  6. AskX – brought to you by It suggests terms to both widen and narrow your results. I list it here only in the hopes that it will get better. The better choice is to use Clusty or AlltheWeb Livesearch instead. They are better in helping you find what you want.
  7. Kartoo – results are presented in a mind map type format which is visually pleasing. When you mouse over the results you will see various additional information in the left-hand column such as latest info posted on that site, a snapshot of the site, and categories of information. Also links between the results will highlight as you mouse over the “topics” in the left hand navigation. A must-see.
  8. Grokker – visual search results from Yahoo and/or Wikipedia and/or Amazon. Allows you to view both an outline view or a map view. With the map application you can zoom in and out for more detailed information. Good for creative searching. Too complex for a quick search.
  9. SearchMash – SE by Google. Results include multiple categories: images, blogs, videos, and wikipedia. Handy, but for image searches alone I prefer google image search because it gives you more information about the image. Worth a look, for sure.

I still love Google, but with these I can break out and think different for a brief moment in time to come up with some great new ideas!

What super cool search engines have you found? Tell us about them with a comment. Thanks to my most recent commenters: Sham, Deni, Tisha, Court, and Ilker.

And as always if you liked this please bookmark this on delicious, digg or your personal favorite by clicking on “Share This” below. Thanks!

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

18 Really Useful WordPress Plugins

WordPress Widget Plugins

Many of my readers have found value in my post Moving From Blogger to WordPress. And they have asked for more posts along these lines. Today I’m going to share with you the WordPress plugins I am using along with helpful hints on setting them up and on using them.

Here are the Plugins I use:

Plugin Version Description (from the author of plugin) Notes on Usage
Adsense-Deluxe 0.8 Place Google AdSense ads in your WordPress Posts. Requires WordPress 1.5 or higer. For complete usage and configuration click on AdsenseDeluxe under the “Options� menu. By Acme Technologies. Plugin works great. You can also use this for other html codes you want a shortcut for such as chitika emini malls, paypal donate, etc.
Akismet 2 Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not. You need a API key to use it. You can review the spam it catches under “Comments.â€? To show off your Akismet stats just put <?php akismet_counter(); ?> in your template. By Matt Mullenweg. You will need this. Trust me. It comes with most WP themes. Activate it. And follow the simple instructions for getting an API key. (I don’t know what that is and I was able to do it!) widget 1 Adds a sidebar widget to display links By Automattic, Inc.. Self explanatory. I don’t use it, but I might at some point, maybe as a blogroll device.
Executable PHP widget 1 Like the Text widget, but it will take PHP code as well. Up to 9 instances of this widget may exist. Heavily derived from the Text widget code included with the widget plugin by Automattic, Inc. By Otto. Install these widgets if you need to use PHP coding. You may need runPHP plugin (see below) for this to work.
Extended Live Archives 0.10beta-r18 Implements a dynamic archive, inspired by Binary Bonsai and the original Super Archives by Jonas Rabbe. Visit the ELA option panel to initialize the plugin. By Arnaud Froment. Very cool. Archives based on both categories and by date.These archives can be in a page or sidebar.
FAlbum 0.5.6 A plugin for displaying your Flickr photosets and photos in a gallery format on your WordPress site. By Elijah Cornell. This is needed for displaying flickr photos in the Tiga theme that I use. You can probably use it with any theme.
Favicon Manager 0.1 Adds your favicon to your headers and/or rss feeds. By Digital Ramble. Self explanatory.
Google Analytics 2.2 Terms of useDoc/FAQSupport forum — Adds Google analytics to your blog, with all sorts of advanced tracking toys enabled. By Denis de Bernardy. Makes adding the Google Analytics code to your blog easy. Google analytics is a free weblog analyzer.
Gregarious 2.0 RC 1 The ultimate social bookmarking plugin. Need I say more? By Ankur Kothari. On my posts you’ll see “Share This” which allow you to share the post with many different social bookmarking sites. Keeps post from looking clogged with lots of icons.
MyBlogLog Plugin 0.4.2 Integrate MyBlogLog into WordPress instantly. By MyBlogLog. I still haven’t gotten this one to work yet, but you can try it.
MyBlogLog Widget 2 Adds MyBlogLog widget to your blog. By MyBlogLog Team. Will make setting up your MyBlogLog widget easy.
Paypal Donate 1 Allows easy addition of Paypal donate buttons in pages and posts. By Mikhail Esteves. No more to say on this one. It works.
Popularity Contest 1.2.1 This will enable ranking of your posts by popularity; using the behavior of your visitors to determine each post’s popularity. You set a value (or use the default value) for every post view, comment, etc. and the popularity of your posts is calculated based on those values. Once you have activated the plugin, you can configure the Popularity Values and View Reports. You can also use the included Template Tags to display post popularity and lists of popular posts on your blog. By Alex King. Displaying most popular posts. Just added this and haven’t really maximized it yet, but the description shows you that you can really do a lot with it.
runPHP 2.1b Allows you to put PHP code into a post and have it eval()’d. By James Van Lommel. May be needed with EXECPHP plugin. Also allows you to run php in a post. When writing the post, you just need to check the little box saying “enable php?”
Show Top Commentators 1.03 Encourage more feedback and discussion from readers, by rewarding them every time they post a comment! Readers with the most comments are displayed on your WordPress blog, with their names (linked to their website if they provided one). By Nate Sanden. This will need to be pul into an ExecPHP widget to work since it uses php coding. Very customizable.
Sidebar Widgets Adds “Sidebar Widgets� panel under Presentation menu By Automattic, Inc.. This is much like the blogger text widgets where you can put any html code inside.
SRG Clean Archives 2.1 A nice uniform way to display your archives. By Shawn Grimes. Archives by date. Customizable. Works great.
Subscribe To Comments 2.1 Allows readers to recieve notifications of new comments that are posted to an entry. Based on version 1 from Scriptygoddess By Mark Jaquith. This is a great plugin. It allows your readers to subscribe to comments with a checkbox which makes it easy for them, thus increasing the likihood that they will return to make more comments. A must have!
WP-Amazon 2.0 Beta 1.1 WP-Amazon adds the ability to search and include items from Amazon to your entries. By Rich Manalang. If you are an amazon affiliate, this plugin will make linking to amazon products very easy within your posts.

You can also see my post on increasing the number of text widgets here.

Here is my post on how to install and use WordPress Plugins.

Here is a link to JohnTP’s best Wordpress Plugins and here is a list of many other “Best Plugins” postings from other blogs.

Thanks for dropping by. If you liked this post please click here to subscribe to my blog! And as always, I love your comments! Let the community here know if you’ve found any other must-have plugins. Thanks!


Technorati Tags: , , ,

How to Install and Use WordPress Plugins

Using and Installing WordPress Widgets

Many of my readers have found value in my post Moving From Blogger to WordPress. And they have asked for more posts along these lines. Today I’m going to share with you how to install and use WordPress plugins.


WordPress vs. Blogger

Blogger makes adding widgets very easy inside their template, but anyone with experience using Blogger knows that that ease comes at a price, less overall flexibility. So WordPress will give you much more flexibility, but you’ll need to spend a little upfront time setting things up. Once you get the hang of adding plugins you’ll be able to do it very quickly.

Getting Started

Once you’ve set up WordPress and picked your theme, then you’ll want to add plugins which are like widgets in Blogger. The first one you should add is SideBar Widgets By Automattic, Inc. which adds a “Sidebar Widgetsâ€? panel under the Presentation menu in your WordPress Admin panel. This will give you up to 9 widgets. Many people will need more. See my post on the easy way to increase the number of sidebar widgets beyond 9.

For plugins that require PHP coding, you’ll want to add Executable PHP widget by Otto. Both of these should be added to your plugins>widgets directory on your server.

Adding Plugins

  1. README. Each plugin usually has a text file called ReadMe. Read this! Better: print it out for ease of reference. It will have installation instructions, FAQ’s and troubleshooting information.
  2. UPLOAD. For each plugin you add including the two listed above, you’ll need to upload them via FTP to your server. In most cases you’ll be uploading to the Plugin directory, usually located in this order /public_html/wp-content/plugins/.
  3. CHMOD. (optional-see ReadMe file for the plugin)For some plugins you may need to make the file writable. To do this go to your FTP client and click on the properties of the plugin file. Then change the file attributes by typing in the number 755.
  4. ACTIVATE. In your WordPress Admin panel go to Plugins. Scroll down to your newly uploaded plugin and click on Activate.
  5. ADD. Go to Presentation in your admin panel. Then go into Sidebar Widgets. In here you can set how many text Sidebar Widgets you want. (If you want more than the default 9, you can get instruction for increasing that amount here.)

Using TEXT Widgets

  1. DRAG. Drag the sidebar widgets into your sidebar column.
  2. CLICK. Click on the X on the widget.
  3. TYPE. Type in the html code into the box that opens. Type the title for the widget.
  4. CLICK. Click outside the widget box to finish.
  5. SAVE. Click on save options.
  6. REVIEW. Check your site to see if it is loading properly.

Using EXECPHP Widgets

  1. REPEAT. Use the same steps as above.
  2. TROUBLESHOOT. If the element doesn’t show up properly on your blog, you probably need to add runPHP plugin by James Van Lommel for these widgets to work properly.

Hopefully this will help former Blogger bloggers to start using Wordpress plugins with ease. Good luck.

For more information subscribe to my blog to ensure that you don’t miss the upcoming post on some great useful Wordpress plugins that I use along with a reference on where to the users choice awards of plugins.

If you found this post helpful, you may support my blog below with a donation. Thank you kindly.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes