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100+ RSS Feeds: How Do You Eat an Elephant?


How Do You Eat an Elephant?

Of course the answer is one bite at a time. If you find yourself with too many RSS feeds in your feedreader, as I have lately, you have two choices. You can either pare it back or try to manage the list somehow. I am a bit of a pack rat and RSS feeds are no exception. When I find a great website or blog that I want to come back to I add it to my reader.

What follows is a list of ideas on how to manage your RSS feeds to make it more manageable. As you implement these, I recommend doing some pruning of RSS feeds that no longer hold your interest. Keep in mind as you read this, that this is for people who want to be able to read all their feeds, but need a way to manage it. If this seems like too much work for you, then by all means, purge and simplify!

Days of the Week

With this idea create a folder for each day of the week. Go through your feeds and put them into these folders. Then each day read just the ones that are in that folder. If you like to make comments this will be a little more efficient too you’ll get all your comments in for each blog on that one day.

Numbers

Here you can use the same idea as days of the week, but you can lengthen out the time frame to say 2 weeks or 1 month. For example if you want to spread out your reading over 2 weeks you could have folders numbered 1-14. Or for monthly reading you could have folders numbered 1-30.

The Combo Platter

If you really want to customize things you could have the following folders:

  • Daily Favorites Folder– for your top 5-10 A+ blogs that you like to read daily.
  • Weekly Folders – M,T,W,T,F,Sa,Su. This would be for your B list blogs to be read weekly.
  • Monthly Folders – Folders numbered 1-30 for your C level blogs that you would read monthly.
  • Quarterly Folders – Folders labeled Fall, Winter, Summer, Spring for D-list blogs that you’d like to check in on less frequently.

How to Keep Up with the Combo Style

  1. You don’t have to keep up! Your feed reader is for your entertainment, education, leisure. If you have ones you must read for work or some other obligation, then create a “Must Read” folder.
  2. Whenever you feel the desire to check your reader, only go to the folders for the day you are in. For example if it was June 21st of this year, you would read the following folders only:
  • “Daily Favs”
  • “Thurs”
  • “21”
  • “Summer”

Important Success Tips

  • File as You Go. Every time you add a new RSS feed file it in the appropriate folder(s).

  • Purge as You Go.  Every time you read through a folder, if there is a feed you don’t like anymore, unsubscribe. If you’re a real packrat and you can’t make the cut, then change it to a folder called “Six Month Purge” that you check twice a year.

  • Make It Actionable. If you want to do something with the information you’ve read then find a way to capture that idea now. Some suggestions:
    1. Star the item. Be sure to have a routine in place to remember to check these items either during daily planning or weekly review.
    2. Write it down in your Capture notebook.
    3. Enter the action directly into your electronic calendar or to-do list.
    4. Use Google Notebook. (Add the Google Notebook Firefox extension first or you could add Google Notebook to your Firefox Sidebar ) Google Notebook can be used for GTD implementation. Here’s what you do: As you read your feeds, highlight the part of the article you want to clip, then click on the Google Notebook extension in the lower right hand corner of your Firefox browser. Click on “Clip” inside Google Notebook. The highlighted text will appear. Then you can add a “add a comment” with the action you want to take. Once you’ve done that then unstar the item.

  • Scan and Read Later. If you only have time for scanning during the day, then create a folder called “ToRead” that you can read on your commute (bus, train, or car if you’re the passenger!) or that you read when you have time later in the day or evening

Resources

Please Share!

What are your favorite RSS feed reader hacks?! All comments big and small are very welcomed!

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9

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 Lifehacker.com. 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 Yahoo.com, 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 Google.com:
“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 Google.com. 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.


Communities

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.”
Consumer

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!

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16

How to Write a Book in 60 Days or Less

Write a book

Commitment

Whether you choose 60 days, 30 days or 6 months as your goal, all that matters is that you commit to it and implement a schedule that will get you there. Choose a realistic time frame that you can stick to. A little bit every day is better than trying to do too much and then giving up.

How to choose your time goal? Start by determining:

  • How many hours per day can you devote to writing?
  • How many pages can you write per hour?

Example: Let’s say you commit to 2 hours per day and you’re able to write 3 pages per hour. To write an average length book of 300 pages will take 50 days. ( 300 pages per book/6 pages per day= 50 days)

My Experience: My new book, Secrets to a Healthy Life, is only 60 pages. I wrote approximately 2 pages per day and completed it in one month. I used Nick Daws method which I discuss further down in this article.

Process for Novel Writing

For writing a novel, I can recommend Randy Ingermanson’s free online manual titled: “Writing a Novel Using The Snowflake Method.” This is a concise guide that will get your novel written if you follow it. For a sneak peek, here are the 10 steps of the method. You will want to visit his site and print out the entire instructions which has detailed instructions for each of these steps. (don’t worry it’s not too long)

Snowflake Method for Writing a Novel: (summary from http://www.ingermanson.com/writing/snowflake.php)

  1. Take an hour and write a one-sentence summary of your story.
  2. Take another hour and expand that sentence to a full paragraph describing the story setup, major disasters, and ending of the book.
  3. Write a short summary sheet for each character.
  4. Take several hours and expand each sentence of your summary paragraph into a full paragraph. All but the last paragraph should end in a disaster. The final paragraph should tell how the book ends.
  5. Take a day or two and write up a one-page description of each major character and a half-page description of the other important characters.
  6. Now take a week and expand the one-page plot synopsis of the story to a four-page synopsis.
  7. Take another week and expand your character descriptions into full-fledged character charts detailing everything there is to know about each character.
  8. Prep for writing the first draft: make a list of all the scenes that you’ll need to turn the story into a novel using a spreadsheet.
  9. (Optional.)Switch back to your word processor and begin writing a narrative description of the story.
  10. At this point, just sit down and start pounding out the real first draft of the story.

Randy has other products that he sells, usually for very good prices relative to the value he is offering. If you are very motivated, his free manual is probably all you will need. If you like his technique and want to dig deeper with it, check out his advanced snowflake guides.  Please do yourself a favor and visit his site. He has 2 great free monthly ezines that I subscribe to, one on novel writing and one on marketing your work.

Process for Non-Fiction (also fiction and screenplays)

Another great process resource that I can recommend is Nick Daw’s program “Write Any Book in Under 28 days”which gives you “everything you need to know to devise, write, edit and sell a complete book in the shortest possible time, be it fiction, non-fiction or even a screenplay.”

I love this program!

It is so logical and encouraging. It helps you get your book written!

The process part always lets you know what your next step is. And the encouragement part keeps you moving forward with enthusiasm.

This program does have a cost which depends on which package you choose. It is provided in the form of a CD-ROM which will run on any computer using Windows 95 or later.

Nick Daws states that anyone can write a non-fiction book. (I agree!) We all have experiences that others would find valuable and could learn from such as:

  • Getting Married
  • Having a Baby
  • Bringing Up Children
  • Living With Teenagers
  • Dealing With Bereavement
  • Being A Student
  • Shopping for Bargains
  • Coping With Divorce
  • Buying/Selling a House
  • Making Your Own Clothes
  • Designing a Garden
  • Getting a Job
  • Starting Your Own Business
  • Managing Staff
  • Managing Your Time
  • Investing Your Money
  • Study skills for students
  • Improve your memory
  • How to work your way through college
  • Making the most of student life
  • What is YOUR Life Experience you will write about?

If you click on the link it does have one of those cheesy sales pages, but never fear, the product is excellent. I bought it, used it to write my first ebook. I give this program my highest recommendation. Free resources are good, but this one is totally worth the small cost. I found it supplemented the the free resources I was using, allowing me to stop dreaming of writing my book and actually finish writing my book!

Writing Tools

1) For me, my favorite tool is pen and paper. I’m able to think more freely when I write straight onto paper. So I certainly recommend using this method and then typing your work onto the computer, which can also be the first editing session. If you like typing directly, go for it. Use whatever method that works best for you.

2) Here is a free tool that I discovered for book writing. It is called yWriter. It is free story writing software and it is offered via free download (this link just brings you to the download page only). I have this tool and I like it very much.

Some of the Features of yWriter:

  • Organise your novel using a ‘project’.
  • Add files to the project, each containing a chapter.
  • Add a summary to each file, showing the scenes in each chapter.
  • Print out summary cards, showing the structure of your novel.
  • Display the word count for every file in the project, along with a total.
  • Saves a log file every day, showing words per file and the total. (Tracks your progress)
  • Saves automatic backups at user-specified intervals.
  • Allows multiple scenes within chapters
  • Viewpoint character, goal, conflict and outcome fields for each scene.
  • Storyboard view, a visual layout of your work.
  • Re-order scenes within chapters.
  • Move scenes from one chapter to another.
  • Automatic chapter renumbering.
  • FREE

3) Google Docs. I’ve talked about Google Docs before on my blog. I discovered it from Leo over at ZenHabits, a top notch productivity blog. Google Docs is a great online document application. It doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as MS Word, but it has everything the basic user needs!

The benefits to using Google Docs are:

  • Online storage of your documents makes them completely portable. Access them from any computer.
  • Copy/Pasting into blogging editors is smooth and clean, perfect formatting, unlike MS Word.
  • It’s in my browser which is my main computer tool. No extra applications to open and slow me down.
  • Online sharing and publishing of your document to the web.

4) Check out my previous post on writing your book via a blog.

Getting It Done

The simple answer:

  • Schedule in your writing time and do it.
  • Don’t start if you are starting other new major goals.
  • Ask a friend if they will be your Goal Buddy Turn in your draft each week to this person. They don’t even have to read them, but this can help force you to get it done. (In turn you can help keep your Goal Buddy on track for one of their goals, i.e. “What exercise did you complete today?”

The longer answer: get a copy of “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. This is the ultimate book on productivity that is customizable to the system that works best for you.

Publishing Your Book

This topic is far too extensive to give all the information that you will need in one article. But I can recommend 2 essential books that will give you everything you need to know.

The first is a world class book by a very successful self-published author. It is called The Well Fed Self Publisher: How to Turn One Book into a Full-Time Living” by Peter Bowerman. In this book, Peter covers self-publishing for both fiction and non-fiction writers.

How “The Well Fed Self Publisher” will help you:

  • Develop a “marketing mindset” minus the anxiety!
  • Create a book that turns heads and grabs eyeballs
  • Find tons of reviewers anxious to publicize your book
  • Get the bookstore chains to come looking for you
  • Build a cash-generating web site that works 24/7
  • Minimize your dependence on fickle mainstream media
  • Parlay one book into multiple income streams
  • Separate the “Print-on-Demand” hype from reality

Peter is a freelance commercial writer who offers a free ezine for freelance writers. He is very successful speaker, consultant for writers, and self-published author. I have been learning from him for many years. He has two books on freelance writing, but you only need this updated one: “The Well-Fed Writer: Back for Seconds.” It gives you everything you need to know to make real money as a commercial freelance writer, the ultimate no gimmic Work-At-Home business!

 

The Fine Print of Self Publishing is a must have book if you want to know the pros and cons of all the the different self-publishing options out there including how to understand their contracts. The author, Mark Levine, has done all the nitty gritty research for you and culled it into terms the layman can understand and use to make an informed decision about which company to go with for self-publishing.

Conclusion

It’s not easy to write a book, but if you are committed, have a plan, and persevere, over time you will have a book! One page a day will yield a 365 page book in one year! What are you waiting for?
Steps to take today:

  1. Commit your time
  2. Plan the book
  3. Write it day by day
  4. Celebrate!

Additional Writing Resources

Find tons of additional writing resources on my “Resources for Writers” page!


Please share

All comments big and small are very welcomed!

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228

Easy Blog Posting with Google Docs – Any Platform!

Blog Posting Troubles Eliminated

Does it take you more time to post to your blog than it does to write your post? Technical difficulties with blog posting can be a real source of aggravation. Ever try to place tables inside a post? What about getting pictures to be where you want them. How about copy and pasting from MS Word to Blogger or WordPress ? The HTML gets all messed up and your post looks terrible.

That’s why I had started using ECTO. I still like ECTO for it’s flickr, amazon, tagging, and other features. But formatting of text size and layout can still be difficult sometimes. Today I found another solution that is very good from a formatting point of view, namely being able to insert tables easily.

How to Use Google Docs to Post to Your Blog

  1. Get a Google account. It’s in the upper right hand corner of Google. (Google has so many great resources available to you, this is something you should do anyway.)
  2. Go to “My Account”
  3. Click on Docs & Spreadsheets (might as well bookmark it)
  4. Click on “New Document”
  5. Type your article and enjoy the ease of formatting.
  6. Try inserting a table. Here’s an example:
    Monday Tuesday Wednesday
    Blue Red Yellow
    Green Orange Purple
  7. Insert a Picture:
  8. Save. But Google Docs has been saving all along for you. And you can check every save under the revisions tab. Unbelievable. If you want you can also do a “Save As” to save into many other formats such as Word, PDF, HTML, Open Office, Text and more.
  9. Click on “Publish” in the upper right hand corner. Don’t worry. Nothing will happen until you set things up.
  10. Click on “Post to Blog.” This is where you will set up access to your blog. You can set this up for all types of blogging platforms such as hosted ones like Blogger and WordPress.com. Or you can set this up for your own server/custom solution such as WordPress.org blogs. You will type in your username and password. It will allow you to test whether the settings are correct.
  11. Click on “Post to Blog” again after your set up is complete. Now you have published to your blog!

Conclusion

Pretty easy. I’m very excited about Google Docs because of this effortless way to post to my blog, and also because I can use Google’s disk space instead of mine for archiving and storage. I’d like to give credit to Leo over at ZenHabits for turning me onto Google Docs through his article on writing. Leo has an excellent blog which covers many things including Getting Things Done by David Allen.

I think I will actually still use ECTO to publish to my site. Here’s why: I use WordPress.org. I have my blog set up to use my post title in the permalink. Using Google Docs to publish doesn’t carry out that preference. So I will create and format my posts using Google Docs and then copy/paste into ECTO to then publish to my blog. Why don’t I just use the WordPress online posting tool? It’s better than Blogger, but it is still too slow and quirky for me. Using Google Docs along with ECTO is a good solution for me.

What blog posting process do you use?

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As always, your comments are highly appreciated and welcomed. Thank you to new recent commenters: Ginene and Lizzie.

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Google Pack Review: Should You Get It?

The short answer is Yes! As long as you have enough room on your drive this is a little gift box with a lot of cool goodies for free.

You can choose to install just the ones you want. And unistalling any you don’tlike is very easy as the download comes with a Google Updater panel, which allows you to uninstall at anytime or upgrade when each progam is updated.

Here is what you get:

Program Description Install Size
Ad-Aware
SE Personal
Antispyware utility – version
1.6.0.0
4.4 MB
Adobe Reader PDF reader – version 8.0.0.456 65.2 MB
Google Desktop Desktop companion – version
5.0.701.30540
9.3 MB
Google Earth 3D Earth browser – version
4.0.2740.0
30.3 MB
Google Pack
Screensaver
Photo screensaver – version
1.0.0.1
1.1 MB
Google Toolbar
for IE
Search toolbar – version 4.0.1601.4978 2.2 MB
Mozilla Firefox Web browser – version 2.0.0.1 21.1 MB
Norton Internet
Security 2006
Antivirus utility – version
9.1.0.33
251.7 MB
Picasa Photo organizer – version
2.6.35.92 35.97
291.2 MB

Here is a review of each component of the Google Pack:

Ad Aware – very good anti-spy software that I actually have been using for the last nine months.

Adobe Reader 8 – an update to Reader with new functionality such as the ability to create your own PDF’s online!

Google Desktop – search your entire computer using the power of google search. This program is very useful. If you choose, Google will pull web clips from sites that you visit frequently! No bookmarking or remembering to check out your favorite sites. The info is right there. And you can add as many or little additional useful features that you like like Scratchpad, Weather, News, What’s Hot, and more.

Google Earth
– this is a really neat tool that allows you to start from outer space looking at the earth and zoom in very quickly to any place you’d like to see. You can add borders and roads and much more to these actual photographs. Talk about geography lessons for you and your kids!

Google Pack Screensaver – a new screensaver that makes a growing collage of all your pictures. Fun for sure.

Google Toolbar for IE
– if you use any of Google services this is very helpful being able to jump right to gmail or the Google Reader. Also handy is being able to search on Google without having to switch to their site.

Mozilla Firefox – so far I really like this browser. I don’t know why for so long I thought I had to stay with IE. Crazy thinking. That’s shows how strong habits can be. I know a lot of techy people prefer Firefox, so it must be good. What I like is the Tabs so I don’t have to keep opening new windows. It imports all your bookmarks and preferences from IE so everything you need is there. No crashing problems like I often have with IE.

Norton Internet Security 2005 – I use Norton already, but for those who don’t already have this, how can you go wrong with this freebie?

Picassa – oo la la, Picassa! That’s what I say. I have my pictures already very organized, but let me tell you this program is great. It loads ALL your pictures (and videos too) into one place, even stuff you didn’t know you had on your computer! It organizes them by date they were taken. And the great thing is there’s no awkward opening widows, then opening an editor, then going back to your folders. Forget those clumsy ways! Now you stay within one program and can do everything including make new albums, print, and set up collages. Really fun!

So the short answer is Yes you should get the free Google Pack. The long answer is pick the components you like best or have space for on your hard drive. There is a link here on my left sidebar to get this Free Google Pack.

What do you think of Google Pack?

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