29 May 2014

My Favourite Apps

In my review of the Samsung Galaxy S5 (here, if you missed it) I mention some of the apps I use to manage me, my family and my business.  I've received a few questions about these apps and so I thought it was a good time to tell you about my favourites.  I have all these apps on all my devices – my iPad, and two Android phones – and almost all of them either downloaded to my laptop, or accessible online from my laptop.


This has been the biggest time saver I have ever used. I use Pocket to store everything that I want to read later - email newsletters, web articles - anything.  Pocket gets rid of all the extraneous stuff and keeps only the text and pictures from the web article, making it really easy to read.  I can read them offline and add tags so I can search for the articles I need. Those that I want to keep I can send to Evernote.  Pocket is on all my devices so that no matter where I am when I find something I want to keep I can add it to pocket, and I’ve always got something to read.


Evernote is an amazing organising tool.  Similarly to Pocket, it can store articles and web clips and you can tag them to categorise them, but Evernote can do a lot more.  You can add notes via audio (record your voice), webcam, screenshots, and handwritten notes, and even email directly to Evernote; and each note can be formatted – with checklists, tables etc.  Create a filing system and folders within Evernote to organise your notes, and tags allow for cross-referencing across different categories.  Evernote also has a family of products to help you do even more with Evernote.  I use Skitch to add notes and marks to photos and screen shots (also great for PDFs).  I also have Penultimate on my iPad which I use with a stylus when I want to take notes by hand.  The pages of writing are automatically saved to Evernote.  Lots of other apps also work with Evernote – I’ve got the Chrome extension to easily add any web clipping to Evernote; the Outlook add-in to quickly send an email to Evernote; JotNot on my iPad which turns it into a scanner with the scanned document sent straight to Evernote. 


This is my list manager - all my to do lists; what needs to be done in my business; in my home, in my life - everything. Items in each list can be given a deadline, and each item can have its own sub-lists. I can quickly refer to what needs to be done on a particular day and even print off the list for the day if I need it. 


Bitly is one of many sites where you can shorten URLs.  But, by creating an account on Bitly, I’m able to use it for much more.  The URL of each of my blog posts is copied to Bitly where, not only is the URL shortened, I can view statistics for each URL, including how many clicks it has received. I also add notes to each entry with the date each time I share or tweet a particular post (great for reusing older posts).  On my laptop and the iPhone app on my iPad (there's no dedicated iPad app)


Trello is where I manage my projects. Each project has a board and within that board I can break down the project into different stages. Within each stage I add the tasks to be completed. Each task can be dragged into a different spot - so important when you suddenly realise you've missed a step. Trello is on my laptop, iPad and Samsung phone so I can work on a project at any time.


I use Mail Chimp to create and manage Techie Mum newsletters.  You can sign up to receive the newsletter from the blog or from my Facebook Page.  But there’s often situations where someone would like to sign up for my newsletter but there’s not computer available, or not the time. Chimpadeedoo is a simple app on my iPad and phones that presents a single screen where anyone can signup for my newsletter, regardless of whether there’s internet access.  It’s linked to my Mail Chimp account so that once my iPad or phones are able to connect to the internet the registrations are automatically added to my mailing list.  Chimpadeedoo is perfect for an exhibition where you could have an iPad on the table for anyone to signup to a newsletter or mailing list (as long as you had a lock on the iPad to prevent someone running off with it) – the app can be set to not go to sleep so it’s always visible.


Dropbox is my favourite for cloud storage.  Any files that I regularly need when I’m away from my computer are stored in Dropbox, and with Dropbox on my iPad and both phones I can access those files anywhere.  On my computer Dropbox appears as just another folder so it’s easy to drag a file to it when needed.  I have it set up so any photos I take on my phones or my iPad are automatically saved to Dropbox.  That means all my photos are accessible on every device and it sure makes it easy to transfer them into my photo filing system on my computer.  As I took screenshots on my iPad and phone for this post they were instantly available on my laptop to add as I was writing.


I use the Infinite app on my iPad when I’m planning a new training session.  It’s like a board with lots of different post-it notes.  I create a note for each topic I want to include in the training and then I can move them around on the board/screen to get the order right.

What apps are your favourites?  I would love to know what apps you use, so please leave me a comment below and let me know what you use and how

14 May 2014

Phone review: Samsung Galaxy S5

As one of the Virgin Mobile Handset Tester Team I've been trying out the Samsung Galaxy S5 for the last two weeks. 

I love this phone, and if your phone contract is up for renewal or you just want to replace your phone the Samsung Galaxy S5 is definitely worth considering.   Take a look at my review video below...

If you're interested in the apps I talk about in my review, my next post will be all about them and the other apps I use to manage my business and my life.

Disclosure:  Virgin Mobile Australia gave me a Samsung Galaxy S5 to review but all views expressed are my own.

06 May 2014

App review: HomeLove

My new favourite time waster!  Home Beautiful magazine has introduced an app to help inspire you with your own home renovation and decoration, with thousands of images from the magazine grouped into galleries – Rooms, Styles, Products and Finishes (with more images added each month).  When you find an image you love just add it to your Favourites.  You can also create your own Moodboards, adding images from the app as well as your own photos from your smartphone or tablet – you could add a photo of the room you’re working on or the furniture you already have as the starting point for your Moodboard.

The HomeLove app is also where you can keep up with what’s happening on House Rules.  As each home is completed you can view photos of every room and details of the products that were used in the renovation – right down to exactly where to find a particular cushion, tile, lamp or mirror.

The HomeLove app is free for iOS and Android phones and tablets.