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Tag: tech tips

The Borg Advantage of a Shared Cloud Calendar

You don’t need futuristic “Star Trek” solutions to properly sync to your partner’s schedule. Your smartphone already provides that connectivity…

I’m sorry if this confession surprises you, but I am about to describe how my wife and I used to coordinate our schedules… Once upon a time, we’d take out our iPhones during dinner and open up our individual calendars for the upcoming days. We’d discuss our son’s schedule and imminent family events to ensure we were both on the same page. Each of us then added in the requisite events into our own calendars.

Tap, tap, tap.
Tap, tap, tap, tap.
Tap, tap, tap, tap, delete, delete, tap, tap.

(This can really ruin dessert.)

While this antiquated process facilitated a nice conversation about what was going on in our busy lives, it was totally unnecessary from a calendar-syncing perspective.

Create a Synced Calendar to Better Connect Your Family
To upgrade from all of this unnecessary manual coordination, all you need to do is simply create a new ‘shared calendar’ in the Calendar app through iCloud and then invite your partner to join it via email.
(It’s really not that difficult…and not at all as painful as joining the Borg collective on “Star Trek.”)

When you create a new event, just make sure you assign it to this new calendar category.

Once your spouse accepts your invitation to the shared family calendar, any new event you create will also immediately appear in her own Calendar app. (She does need to ‘accept it.’) And she can do the same for your calendar!
(Remember, you can view multiple calendars together on one screen.)

It’s a perfect two-way flow of information to schedule your active lives.
Totally synced… so the two of you can be in sync!

And you don’t have to change or give up anything about your existing personal calendar. It’s all additive.
(The shared events show up as a different color.)

Brilliant!

Cloud Calendars Rock
My wife and I have been using our shared iCloud family calendar for the past few years, and it’s been a game changer for us. It even keeps us organized between our check-in scheduling conversations, because our Calendar apps let us know when a new event has been added.

So, it effectively provides real-time updates to our ever-changing family schedules.

I know there are any number of shared-calendar apps out there, but I’m always partial to using native applications for my technology solutions.

Resistance is Futile
Our son is eight years old, but I know he’s already just a few years away from using smartphone tech. (Exactly how many years is a topic for another conversation.) I expect that shared cloud calendars are already firmly established as a key digital tool for families with older kids.

But if you’re not yet savvy to this Borg-like connectivity, I urge you not to resist joining the ‘collective-think’ advantage of using a shared iCloud calendar.

4 Ways to Handle the Mess of Taking Too Many Pictures

Irony is everywhere… especially when it comes to taking pictures. If you’re having a hard time managing and sharing all of your disorganized digital photos, you’re not alone. I’ve got a few tips to help you get back on track…

Now that summertime has unofficially begun, I’d like to share a little warning… Don’t fall for what I call the “Quadrotriticale Paradox.”

Remember that “Star Trek” episode titled “The Trouble with Tribbles” where those cute furballs found their way into a poisoned storage bin of quadrotriticale? All of the tribbles had a big feast, but many ended up starving after eating the poisoned grain.

What does this have to do with all of those summer photos you’re going to be taking…? If you’re snapping hundreds of pictures, your family and friends may still feel like they’re starving to receive a few images that show what you’ve been up to.

What’s the Plan?
We all want to share our best summer moments, but the “Quadrotriticale Paradox” can get in the way. The truth is the more pictures your take, the lower the odds you’ll actually find the time to go through, organize and share your top photos.

Short of taking fewer pictures…
The best way to reverse the effects of the paradox is have a good plan on how to unlock and release your photographic treasures.

Here are four ways that help me get the job done…

#1
Rate Your Photos to Find the Gems
There is no magic bullet. You have to review each photo.
(I prefer using the larger real estate of a computer screen vs. a smartphone or tablet.)
Use the 1-5 numbering system.
(Both Adobe Lightroom and Apple’s Photos allow you to do this.)

Here are my rating rules-

  1. Total failure. Give it an immediate appointment with the trash bin.
  2. Really bad photo. Trash it unless it’s the only shot of something special.
  3. Just okay. Decide whether to trash it another time.
  4. Good photo, but there’s a better version of it
  5. The better version or simply a great picture

Then, organize your photo album to display in descending order based on the rating numbers.

Give your 2’s another look and see if any of them should be a 3.

Then move the 1’s and 2’s into the trash, and DELETE!
Your worst photos are now gone forever.
Now it’s time to focus on the pictures you want to show off.
And those are your 5’s.

#2
Share Your Photos Quickly
I know I’ve said it before, but it’s always worth repeating…

Your family photos have an expiration date! Nobody is really interested in last month’s photo. Last week is already yesterday’s news. Yesterday’s pics are okay, but today’s photos are even better.

So, you don’t have a lot of time before your amazing photos are old news.

If you want to tweak your best pics before sharing, that’s fine, but don’t let that delay your process. You can always take the time to crop and adjust the colors and brightness when building your archival photo albums.

#3
One is Better than None
Sometimes, when time is really working against you, you’ve won’t have the luxury of evaluating and rating your photos.

Instead, just ask yourself this question…
“Which one or two pictures tell the story?”

You’ll need to rely on your instincts here, because remember… you won’t have the time to go back through all of your photos.

If you start practicing this technique regularly, you’ll begin to recognize ‘the shot’ when you take it.

Then, you’ll be able to quickly find it again and share it with your world.

#4
Don’t Fall Behind!
After the firestorm of immediacy subsides, you may return to your more organized process.

But there’s never really more time to handle yesterday’s photos, because tomorrow’s are just around the corner.

And if you fall behind and develop a backlog of pictures to review… you may never get to them.

You’ll find yourself sitting on thousands of photos from months and years past that nobody else ever had the chance to enjoy.

It’s Time to Deal with the Mess
The reality is we’re all faced with the likelihood of having to manage thousands more pictures in the years to come.

The Quadrotriticale Paradox is a beast that needs to be kept under control.
Or else.

Now go tame your photographic jungle and hunt down your best pictures to share. And if you come across a wild tribble or discover a way to stretch the fabric of time, please let me know!

Use these 7 Tech Tricks to Free Up Time

Tick tock. That’s the sound of your day not being spent the way you want. Here are 7 ways to reverse that soul-sucking trend.

I don’t know about you, but there never seems to be quite enough time to get it all done. Sure, we’ve all got the typical obligations that come with 21st century life. But there are also so many “electives” to explore.

Time is still a finite commodity.
(As far as I know)

So, the trick is finding ways to be more efficient with it. Yes, there are countless folks talking about this very topic, but I’d like to just zero in on how technology can be your friend and help you squeeze some precious minutes back into your day.

Think you know it all? Well, to be sure…
Here are 7 tech tips to help you focus more of your life into your happy zone:

#1
Order Stamps Online
Why would you ever choose to waste a fraction of your existence in the post office buying stamps?
The lines are endless. It’s like Purgatory in there.
Even the stamp-dispensing square autobot will drain your life force.
Why not simply purchase your stamps from your home computer?
It’s wicked quick…

#2
Withdraw More Cash from the ATM
Yes, there was a time before time when there wasn’t easy money on almost every corner. But today’s 24/7 access to an ATM is a mixed blessing. Who wants to always be thinking about where the nearest one is when you need twenty bucks?

I know this idea may not appear like a fiscally responsible suggestion, but if you can control your spending urges, I think you should withdraw more cash than you think you want.

Here’s the trick:

  • For those of you who haven’t fully embraced our cashless society yet, try visiting your favorite ‘magic money box ‘ less frequently… say once a week. Take out enough cash to get you through this interval and pledge not to return for another seven days.
    Rationing the use of this tech will save you time and can prevent you from going to the well more than your budget dictates.

#3
Shop for Your Groceries Online
I know… it goes against your hunting-gathering instincts.
And there’s a delivery fee.
But not having to go to the supermarket,
then not struggling with that damaged cart,
and not having to wait on a long line at the checkout…
Isn’t that worth a few bucks?

#4
Avoid Greeting Card Aisles
Stop feeling like you have to troll for greeting cards at the local CVS or Walgreens.
You know what I mean… searching up and down that forest of disorganized generic thoughts. Finding that perfect card, only to realize there’s no matching envelope, and having to start all over again.
It’s no longer a badge of honor to say to your loved one… “I spent an hour looking for the perfect card!”
(My mom used to like to say that.)
There’s got to be a better way!
Well, of course there is…

Go to Touchnote, Paper Culture, or even Hallmark online.
These websites contain virtually all the greeting cards you could ever want.
Plus they’ll mail them for you!
Whoah…. Now that’s really a paradigm shift.

#5
Don’t Wait On Line to Pay for Parking. Go Online!
Remember how you felt right after you missed that train, because you first had to wait online to pay for parking?
Let’s erase that recurring stomachache from your life.
Use an app and pay on your smartphone.

I use PayByPhone.
Brilliant…

#6
E-ZPass or Bust
All right, who here doesn’t have E-ZPass yet?
Please stand up and walk upstairs.
Now go to bed…. There’s no dinner for you.
And the rest of you should go get a good night’s sleep too!

Before you start your snooze, you should probably check in on your E-ZPass account just to make sure it’s current.
You don’t want E-ZPass to list the car you owned a decade ago.

#7
Greenlight Your Own Reruns
If you’re a blogger, repurpose ideas from older and underperforming posts for the other 7 billion people who didn’t read it the first time around.
(What? You hadn’t noticed?)

Now, you’ve suddenly got time to prepare to go skiing with your family!

See ya…!

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