Digital Advocate


Guiding the SOHO Practitioner in a Digital World

Tip: Using "Send To Gmail"

Image representing Google Toolbar as depicted ...

Image via CrunchBase

What to do with all those bits and pieces of websites you find in the course of a day and want to remember for later? I use the Google Toolbar to send an email to myself using the “send to gmail” function. I select some text, then send it to myself at a special address which I created by adding a “+word” before the @ gmail portion of my email address. (i.e. yourgoogleid+readthis@…) Then when I’m ready to process, I do a search in Gmail to pull up all the items I’ve sent. If fact, you can make several addresses; readthis, filethis, funny, research … whatever you want.

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Filed under: Organization, Productivity, Tools,


A heavily redacted page from the original lawsuit.

Image via Wikipedia

Do you use templates, or do you use find-and-replace?

A few years ago, I needed to file a lawsuit. The firm I used was known for that particular type of law, which is why I chose them. But when I read their draft of the complaint, I noticed a few mistakes – in the form of the wrong pronoun, and in one instance, the wrong name. It became glaringly evident that this was a find-and-replace job.

Now, of course, I would not have expected the entire thing to have been done from scratch – that would have been a colossal waste of time. Time I was paying for. But the mistakes I found told me that there was a chance that not a lot of thought went into this document. Was I getting second-hand service?

Templates give you the ability to take documents where most of the language is common to the type of document and tweak it with sections, phrases, or words that are unique to the project you’re working on. They also make it more difficult for you to use a prior client’s name in a new document for a new client. (Even if you make a mistake, what your new client will see is a generic term, like “client”, instead of a name that is obviously not theirs!)

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140 Characters of Simple Value

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image by via CrunchBase“ONE hundred forty characters — the exact length of this sentence — is
turning out to be just right for business communications of all kinds.”

Think of how many times you just wanted to dash off a quick note to someone, without generating a time-consuming conversation about it. Just a bit of info shared, or something to think about that you can discuss further when you have more time. That’s the beauty of Twitter.

Now, Brevity Is the Soul of Office Interaction –

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Filed under: Communication, Office, Productivity, Social Media, Tools, , , , , ,

Scan, Don’t Copy!

A tall metal filing cabinet for work or home use.

Image via Wikipedia

Doug Cornelius wrote that he will be presenting on collaborative tools and knowledge management on October 1 in Boston as part of the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education program, and his description of his program caught my eye:

Every time a document is printed or photocopied, potential efficiencies are lost and unnecessary costs may be incurred. Paper documents are not searchable or sortable. They can become easily disorganized. They require physical storage space in binders, boxes, and cabinets. They are expensive to ship and to archive. Every duplicate set costs as much to copy as the first set, and every time documents are disassembled for copying their condition is degraded.

When you put it that way, why aren’t more offices going paperless? Adding up these costs, you might be surprised how inexpensive a computer upgrade, a server, and a scanner will actually be.

I was leaving an office the other day and there was a little fire department activity in the lot behind it. My first thought – a spark to the roof, and all those documents… Sure, the alarm would go off, and the fire department was already there. But that would do nothing to save the documents in the cardboard storage boxes in the attic, or the non fire-retardant filing cabinets on the floor below, or the non-fire retardant filing cabinets in the main floor. I’ve seen an apartment complex fire, and it can destroy a lot, in seconds. There would be no way to save even a portion.

But a server with a removable drive? And if that drive was backed-up weekly and that backup kept off-site (which is a good idea no matter what your backup plan is.) The computers would be toast, but insured – and who doesn’t like nice new shiny office stuff?

Not to mention that I’d much rather sit in a desk chair doing other work while a computer searches for the archived file I need, than be sitting in a dusty old attic, sorting thru box, after box, after box…

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ZOHO Adds Macro Record & Playback

Support for Visual Basic Macro Record & Playback in Zoho Sheet.

Filed under: Productivity, Tools, , , , , , , ,

After hours

BlackBerry user Dou...Image by Getty Images via DaylifeReader Poll: Should You Get Paid Overtime for Checking Work Email at Home?

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Filed under: Office, Productivity, Tools

Online Documents: Are They Yours, Or Not?

Google Writer as part of the Image by alt text via FlickrWeb Worker Daily » Archive Who Owns Your Online Documents? «

With online office applications improving in quality all the time, they’re rapidly becoming the tool of choice for web workers. Between the ability to access your documents anywhere, the easy sharing, and the automatic backups, I know more and more people who are using these services. But in this rush to go online, we sometimes fail to understand exactly what we’re getting for free. Particularly as these services get used for more business purposes, it’s worth a look at their Terms of Service.

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Filed under: Law, Office, Productivity, Tools, , , , , ,