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Our Latest Posts About: Productivity

Email Should Have Expiration Dates

My email archives are loaded with useless emails for things like Black Friday sales from over 10 years ago. That's stupid.

Even though there's virtually unlimited space in our inboxes, there's no reason to archive most of our emails, especially promotional emails for limited time promotions and other time sensitive events. That's why I think there should be an Expiration Date option in emails.

An Email Expiration Date would simply be an optional date you would enter just before sending an email. If you leave it out, it would work as it does now, without an expiration date, but by simply adding an expiration date the email would have a definitive lifespan, allowing it to be deleted automatically when the expiration date passed.

This could have a tremendous effect on cutti... [More]

Continue...Email Should Have Expiration Dates...

My Favorite Gmail Feature... That's Missing.

Why doesn't Gmail have a way to let US control our inbox tabs?

I love Gmail, but it still takes me forever to read my email each day because it's loaded with so much clutter. Some of it is automatically sorted into Gmails default tabs "Primary", "Social", "Promotions", "Updates", and "Forums". It helps a bit, but there is no direct way for us to control how Gmail sorts mail into those tabs, and for what it's worth, I'd rather create my own.

What I'd love to see is a quick way to tag a sender as a "Favorite", then have a simple "Favorites" tab where I can see mail from all of my favorites in one place.

Beware of Calendar Spam!

There's a new kind of Spam on the horizon... Calendar Spam!

Spammers have found a new way to send you unsolicited advertisements... by sending you Calendar Requests, which bypass your email Spam Filters.

In the past 2 weeks, I've received about 5 or 6 Calendar Spam requests, which popped up on my iPhone lock screen and even on my Apple Watch. Unlike regular Spam which shows up in your Email Inbox, these pop up as notifications asking you if you'd like to "Accept" the invitation to buy something.

You Need a To-DON'T List

Yesterday I promised myself I wouldn't eat fast food. Better luck next time.

One of the most fundamental tools of productivity is a To-Do List to remind us of the tasks we plan on completing each day, so it makes just as much sense to create a list of the things we DON'T want to do each day.

A To-DON'T list isn't just an arbitrary list of things you won't do such as "Wrestle crocodile", "Go on blind date with Jennifer Aniston dressed up like Pee Wee Herman".

The real purpose of a To-DON'T list is to draw attention to the bad habits that you are trying to fix. This could be things like eating fast food, smoking, drinking, gambling, or something as simple as telling yourself not to be a jerk around your co-workers.

At the end of each day, you can look back on your l... [More]

Continue...You Need a To-DON'T List...

Put EASY Items FIRST on Your To-Do List

First things first, as long as they're EASY.

If you've got a huge to-do list, getting enough momentum to tackle the hard stuff could be an uphill battle. That's why I like to start each day with a few simple tasks. If nothing else, it gives you an opportunity to warm up and build some momentum.

With each small task that you cross off your list, your confidence will grow as your list gets shorter. The more small tasks you knock off, the easier the big task will be when you finally attack it.

Like a pitcher in baseball, you can't just walk out on the field in the middle of the World Series and expect to strike out the starting lineup of the New York Yankees. You need to throw some warm-ups.

Your warm-up tasks give you a chance to get into a groove that will susta... [More]

Continue...Put EASY Items FIRST on Your To-Do List...

Here's how to take advantage of a little known Gmail feature that can simplify your inbox.

Did you know that Gmail ignores periods in Gmail address? So is the same as, and

You may not think much of this, but it opens the door to a whole bunch of cool tricks, including the ability to Automatically organize your inbox and cut down on Spam.

The premise is simple. Since Google ignores the periods, you can use multiple variations of your email address on business cards and whenever you sign up for things online, then create simple filters based on where the periods are.

For example, if you use periods in specific positions whenever you register your email address for sites like Ama... [More]

Continue...A Hidden Gmail Feature That Can Organize Your Inbox....

How Apple Can Improve The Voice Memos App

The Voice Memos App has great potential, but it's not as useful as a traditional voice recorder.

I've used voice recorders for more than 25 years because it's one of the best ways to take notes on the go. With a simple press of the button, you record your thoughts so that you can play them back when you find the time.

I stopped using a voice recorder when the iPhone came along, but there's one thing that really bugs me about using the built-in Voice Memos App, there's no way to just hit a REAL (External) button to pause and continue your recording. That's a real pain in the neck, because I would love to be able to launch the App, then use the volume buttons, especially on the headset to pause and continue the recording.

While you're recording, the volume buttons are usele... [More]

Continue...How Apple Can Improve The Voice Memos App...

A lot of people complain that they can't get their work done because their office doesn't give them the right supplies.

One of the biggest complaints people have with their place of work is that their company has lousy tools, office supplies, furniture, and other equipment, making it hard to effectively do their job.

Instead of complaining about the tools, why not bring your own tools and supplies? Don't worry about getting reimbursed. Just buy what you need and get your job done. You'll not only get more work done, but you'll do a better job and that could lead to raises, and better opportunities down the road.

So, instead of complaining that your back hurts because they gave you a bad chair, or desk, buy your own. Instead of saying you're keyboard sticks or hurts your... [More]

Continue...Stop Complaining... Bring Your Own Tools To Work!...

Paper Shredders would be more efficient if they had landscape sized slots.

When you shred a piece of paper, just about every shredding machine I've ever seen has a slot just wide enough to fit the paper in portrait mode, which is about 8.5 inches wide.

Wouldn't it be faster and more efficient if the slot was large enough to fit the paper in landscape mode, which is 11 inches?

iPhone's Shake to UNDO is a STUPID Feature.

Shake to Undo? What the heck was Apple thinking?

Did you know you can shake your iPhone to undo something? From the surprised reactions of people who see me do it, I'm guessing there aren't many people who even know about this hidden feature, and that's one of the reasons Apple needs to re-think it.

What frustrates me is that sometimes you have to shake it pretty hard to get it to work, while other times it's too sensitive and it responds to every major bump in the road when it's mounted on my Jeep's dashboard. That's a problem on multiple levels. Since you need to shake it hard, there's always the chance that it will slip out of your hands... and when it's too sensitive, the popups asking you if you'd like to undo something drive you nuts.

What's even worse than the se... [More]

Continue...iPhone's Shake to UNDO is a STUPID Feature....

Don't you hate keeping track of dozens of passwords?

One of my favorite things about Gmail is the search box. That one feature was revolutionary when it came out because it gives you the freedom to archive virtually unlimited emails and find them in a fraction of a second.

With that in mind, I decided to use Gmail to store things like passwords, account numbers, lock combinations, serial numbers and a ton of private information. The key is making sure the information remains private by securing your account by using Gmail's 2-step verification, which secures your account by sending you a code via text message any time you use a different device to log in, and by hiding the information itself by making it difficult for anyone but you to search for.

In my case, I place secr... [More]

Continue...How To Use Gmail to Store Private Information...

How Restrictions Unleash Creativity

The best way to unleash creativity is to set as many restrictions as possible.

If I were to ask you to invent a new product, what would you create? How long would it take you? Could you even do it at all? Believe it or not, if I added a bunch of restrictions, chances are you not only could do it, but you'd do it in record time. That's because restrictions have the power to not only speed up the process, but deliver better results.

One of the best features of Microsoft Outlook is the ability to schedule when to send a message... Why can't we do that with Gmail?

The most frustrating thing about clearing your Inbox is that as soon as you reply to an email, your recipient send you another reply. You can spend an hour replying to 50 emails, only to have 50 new ones within a few minutes. This is particularly frustrating if you decide to do clear your inbox at night or on the weekend.

The ability to schedule an email gives you the power to clear your inbox by responding to messages, without actually sending them until later. So you can clear your inbox at off hours, then send them all out at 4 am, so your recipients won't respond until the the next day... or the next week, or whatever time and date you'd lik... [More]

Continue...Gmail Should Let You Schedule When To Send Emails...

If you have a large number of items to put together, it may be better to do them one by one, instead of like an assembly line.

Let's say you're in the widget business, and you decide to put together 1000 widgets that contain 4 parts each. How would you go about it?

Most people would start by building 1000 of each of the 4 parts, then use a traditional assembly line approach by systematically assembling the parts in one big batch.

They start by adding part 1 to part 2, then repeating it 1000 times. Next, they take the combined results from the first step, and add part 3, repeating this step 1000 times. After that, they add the 4th part to each of the units to complete the widget. If all goes well, you now have 1000 widgets.

As efficient as that sounds, there's actuall... [More]

Continue...Lean Production: Why Small Batches are Better Than Large Batches...

One of the best ways to increase productivity is to write things down, instead of cluttering your mind with details.

If you read a hundred books on productivity, one thing that is guaranteed to be in every one of them is an emphasis on writing things down.

Every time you write something down, you are freeing your mind from thinking about it, and that leaves your mind open to focus on other tasks.

This is because the human mind isn't good at multi-tasking. The more things your mind is thinking about, the less productive you become. Having less to think about not only makes you more productive, but more creative. It's like giving your mind a vacation.

Since your brain uses as much as 20% of the glucose in your blood, freeing up your mind will actually give you more... [More]

Continue...Write It Down. Your Brain Is For Creating Ideas, Not Storing Them...

A new way to think about Flash Drives.

Until a few years ago, I needed to bring my laptop with me whenever I went to see a client. At the time, this was the only practical way for me to have full access to my files in the field. Prior to that, it was even harder, because I had to bring backups of the files with me, then merge any changes and additions with the ones on my desktop computer. It was a real pain in the neck.

Thankfully, as USB Flash Drives got bigger and faster, I found an easier solution; I started using them as my PRIMARY STORAGE. This means that instead of using flash drives as a backup of my data, I use them as the main location of my files.

This means that at any given time, I have the newest version of all my important files right in my pocket. It als... [More]

Continue...Why I Use a USB Flash Drive As My Main Storage...

It drives me crazy that I can't read the text in the Reminders App.

I have a hard time reading the text in a lot of Apps, especially the Reminders App, which is funny because I have a 27 inch monitor. You'd think that with a monitor that large, the text would be as large as a house, but for some reason the text is super small, and you can't do a thing about it.

Changing font sizes should be a fundamental feature in any App that uses text, but for some reason the Reminders App still doesn't have an option to do it. This is a real pain in the neck for me, because I use the Reminders App every day to keep track of my ideas.

Siri Should Be Able To Take Voice Memos

I've given up on having Siri take notes and reminders because it never works.

When an idea comes to me, it's important that I record it right away. Most of the time, I don't have paper or pen, so I rely on my iPhone and Apple Watch to do it.

At frist I used Siri to take notes, but more often than not, it would mess up the voice recognition and I'd have to repeat the dictation again and again until it resembled what I asked for. Basically, I said something like "Remind me to get a case for my iPhone", and Siri would say "Okay, your reminder reads... Get a case of ice for home... Shall I create it?". If it got it wrong, I'd start over. It was frustrating, but at least the confirmation let me know when it finally got it right.

Then, for some reason Apple released an "Impro... [More]

Continue...Siri Should Be Able To Take Voice Memos...

I hate the way Apps are organized on the iPhone.

There's no rhyme or reason. When you download a new App, it just ends up at the bottom of your last screen that has space on it. That means that if you want it somewhere else, you need to drag it from that page to the page you want... and that's tedious.

It's bad enough doing it with whatever App you downloaded last, but when you want to organize more than a few Apps, the process takes forever.

What I'd like to see is an option to see a mini version every page in a scrollable area, then let you drag the icon directly to the page you want, instead of slowly dragging them from page to page.

User Defined Groups in Gmail

Gmail needs a way to quickly add senders into your own easily defined groups.

My inbox has thousands of emails in it, so it's easy to overlook an important email from a friend, family member or business contact. What I'd like to see is an option that lets me create my own categories, then assign a sender to one of these categories with a single click.

Then, whenever an email comes in it can be automatically assigned the category tags so I can find them.

Tags can be broad, such as Friends, Family, Business, or very specific, such as School Soccer Team Parents.

Technically, Google already has the ability to create your own tags, and they even have a system to let you create your own rules and filters to assign people into your tags, but it's not easy to set up. What they... [More]

Continue...User Defined Groups in Gmail...

Doesn't it drive you nuts when you've got to carry a large box, and it doesn't have some kind of handles?

Every time I have to carry a large box, the first thing I look for is a handle, or at the very least, a strategically placed cutout on the side that serves as a handle. When none can be found, all I can think of is how inconsiderate the company that makes the product and the box are about the people who actually have to carry it.

It's not that it costs them anything to make a simple slit on the side to make a cutout handle. There's simply no excuse.

Have you ever printed an email using your iPhone?

If you print an email using any iOS device, you'll see that for some reason, Apple doesn't always put the date on top. Instead of the full date and time, as most email Apps do, Apple likes to use a more conversational approach for any date within the last week.

This means that a email received today or yesterday will say something like "Today at 8:52am", or "Yesterday at 12:02 pm" respectively. The other five days of the week will be spelled out like: "Tuesday at 7:05am". While that may sound less official than writing "Wednesday, January 5, 2016 10:27pm", it's infinitely more practical... WHEN YOU PRINT IT ON PAPER.

I discovered this when I read an email I printed that said "Today at 8:52am", on top. I had to stop for... [More]

Continue...Apple Needs To Print REAL Dates on Emails in iOS...

Why iPads Need User Profiles

There's one thing wrong with sharing your iPad with your family... nothing is private.

Most people today have their own email address and social media account. This means that a typical family of four will have at least four different email address, and at least as many social media accounts. In fact, each family member is likely to have multiple social media accounts for everything from YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, so there's a pretty good chance that there could be 20 or more accounts to juggle on the typical iPad.

Unfortunately, since the iPad doesn't have a feature that lets each family member have their own User Profile, anyone who uses it will end up using the same email and social media accounts.

This can be particularly disturbing if a child acci... [More]

Continue...Why iPads Need User Profiles...

Windows Remote Desktop Needs Improvements

Microsoft's Remote Desktop is a pain in the neck to use.

I hate the fact that Microsoft's Remote Desktop doesn't actually let you access your desktop from a REMOTE location. An even bigger problem is the fact that the majority of Windows PCs don't even have remote desktop software installed. There was a time when every version of Windows include remote desktop software, but for some reason Microsoft decided they would only include this feature in their more expensive versions of Windows.

What's even more frustrating is the fact that even the versions that include Remote Desktop don't have any functionality to let you FIND the address of your computer, which basically means that unless you're in the same building as your PC, chances are you won't be able to connect to it unle... [More]

Continue...Windows Remote Desktop Needs Improvements...

Don't you hate it when a file unzips when you double click it? What if you only wanted to see what was in it?

Zip files are a great way to store a lot of information in one little file. A single 1 GB Zip file could contain thousands of little files adding up to as much as 10 GB or more, depending on the types of files store inside.

The problem is that whenever you open a Zip file on the Mac, it automatically unzips the whole thing and stores all the files in a folder with the same name as the Zip file. While that may sound convenient, it's a real pain in the neck if all you wanted to do was see what was in it.

By contrast, in Windows, whenever you open a Zip file, it shows you what's inside and offers an option to UnZip the contents if you'd like. This is not only faste... [More]

Continue...The Mac Shouldn't Unzip Files When You Click Them...

REAL Threaded Email on iOS / iPhone

Apple's Email App does a bad job of showing "Threaded Conversations"

If you've ever used Gmail, you're already familiar with "Threaded Email", which means that when you view any given email. you see all subsequent replies in chronological order, with the newest at the bottom.

Apple recently added what they consider Threaded Email to their iOS Mail App, but it's missing something very important. Emails you sent as replies are not included as part of the thread. What you end up with is only half a conversation.

By contrast, Google's Gmail App is fully threaded and it's easy to follow each conversation, which isn't surprising because Google was the first major email platform to support it.

The Apple Reminders App Needs a Print Option

Why doesn't the Apple Reminders App have a print option?

The Apple Reminders App is one of the most popular Apps on the iPhone, iPad and Mac, yet it lacks the one of the most fundamental features of every other productivity App... the ability to print your lists.

Fans of David Allen's "Getting Things Done" (GTD) know the importance of a good system to track your notes and to-do lists. The idea of tracking your to-do lists is essential, however not everyone goes about it the same way. Some prefer digital tracking using Apps on computers, tablets and mobile devices, while others prefer a manual paper based system.

Regardless of your method to create your lists, the ability to put those lists on paper should always be an option, especially when you're on the go. For example... [More]

Continue...The Apple Reminders App Needs a Print Option...

An Alarm Clock App That Factors In Traffic


Everyone hates traffic.

Traffic conditions can make or break your morning commute, so why not get a head start on days when traffic is heavy?

One of the great things bout the iPhone is that it often anticipates your daily activities and offers suggestions. If you normally drive to the same place each morning, it will start off your day by telling you how long it will take to get there based on current traffic conditions.

Taken to the next level, if the phone knows how long it will take to get to work, it should also be able to anticipate when you need to get up early to compensate for a traffic jam. Conversely, if traffic is lighter than usual, why not let you get a few extra winks?

Add Text Captions In Apple Photos


Why can't you add text captions in the Apple Photos App?

It's odd that Apple's Photos App doesn't have a feature that lets you add text captions. It's a great way to turn photos into something fun, like an Internet Meme.

Even if you're not trying to turn your photos into Memes, the ability to add text to a photo is still very useful for adding titles, names, and comments to your photos. For example, a photo of two people standing in front of a car may seem uninteresting on the surface, but adding the caption "Joe's first car" adds an entirely new dimension.

Adding text is a fundamental feature that every serious photo App should have, and for the most part, I've never seen one that lacked this feature. In fact even the oldest graphic programs from the 80s had the ability... [More]

Continue...Add Text Captions In Apple Photos...

Automatic File Version Numbers


An easy way to keep track of revisions.

Right now, if you modify a file, the operating system deletes the old version and replaces it with the new one. Some newer operating systems can keep track of previous versions, but the process of retrieving older versions isn't exactly intuitive.

A better approach would be for programs like Microsoft Office to save the new file with a version number, and store previous versions in another folder somewhere, so you can easily locate previous versions in the event you need to find them.

The main premise is that you'll always be able to refer to a file by the filename and the version number, and so insure previous versions aren't deleted unless you are sure you don't need them anymore. It also insures that when you email files to oth... [More]

Continue...Automatic File Version Numbers...

Dedicated Copy and Paste Keys


I hate using Control-C and Control-V to copy and paste.

One of the most innovative features of the original 1984 Apple Macintosh was the idea of a virtual "Clipboard", that allows people to cut, copy and paste things from place to place. It was a simple idea. Once you cut or copied something to your Clipboard, you could paste it someplace else. The trouble is Apple used an uncomfortable and often neglected keyboard combination instead of a dedicated key.

Although you can use the right mouse button to cut, copy, and paste, it's slower and more tedious when you need to copy or paste things like cells in a spreadsheet, where your hands tend to be on the keyboard arrow keys most of the time.

The biggest problem is that Control-C and Control-V are uncomfortable key combinat

... [More]

Continue...Dedicated Copy and Paste Keys...

If we can get the day off on Columbus's birthday, why not get our own birthday off?

Unless it falls on a weekend, most people work on their birthday, so when a friend of mine told me he wasn't working because it was his birthday, I congratulated him for taking the time to celebrate and enjoy the day. Then he told me everyone in his company got their own birthday off. How cool is that?

All I could think was... why doesn't every company do this? It's a great way for a company to give their staff a birthday gift they can truly appreciate. Unlike vacations and holidays, your birthday is yours and yours alone. You don't have to share it with anyone. There's no holiday traffic, no crowds in stores and restaurants. It's just your own special day off to do whatever you want, o... [More]

Continue...Everyone Should Get The Day Off On Their Birthday...

Merge Folders on iOS


Why doesn't apple have an option to merge folders in iOS?

Organizing apps on your iPhone or iPad is a real pain in the neck, which is why Apple created an iOS option allowing you to create folders to group similar apps together.

Sooner or later you end at least a few similar folders that should merged be together. The trouble is, iOS doesn't have a quick way to do this.

The only way to merge folders is to take each app from the original folder and drag it one by one into the second folder. That's pretty crude, especially if the folders aren't on the same page. There should be able to just drag one folder onto the second to have the system merge them together.

Taken to the next level, dragging one folder onto the other should create sub folders, but at the very least, mer... [More]

Continue...Merge Folders on iOS...

Why doesn't the Print Screen key print the screen?

In the early days of computing, if you wanted to print whatever was on your screen, all you had to do was hit the handy "Print Screen" key. The cool thing about it was that you did't need any training to figure out how.

The ability to print the screen was built-in. You didn't need any software. All you had to do was turn on your printer, and hit the print screen. That's it.

Then Windows came along, and Microsoft was too lazy to include a program that could print the screen, the button became pretty useless. Nearly 30 years later, Microsoft still doesn't include a simple feature to use the Print Screen key to print the screen.

Tech savvy users know that if you hit the Print Screen key, it quietly puts a copy of y

... [More]

Continue...Print Screen Key Should Actually... Print The Screen...

No More Num Lock Key


Nobody uses (or likes) the Num Lock key!

One of the most frustrating things about most keyboards is the pointless Num Lock key. It's beyond annoying. It's just plain stupid.

Num Lock keys were a necessity over 30 years ago, because the original IBM PC Keyboard didn't have dedicated keys for arrows. You hit the Num Lock whenever you wanted use the arrow keys. I remember those days well. Early word processors used a combination of Control combinations to move around, so I was very happy when they eventually introduced a keyboard with dedicated arrows.

Now that ALL keyboards have dedicated arrow keys, why on earth do keyboard makers still include a Num Lock key? It serves no purpose whatsoever, and it's responsible for more problems than I can count.

For example, I ge... [More]

Continue...No More Num Lock Key...

Microsoft Office Should Be Licensed By Activity


A lot of people are paying for Office licenses that they rarely use.

For consumers and small companies, there are two ways to buy Microsoft Office. You can pay $150 and install Office on one computer, or pay a $100 annual fee and install it on up to 5 computers.

A lot of people who have a laptop and a desktop select the 5 computer license because paying $100 to install it on both is cheaper than paying $300 to get 2 copies, but in reality, they're overpaying, because chances are, they're only using it on one computer at any given time.

Big companies pay for Microsoft licenses based on the number of simultaneous users, but they don't offer that option for consumers and small businesses.

The corporate licensing model makes a lot of sense, because you are only paying... [More]

Continue...Microsoft Office Should Be Licensed By Activity...

Did You Know... Gmail Ignores Periods?


How to take advantage of periods in Gmail addresses.

A lot of people aren't aware that Gmail ignores periods in Gmail address. So is the same as, and

While that may not sound groundbreaking, it does open the door to a whole bunch of cool tricks, including the ability to automatically organize your inbox and cut down on Spam.

The principal is pretty simple. Since Google ignores the periods, you can give out multiple variations of your email address, and create simple filters based on where the periods are. For example, if you use periods in specific positions whenever you register your email address at shopping sites, you can create a simple Gmail filter that automatically applies a label like... [More]

Continue...Did You Know... Gmail Ignores Periods?...

Email Should Ask Before Sending Many CCs


Sending hundreds of emails to a private list is a common mistake.

The CC: box is a fraction of an inch from the BCC: box when you send an email, so it's easy to accidentally paste a long list of emails in the wrong box. That little mistake can cause a ton of problems for the sender, and everyone in the list.

For example, I got an email today that was meant for Amazon's Top 500 Reviewers. That's not unusual, I'm in the top 500. The trouble is, the sender didn't use BCC, so the message had the email address of just about ALL of the "Top 500"... Oops. Now everyone on the list has the email address of just about every top reviewer. That's a big privacy problem, and it's not the first time somebody made the same time with the Amazon list. In fact, a few weeks ago, the email a... [More]

Continue...Email Should Ask Before Sending Many CCs...

ISP Email Portability


Your Internet Service Provider Shouldn't Own Your Identity.

Every major ISP offers a free email account to its subscribers. For example, if you get your Internet from Comcast, you're given an address Sounds simple enough... or is it?

As time goes by, that email address becomes an important part of your identity. It's the address you give to family and friends who want to write you or send you photos. It's also the address you use whenever you register for things like shopping sites, bank accounts, credit cards, online bill pay, and countless other services.

In a nutshell, that email account IS your online identity. If you lose it, you've got a problem.

That's exactly what happens when some people move from one ISP to another. Some ISPs actuall... [More]

Continue...ISP Email Portability...

Sticky Notes Linked to Files


Do you have trouble remembering what some of your files are?

I'm a digital packrat. I've got more files than I can count, and that means I often have no idea what a file is until I open it. In many cases, I have so many versions of the same file, I still have trouble figuring out which is which, even after opening the file.

I love the way Apple's Mac OS X lets you "Tag" files, making it somewhat easier to categorize files with tags like "Draft", "Final", "Personal", or "Urgent", but I would like to create full fledged notes for each file. This would allow me to say much more about a file without opening it up.

Unlike a Tag or even a Live Preview of the file, the notes could allow me to say things like "This is the older version before adding the new logo", or "Rejected pr... [More]

Continue...Sticky Notes Linked to Files...

Website Info Files. For Better Search Categorization.


Sometimes search engines make big mistakes.

One of the great things about search engines like Google is how they've managed to index and categorize just about every web page in existence. It's not an easy process. Search robots need to scan every page they can find, then use the words on the page to try to determine what it's about.

For most sites, search engines are pretty accurate, but sometimes they aren't even close.

There are many reasons a search engine will incorrectly categorize a site, but the biggest problem is a lack of clear information on the site itself. For example, if you created a national review site and the search engines saw the address of one of the restaurants you reviewed, they may think that you are a local site, and that the address of the restau... [More]

Continue...Website Info Files. For Better Search Categorization....

iOS Mail Needs an UNDO Option


Everyone makes mistakes.

One of the best things about Apple is they know how to make things easy. Deleting an email couldn't be easier; all you have to do is swipe your finger on your email and it's gone in the blink of an eye. But what if you accidentally deleted something? Unfortunately, it's not easy getting it back.

It may not happen often, but when I accidentally delete an email, it's a real pain in the neck getting it back.

While it's not impossible, it's difficult and time consuming. You have to exit the InBox, then locate the message in the trash folder, and then move it back to the InBox.

If you've got more than one email address, first you have to figure out which mailbox the message was originally sent to, or you'll have to check the trash folder for eac... [More]

Continue...iOS Mail Needs an UNDO Option...

Kindle PaperWhite SketchPad Feature


The Amazon Kindle PaperWhite has a touch screen... so why not give people a way to use it to doodle or take notes?

The best thing about the Kindle PaperWhite is that the screen looks and feels like paper. Unless you use a magnifying glass, it's hard to to tell what you're reading wasn't printed on paper.

Because it's designed specifically for reading books, Amazon didn't put many other features into it, which is a shame because the the PaperWhite's e-ink touch screen would make a perfect writing surface too, especially with a good stylus.

Unlike some electronic doodling boards such as the Boogie Board, which can't save your notes, notes and sketches saved on the Kindle would could easily be placed inside an Electronic Notebook / Sketchbook or even saved to your local PC or... [More]

Continue...Kindle PaperWhite SketchPad Feature...

Apple should make a Bluetooth keyboard that is exactly like the one on the MacBook Pro.

I love the keyboard on the MacBook Pro, especially because of the integrated Multi-Touch Magic TrackPad. It would be great if you could get the same exact layout for your desktop iMac or Mac Pro.

Right now, iMac and Mac Pro owners looking for an Apple branded keyboard can choose between wired and wireless keyboards that have the same basic feel, although the wired version also has a numeric keypad on the right. Then they can choose between the Magic TrackPad and / or Magic Mouse.

I think they should have a third option... a fully integrated Bluetooth keyboard and TrackPad that is exactly like the one on the MacBook Pro. L... [More]

Continue...MacBook Pro Style Bluetooth Keyboard and TrackPad...

Web Page Expiration Dates


There are billions of outdated web pages online.

One of the most frustrating things about the Internet is that it's often hard to know when you're reading something that's outdated. While some content is timeless, some content is not, and there currently is no system to determine when the content you're reading is no longer useful.

I'm not advocating that every web page have an expiration date, but if there was such a system in place, it would allow content providers to designate when any given page should be ignored. By designating that a page has an expiration date of 30 days, it will let the search engines know that they shouldn't display it after that, unless the page owner updates the content, and changes the expiration date.

Some news sites for example release break... [More]

Continue...Web Page Expiration Dates...

It's a pain in the neck sorting through duplicate photos.

If you've got a large library of digital photos, chances are you've got a lot of duplicates. It's easy to understand why. Like most people, whenever your camera or your cell phone starts to run out of space, you dump a copy of the photos in a folder somewhere and start deleting photos from your camera. If you didn't delete them all, there's a good chance you'll end up copying a lot of duplicate photos in yet another folder at a later date.

If this pattern repeats a few times, you'll eventually have multiple versions of many of your photos. Making matters worse, if your friends and family share photos with you, there's a good chance they'll give you the same photos from time to time, adding even more duplicates to yo... [More]

Continue...Digital Photo Metadata Should Have GUIDs to Simplify Duplicate Detection...

Windows Should Include a Spreadsheet


Why is Microsoft always two steps behind Apple?

Although many people don't use spreadsheets or word processing programs enough to justify the purchase price of Microsoft office, they may need to use one once in a while.

Microsoft does include a simple word processor called WordPad that can handle most word processing, but for some reason, they still don't include a spreadsheet program.

Apple includes a full featured suite of productivity programs with OS X but Microsoft still doesn't see the value. While some people debate whether it's better than Microsoft Office or not, the fact is, they include it for free, and it does include "Pages", "Numbers", and "Keynote", which are powerful word processor, spreadsheet, and slideshow programs.

Because Microsoft earns quite a lot... [More]

Continue...Windows Should Include a Spreadsheet...

Having trouble finding new ideas? Try setting limits.

As strange as it sounds, one of the best ways to come up with breakthroughs is to limit your options as much as possible, because some of the best ideas come from closed minded thinking, not from thinking out of the box.

Your brain can only process so many things at one time, so by setting limits, you actually make it easier to make decisions, which not only leads to more ideas, but better ideas.

If I asked you to invent something, how long would it take you to come up with an idea? That's a pretty open ended question, so there's no way to know exactly how long it would take, or how good your invention would be.

However, let's say I asked you to invent something by 3pm, would that make it easier? Believe it or no... [More]

Continue...Be Closed Minded And Set Limits. The Secret of Unlimited Ideas....

Group Mobile Phone Pairing


Remember one phone number reached everyone in your house?

Why not create a feature for all the cell phones in your house, to share a common number... at least while you're home?

Back in the old days, just about everyone had just one phone number for their entire house, and when it rang, whoever answered would often chat for a minute or two, then put the phone down and shout something like "Jan... It's for you. It's George Glass".

It sounds funny, but since cell phones became popular, everyone in the house now has their own direct line, so callers bypass the shared number and call each person directly. That's a shame. Today's younger generation were give cell phones when they were children, so they completely missed the opportunity of picking up the family phone and getti... [More]

Continue...Group Mobile Phone Pairing...

REAL Digital Business Cards


I don't know about you, but I hate business cards.

Just the other day, somebody asked me for my business card. Normally, I try to keep a few in my wallet, but I barely have room for two, so when I reached into my wallet... I didn't have any left. So, I wrote my information on the back of a piece of scrap paper. That's not quite the first impression I wanted to leave.

That incident made me think about the benefits of a Digital Business Card. If iPhones had a feature to send, receive, and organize Digital Business Cards, he and I could've just swapped cards in couple of seconds, and neither of us would worry about running out of cards, or losing a card that somebody gave us.

Before Smartphones came along, Palm had a feature that allowed people to beam contact information... [More]

Continue...REAL Digital Business Cards...

Simplify First. Then... Organize.


One of the reasons some people have a hard time organizing is they have too much stuff to organize in the first place.

If I gave you 2 cards with a number on the back, and asked you to put the highest number on top, odds are, you could do it in less than a second. It would take you a bit longer if I gave you 10 cards, but what if I gave you 500 cards? Clearly, the more cards I gave you, the longer it would take to sort them.

Trying to sort out 500 of anything isn't easy, no matter what they are. Whether it's your record collection, files on your computer, a garage full of stuff, or even abstract things like the ideas in your head. The fact is, the more stuff you have to organize, the longer it will take to do it.

A master organizer might suggest that you just split big... [More]

Continue...Simplify First. Then... Organize....

GMail Should Have a Favorites Option


There was a time when I was excited whenever I heard my computer say.. You've got mail!

Back in the early 90s, just about every email was from somebody I knew, so I simply couldn't wait to open my inbox. Most of the time, my inbox was completely empty, so hearing that familiar sound let me know somebody took the time to write me, and I looked forward to each and every one.

Today, I get hundreds of emails each day, but unlike the 90s, very few are from people I actually know. I still get emails from people I know, but the longer I take to open my mailbox, the more they get buried in the clutter. On a particularly busy day, there's a very strong chance that an important email will be missed entirely.

There's an easy answer to this. Google should give people a simple "Favo... [More]

Continue...GMail Should Have a Favorites Option...

Disposable Post-It Battery Reminders


You reach into your camera bag to get a fresh battery... but which one?

Anyone who has a lot of rechargeable batteries knows what a pain in the neck it is trying to remember which batteries are charged, and which ones you've already used up. The more batteries you have, the harder it is to insure you don't grab one of the discharged batteries by mistake.

Ideally, it would be great if all rechargeable batteries had electronic power indicators, but even a low tech battery cover or case with a slider would be a huge improvement over having no indicators.

A few companies actually have rechargeable batteries with LCD or LED indicators to let you check the amount of power left in your batteries, but pretty much 99% of them don't have any indicators at all.

One easy soluti... [More]

Continue...Disposable Post-It Battery Reminders...

Believe it or not, if Microsoft offered a strip down version of Office, there would be a lot fewer viruses.

As strange as that may sound, it's true. Let me explain.

The vast majority of people buy Microsoft Office users for two tasks... Spreadsheets and Word Processing. Deep down, that's all they need. In fact, to many people, that's all they think Microsoft Office is, Word and Excel.

The problem with Microsoft Office isn't just that they bundle these two essential programs with a bunch of other programs that most people never use. The bigger problem is that, Word and Excel are bloated with hundreds of features that slow them down, complicate the menus, and even make them unsafe.

The most dangerous problem is allowing Office Documents to contain and execute hidden

... [More]

Continue...Microsoft Office - Basic Edition - Safer. Easier. Cheaper....

Smart Tags in Gmail


Gmail tags are awesome. They just need better tools to automatically tag emails as they come in.

When Google released Gmail, it didn't have folders; it had tags. For some people this was considered crazy, because they were so accustomed to the idea of putting things into folders that they couldn't even consider an email system without them.

Eventually people learned that unlike placing an email into one folder, they could tag any given email with as many tag names as they want, making it easy to find an email that fit more than one category.

For example, if you received an email with a proposal from a client who is waiting for a reply, you might tag that email as:

Clients... because it's a client.
Proposals... because it's a proposal.
Pending... because you are still... [More]

Continue...Smart Tags in Gmail...

Multiple Tag Toggle in Max OS X Finder


I love using Tags on the Mac. I think there should be an easy way to search for multiple tags at once.

Sometimes finding a file can take a long time, even when you take the time to tag all your files. By adding a series of Toggles or Checkboxes next to your tag list in Finder could make finding just the right file drastically easier, and faster.

Let's say you're looking for a spreadsheet with a chart that you used in a proposal for a renewal you completed a while back. If you took the time to tag your documents or folders, you could search for the Proposals Tag, but maybe you have hundreds of those, including some that were just drafts... if you decided to search for Spreadsheets, good luck, you've got thousands of those.

Right now, you can easily select any one tag at a... [More]

Continue...Multiple Tag Toggle in Max OS X Finder...

Scheduled Send Option for Gmail


A follow up to yesterday's Idea of The Day. Schedule emails for a specific date and time

Yesterday, I talked about adding a feature to essentially put outbound emails on hold, so they can all be sent at the end of the day or in the morning. The idea behind that was for people to have a way to queue up all the outbound mail, but wait until you hit a button to release them.

The natural progression of that is to individually schedule each email to be sent at a pre-set date and time. Not only would you be able to schedule a birthday or anniversary message to friends and family, but you could schedule a message to yourself the day before, so you can remember to buy a gift.

The ability to schedule a message for a specific date and time would also be a great way for a business... [More]

Continue...Scheduled Send Option for Gmail...

It's your day off and eMails are piling up. You want to reply, but you don't want everyone to see you're active and keep the conversation going.

For many people, having access to mail while you're out of the office is a blessing, and a curse. Even on your day off, the more you clear out your inbox, the more people respond and you're back where you started. What's worse, now that they see you're writing emails, why not just call you too?

The solution is to hold all your replies, until you are ready to release them. The best time for that could be at the end of the day, or first thing in the morning.

There are ways to do this using programs like Outlook, and using a Blackberry, but it's not easy using Gmail.

Using Gmail, you can reply as usual, then close the editor wi... [More]

Continue...Send Later Option in Gmail... Hold Mail Until You Release Them...

If your laptop or desktop acted more like an iPad or Chromebook, you would never get a virus. Really? Yes.

The reason I write about this topic so often is that so many people contact me with computer problems related to crashes, unwanted popup ads, spyware, ransomware, malware, viruses, trojan horses and all sorts of horrible attacks on their computers that they can't seem to get rid of.

There are many ways to avoid this kind of problem, but most people simply don't have any idea what to do to prevent it, or how to clean up the mess when it happens.

What amazes me is that the problem is getting worse, much worse, and the stakes are getting higher. Today's attackers are not just a nuisance, but they are looking for ways to make money, at your expense. In some cases, by e... [More]

Continue...Cloud Only Mode For Windows and Mac. Nothing Is Saved Local....

Recently, I missed a 4 hour meeting 2 hours from my office. I got a summary from somebody who was there in less than 5 minutes.

One of the biggest complaints people have about work is having to attend meetings. Although I've never personally worked for anybody, I have attended my share of time wasting meetings over the years. Time after time I scratch my head and wonder... what good are they?

Don't get me wrong, I think there are times when a bunch of people simply need to get together to hash out a problem, but in my experience, meetings tend to be consumed by just a few people talking, and the rest wishing they were someplace else.

What I get a kick out of is that there's usually one or two people there who take notes, and more often than not, the entire meeting can be... [More]

Continue...Decline Meeting Requests. Just ask... What did I miss?...

Before tabbed browsers were first introduced in the late 90s, our desktops were filled with dozens of windows. Why don't we see tabs in other mainstream places, like Office and the desktop itself?

Before you read any further, look at the top of your browser. If you're like most people, you most likely have at least 4 tabs open in your browser. This window, your email, Facebook and / or Twitter, and possibly a blog or two. Could you imagine going back to the days before tabbed browsers, when each of those windows took up a separate space on the desktop?

But when we open more than one document in Excel or Microsoft Word... we don't have tabs there too? It's a pain in the neck moving from document to document in Office without tabs. Sure, they have tabs at the bottom of an... [More]

Continue...Tabbed Documents in Microsoft Office, Tabbed Desktops in Windows and Mac OSX...

Just put those TPS reports in my Inbox. I'll get to them later... much later.

There are two trains of thought when it comes to using an Inbox for papers. First In, First out (FIFO) or Last In, First Out (LIFO). Take your pick.

Because of the way most Inboxes are made, most people basically use LIFO by default, because whatever you put in the box most recently is on top. Technically, you can debate the merits of LIFO vs FIFO, because sometimes the newest thing in your Inbox is potentially something happening right now... and maybe it's the thing you can react to the quickest.

For many people, the item at the bottom of the box is actually the most important, because it's been there the longest. So, you look for an Inbox that has a top, so you can flip it over and work fro... [More]

Continue...A Reversible Inbox. First IN... First OUT. Does it Make Things Worse?...

Maybe it's me, but I miss the DOS days when you could easily print a list of files in a folder.

Let's say you're the kind of person who likes to put things on paper. There's a certain comfort in seeing something on paper that you can sit back in your comfy chair with to review with a bright red market or highlighter.

Maybe you're just the kind of person who likes to print a list of the files you've put on a CD, DVD, or other backup media. Whatever the reason, the fact is neither Microsoft or Apple has a "File... Print.." option in their file managers. To me, that's a bit odd. Just about every program that has a File... option, has a Print... option, but somehow they don't think anyone would want a list of their files.

As somebody who has had a computer since the 70s, it... [More]

Continue...We Should Be Able to PRINT a List of Files in a Folder....

My Gmail Inbox has over 5,000 emails in it.... plus countless archived junk

Let's face it, some of us get too many emails.

If you are the typical Gmail user, you've been conditioned to archive your email, instead of deleting it. After all, they give you virtually unlimited space and the awesome power of Google's Search to find any email you may be looking for.

The trouble is, after nearly a decade of Gmail, our mailboxes are full of so much clutter that every search is like finding a needle in a haystack.

My Solution... Expiration Dates for Emails

Think about it, you open an email in October, and by December... it's gone, without lifting a finger. How cool would that be?

Since the protocol for email is not easily changed, I think an easy solution is for Em... [More]

Continue...Idea For Email Providers to Reduce Clutter - Create Expiration Dates for Emails....

I don't know about you, but I HATE the way kids write. They come across to me as ignorant buffoons.

I understand why somebody would want to abbreviate as much as possible using an old touchtone dialing pad. I never felt the need to use texting on those kinds of phones, but I could understand why those who did used abbreviations.

Here's the problem. Many of today's kids use that ridiculous way of writing when they are using a full scale word processor, and even when they write on paper with a pen. Teachers are reporting that students often use TextSpeak / Text Slang when they do school work.

The problem is not just with excessive use of abbreviations with strange combinations of numbers and... [More]

Continue...Autocorrect Should Translate Text Slang into English... Because Kids Actually Think It's Correct Grammar ...

Hey Apple! Now that the screens are bigger... Give us the option to put numbers on the keyboard!

This one is a no brainer. Let's face it, everyone needs to type numbers, and it's a pain in the neck having to hit a button that turns on the numbers... then hit another button to change back to letters.

I realize that even with the larger screens, when the iPhone is sideways, there isn't much room, but when it's upright, these larger screens have plenty of room for the number row.

Now that iOS lets you have multiple keyboard options, make the number row an option. Some people will want it, some won't. At least give us the choice. In fact, instead of going into the settings menu to turn it on and off, just create an on-screen toggle where the International keyboard option i... [More]

Continue...iPhone and iPad Keyboards Should Show Numbers Too...

Apple Should Add User Accounts to iOS


Do you share your iPad with other family members?

If you do... how do you keep your kids from reading your email?... you can't.

What about Apps... do you hate sorting through screen after screen of Apps about Justin Bieber just to find the Weather App?

Here's an easy fix.

Apple needs to add User Account to iOS, just like on a regular computer.

By creating a User Profile for each person who will use your iPad, they can have their own password, Apps and settings. This not only makes it easier for you to find and arrange your Apps, but it also keeps your data private.... so your teenager won't read your email... and you won't read hers.

It boggles my mind that after all these years, Apple hasn't introduced User Profiles to iOS devices.

A cool way to organize Sticky Notes (Post-Its)

LARGE-76 Do you have a desktop full of sticky notes?

Why not put them all into a single desktop binder with laminated pages that make moving them around easy?

If you laminate white sheets of paper, not only will you be able to easily re-position any sticky note, but you can use a whiteboard pen to write on the paper itself.

Top 25 Posts

* Note: The ideas on "Idea of the Day" were posted without any formal research into existing inventions.

In some cases, patents may already exist for these ideas, in other cases, there may not be any existing patents and you are free to develop and explore the viability of developing and patenting the ideas.

The authors make no claim that any of the ideas are safe, practical, or suitable for any particular purpose. You are responsible for the results of trying, developing, patenting or using any of the ideas on this site.

For some people, our ideas are just an interesting read, but our goal is to encourage you to take action. If you see an idea that you like, do something with it... Take action.

- Joe
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