Author's details

Name: Stephen Payton
Date registered: November 19, 2007
URL: http://Stephen.PaytonPlace.US

Latest posts

  1. iConvert – Multiple Platforms Conversion — January 25, 2009
  2. VortexBox Turns Your Old Computer into Music Server — January 4, 2009
  3. Track Your Computer Usage — January 4, 2009
  4. Limit Your Input to Increase Productivity — December 28, 2008
  5. Tough Questions to Help You Declutter — December 28, 2008

Author's posts listings

Jan 25

iConvert – Multiple Platforms Conversion

iConvert is a web-based application for converting icons from the format of one operating system into another and from image files into new icons.

The iConvert interface is straight forward, select a compatible file from your computer and upload it. There is no editing or tweaking just a straight conversion into a slew of compatible formats. iConvert supports the following file types: .icns, .ico, .png, .svg, .tif, .jpg, .bmp, .tga, and .cur and outputs to .hqx, .icns, .ico, .png. If you’re new to tinkering with icons, the output files are flagged by which operating system they go to making it even easier to grab the correct format for your system.On caveat: iConvert shows a constantly updated banner of the most recent conversions across the bottom of the site interface. Proceed knowing the icons will be available for public viewing and downloading.

Jan 04

VortexBox Turns Your Old Computer into Music Server

VortexBox is an open-source CD ripping and media server solution. Based on Fedora 10, VortexBox is capable of streaming in multiple formats allowing you to hear your music on your other computers, iTunes, media centers, slim devices like squeezeboxes and other media devices. Installation is straight forward, download the ISO file, burn it to a disc, pop the disc in the unused computer you want to turn into a jukebox and you’re on your way. Once the installation is complete you can access the box remotely with the build in web server. Ripping is completely automated, just pop in the disk you want it to rip and it rips, tags, and gets the cover art. VortexBox is an open-source linux-based media server.

Jan 04

Track Your Computer Usage

Windows only: Productivity Meter is a time tracking tool from Fruitful Time, makers of the task manager we reviewed earlier this year.

Once installed the software sits in the background and keeps tabs on your activity. Productivity Meter tracks the active versus idle time, how your active time is split among applications, which applications were used the most, and which websites you browsed and for how long. You can review the stats for the last day, week, month or a user defined block of time. One of the most useful features is the ability to tag programs, windows, and domains. It would be entirely useless to many users—myself included— if the program simply told you when you’d been using a web browser and time spent on certain domains. I use a web browser for nearly all the work I do on my computer. By using the tag function I can tell Productivity Meter which domains I access for certain tasks and jobs. It’s tracking for how much time I spend doing Lifehacker related work became significantly more accurate when I tagged all the domains I use. Another concern was that with a triple monitor setup and a huge number of windows open at any given time it wouldn’t accurately track what I was really focusing my time and attention on. After testing it for the better part of a day it does a fantastic job tracking what I’m actually working on. The program is free for personal use, with the small caveat that after 30 days the ability to generate time cards is removed. If you don’t need to generate time cards to show a boss or client how your time was spent on a give project it shouldn’t matter much. All the graphs and information in the main dashboard is available even after the 30 days window. Productivity Meter is freeware, Windows only.

Dec 28

Limit Your Input to Increase Productivity

Chris over at the productivity blog The Art of Non-Comformity wants you to say no. Frequently. So frequently in fact that the quality of the things you say yes to rises exponentially.

Chris advocates radical exclusion as a solution for overwhelming demands and new inputs. Rather than stretch yourself thin saying yes to everything and ultimately failing to deliver you should focus on the commitments and projects you really want to make something of:

I may or may not have a good excuse for why I failed to honor the commitment, but one thing?s for sure: if I make a habit of it, I will soon lose the trust of the person who had relied on me.

To prevent this from happening, I sometimes practice the fine art of radical exclusion. This is where I deliberately ignore or decline any number of inputs, messages, or requests for my attention in order to focus on what I decide is more important.

By using his limited reserve to energy and attention to tend to the things most important, the quality of the time he spends on things in turn rises and creates a superior widget—whatever that widget may be: a product, a design, time spent with family. Having spent most of my caffeine fueled 20s taking on mountains of projects, I found I too have embraced his notion of radical exclusion. How do you deal with tactfully declining some commitments and negotiating others to be more manageable? Photo by Dave Parker.

Dec 28

Tough Questions to Help You Declutter

With an influx of holiday gifts and trinkets, now is the perfect time of year to ask some tough questions about your things. Erin at the blog Unclutterer has a list to get you started.

In an effort to make more conscious choices about the objects she shared her home with, Erin began aggressively asking questions about them. The questions helped her overcome a dilemma:

Each object exists in my space for a reason, and a chunk of time, planning, and research was dedicated to its acquisition, and there are further evaluations to let it stay. I make an investment of myself in every object, and that is why it?s hard for me to say that I?m not attached to these objects.

Even dedicating more thought to her acquisitions than most do, she still found it hard to work around the attachments we all form to things in our physical space. Using a series of questions like: “Does this item make my life easier, save me time, save me money, fulfill an essential need?” helped Erin sort through things more effectively and objectively. The questions are divided into two camp, those for the things you already own and those for the things you are about to acquire. If you’re looking to live more consciously with your things this year and make better use of your physical space, Erin’s list is a great spring board to taking an engaged look at your possessions. For other decluttering techniques check out how to declutter your home with the suitcase test and how to form an attack plan for a cluttered messy home.Photo by Diego Cupolo.

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