Foogi – A Cross-Platform Calendar & Scheduling App

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In Outlook in my enterprise, I can easily and quickly check to see who is available for a meeting at a given time. Definitely an efficiency booster.

But what if you are trying to coordinate times and attendees outside of the organization, using different platforms? Yes, of course there is an app for that. Foogi promises to match up invitees’ calendars to find the free / available times in which you can schedule your meeting. Foogi is not a calendar replacement. Instead, depending on how much information users share within Foogi, it will compare schedules and offer times within the existing calendar app so users can create an event. It works across a broad spectrum of calendaring systems, including Outlook, Gcal, iCal, etc. – users just need to have the Foogi app installed on their phones. If they don’t have Foogi installed, the app will send time suggestions to invitees by email, with one click meeting acceptance. It automatically adjusts for time zones.

If you are like me, it is at about this point in time when you start wondering about how much information are you actually sharing here? Foogi’s page indicates that only the starting and ending points of your available times are shared outside your device. There are some features coming down the road that will allow users to custom tailor what users show for available time, such as only show up to one free hour per day, or only availability on certain days during certain times. Even if you choose not to share availability in the app, you will soon still be able to see others’ available times in your calendar to ease the scheduling task.  Another soon to be released feature is the ability to group contacts and see all free / busy times for group members in the same interface to speed up the meeting creation process.

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Another thing to keep in mind is that Foogi users will automatically show in your contacts list – so app usage is shared with other app users. While slightly intrusive, it does serve to make the app more seamless. While offline or out of signal, Foogi stores your notices and will push them to your device once your are back online.

Also, in order to get the app, you have to provide your email address and cell number – the app is texted to your device, where you install from there. iOS, Android and Windows phone flavors.

It is free. Which is always nice.

I haven’t used the app yet, but if you can get around the issues of sharing your app usage and partial calendar information with Foogi contacts, and are fine with giving out your number and email in order to load it, the app does promise a feature we often take for granted here in the enterprise in Outlook. It certainly is a nice thought that you might be able to leverage that same convenience across devices and for free, using the ubiquitous smartphone calendar that rides around in your pocket.

Here’s the promo vid for your viewing pleasure.

Windows Live SkyDrive Offers 25GB On Your iPhone

Want to expand your virtual real estate on your mobile phone? If you haven’t already gotten your free Windows Live account, now is the time to do it. Sneaking under my radar during the holiday crazies was this announcement from the fine folks at Windows Live – you can now access SkyDrive’s 25GB of storage via apps on your iPhone or Windows Phone. Pretty darn cool. Dropbox is nice, but it can’t hold a candle to the size of SkyDrive.

Of course, Microsoft has baked SkyDrive fairly deeply into Windows Phone 7.5. With the Windows Phone app, you can store documents, notes, photos, videos and access them from your phone. Share photos stored on SkyDrive by email, text, or IM, use Office apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint with SkyDrive files, and keep your phone’s camera roll up-to-date on SkyDrive automatically. SkyDrive is integrated directly into the apps as well as core phone functions. Of particular use on mobile, you can browse your entire SkyDrive. share files and manage your storage.

The “extra extra” though is an iPhone app! In addition to their OneNote notebooks, iPhone users can access their files in SkyDrive, create folders, delete files, and share links to folders and files directly using the Mail app. Much of the functionality is the same between the Windows Phone and iPhone apps – tailored to the particular phone’s user experience. This is very very cool indeed – kudos to Microsoft for not leaving us iPhone users hanging!

Read more about these apps and SkyDrive and check out some vids over at the Windows Live site. And get an extra 25GB of useful storage on your mobile device. Thanks Microsoft.

 

Easily Extract Emails from Files & URLs

Windows only, but still pretty sweet. This little bit of freeware, aptly called Easy Email Extractor, allows you to extract email addresses from files, folders and URLs. Point it at your hard disk and you will get every email address on there! The program allows you to add a button to the SendTo menu and exclude emails that contain specific words. Just great for finding long, “lost” email addresses on your storage systems.

H/T to Lifehacker.

 

Search Docs On Your Thumb Drive? Yes You Can!

Convenience comes at a price – those ubiquitous little thumb drives are mighty handy for toting documents around, but just try to figure out where your desired document is once you fill up the sucker. Windows search and Spotlight won’t allow you to figure it out – the contents aren’t indexed yet.

If you are on a Windows machine, you are in luck. With a portable utility called Dropout, you can install its .exe on the root or home folder on the USB drive and, voila!, you will get a searchable index of the drive. Once installed, it will keep indexing and updating any new content. Even cooler – it offers FULL TEXT SEARCHING! Woot.

I sometimes wonder what I would do without Amit over at Digital Inspiration Blog. More useful content per square inch than a complete Encyclopedia Britannica on the head of a pin.

Click.to: The Express Train To Searching & Posting

It’s the little things in life. Five steps to get from words, pics or vids on the screen to search or post on the web, for example. Multiply that over the course of the day and you have spent a considerable amount of time simply getting from point a to point b, over and over and over again. If you could drop that process down to two steps, well then, you are talking some serious time and repetitive stress injury savings.

If you are rocking Windows 7, XP, or Vista, then you are in luck. Click.to, a Windows add-on, will let you do just that. After you load it up, simply select what you want to search or share, hit Control+C and hit the desired destination in the pop-up box. Search by hitting the Google icon, or share on Facebook with the Facebook icon. There are way more options than that, including insertion into Outlook, Word or Excel, or click to convert to PDF.

If you Mac users are feeling left out, never fear. Click.to’s developer says that a Mac version is in the works and hopefully will be coming soon.

I just love little time savers like this. After using Click.to, you may never go back to the old select, copy, open, insert, and go/post  process ever again.

Nemo Docs Shows Your Docs On A Calendar – Brilliant!

Thanks to Lifehacker for this awesome suggestion – free download Nemo Docs will show your documents on a calendar grid so that you can see what you worked on when and open them from the calendar grid. Windows and Linux only, this application can view your file folder structure on your computer and in Google Docs and maps them on a calendar. You access Nemo via button on the Windows notification bar and integrates with Windows desktop search so you can search phrases within documents via Nemo as well. It works with a broad range of file types, including Office files such as Word, Excel and Powerpoint, PDF, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, images, video files and more. You can also add labels to docs via Nemo to create another layer of organization to supplement your desktop’s structure.

I know that sometimes I think in terms of when I worked on a particular matter so tagging and viewing by date can serve as a valuable organization tool for me. Check out Nemo and see if it doesn’t fill a need for you as well.

Want Free Time Tracking Software? Try Chrometa

Now here’s a deal. Chrometa, a time tracking application, just dropped its price from $99 to free. The free Windows version runs locally on your desktop, while the web version is offered via paid subscription. Lifehacker has the goods on this program, which easily can serve as an hourly billing tool. It is easy to use – the utility starts working as soon as it’s installed. It then runs in the background and keeps track of all of your computer activities, including web tasks, applications use and emails. Sorting is by application or tool and it operates without your management. Your data can be exported to Excel and the interface can be password protected.  Couldn’t be easier. Check out Lifehacker’s article and link to the free download here.

A Student Organizer That's Not Just For Students

If you are trying to get organized in the New Year, check out this tool from a (somewhat) unlikely source. Student Dog Organizer is a virtual organizer for students, created by a student. It’s a download, but you might want to make some space for this one on your Windows-based system. From their site:

  • Denní přehledDay overview – Date, database state, clock (analog/digital). If you go to school with laptop, you will appreciate “In-school” mode, which will determinate upcoming lesson, when it ends and what lesson is next. It uses system time and timetable.
  • KontaktyContacts – Controlls all your important contacts. It can import contacts from MS Outlook and functions like age counting, automatic determination of name day or reminding of birthdays and name days are not missing.
  • KalendářCalendar – Here you can record all you school and non-school activities. Every record can be marked with different icon (phone, book, person…), you can also choose if you want to enter time and if record should occurs more than once (weekly, monthly etc.)
  • ÚlohyTasks – Classic checking tasks which can be stored in user defined categories (Homeworks, Shopping list, Downloads, Borrows etc.)
  • ZnámkyMarks – Virtual student sheet which automatically counts averages/sums of your marks. It’s a table of subjects and every subject can contain marks. Subject list can be modified so it fits to all kinds of schools. It supports Marks (ABCDF, 1-5, 1-6), Percents and Points.
  • PoznámkyNotes – This category keeps all your important texts, notes from speeches and ideas in one place. It supports inserting WWW links and images and you can choose different editors.
  • Time table – Your time table. If “In-school” mode is on, here’s the place from where program determinates information in Overview. It supports 2 time tables for even/odd weeks (on/off) and lesson times are changeable. Supports university timetable.

Maybe because it is student designed and targeted, the interface is clean and simple, yet very effective. It offers a dashboard-like view of several different organizational tools accessible within the program. The overview includes the Date, database state, clock (analog/digital), upcoming calendar events, tips and quick access to the other functions. Oh, and don’t be troubled by the language in the image – it comes in English too.

Those other functions include the full calendar, your Contacts importable from MS Outlook and birthdays, Tasks that can be categorized, Notes with support for links and images, and a Time table mode, with support for two separate time tables. There is also a Marks function, which allows you to record grades, which may not be so useful for the graduated professional. Notes can be organized via category, which allows for sorting and tagging. You can also categorize and icon-ize Tasks, in much the same way as Notes. Timetable offers a great visualization of your day – if you use the College format, you can pretty much set and organize your schedule freely.

Best of all, it’s free.

If you are an organizational junkie, it might be in your interest to check out Student DOG Organizer – it is a great implementation of features for an even better price.

MaxiVista + iPad: Expand Your Screen Estate

If you are an extreme computer-powered multi-tasker, there is no such thing as too much screen space.  If you aren’t already using a second (or third or fourth) monitor on your system, I will bet dimes to donuts that you have thought about it or would like to do it. It isn’t always the simplest process. Readers may recall my extensive review of the Nanovision Mimo USB monitors, a supposedly plug and play solution to the multi-monitor issue. I loved the monitors and what they did for my productivity until Nanovision updated the drivers and all of a sudden the monitors refused to work. Sometimes hardware (and software) are like that.

Finding myself mini-monitor-less, and having gotten used to the benefits of multiple screens, I have been looking for a solution to the problem for a little while now. In the meantime, I purchased an iPad, one of the benefits of which is a beautiful 9.7″ wide screen. Naturally, I wondered if somehow I could use the iPad to fill the gap left by the now defunct and defective Mimos.

Bartles Media GmBH has come up with a partial solution for those running Windows Vista or 7 – powered machines (and possibly XP machines, although I couldn’t see support for that on their site). Their MaxiVista iPad app (link here) allows you to set up the iPad as a second monitor. The iPad app costs $9.99, but they were very kind to provide me with a free discount code to try it out for myself. MaxiVista (link here) also comes in desktop versions, so you can link up to THREE additional pcs on your master computer. I only tried the iPad version, but I can only imagine how cool their desktop software might be (prices range between $40 and $100, depending on feature set, but there is a free trial available).

To get up and running, you have to first download the PC application onto your main computer. This was simple enough. Once completed, a little MaxiVista icon appears on your desktop. Then, activate your iPad’s MaxiVista app and the PC app. The devices “speak” to each other through your local network – my PC had no problem finding the iPad, and could even “see” that it was either to the right or left of the desktop. The PC app will ask you to confirm the iPad’s location, and you can check either yes or no and save your settings. Once you get past this point, you will see your desktop screen extended onto your iPad.

The app itself works well. I do get a “Com Surrogate” error message whenever I start the PC app, but the error doesn’t seem to do anything more than annoy (I did try a couple fixes, but couldn’t get it to go away). The screen refresh is a little bit slow, so I would not recommend it for views requiring fast refresh, such as video. I also note that, because the iPad always seems to default to the left side of your desktop screen, you will probably want to set up the iPad on the left side of your computer so that the movement makes sense. Some reviewers of the app seem to be sorely disappointed that the iPad loses its touchscreen ability when it is in second monitor mode, but I am not terribly troubled by this – most second monitors are not touchscreen-capable and the app does precisely what it is advertised to do – operate the iPad as a second monitor. Of course, if MaxiVista updates the app to somehow provide touchscreen control of the iPad while in second monitor mode, I will be a supremely happy camper indeed.

In any even, MaxiVista is a complete bargain in my book. My Mimo monitors, which had half the screen size of the iPad, cost well over $100 apiece. Most screens will cost you at least that. If you already have an iPad, the MaxiVista app will only set you back ten bucks. And, unlike my Mimos that relied on buggy device drivers, it WORKS.

How am I using it? Right now, I have two scrolling social feeds in side by side windows on the iPad, while I write the blog post in my main screen. I specifically chose auto-scrolling / updating feeds so that I wouldn’t need to shift my attention to that screen other than to glance at it. I can see the updates in the corner of my eye and take a quick peek, then get back to work. As such, I can keep tabs on more information at once.

iPad & Desktop Screens

iPad Screen Only

Desktop Screen Only

The mouse moves easily between the screens – much better than the mouse movement on the Mimos. Resolution on the iPad is more than adequate – I can see the iPad fine at 20 inches away without my distance glasses. In addition to monitoring multiple websites at once, I can see using this set up for my vector graphics program, setting the palettes and brush menus off to the iPad and keeping the main screen fully open for the drawing itself. Another great option would be to use the iPad to house your chat windows, while working on the main monitor. I had a reason to use this set up back a couple months ago and only wish I had MaxiVista installed at that time. How about loading a document that has no cut and paste option over on your iPad screen while you type what you need from it into a document in your main screen? Been there, needed that too.

MaxiVista is not the only App Store option out there. As I haven’t tried the other, Air Display (separate apps for Windows and Mac systems), I cannot comment on how effective it is. I can say that I do recommend the MaxiVista app for anyone running a Windows Vista desktop and an iPad. I can’t think of a simpler, most cost-effective solution to the multi-monitor problem.  Well done, MaxiVista!

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Uploadr – Free and Easy Cloud Sharing Tool

Uploadr (link here) is a simple and free Windows download that allows you to upload to a file sharing website with a nice drag-and-drop interface. Take screenshots, share files, or even whole folders, as long as the material is within the 50 MB cap. The goods are saved / shared on file sharing site Localhostr (link here). Once your material is up, simply copy the URL and share it! There is a portable version of the app too.

Thanks, Lifehacker (link here).

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