September 14, 2010

Love your money with lovemoney


“What you cannot measure, you cannot control”

The statement above explains the importance of measurement and in the case of money, the importance is much higher due to the consequences of running out of money.

A few years ago when I began trying to document my expenses, I used paper and biro, the problem with this was in addition to the disciple required, I sometime misplaced the place I documented my expenses.

I moved up to using a software application on my Nokia phone this was ok, but it still had the manual component to it. Requiring me to remember the figures to put in (yes, I am a lazy bastard).


Then came along LoveMoney, which is a web application that is directly connected to your bank account and automatically syncs your expenditure to your account on love money

I know tying your back account to any third party service sound risky, but it was a risk I was prepared to take for the benefit of knowing where my money was disappearing to.

The way it works is rather straight forward. Anytime you make a transaction it reflects in your lovemoney account. Direct Debit, Card, And Transfers are captured better because additional details are you to properly categorise your expenditure. For instance, when I buy a train ticket, it is automatically categorised under transportation. My direct debit to O2 is put under telephone and broadband etc. You can edit those details though if Lovemoney got it wrong.


At any point it time, your expenses and income can be shown on beautiful pie charts. It works really well for me because I do not have to manually maintain the data.

Lovemoney does not have a mobile application yet so and does not let you put notes on expenditure. E.g. how on earth did you spend 300 quid in TESCO? So there is room for improvement.

Go give LoveMoney a try it is really worth it. They have a wonderful blog that gives you great tips on how to save money.


September 07, 2010

If you love music, you will love spotify

Writing about web page spotify

This post will be short for 2 reasons. First, this is a straight forward post; secondly, I am making this post from my mobile phone which is hard. So pleases pardon any typos you might come accross.

Spotify is simply iTunes in the cloud. You have your spotify music player connected to millions of songs that are not on your computer. Although there are tonnes of cloud based music systems, when I came accross spotify, it was different. It is so intuitive and the songs play almost in an instant, you will have a hard time telling it is not playing from your computer.

Comparing Spotify to iTunes is actually a diservice to spotify because it is much more intuitive and the simplicity of making playlists is just awesome! You can view a little bio of the artists in the spotify player too. Furthermore, you have what is described as radio channels which plays similar genres together.

The final slam dunk of spotify is their offline capability and mobile player. You can set some of your special playlists to be available offline and sync them to your mobile phone. That feature is available to premium users only. The non premium users also have to deal with some interesting and sometimes annoying voices ads every couple of tracks.

Spotify is really awesome, you go try it and let me know what you think. http://spotify.com


August 31, 2010

In Sync with Evernote.


If you are like me and take down bits and pieces of information (text, image or audio) all the time, the hard part is keeping these bits in sync with each other.

The problem is when you jot down something say a on a piece of paper, where do you jot the image you come across on a computer or the song you hear in the pub? You end up having your little notes scattered across different places on different devices.

This is where evernote comes into play.

With evernote, you can sync every bit of information you come across together in the same database. What’s more, you can link pieces on information together using tags.

What excites me about evernote is the fact that they have a desktop application, a mobile application and browser extensions tied to your account so whenever and where ever you see any bit of info you can take it down there and then.

You can call Evernote the ultimate scrapbook.

To illustrate, I will give an example. Let us assume you are writing an article on shoes:

After creating your evernote account and installing the software on your computer and mobile phone, you can now take down notes anywhere and keep them all synced together. If you go to a shop and you see a shoe that fits your article, you can take a picture, save it in evernote and tag it shoe. Now you are on the bus and you overhear a good quote about shoes, you open your evernote app, write it down and tag it shoe. You then go home and you are browsing and you come across a shoe article, you can click a button and add it to your evernote, then tag it shoe.

The good thing is all the information you have collected will be in sync and you can access them from either your mobile phone or your computer. Of course you have to be connected to the internet to get them in sync.

It is free, so there is no reason not to try it out.


August 24, 2010

How to do to–do

There are a mind boggling number of activities that people now partake in (email, projects, shopping, real life, even Facebooking) which people will need to find how to organize within their merger 24 hour allocation daily. It is my firm belief that in the near future, the to-do app will be the most important application on the web. Something to tell us it is time to eat, go play outside, go buy that anniversary present e.t.c

After a long search far and wide for a proper to do app I have come across one that closely matches my needs.

Meet Produteev.

Like any to do app, it allows you to list activities you wish to perform with the due date and gives you the ability to tick them off when accomplished.

Here is where it differentiates itself from the competition.

·        Labelling

·        Notifications

·        Multiple input channels.

·        Notes

Labelling: Like I mentioned in the Gmail post, the power of labelling is the fact you can categorise a single item under multiple heading. For instance, a to-do can be categorised as Shopping, TESCO and winter. What this means, is that you can easily filter and see all the activities you want to do in preparation of winter, or all shopping activities you have planned, or all things you want to do at TESCO.

Notifications: They have multiple channels to remind you when your task is due. You can be notified through email, various IM’s, etc.

Multiple input channels. What is means is that you can create a to-do from the website, your browser, or mobile phone. You do not need to wait to access your to do. It is everywhere!

Notes: Extra information about a to-do item can be written in form of a note which is attached to the to-do item

I use an Android phone and although producteev does ot have their own native app, thet are well integrated with the Astrid app on the android phone.

Another nice application for to-do’s i called todo.ly but where it fails is in its lack of a mobile application. It is VERY good for organising your thoughts as it has unlimited sub categorization.

What application do you use to sort out your to-do? Check out producteev and let me know your thoughts.


August 17, 2010

5 reasons I think you should switch to Gmail.


5 reasons I think you should switch to Gmail.

It is rather unusual talking about an email application in an age where the popular apps are Facebook, Twitter and co. But whether we like it or yes, email is the most important application of them all. You don’t believe me? Ok, can you sign up for Facebook without email?

Now, majority of people still use the same email addresses they open over 10 years ago and think there is nothing better than (Yahoo! MSN and co). If you are among those, do read on as I try to convince you to make a move to Gmail. For those of you that have a Gmail account, still read on because I might point out some features you did not know of previously.

So here are my 5 favourite reasons I thing you should switch to Gmail.


  1. The Undo: Have you said words you wish you could take sent back? Have you sent emails you regretted after clicking the send button? Well, with Gmail, you can take care of the latter. When you send an email using Gmail, you have 5 seconds to change your mind. Believe me it saves the day almost every day.
  2. The Labels: Folder based email have great limitations. How do you file an email from your wife about the invoice for the holiday trip? In the invoice, family or holiday trip folder? Labels works like tagging and can file it under the three labels/tags. You are therefore not restricted in how you want to categorize mail. More interesting is incoming emails can automatically be filed under these labels.
  3. The Oops, I forgot to attach: Have you ever sent a mail and forgot to attach what you said you attached? Yes I know you have. Gmail sorts this out. If you have said “attached” in your mail without putting an attachment, you will be notified immediately.
  4. The “I hate SPAM”: I cannot think of anything worse than spam. Ok, I actually can, Spam in my Inbox! We do not mind spam as long as it does not get to our inbox. Email services like Hotmail and Yahoo are too lenient and allow every Viagra sales pitch to make it into our inbox while the Outlook client is just too aggressive. Gmail strikes the perfect balance letting in only the right email.
  5. The all in one and one in all: Pardon the cheesy sub category but Gmail is actually that. It is so easy to use Gmail to receive all your email form other email addresses and send emails from any address. So for example, you can receive all your Work personal and society emails form your Gmail and also send emails from your work, personal and society email address using Gmail. It is so easy to set up. Don’t worry about getting confused. Labels will sort that all out and you can also set it so you reply using the email address that you the sent the email.


So what happens to all your existing emails? You can easily import them. Features like the undo send and attachment reminder amongst others can be found in the Gmail Labs which can be found under settings.

If you have any questions you can leave it in the comment area or Contact me via my OnePage



August 10, 2010

Introducing Dropbox: All it takes is a drop in the box


Dropbox is a web app that backs up your files and synchronises them across all your computers
(Mac, PC and those in between) and mobile devices. What this basically means is that you have this “magic folder” where you put your documents which can then be accessed from any computer accross the world; via the internet of course! There are many use cases that make Dropbox EXTREMELY useful. I will give you three

  • Goodbye USB: Since I started using Dropbox over a 18 months ago I have not found any need for a USB stick. Back at Warwick I had to print papers all the time. Instead of taking my laptop the department or using a USB stick to move documents to the departmental computers, all I did was put the folder in my Dropbox then access it from the department. Thereby eliminating the risk of misplacing my documents and moving viruses from one computer to another.
  • Oh no! I’ve got to move: One of the headaches of changing computers is reinstalling all your applications and moving all your documents. Dropbox makes the moving document problem a joy to have. Provided all your documents are in the Dropbox folder you do not need to even open your old computer to move the documents to the new one. All you need do is install the Dropbox app in your new computer and everything magically appears there.
  • Hey, can I see that file: As a co-founder of Lotaar, my co-founder and I need to share files all the time. Rather than having to email files across and bother about file size restrictions, all we need do is share a folder and drop any file we want to share into it. The good thing is we do not need to even know when the file is even shared. A typical discussion goes like this. Q: “Dude, where is the logo revision?” A: “Check the design folder in Dropbox”


Now to what excites me most about Dropbox. It stores revision history!!! So every change you make to a file in your Dropbox is saved. It made no sense to me too until it saved me from failing my Masters project.

You can also access you files from your mobile phones (iPhone, Android and Blackberry). So if you have music on your computer, you can play it on your mobile phone.

So what are you waiting for? Go on and Install Dropbox!*

*The link I have put there is a referral link that will give you an extra 250MB of storage if you use it. I will get and extra 250MB too. Dropbox pioneered this win win referral scheme. If you rather have no win- no win, use this


August 03, 2010

Twitter 101

Hi, my name is Oo Nwoye. Welcome to my first post on internet 101. Here, I will be covering some basic tools of the web from a personal point of view i.e. tools I use. Since the Knowledge Centre is a new project, I am still not certain of the audience so please let me know if you have any qualms with my posts. I will be covering topics in no certain order. I hope you find my posts useful. I will appreciate all types of feedback. This first post is about Twitter.

                            Twitter

What is Twitter?

I have heard that a question so many times and I still struggle with an answer. Let me give it a go again.

Twitter is a web broadcast tool that allows people to send out messages in 140 characters or less. The nearest analogy is your Facebook update or a very public chat room.

What is Twitter used for:

From my experience, Twitter is used basically for 3 main things.

Broadcasting: Just like the definition, you can type any message and put it out there for your followers to see. Followers are those who have subscribe to see your updates (Tweet). People can broadcast anything for e.g. I just put out a Tweet while writing this. You can also use it to share links of things you want others to see. For instance a YouTube video you have just watched

Chatting: This is one of my favourite uses of Twitter. Like I said in the definition, Twitter is one very public chat room. The beauty is that chatting is asynchronous therefore you are not under any pressure to reply and since Tweets are under 140 characters, messages are succinct and to the point. A good thing in using Twitter to chat is you can communicate with people you would not have access to normally e.g. celebrities directly and sometimes you get direct replies from them.

Consuming Information: This is the favourite use of twitter for most people. They follow the Twitter account of news sources/ Favourite celebrities and get messages form people in real time. It is also a favourite way to get coupon codes from your favourite brands.

So why is Twitter important?

Twitter is used to follow the pulse of what’s happening at a particular point in time. It contains the freshest and most recent conversation about issues and people. Brands use it to track what people are saying about them at a particular point in time. All you need do is search for the particular term

Some Twitter notations:

The ‘@’ symbol: This is used to call the attention of people in messages. For instance I could tweet”I am on my way to @warwickuni, for the tour of @WarwickLibrary by 4pm and I am running late L cc @mygoodfriend”

In this message, I have called the attention of Warwick Library, My Good Friend and Warwick University to my message. Just like copying people in an email message. Any of these people can now respond to me in real time.

The hash tag ‘#’:This is used to tag messages stating they are part of a larger conversation or topic. For instance, I could have use the hash tag #blogging or #deadlines in my tweet “Why do I enjoy waiting to do things at the last minute. Running late for the deadline of a blog post :( “. I could also do a cheeky tag like #whoinventeddeadlines. Taglines were especially useful during the world cup. This is one of my favourite hash tags J

ReTweets

This is essentially the forwarding of a Tweet you receive to all of your followers. It allows for the spreadinf og messages very quickly

Twitter Lists

This simply groups certain Twitter users and accounts. For instance you could group all news sources together and when you click on the list, you see only the tweets for those sets of people.

Twitter Clients

These are software services that were especially useful for the spread of Twitter. The deadlines connect to Twitter, enabling you to use the service without having to open an internet browser. Some twitter client are very good for CRM. Do check out CoTweet, I recommend it personally if you want to do business with Twitter. For normal use, check out TweetDeck

Some Twitter Traditions.

#followfriday and #musicmonday

On Friday people list twitter accounts of people they recommend you should follow and tag #followfriday

On Monday you suggest a favourite song or band and tag it with #musicmonday

Just so you will know

Birtney Spears has the most Twitter followers with 5,456,704 followers

There were 2 billion tweets last month

Miscellaneous

One of the drawbacks of tools like Twitter is that people use it to spread rumours easily so always crosscheck any information you get on Twitter. For example the Top trending topic as I am typing this is a hoax

I have obviously not covered everything because of certain limitations like time, space and my knowledge. Please contribute in the comments where we will continue our discussion. If you want you can learn a lot more about Twitter on their site. Go on and create an account if you do not have one; you don't want to be left behind the times.

Do follow me on Twitter and check out my blog if you want to experience the most random of tweets and blog posts


July 16, 2010

Welcome to Internet 101

The internet is quickly becoming an essential resource to research information, maintain communication with friends & family as well as access services fundamental to modern life, like bank accounts or travel reservations. As Facebook proves to be robustly popular and young people grow up accustomed to chatting to each other via instant messages some might think that the next generation will be internet experts by default. 

However, some of the tools being developed, making use of digital media, are not as easy to use as Facebook, or as instantly useful. The host of online tools available can be quite sophisticated and require the user to invest time and energy in learning any new skills required.  Internet 101, brought to you by Oo Nwoye hopes to help with this process.

Oo is a web-entrepeneur and understands that many people have a restricted use of internet applications. Starting at the beginning of August, he will be updating this blog every Tuesday.  Each post will look at a specific tool in detail: what it is, how you use it and its potential applications.  Covering everything from Twitter to Dropbox he will bring fresh insight and straight forward instructions to those who feel they are missing a trick.


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