Posts by: Matt

Write Drunk, Edit Hungover

I have mentioned something along these lines in the past on this blog however the Editor of Modern Drunkard Magazine takes this one step further.

Frank Kelly claims writing drunk and editing while hungover is the best way to smash out work and then cut the fluff.

hangovers are, however, perfectly suited for making hard and cruel decisions, so they’re fantastic for editing. When you’re in that sort of mood, it’s easy—even enjoyable—to bayonet those ‘little darlings’ writers are always trying to sneak into their work.

I highly recommend you read the full article here.

9 Ways to Use Todoist Labels

Recently Todoist beat me to the punch on a blog post on how to use labels in Todoist so rather then spend time and energy finishing my post I am just going to point you in the direction of the Todoist Blog.

“Get everything you need to do out of your head and into a productivity system.”

It’s a great piece of advice, in theory. But when you have a long list of tasks to deal with your to-do list can quickly become overwhelming. Deciding which task to do when begins to take up the precious time you could be using to actually get things done.

Luckily, Todoist allows you to create labels and filters so you can easily see only the tasks that you can realistically work on based on the context or situation that you’re in.

Falling Out of Love with Gmail

A while back I wrote about an application to take Gmail to the desktop and while I liked that app I have started to fall out with Gmail itself.

The idea of having all my email on every device exactly the same and filtered into my folders / labels in the cloud before I have get to see then is wonderful. This is so many benefits including the big one of not having to store and sync 15GB of email on all my devices.

However Gmail started to become to much. On my Mac the Gmail tab in Chrome or Safari or Kiwi would slowly consume RAM. After having Gmail open for 2 or 3 hours on my iMac with 16GB of RAM Gmail would have eaten up around 2.5GB, during that same length of time on my 8GB Macbook Pro Gmail would swallow around 1GB of RAM. To me this looks like some classic memory leaks and Google don’t seem bother about them or interested in fixing them. These leaks have been around for many years now and they seem to be getting worse not better.

If Google addressed these issues in the same prompt manner they address a bug in a ranking algorithm or an error in selecting the best advert to show a user then I wouldn’t be writing this post. But they don’t seem to care about anything beyond Search, Adwords and Adsense. Now I know them properties are where the big G makes all its money however with the data they collect from my emails in Gmail they cannot target ads effectively.

I have been looking for alternatives to a lot of Google services recently and I am seriously considering moving my email to a traditional IMAP account on my Media Temple hosting. I am also taking a long hard look at Dropbox again, while unlimited storage will set me back around an extra $25 a month I am starting to think this is the way forward as they are on top of bugs when they arise.

Have you experienced any problems with Google services starting to slip and a lack of attention been paid to the apps you love let me know in the comments.

Billings Pro

The other week I wrote about my use of Freshbooks in business to handle all of my invoicing needs. Today I thought it only fair to spend a little time talking about how I handle invoices for stuff I do outside of my main business.

For this work I don’t send a huge amount of invoices and Freshbooks is a little over kill. So I use the popular Mac application Billings Pro. I have been using this for my personal freelancing for over 6 years and it was the application I first settled with for invoicing my clients.

The first thing you need to know about Billings is it works and invoices around time and while fixed price projects can be handled it is not the best at this. For my freelancing jobs this is brilliant as I don’t do any website development, SEO or anything that competes with my main line of work in The Web Specialists. Everything I do as an independent freelancer is all time based jobs billed at an hourly rate in 15 minute increments and Billings Pro handles this beautifully.

The timer sits in my menu bar and counts away with a quick and easy play pause button allowing me to work with very little management overhead. Something that is very important when working independently as I don’t have the back office and resources of The Web Specialists behind me. There is no dedicated accounts and admin girl to take the load off.

Now at what point does Billings Pro no longer work for a large company or team. That point is when you are sending over 100 invoices a month, keeping track of this amount of open accounts without automated emails and invoices getting sent automatically is to time consuming with Billings Pro.

That is where the application falls short. Invoices can automatically be generated on recurring profiles but they are not sent to the customer. In fact every invoice is not automatically sent to the user you have to click the send button for each one which will then load your mail app with the clients email and a PDF invoice attached. This is not a problem for a small freelancing business that might only send 2 –3 invoices a month like I do through my personal freelancing but this is a huge headache for any larger organisation sending hundreds of invoices every month and many of them recurring bills.

So should you use Billings Pro for Mac, if you are a small 1 man band then yes, at $10 a month it is completely unlimited and for $5 a month you can send up to 5 invoices a month. They even allow 1 invoice a month with zero Billings branding for free. All planes allow for unlimited clients and projects which is perfect for a small outlet who is likely to have a lot more clients on the books then monthly invoices.

Google Photos Review

There was a time a while back when I fell in love with a leak from Google which later turned out to be true when the big G announced Google Photos at I/O earlier this year.

Google Photos is a photo backup and organising service that allows you to upload unlimited “high quality” photos for free or use your Google Drive storage to store the original uncompressed versions.

The service builds on top of what was Google+ Photos by adding a touch of magic in the search features. Just like on Google+ you can search for the likes of ‘curry’ and it will return photos containing curries of all types. The magic here is that you don’t need to do any tagging or organising it is all done by Google using there scary advance computer vision.

I’ve been using Google Photos since its launch and I love it. When you have kids you will take hundreds of photos a month and knowing they are all safely stored away on Google’s servers is truly liberating.

Now I should point out something here. If you are like me and delete photos from your phone once a week after they have all uploaded then Google Photos is NOT a backup. The way I have my Google Photos setup in Google Drive also syncs them down to my iMac next time I turn it on and then Time Machine grabs these copies. This means my prized possessions are now in 3 places and this is all taking care of automatically.

I really do love Google Photos and it is the only photo upload and storage service I currently use and trust. I have not looked at many others and don’t feel the need to consider them. Google have not let me down with the terabytes of data I store on their services in the last 6 years and I don’t think they will. After all without my data they can’t make the big bucks targeting adverts at me.

There is however 1 photo upload service I want to give a try when I get my iPhone and that is iCloud Photo Library and Apple’s on the mac.

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