Thoughts on productivity,
communication and tech.

August 13, 2012  

Perhaps you have experienced this situation:

You’re on a web page and you have written something in a text box. Then, for some reason, you accidentally hit the back button. Or maybe you accidentally closed the web browser. And just like that, all the text you wrote is gone.

If you need to write and submit a longer piece of text in a web browser, it is often wise to first write and save the text outside of the web browser. You could, for example, write the text in a word processor (such as Pages or Word), save the document, and then — after it has been completed and saved on the computer — open up the browser and paste the text.

If you’re a blogger, it might be convenient to use a blog editor such as MarsEdit for the Mac to write the post before sending it to the blog.

By writing and saving the text beforehand, you have a backup in case something goes wrong when you’re in the browser.


August 12, 2012  

Using more than one social media platform can be challenging because each platform is unique. It takes some time to switch back and forth between different websites and/or apps on a regular basis.

One way to make this easier and simpler is to use a third-party service such as HootSuite.

HootSuite can be described as a dashboard / control panel for social media accounts. It lets you manage multiple social media accounts from a single website.

One place for reading and writing

Let’s say that you would like to post a unique message to Twitter and LinkedIn. Without a third-party service such as HootSuite, you would need to manually go to each website before posting.

By using HootSuite, you can post to Twitter and to LinkedIn without actually visiting Twitter and LinkedIn. In HootSuite, you select which platforms you want to post to, write the message and press a button to send the message.

Another good thing about HootSuite is that it is easy to get a good overview of the activity on different social networks. You can create tabs and include streams from one or multiple social networks in those tabs. The streams in a tab show up as columns on the screen.

Since a social media dashboard / control panel can simplify and save time I think it’s a good idea to consider using one. This post focused on HootSuite, but there are other similar services as well, such as TweetDeck.


August 10, 2012  

Hard drives can and do break. As Katie Floyd said in episode number 8 of the podcast Mac Power Users: “every single hard drive will die, it’s just a matter of time”.

A hard drive is not an eternal, indestructible device. And because of that it will break someday. Therefore, it is important to back up the data. If your data is properly backed up, then hard drive failure goes from being a catastrophe to being a mere inconvenience.

I know, backing up is not a super exciting activity. I have never heard anyone say that they love to back up their stuff. It is boring and it can actually be quite hard if bad tools and techniques are used.

The good news is that backing up does not have to be hard. If you use the right tool(s) for the job, you can get it done with very little effort.

Automatic and regular backups

Backups should be created automatically. In other words, the data should be backed up even if you don’t remember that you need to back it up.

Backups should also be done regularly. If one waits too long between backups, a lot of data may be just one hard drive failure away from being lost.

I use a backup application called Time Machine, which has been included on the Mac since version Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. Time Machine copies the operating system, the files and the apps to an external hard drive.

The beauty is that Time Machine backs up automatically and regularly. I use it with Time Capsule, which is a combined router and hard drive from Apple. Also convenient is that Time Machine can back up over Wi-Fi, so it is not necessary to connect the computer to the Time Capsule by using a wire.

You can find more information about Time Machine, including backup instructions for Time Capsule, on Apple’s web site:

Beyond the first backup

Since even a backup drive can break, it’s also a good idea to have more than one backup. One way to achieve this is to create a clone of the hard drive regularly by using an app such as SuperDuper.

In addition, it can be a good idea to have even another backup drive that is stored at a different place than your primary backup(s). That could for example be done by using a physical disk that is stored at a secure location or by using a remote backup service such as Mozy or Backblaze.

By having a backup that is stored on a different place, the data is better protected from hardware theft, fire and natural disasters.

Thanks to David Sparks and Katie Floyd, who host the podcast Mac Power Users, for educating me about backup (and a lot of other things) through the Mac Power Users podcast and for getting me to think more about this stuff. Without you, this post may not have been written. David Sparks, by the way, also has a good section about backup in his electronic book Paperless, which can be found in the iBookstore.


August 8, 2012  

Listening to podcasts can be both educating and fun. These five podcasts are great if you want to learn more about technology.

Smart Passive Income Podcast
If you’re interested in learning more about ways to create passive income online, I think this is a great resource. This podcast covers topics such as monetization, affiliate marketing and blogging. The host Pat Flynn is a humble guy who explains things well and who gives a lot of practical and concrete tips.

Click Millionaires Lifestyle Entrepreneur Success Show
This is another show that is great to listen to if you are interested in online business. The host Scott Fox is good at explaining things, he interviews interesting people, answers questions and talks about topics such as newsletters, social media and blogging.

Mac Power users
This show is a great fit for someone who wants to get more out of their Apple technology. David Sparks and Katie Floyd go through topics such as backup, security and networking in a way that is easy to understand. They also interview guests about their workflows. This show is really a gold mine of knowledge.

Build and Analyze
If you are an iOS developer, or thinking about becoming one, then Build and Analyze is almost required listening. Marco Arment, who has developed the successful app Instapaper, talks about his experiences and weighs in on a range of developer-relatex issues. The show is also hosted by Dan Benjamin, who runs the podcast network 5by5.

John Siracusa is a well-known person in the Apple community. He has written long and amazing reviews of Mac operating systems (check out his review of OS X Mountain Lion here). On Hypercritical, John talks about tech issues ranging from software patents to game controllers. This show delivers insightful criticism and analysis of current tech-related issues. Hypercritical is also hosted by Dan Benjamin.