Five Best Presentation Creation Tools

Gone are the days when presentations are limited to poster boards you can haul into the conference room, and you’ve also got more options than the de facto office suite provides. Here’s a look five of the most popular presentation creation tools.

Earlier this week we asked you to share your favorite presentation creation tools. Now we’re back to highlight five most popular contenders, focusing on what makes stand out.


Jason Fitzpatrick, the author of this post
jason@lifehacker.comhttp://lifehacker.com

Five Best Presentation Creation Tools
Gone are the days when presentations are limited to poster boards you can haul into the conference room, and you’ve also got more options than the de facto office suite provides. Here’s a look five of the most popular presentation creation tools.

Earlier this week we asked you to share your favorite presentation creation tools. Now we’re back to highlight five most popular contenders, focusing on what makes stand out.

Leer más “Five Best Presentation Creation Tools”

Use a Timer as a Productivity Booster and Sanity Minder


//lifehacker.com

Use a Timer as a Productivity Booster and Sanity Minder

Timers, in the face of 21st century technological marvels, can appear as antiquated as steam engines and telegraphs. The simple timer, however, is one of the most useful productivity tools around.

Photo by smemon87.

Outside of timing a pot bubbling on the stove, not a lot of people use a timer on a daily basis. If you haven’t worked a timer into your daily routines, the expense is small and the benefits are great. Today we’re going take a look at how the humble timer can take the nebulous conglomerate of tasks, breaks, goofing off, sweating deadlines, and the entire mass of what constitutes your work day and break it into manageable—dare we say enjoyable?—servings.

Selecting a Timer

Use a Timer as a Productivity Booster and Sanity Minder
While your grandmother may have only had a choice between a timer that looked a lot like an egg and one that only kind of looked like an egg, you’ve got far, far, more choices. If you’re looking for a hardware timer, you’ve got Classic egg timers, tomato-shaped timers, stop watches, and anything else you can set an alarm on. In the software realm, a host of timers for popular operating systems and smartphones give you a dizzying array of options to choose from.

We’re not going to go over all of them here—we’ve highlighted several in the past—but we will offer some insight into selecting a great timer.

Select the simplest timer that will get the job done. The geek in you wants the cool timer app in the App Store so you can track while you time, cross-index your “scores” for timed tasks, and eleventy-billion other neat tricks. But is any of that actually going to help you get stuff done? Are you going to waste minutes you could be working or breaks during which you could be relaxing fiddling with it? You know what you can’t fiddle with? A $5 egg timer from the grocery store. It’s a crank with some gears and a bell. It only does three things: sit there, tick there, or ring there. When you’re getting started incorporating a timer in your workflow, I’d strongly suggest picking the simplest timer that will meet your needs.

Initially avoid, if possible, timers on your computer or smart phone. If the best place for you to have a timer is in your system tray or on your Android phone, it’s better to use a timer than to not use one. When you’re first getting used to timer-based productivity boosts, however, I’ve found it’s helpful to have a timer that’s extremely boring and unconnected to any work-related platform. (You can, of course, do whatever works best for you.)

If you have a timer in your system tray, for instance, you might notice that you’ve got new emails when you go to reset it for your break. It’s too tempting to go mess around in your inbox and see what email just came in. Same thing for your smartphone, you go to reset the timer and you’re staring right at the notification bar on your phone. What’s that? New voicemails? There goes what should have been a relaxing break or a strong start to a new task, torpedoed right out of the gate because the digital-crack our electronic devices feed us is too hard to resist for most people. Keep it simple and as stand-alone as possible.

Now that we’ve hashed out some basic guidelines to selecting a timer, let’s look at the reasons you’re going to start incorporating a timer into your workflow.

Timers Are Workload Containment Units

Use a Timer as a Productivity Booster and Sanity Minder
You’ve got work, and if you’re anything like the great overworked populace of CorporateVille, you’ve got lots of it. You could work all day, all night, and right into your eventual hospitalization for a stress-related breakdown if you wanted. But who wants that? There will always be work to be done and in many jobs, especially those driven by deadlines, the work never really pauses or ends. Timers help you to impose some microcosmic order on a chaotic work schedule that, thanks to the power of always-on internet and telecommuting, can follow you wherever you go. Photo by JenVista.

A timer allows you to take a task and essentially cage it. Instead of looking at “Work on the Johnson account” or “prepare the monthly TPS report” as a nebulous and potentially day-consuming task, a timer lets you create a “schedule cage” for that task. Whether you opt to set aside two 45 minute blocks that day to work on it, or a half-dozen 30 minute blocks over the course of the business week, using a timer helps you quarantine tasks so they don’t leak over into other important work and personal duties. Even if it’s a task that you have to spend all day on if that’s what’s required, a timer helps you get a firmer grasp on how long it’s taking (and will potentially take). Leer más “Use a Timer as a Productivity Booster and Sanity Minder”

Dangerous Ideas: Getting Started Is Overrated [FYI-A GOOD READ]

Perhaps a more poignant example would be to find and interview the 10 people in the country who had the biggest and fastest overall increase to their finances in the last year. Guess who would dominate this list? Lottery winners. Ignoring the survivor bias, one could conclude: the people who get richest fastest all invested heavily in lottery tickets, so that’s what I should do too!

The same, of course, can be applied to an entrepreneur, or anyone, really, who had success in a glamorous pursuit. To the winner, their path seems straightforward. It was just a matter of putting in the time and the results followed. To someone in this position, it can be incredibly frustrating to watch people denying themselves similar success simply because they’re afraid to get started.

But the survivor bias lurks…

For every successful entrepreneur, or writer, or blogger, or actor, there are dozens of others who did get started but then flamed out. Some people lack the right talents. For many more, the pursuit, once past that initial stage of generic, heady enthusiasm, simply lost its attraction and their interest waned.

The Saturation Method

I have observed many people who have had long-term success in an impressive pursuit. I have also observed many people who went after such successes yet failed. I hope by combining both outcomes – success and failure – I can identify a predictor of the former that will remain free of the taint of survivor bias.

In short, I’ve noticed that people who succeed in an impressive pursuit are those who:

* Established, over time, a deep emotional conviction that they want to follow that pursuit.
* Have built an exhaustive understanding of the relevant world, why some succeed and others don’t, and exactly what type of action is required.

This takes time. Often it requires a long period of saturation, in which the person returns again and again to the world, meeting people and reading about it and trying little experiments to get a feel for its reality. This period will be at least a month. It might last years.

Steve Martin’s Diligence

Steve Martin noted that the key to becoming really good at something (so good that they can’t ignore you), is diligence, which he defines as effort over time to the exclusion of other pursuits. This is why people who ultimately succeed in a pursuit go through such a long period of vetting before they begin – if you’re not 100% convinced and ready to tackle something, potentially for years, to the exclusions of the hundreds of interesting new ideas that will pop up along the way, you’ll probably fizzle out well before reaping any reward.


Dangerous Ideas: Getting Started Is OverratedAttend any talk given by an entrepreneur and you’ll hear some variation of the following: The most important thing you can do is to get started! I completely disagree.

This advice has percolated from its origin in business self-help to the wider productivity blogging community. You’ve heard it before: Do you want to become a writer? Start writing! Do you want to become fit? Join a gym today! Do you want to become a big-time blogger? Start posting ASAP! If you don’t start, you’re weak! You’re afraid of success!

Here’s the problem: I completely disagree with this common advice. I think an instinct for getting started cripples your chance at long-term success. And I suggest that, on the contrary, you should develop rigorous thresholds that any pursuit must overcome before it can induce action.

Allow me to explain why…

Survivor Bias

In his convention-busting book, Fooled by Randomness, Nassim Taleb preaches the danger of survivor bias – a common fallacy in which we emulate people who succeeded without considering those who used similar techniques but failed. Taleb uses the example of The Millionaire Next Door, a popular finance guide in which the authors interviewed a large group of millionaires. As Taleb points out, the habits of these millionaires – accumulating wealth through spartan living and aggressive investments – should not be emulated unless one can determine how many more people followed a similar strategy but failed to hit it big.

Perhaps a more poignant example would be to find and interview the 10 people in the country who had the biggest and fastest overall increase to their finances in the last year. Guess who would dominate this list? Lottery winners. Ignoring the survivor bias, one could conclude: the people who get richest fastest all invested heavily in lottery tickets, so that’s what I should do too!

The same, of course, can be applied to an entrepreneur, or anyone, really, who had success in a glamorous pursuit. To the winner, their path seems straightforward. It was just a matter of putting in the time and the results followed. To someone in this position, it can be incredibly frustrating to watch people denying themselves similar success simply because they’re afraid to get started.

But the survivor bias lurks… Leer más “Dangerous Ideas: Getting Started Is Overrated [FYI-A GOOD READ]”

From the Tips Box: Google Instant, Full Screen Google Maps, and Secure Facebook


Readers offer their best tips for making Google Instant work in Opera, viewing Google Maps in full screen, and visiting encrypted Facebook.

About the Tips Box: Every day we receive boatloads of great reader tips in our inbox, but for various reasons—maybe they’re a bit too niche, maybe we couldn’t find a good way to present it, or maybe we just couldn’t fit it in—the tip didn’t make the front page. From the Tips Box is where we round up some of our favorites for your buffet-style consumption. Got a tip of your own to share? Add it in the comments, share it here, or email it to tips at lifehacker.com.

From the Tips Box: Google Instant, Full Screen Google Maps, and Secure Facebook

Make Google Instant Work in Opera

Rkarren tells us how to fix Google Instant in unsupported browsers:

To make Google Instant work in Opera (Google says that its not supported), right click on the home page and click Edit Site Preferences. Go to the network tab, and under Browser Identification, click “Mask as Firefox“. This trick also works with Netflix.

From the Tips Box: Google Instant, Full Screen Google Maps, and Secure Facebook

View Google Maps in Full Screen

We’ve mentioned a Greasemonkey script to view full screen Maps, but Till Dettmering shares an alternative method without extra add-ons:

View Google Maps in fullscreen by adding ?output=embed to the URL:

http://maps.google.com/maps?output=embed

Note that this doesn’t fill your entire screen; just the entire browser window—but you can then make your browser full screen to make Maps truly full screen.
Leer más “From the Tips Box: Google Instant, Full Screen Google Maps, and Secure Facebook”

[Chicas relajen…, o no!, bueno aquí unos consejos] 7 Myths About Sex After 50

Who says sex stops at midlife? Dr. Dorree Lynn, author of Sex for Grownups, debunks the myths and reveals the lies.

Myth #1: Older women are lousy lovers.
False! For centuries, older women would initiate young men into the world of sexual pleasures. You have history and experience on your side; you’ve lived long enough to have earned your stature. Hold your head up high and believe in yourself. Think of some of those wonderful role models: Susan Sarandon, Helen Mirran, Meryl Streep, Iman and so many others. Roll like a Role Model and show the word how wonderful it is to be over 50 and how fortunate a woman is to get there.

Myth #2: Older women don’t want sex as much as older men do.
Women just want more talk along with sex. Women love foreplay and feeling desired. If your partner doesn’t “get it” suggest a date night away from the bedroom and gently talk to him (or her) about what you want. Communication is the key. Foreplay starts in the morning with an “ I love you” or a stroke of your hair. Desire can continue at any age.


By Dr. Dorree Lynn

7 Myths About Sex After 50

Who says sex stops at midlife?  Dr. Dorree Lynn, author of Sex for Grownups, debunks the myths and reveals the lies.

Myth #1: Older women are lousy lovers.
False! For centuries, older women would initiate young men into the world of sexual pleasures.  You have history and experience on your side; you’ve lived long enough to have earned your stature. Hold your head up high and believe in yourself. Think of some of those wonderful role models: Susan Sarandon, Helen Mirran, Meryl Streep, Iman and so many others. Roll like a Role Model and show the word how wonderful it is to be over 50 and how fortunate a woman is to get there.

Myth #2: Older women don’t want sex as much as older men do.
Women just want more talk along with sex. Women love foreplay and feeling desired. If your partner doesn’t “get it” suggest a date night away from the bedroom and gently talk to him (or her) about what you want. Communication is the key. Foreplay starts in the morning with an “ I love you” or a stroke of your hair. Desire can continue at any age.
Leer más “[Chicas relajen…, o no!, bueno aquí unos consejos] 7 Myths About Sex After 50”

What Can I Do with a Dead Hard Drive?

Dear Lifehacker,
I have a dead hard drive that is out of warranty. Is there anything I can do besides recycle it?

Signed,
All My Drives are Down ‘n Dead

Photo by ArtMast.

Dear Down ‘n Dead,
You’re in luck. While your hard drive may be dead to its original function you can harvest parts from it for all sorts of fun and interesting DIY projects.

Before we delve into gutting your hard drive and repurposing its guts, let’s talk data security. While you didn’t specify what “dead hard drive” means, we’ll assume this means the disk is inoperable and any means of recovering the disk for use using software have failed. If the disk has truly sensitive data on it—data worth enough that someone would invest significant time and energy in recovering it—the only safe thing to do is to reference the Symphony of Destruction portion of our guide to properly erasing your physical media. If, on the other hand, the disk was mostly populated with your bootleg Bon Jovi concert rips, it’s ripe for all manner of DIY projects.

We’ve roughly ordered the following projects by the amount of effort and technical knowledge required to carry them out. At the start of the list you’ll need little more than basic tools and some patience. By the end of the list you’ll need to be comfortable with a soldering iron and working with electronics.

What Can I Do with a Dead Hard Drive?
Harvest Its Parts

One of the simplest things you can do with an old hard drive is harvest its magnets. Hard drives sport some super-powerful magnets that you can use for all sorts of things. The photo above shows a magnetic knife block made by carving recesses in a piece of wood for the hard drive magnets. Around the office we tend to just yank the magnets out of our old hard drives and use them for ultra-strong refrigerator magnets and to temporarily magnetize our tools when working with small parts.

While you’re gutting the hard drive, the platters are extremely polished and make pretty cool mirrors. Combine a platter with a hard drive magnet and you’ve got yourself a pretty awesome and geeky mini-mirror for your fridge, or your locker at the office or gym.

If you’re not interested in delving further into recycling the electronics inside, you could always turn the empty hard drive case into hidden safe. Not many thieves would care to root around in a bin of old electronics crap in your garage and even fewer would want to steal an old banged up hard drive.


What Can I Do with a Dead Hard Drive?Dear Lifehacker,
I have a dead hard drive that is out of warranty. Is there anything I can do besides recycle it?

Signed,
All My Drives are Down ‘n Dead

Photo by ArtMast.

Dear Down ‘n Dead,
You’re in luck. While your hard drive may be dead to its original function you can harvest parts from it for all sorts of fun and interesting DIY projects.

Before we delve into gutting your hard drive and repurposing its guts, let’s talk data security. While you didn’t specify what “dead hard drive” means, we’ll assume this means the disk is inoperable and any means of recovering the disk for use using software have failed. If the disk has truly sensitive data on it—data worth enough that someone would invest significant time and energy in recovering it—the only safe thing to do is to reference the Symphony of Destruction portion of our guide to properly erasing your physical media. If, on the other hand, the disk was mostly populated with your bootleg Bon Jovi concert rips, it’s ripe for all manner of DIY projects.

We’ve roughly ordered the following projects by the amount of effort and technical knowledge required to carry them out. At the start of the list you’ll need little more than basic tools and some patience. By the end of the list you’ll need to be comfortable with a soldering iron and working with electronics. Leer más “What Can I Do with a Dead Hard Drive?”

Google Mobile Brings True iPhone Push Notifications for Gmail and Google Calendar

iOS: Google just updated their Google Mobile app to bring push notifications (previews included) for Gmail and Google Calendar to the iPhone.

The free app from Google is an impressive search helper, capable of searching your phone and the internet by voice, but the addition of push notifications for new Gmail messages and Calendar events in the latest update adds a nice bit of supplemental functionality that most Google die-hards will most likely love—particularly because getting true push notifications (with message previews, for example), previously required some sort of third-party tool standing in the middle.


goog-push.pngiOS: Google just updated their Google Mobile app to bring push notifications (previews included) for Gmail and Google Calendar to the iPhone.

The free app from Google is an impressive search helper, capable of searching your phone and the internet by voice, but the addition of push notifications for new Gmail messages and Calendar events in the latest update adds a nice bit of supplemental functionality that most Google die-hards will most likely love—particularly because getting true push notifications (with message previews, for example), previously required some sort of third-party tool standing in the middle. Leer más “Google Mobile Brings True iPhone Push Notifications for Gmail and Google Calendar”