March 2014 Favorites

Monthly Faves March

Happy Friday lovelies!

It’s been a while since I did a monthly favorites post, but I’m back today with a bit of a nerdy, tech-centered list of faves.

First up, we have the UP24 band by Jawbone ($149.99). For those of you who didn’t know, the Fitbit Force was recalled due to a nasty rash that it was causing people. Despite using it for months with no issue, I was one of the unlucky people who eventually got the rash and I was forced to stop using it. I was offered a refund or my choice of other Fitbit trackers, but I didn’t necessarily want to downgrade back to the Flex. In the end I opted to go with the Up 24 band which has a lot of fun features like idle notifications and insightful tips that I’ve been enjoying.

Next up, is a terribly addicting game available for iOS and Android, Threes ($1.99). I downloaded it on a whim because it was popular. 12 hours later… I was still playing it… I’m not sure what it is about stacking cards to make combinations of 3s, 6s, 12s, etc. that is so addicting, but I’m sold. It’s a great way to pass the time, but given my 12 hour stretch, I’m always mindful of the time, because clearly I lose track quickly with this game.

My third favorite is BusyCal ($49.99). I have to admit this one is a bit unexpected. For years, I’ve had a Fluid app running Google Calendar on my Mac. I know I could have used iCal, and that would have been my preference, but I make changes to events frequently (e.g. when a student is late for a shift), and I hated that iCal didn’t allow me to make changes without sending an email to anyone attending. It does way more than just that though, so if you’re looking for a good calendar app for OS X, check it out. BusyCal has solved so many of my calendar issues, and I’m kicking myself for not giving it a fair chance sooner.

Here’s where it starts to get nerdy. My fourth favorite for the month has been Keyboard Maestro ($36). I’m a firm believer in the idea that computers should make your life easier. If I find myself doing something on my computer more than once, you can bet I’m going to start looking for a way to have my computer do it. Keyboard Maestro is one tool I’ve added to my toolkit to save me time. I’m still playing with it on a regular basis to tweak and add things, but for now some of my favorite “macros” are the ones that get my computer set up for my day at work and close programs before I leave for the day. My latest addition has been a macro that draws a red circle around my mouse when I hit a certain hotkey because having a 27″ display and my 15″ display on my MacBook Pro equals plenty of room to lose my mouse. {First-world problems…}

And last but not least, we have TextExpander ($34.95) and its iOS counterpart, TextExpander Touch ($4.99). Seriously, why did I not buy these sooner. Working in tech support, I’m constantly typing the same thing over and over. Our support knowledgebase has reduced that significantly because I can now just send customers links to our articles, but there are still things I type constantly, for instance, the links to those articles. I also use it to generate emails I regularly send to people. Another use I’ve found is remembering required information. When we hire an employee, I have a snippet that inserts the list of required information I need to submit to our payroll preparer which saves me having to find the email that has the information in it. One of my most used snippets is my gratitude snippet which gets filled in and logged each night before bed. I briefly described how I use it here.

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