Blackberry!

After months and months of trouble syncing my Palm Treo to my Vista computer, plus the Treo dropping calls and triple-syncing my calendar entries, I gave it up. Sad in a familiar way because I’ve used a Palm since 2001 and a Treo since about 2006.  I now have a pink Blackberry Curve! After using a Palm with a touch screen and full qwerty keyboard for so long, I do have a learning “curve” with the Blackberry, but now that I’ve had it about 3 weeks, I’m getting the bugs out (on my part) and really like it!

I was a Datebk5/6 user for many years also. I heavily depend on my calendar and task list, liked the dated tasks, repeating ones and all of that.  I do not really like the built-in task list on the Blackberry. I’ve been searching for a program for the Blackberry that will do this, and have finally found a solution I want to share!!

First of all, I have now switched over to Google Calendar, and after some struggles with setting it up correctly on the Blackberry, I now have it working! Along with Google Mobile Sync, my entries on either the Blackberry OR the computer will sync automatically and I no longer get double entries of things. This is a HUGE plus!  My only complaint with Google Calendar and Blackberry is that it will only put the next 24 weeks’ appointments on the Blackberry, and only keep the last 4 weeks on it, unlike Palm which kept an indefinite calendar on your handheld.

Google Calendar has added Tasks, but they don’t show up on the Blackberry. I’m hoping that will eventually be fixed, but in the meantime, I have found Agendus for Blackberry! From a cost perspective, it is only $20, so that is better than some I found for $60. I downloaded the trial last night and am ready to buy it, but will give it the 30 days!

Here is what I have found: on the Agendus Today screen, I can see my calendar entries, tasks for today, the weather and a few other things which I have turned off. I can add an item to my calendar or tasks on the Agendus screen and it DOES put the calendar entry on my Google calendar online! AWESOME!  The tasks show up on my default Calendar on the Blackberry (if I look at that one instead of the Agendus one), but it doesn’t put the tasks on Google online. This is OK with me (for now).  I am also sharing my calendar with my husband and kids, and I don’t really need/want my tasks showing up on there anyway.

Setting up Agendus was a BREEZE. I just downloaded the application and it automatically looks at the default calendar and tasks on the Blackberry. The items are kept there as well, so if you ever stopped using Agendus, you wouldn’t lose your entries.

The link is here: http://store.handmark.com/p/108269/Productivity/Agendus-for-BlackBerry/

Google Notebook

Another feature of the Gmail account is Google Notebook. This is very handy, too!  If you are researching something, just copy and paste the article to a Google Notebook. You can have as many different subjects as you would like. Research for a vacation, remodeling your home, work research projects, etc. can all be put into their own Notebook. You can then print the whole thing or make a PDF of it, or share a particular notebook with someone else!

The nice thing is, again, it is stored online.  You can log onto your Notebook from ANY computer by logging into your Gmail account!

Google Docs & Survey Forms

Along with having a Gmail account, you can use Google Docs, allowing you to upload or create word documents, spreadsheets, etc.   A feature I just learned about is the ability to create a survey and email that survey to people. When they answer the questions, it automatically puts their answers into a spreadsheet, which you can then use to review the replies, or even use the data to create a mailing list or mail merge document, etc.!

If you share the link of your document with someone else and give them permission to access it, they can make revisions to the same document instead of emailing changes back and forth to each other.

Instead of taking a flash drive back & forth, just upload the document to Google Docs and then retrieve it online! It is all safe & secure and stored off-site in case you have a computer crash.

Gmail Task List!

I have been a Gmail user for at least two years and like it more and more the longer I use it! I also use Firefox for my Internet browser. I like all the tools you can add to it to make it more customized to what you use!

A couple of days ago, I discovered that Gmail now has a Task List! It “docks” right in your email and you can pop it out. I have been wanting something easy to use at work for the many, many little things that have to be done. I jot a note, try a To Do list and always seem to lose the paper, etc.! This works so handy! I can even have a separate list for home and work and switch back and forth. If I’m at home and think of something I need to do at work, I can just add it to my Task List and not worry about it until I’m at work!

It is very easy to add a task, check it off, delete it, edit it, and use Control Up or Down arrow to change the order!  I’m sure there are more things it can do that I haven’t even discovered yet!

I discovered ANOTHER really neat thing it will do! When you are reading an email and you want to remind yourself to follow up on it, just click the drop-down box in gmail and select “add to Tasks”! You can assign a date to it or just put it there. It automatically puts a link to the original email in the Task! SWEET!

I also really like the new “themes” for the Gmail background! It makes it less boring!

Chat Program

I used to use Trillian, but found a new program I like better! It’s called Digsby! This lets you use AIM, MSN, Yahoo, google talk and Facebook – all in ONE program!

Web Safety for Firefox

I came across a new plug-in for Firefox that is worth sharing! The “Web of Trust” application puts a small colored circle by web links in your email or web pages. They are colored green (for good), yellow (for caution) or red (for stop). You can also customize it for safety of your childen’s web browsing as well. Hopefully by paying attention to the color of the circles, you can prevent a lot of spyware from being downloaded as well!

Check out Web of Trust!

IRS says it’s OK to go paperless!

I just read a post in a blog that referenced this IRS publication. The IRS is recommending scanning your important documents and saving them to a CD or DVD, preferably in a safe location away from your own home or office. I have been scanning my papers for the last year or so. I did check with my tax preparer last year if this was OK and she said it is.

When I started doing this, I decided that it was safer than a stack of paper records which could be damaged by water, fire or just lost or misplaced. They can also be searched a little easier if you convert your PDF files to a searchable PDF with OCR (optical character recognition) software. There are many options for this also.

Recently I have been reading about storing or backing up your PC to a secure online website. This may be another option as long as they are very secure and safe, but I would still have my own DVD backups kept in a safe place.