What’s Your Excuse?

September 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

Learning new things always makes me happy. There’s just something about it that is so exhilarating to me. The synapses start firing and new ones are blooming and I feel alive. Suddenly, my world is filled with possibilities again.

If going to school wasn’t so expensive, I swear I’d be a professional student. I remember being down in the dumps a few years ago and my dad signed me up for Illustrator classes to cheer me up. It worked like a charm.

Christmas came early when I saw this link a few weeks ago: The No Excuse List

Nerdgasm, anyone?


Looook! All the online classes you could ever want! For free! If I knew how to do cartwheels, I’d be doing them down the street.

Tons and tons of classes in front of me, I didn’t even know where to click first. The only thing that was missing from this site was YouTube and iTunes U. It’s not that I want to take every single class that’s out there, but my nerdy little heart just sings with joy at the thought of all the things that are available for us to learn.

Right now, I’m taking up a gamification course on Coursera. I’m a bit behind on the videos (okay, who am I kidding, I am WAY behind), but I’m really enjoying it. I haven’t done the written assignments, so I probably won’t qualify for the certificate of completion, but that’s alright. The site is easy to use, and the material is presented in a clear and organized manner. Learning at your own pace, from wherever you are, has never been so easy.

There are a lot of resources on the web for learning, and the No Excuse List makes most of it a breeze to find. So rejoice my fellow lovers of learning, looks like we have enough to keep us gleefully busy for the next few years.



Clear: The Pretty Way to Productive

September 17, 2012 § Leave a comment


I am one of those people that are forever making lists. I make the lists, cross a few things off it, then I make new lists. I write them on little scraps of paper, I write them on my notebooks, and I write them on my gazillion apps. (I kinda wish there was an app to manage all my other to-do apps.)

Why I find comfort in making lists and why making my to-do list takes up half a day will be a topic for another post. But what I wanted to write about today is an app called Clear.

Clear is a to-do app that takes full advantage of the gestures feature on the iPhone. Pull down or up to create a new item, swipe right to mark as done, swipe left to delete — all the while giving each item its own place in a spectrum of color to live in. That makes it way more pleasing to look at than a plain white list with a tick-box, which I suppose could help motivate you into at least looking at your list. There’s nothing magical about Clear. Just an app that does what it does, but boy, it sure does look pretty doing it.

Clear turns your to-do list from a cold, austere thing impatiently tapping its foot into a warm and pleasant guide, if you will, to making your day more productive.

So pretty.

Clear is available for $2.99 on the app store.

Haiku Deck: Short and Sweet

September 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

Ever attend a presentation and be absolutely wowed by the deck? Or sit through one where you had to lean forward in your chair, squint and read the teeny tiny text on a crowded slide? The presentation deck can make or break a pitch and more often than not, we see decks that confuse rather than convince.

“But presentation apps can be such a pain to use sometimes,” you complain. “What font? What layout? And where do I find the visuals to go with my slides?” I hear ya. I know you’re tired. I shed a tear for you every time I see a deck filled with bullet points and hideous clip art. That’s why a lightbulb went off in my head when I stumbled across Haiku Deck for the iPad.

Haiku Deck comes with five free themes you can use to get you started. Once you’ve picked a theme, just type in your text, and the app will take a keyword from your slide and fetch Creative Commons-licensed photos that you can use as background. Choose your text layout, and wash, rinse, repeat until your last slide.

Present directly from your iPad, or share your deck via email, Facebook and Twitter. Haiku Deck will help you make your slides as spiffy and as can be and as easily as can be.

View the gallery of some featured decks here: http://www.haikudeck.com/gallery

Screenshot of one of the sample haiku decks by Adam Tratt

Haiku Deck is available for free on the App Store and requires an iPad with iOS 5.0 or later.


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