Whew... finally finished a post in time for the Carnival.
This month’s Carnival of Journalism asks: how do you hack your life? What tools and techniques allow you to work smarter and more effectively?
There are four big things I want to focus on in this post.
- How my Kindle makes me a better worker and a more reliable journalist.
- Why After the Deadline makes me a better writer.
- The wonderful powers of Boolean logic and other special search operators.
- A list of the other major tools I recommend to student journalists daily.
The Kindle 3G is a miracle tool
I purchased a Kindle 3G a bit more than half a year ago. Since then it has become my professional safety net. The Kindle has a long battery life and the 3G version gets internet pretty much everywhere for free. This makes the device my ultimate fall back. Amazon says the browser on the Kindle is experimental but it works just fine. There are a lot of things you can do with it.
- Get directions on Google Maps
- Send text messages with Google Voice
- Store all your reference materials, code cheat sheets and textbooks.
- Take notes using my special P2 theme
- Read Google Reader’s mobile edition
- Check email
- Look up words in the dictionary
- Google things
- Check Wikipedia
- Oh… and read books of course.
I also wrote a post a little while back on why I consider the Kindle my digital swiss army knife, with more reasons why the device is the most reliable tool in my arsenal.
After the Deadline plus WordPress will make you a better writer
After the Deadline is a WordPress plugin and now a Chrome extension that takes your spell check to the next level. In addition to the standard check for misspellings, After the Deadline also looks for style issues and checks your grammar. It’s much better than Word.
Install the plugin, start blogging with it and you’ll see right away just how good it is at catching errors. I pay attention to the plugin and correct where it indicates. As a result, I’ve seen a significant increase in my writing’s quality over time.
Search operators save me a lot of time and help make sure I can find exactly what I’m looking for
If you are not already familiar with Boolean Logic as a way to window searches, you are missing out on one of the most useful techniques of the information age.
However, Boolean operators are just the beginning. Google, Twitter, GMail and others all have specific search operators to help you find what you are looking for.
Here’s my post on Boolean, Google and Twitter search operators. Then, to really power through GMail, you need to check out this list of special search operators for Google Mail users.
From Research to Release: using the free web to create better journalism
I also maintain a list of free tools that journalists can use to create better content. Check out the list and add your own suggestions.