Tag Archives: email

Tech Friday: Text Substitution saves you time.

For years I thought it would be great to just type a few letters and have whole sentences pop up. I never got around to setting that up on my computer, though it’s nearly always been available.

Currently though, I find myself typing a number of the same things, both when I’m home blogging (for example my name, email and URL), and at work (repetitive statements, like teachers had for grade reports back in the day). So I finally decided it was time.

My program of choice is AutoHotKey (thanks Lifehacker). With a simple script I can turn “af” into “Ariah Fine” and much much more.

  1. Download AutoHotKey
  2. right click and select ‘new’->’AutoHotkey Script’ from the menu.
  3. Now insert this string:
    :oc:af::Ariah Fine
    and then copy that pattern to insert whatever else you’d like to (oc means hotstring).
  4. Now for fancier insert:
    :oc:gws::^+{Left}^xGet Well Soon, ^v{BS}{!}
    This will turn this: ‘Suzy gws’ into ‘Get Well Soon, Suzy!’
    Have fun changing that around.
  5. That should be plenty to get you started. Once your done just save and close and then double click your script and it’ll show up in the system tray. Enjoy!

Why RSS?

If I have time I’ll try and draw a diagram of this but for now just bear with me. Think of communication is being one of two things: either a flowing stream or fishing.
I think the reason people like TV is that it is more or less a stream. You turn it on and all the communication comes flowing right out at you, little to no effort on your part. Less people are interested in the Newspaper, it requires more work on your part. You might no you like the sports section, in the same way you know when your favorite show is on, but it still takes some effort.
For most of our use of the web we do quite a bit of fishing. If you want to catch up on the news you fish over at CNN or BBC and scan the stories and pluck out the ones that interest you. With all the blogs and websites out there these days we do a lot of fishing, I would guess most people go to about 5-10 websites a day to catch up on the latest, whatever that might be.
Email is more like a stream, but it’s become such a nasty one (who put that processed meat in there?), that we seem to be doing a lot of fishing in our OWN rainbows (just like in our physical mailboxes).

Welcome RSS. RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication.” You’ll notice these letters stuck in some corner of most websites you browse, or sticking out in a bright orange box. It’s about time you learned what that is. Basically RSS allows you to take the flowing stream of a website you might frequent, and put it into your own pool (like an email subscription on speed). Basically what it allows you to do is take all the text, stories, pictures, etc. that you might be looking at from ten different websites each day and allows you to put them all into one. It’s like a customized newspaper just for you.

I myself currently use bloglines. In it I have a sidebar with a tech section, friends sections, feedback (people’s comments on my blogs), and more. The beauty is basically that on one page I can check 45 (and more as I add them) different webpages to see if there is any new information I might be interested in. It gets even cooler as you start looking into search RSS (I can see everytime a new result comes up under “ariah fine” on an msn.com search, and I will know whenever a blog has the word “ariah” in it). I can’t tell you how much time this ends up saving. I mean it really really does.

The other neat thing is that using a RSS reader like bloglines allows me to seperate my reading material from real communication. I’ve changed about 90% of the email subscriptions and things that I had over to my bloglines account. This way, when I hear the ding that I have new mail I’m fairly confident it’s a personal communication. And when I’m good and read I can look at bloglines and read all the things that might bore me, interest me, and cause me to waste hours of time.

So is anyone interested in some helping setting up a bloglines account?