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15 Posts tagged with the useful tag
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Mobsters iPhone Playdom IDs to Grow Your Mob is a post from: Shanghai Tech Writer Mobsters iPhone Playdom IDs to Grow Your Mob is a post from: Shanghai Tech Writer Recently, I’ve been playing...

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Originally posted by Susan at http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SHTechWriter/~3/qHWCuCWOxCs/
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Using Google Pinyin Input Method is a post from: Shanghai Tech Writer Using Google Pinyin Input Method is a post from: Shanghai Tech Writer I use Google Pinyin IME to type Chinese characters on the...

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Originally posted by Susan at http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SHTechWriter/~3/eeMd3W_l-o0/
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Fixing WordPress 2.9 Missed Schedule Bug is a post from: Shanghai Tech Writer Fixing WordPress 2.9 Missed Schedule Bug is a post from: Shanghai Tech Writer Now that I’ve had a little bit more...

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Originally posted by Susan at http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SHTechWriter/~3/BWCrPUMZGCk/
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I get Technology Review, a magazine published by MIT, every two months because my husband is an alumni. Every issue of Technology Review showcases breakthrough and innovative technologies in various...

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Originally posted by Susan at http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SHTechWriter/~3/aoL9PchD49A/
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The long awaited Zhang Jiang Light Rail finally completed all construction and testing. The light rail begins operations today! For more than a year, the streets of Zhang Jiang have been torn upside...

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Originally posted by Susan at http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SHTechWriter/~3/CWbXLLfyHTQ/
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I finally received an invite to Google Voice today after submitting an invitation request several months ago! Currently, Google Voice is available by invite only. If you’d like an invite, click here...

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Originally posted by Susan at http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SHTechWriter/~3/r1cRtPA3S5k/
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I am a big Google fan! I love Gmail. I love Picasa. I love Google Earth. I love Google Sketchup. I love Google Chrome. And when Google Wave comes out later this year, I know I am going to love that...

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Originally posted by Susan at http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SHTechWriter/~3/-yVkeZVdl5o/
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As the anniversary of a particular unnamed event is coming up, the Great Firewall of China is becoming a popular destination for Websites like YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, Blogspot, WordPress.com, Live,...

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Originally posted by Susan at http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SHTechWriter/~3/EA3AqJ8cgZg/
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Want to know how long it takes to load your website from different parts of the world? Use InternetSupervision to monitor your site’s performance from around the world.  Shanghai Tech Writer...

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Originally posted by Susan at http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SHTechWriter/~3/gI6YNJ9tbJU/
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Lifehacker featured an online project management tool that is free, robust, and easy to use! Gantter is a web-based project management tool that looks very similar to Microsoft Project, but is so much easier to use. You can create, import, and export project files, including projects created in MS Project.  

image

I created a sample project using Gantter. The online tool is so easy to use!  I know this is the 3rd time I’ve said this already, but I hate MS Project. MS Project has got to be the most un-intuitive and difficult to use project management tool out there.

For lack of better and robust options, many companies (like National Instruments) end up using MS Project to manage various projects. I think we use MS Project to manage many (most?) of our software and documentation projects at the Shanghai branch. I believe this is also the case in Austin.

My Homebrewed Project Management Tool

I hear my colleagues complain about MS Project all the time, but no one has found a better alternative. After using MS Project for two documentation releases, I got fed up and created my own nifty project management tool using Microsoft Excel and a few macros. My tool looks very similar to Gantter, but is even easier to use! You can see tasks and a dynamic Gantt chart on the same page. I even created buttons (macros) to add projects (pre-defined tasks), generate a to-do list, publish to HTML, and filter tasks.

I’ve been using the tool to manage my documentation project for this release, along with my lead writer and another writer. A few developers discovered my tool and is also using it to manage their projects. Thanks to my “beta-testers” feedback, I’ve made some improvements to the tool. I think the tool is working out very well for everyone so far!  I believe there will be more people using my tool for future releases!

Below are two old screenshots I took several months ago. The tool looks a little different (and better) now, but since I’m writing this post at home, I’m not able to take screenshots of the updated tool on my work computer. I managed to find an old email that happened to have these screenshots! 

So here it is, a preview of my homebrewed project management tool.

Project Tasks and Dynamic Gantt Chart

  shanghaitech writer project management tool

Auto-Generated To Do List

  shanghaitechwriter to do list

Would you believe this was created in Microsoft Excel?! And people thought Excel is only good for data entry! Excel is my favorite Microsoft Office application. (MS Project is my least favorite!) There’s so much you can do with the advanced features of Excel that most people don’t know about. I’ve picked up quite a few (advanced) Excel tricks over the years from creating administrative tools for my last job. In short, I created an entire school database and report card system using Excel!

One of these day, I will write a full post about my homebrewed project management tool and make the file/template available for everyone to download. I believe there are many people out there that also hate using MS Project. 

Meanwhile, check out Gantter and manage your projects online!

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Originally posted by Susan at http://www.shanghaitechwriter.com/2009/05/04/gantter-free-project-management-too l/
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Gmail Gmail Lab came out with a new feature that helps you to suggest more people you might want to send an email to. When you send an email to a group of people, whether family, friends, or colleagues, it’s easy to forget someone if you don’t use an email distribution list. You’d have to enter each individual name in the To: field, if you remember every person you want to send the email to.

The “Suggest More Recipients” feature remembers your emailing pattern and suggests names/emails as you enter the To: field. Clicking on the suggested name(s) adds the contact(s) to the To: field automatically. 

Suggest Email Recipients

What a brilliant and useful feature! I often send emails to multiple recipients and am always trying to remember who I’m forgetting. With this feature, Gmail helps you to remember the people you might want to include in the emailing list. It’ll be so much easier sending emails to multiple recipients from now on!

To enable this feature, go to the Labs tab under Settings in Gmail. Scroll down the list to find and enable the Suggest More Recipients feature.

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Originally posted by Susan at http://www.shanghaitechwriter.com/2009/04/29/gmail-lab-suggest-email-recipients/
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facebook In Facebook, you can import notes from an external blog. I have several blogs that I would like to import to Facebook, but unfortunately, I can only configure the import setting to import from one blog. Which blog do I import notes from? My geeky, but most popular Shanghai Tech Writer blog? My personal/family blog? My health/diet-related blog?

Yahoo! Pipes Well, choose no more. You can use Yahoo! Pipes to combine multiple RSS feeds into one! This online tool uses pipes as an illustrative method to build, combine, customize, and/or funnel feeds from different sources to one output. I used Yahoo! Pipes to combine all my blog RSS feeds into one feed. Now my Facebook friends can read all my blog posts!

How To Build a Pipe Tutorial

Here’s a video tutorial on how to build a pipe in just a few minutes. You can also find some online tutorials on creating various pipes.

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Originally posted by Susan at http://www.shanghaitechwriter.com/2009/04/09/combining-multiple-rss-feeds-using- yahoo-pipes/
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Gmail Gmail is undoubtedly the most popular email service out there because it’s free, reliable, easy to use, and offers a huge disk space. Back in the days when Gmail first came out around 2004, all the other free online email services offered a mere 2MB of email space. Gmail offered 2GB, and in addition, adds more space to your account every second.

Who needs 2GB of space anyway? So people stopped deleting emails. I stopped deleting emails. Now my Gmail account has over over 7GB of space and I’ve used up 25% of my space. That’s 1.8GB of emails, useful information, receipts, articles, news, RSS feed, attachments, pictures, files, and junk.

Gmail disk space

I probably don’t need to keep everything, but who cares about deleting emails when we have "unlimited" space? So what happens if Google goes bust one day or their servers crash? Where will all our information be? Those of you that heavily rely on Gmail to manage your life, don’t say you’ve never been warned.

Always back up your hard drive. Always back up your email account!

Check out Gmail Backup. Download this software to your computer and it will back up your Gmail account.

Gmail Backup

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Originally posted by Susan at http://www.shanghaitechwriter.com/2009/04/02/back-up-your-email-account/
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Ever wanted to change or test a new WordPress theme without making the new theme public yet? Changing WordPress themes should be as easy as clicking a template on the Appearance/Theme page of your WordPress dashboard. However, some advanced WordPress users like to tweak the template/CSS to suit their preference. It’s hard to tweak the template before changing a theme because you’re not sure whether the tweak will look right or not. Often times, you have to change the theme first, then tweak the template one modification at a time.  You have to refresh your website to see each change until you are satisfied. Meanwhile, all your visitors are seeing all the changes you are making at the same time and it’s likely that your website will exhibit strange and odd behaviors. 

I found a WordPress plugin called Theme Tester that you can use to test new WordPress themes without letting your visitors see any changes. As long as you are logged in to your blog, you will see the new theme and all the changes, but no one else will until you disable this plugin. Very useful!

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Originally posted by Susan at http://www.shanghaitechwriter.com/2009/03/24/theme-tester-wordpress-plugin/
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If you ever want to see all the backlinks to your website, your blog, or other websites, check out Link Diagnosis. You will need to install a Firefox extension to take full advantage of this online tool.

Link Diagnosis

Link Diagnosis uses Yahoo to gather backlink information, so if your site is not indexed in Yahoo, you won’t see the backlinks using this tool.

Link Diagnosis features:

  • See total number ofbacklinks
  • See Google pagerank of every backlink
  • See Anchor text of every backlink
  • See if links are no-follow
  • See most popular anchor texts
  • See most popular pages

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Originally posted by Susan at http://www.shanghaitechwriter.com/2009/03/13/link-diagnosis/