This week’s guest speaker was Imogen Woodford, who came to give us advice on software and general tips to help managing a business, which really got me thinking about things.
Planning and Organisation
Something I really really should concentrate a lot harder on is general time management. Imogen suggested an application I’d previously heard mentioned; Remember the Milk. Something worth looking into due to it’s notification and syncing features, I currently use Appigo Todo, but haven’t really got the syncing with iCal set up to my satisfaction. It sort of works, as I use it mainly on my custom iPhone lockscreen (to be featured in a future post), but it sure would be nice to have a little more ‘push’ assistance to really nag me to get things done. MobileMe gets all my calendars (Work, Freelance, Uni and Personal) synced nicely across my devices, and I’ve recently started really pushing myself to use it for every little thing, I need to rule over myself a bit more to dedicate time to doing certain things, else I just won’t get them done when the work (hopefully) starts to mount up more.
This is something I mainly have under control due to Billings being absolutely fantastic. Again, I need to get round to setting the database up on the iDisk, as at the moment it’s a bit of a pain to use it on the MacBook when I’m out and about, then export all the slips back to the iMac, it sure would be nice to have it centralised in the Cloud, then I’d be much more tempted to work on the move, for the simplicity of billing my time. I can’t recommend Billings enough, especially with its minimal pricetag, the stress it’s saved me from the times I was using Office for Mac, and seeing my Excel invoices disintegrate before my eyes due to corrupted files is worth the price, and then some. In terms of separating out personal finances, I really, really, really need to get a business bank account setup now, that’s right at the top of priorities.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from doing an A-Level in Computing (Networking & Programming), it’s gotta be: backup, backup your backup, and then back that up for good measure. Mine’s taken care of by all essential data for sites being stored primarily on a local iDisk image, synced to the cloud as soon as something’s changed, so it’s constant across the iMac and MacBook (and any other devices I choose to access it from), both Macs local storage are also backed up with Time Machine to the Time Capsule automagically. It might seem excessive, and thankfully I don’t have to use it to recover things that frequently, but it’s saved me a couple of times, and you just don’t know how much you’ll value all your data being easily restorable until your iMac decides it has had it with living. If you’re looking for a bit of free online backup, you can’t go wrong with DropBox, MobileMe just happens to give me 20GB included in a package I already have. All other security issues (hardware etc.) are taken care of by Mac OS being built on Unix, nuff said.
Research & Development
Something I’ve really bought into over the past year, I’ve well and truly ‘got my RSS on’, and started following anything that’s relatively interesting or relevant to design and tech. I enjoy doing it as much as it is essential to stay current, which is pretty handy really. NetNewsWire is really easy to use, syncs with Google Reader, and is my favourite kind of price: free. MobileRSS is thus far the nicest RSS reader for iPhone I’ve found, it’s clean looking, has a nice homescreen icon (I’m picky about the apps’ icons I’ll allow), and thanks to a recent update, a ‘shake to view fullscreen’ feature that really comes in handy, and puts the previous and next icons in a more comfortable place. Worth the £1.79, though there is a free, ad supported version. (There’s also a Pro version for £2.99, but all that gives you is keyword searching, and you lose the nice orange RSS logo for a blue one. As I said, I’m picky.)
As my recent blogs will hopefully prove, I’m trying really hard to get myself out there, it’s still something I need a kick to do, though I have been poking my nose into organisations that can help, and got a telephone call from a representative from BNI this week about the possibility of joining one of their chapters. Shall update as I receive news. I also still need to setup my LinkedIn profile. Add that to the long list of Todos. And then there’s writing articles that’ll hopefully get me noticed, hence the loooong blog today with lots of links, and potentially useful information. Hopefully at least some of it was helpful to someone.