It’s nice to have (at the very least) one day a year that we can all slow down and give thanks for the people, things and opportunities that make our lives run, leap and rock!
Given that the Schipulites are driven by technology, we’ve got some geeky tools and tech that makes our everyday just that much better. Check out some of the technologies and online sources of inspiration that the Schipul team is thankful for this year!
The Avant Garden Houston website from design to development confirmed my love for what I do here at Schipul. It’s gorgeous, it’s incredibly functional in Tendenci and its the perfect example of how easy it is to use. And (Mariana) as the perfect client always helps!!
After suffering through cars with a vendetta against my savings accounts (guess how many mechanic’s children I’ve helped put through college!?), I bought an awesome Kia Forte with Bluetooth wireless phone connection. While having a safe and non-breaking down car is beyond dreamy, that wireless cell phone feature is the best thing since sliced marzipan (I’ve always hated those wireless ear pieces). Love, love, love. Never realized how much I needed it until I had it!
The site that I’m really obsessing over right now that I discovered in 2011 is Pinterest! Before Pinterest, I was scouring the internet for images I loved and then just dumping them into a folder on my desktop, never to be seen again. With Pinterest I can still have those amazing images then categorize them into whatever I want for easy viewing. My images and ideas are then shared visually with my friends & family and I can discover even more great ideas from the plethora of photos that Pinterest has stored. Just by searching “nail polish” I found nails painted like hamburgers, sneakers, apples, etc. For anyone who loves DIY crafts, cooking, or even wedding planning – this is an amazing site to find ideas and store them easily to share and inspire others!
I would have to say my favorite tool would have to be hands down the right click to inspect and element you get with the developer tools you get in Google Chrome 🙂 So simple yet infinitely awesome. It maintains my sanity i tell ya. 🙂
I think that the new guy I use the most this year is “InstaPaper.” I’ve used Evernote for awhile to archive articles I know I’ll have to reference again, but I like to reserve Evernote for things I’m really going to need in the future. I run into an issue when I get a chance to glance over my social media accounts and the like and see links to what might be really cool articles, but I don’t know, and I don’t really have the time to read them on the spot. With Instapaper’s “Read Later” button that I can add to my browser bar, I can just archive the article, read it later, and if it’s worth it, archive it to Evernote at that time. Now, I don’t have to add whatever site I’m linked to to my Google Reader, I don’t have to give an article I haven’t even read yet Evernote status, and I don’t have to keep that tab open on my browser for three days till I find time to read the article.
I am most thankful for these three amazingly helpful sites:
- http://pinterest.com/ – gives me ideas for EVERYTHING!
- http://www.thebestdesigns.com/ – gives me ideas for web design
- http://w3schools.com/ – gives me the answers I need when my brain doesn’t want to work.
We’re using GitHub to managing our code repository. GitHub, launched in February 2008, is an online source code hosting service using Git as a version control system. It is a great collaboration tool for developers in terms of good user experience. Some of the features I really like including network graph, activity feeds, online edits and being able to comment on commits, etc.
I’m thankful for my Garmin Nuvi 3790 that I bought when I moved to California. Years ago my father had bought me my first GPS, a thoughtful gift based off a late night frantic phone call he received from me, begging for step by step guidance through downtown Houston. Direction has never been my strong suit. That GPS was super handy, but often frustrating because it took so long to boot up. When I was about to move, I knew I’d need something a little more responsive for learning my way around Silicon Valley. Enter the 3790. It’s super slim and light, you can talk to it, it can function as your phone (helpful for California’s hands-free laws) and the best part – is always ready for a new navigation, no boot time needed. I’ve learned my way around fairly quickly and don’t use the Nuvi much anymore, but it’s great to have it ready for those times when you swear you know where you’re going and then get totally turned around. Not that that happens to me. (Yesterday.)
Just released this month, I think I’ve finally found my music library solution in iTunes Match. Being able to organize your library at home, download other songs at work, organize them independently and have them all sync up in the cloud? Throw in the fact that it can sync with your iPhone as well, and it’s virtually the perfect solution for those of us who obsessively categorize and clean meta data. Twenty-five dollars a year is easily worth not having the hassle of transporting mp3s or keeping two libraries in sync.”
Some things I’m thankful for:
- Square – I LOVE having my square anywhere I go. Recently I used it so a lady who was buying something from us on Craiglist could use her credit card. I’m also stoked that Square has released Card Case which allows you to check in to vendors, open a tab, and pay there or at your leisure. Really cool technology :).
- Reddit – I visit this website multiple times a day. In fact there are only few sites I visit on the web. Reddit is my #1 site because it’s a great community, has great content, and contains a huge sub-reddit culture so I can find whatever I’m interested in. Example: http://www.reddit.com/r/gaming, http://www.reddit.com/r/
- MailChimp – MailChimp is SO amazing. I run a bunch of mailing lists for churches, non-profits, various ministires, and my Flashmob group, all with the FREE service level that MailChimp provides. The interface is excellent, it’s easy to use, provides excellent analytics and has a killer free plan. Not to mention the hilarious culture and light-hearted approach to their brand, MailChimp is one of the best things to come along the web in a long time.
It may sound cheesy coming from a website design company employee, but I am so thankful for WordPress. It’s user friendly and so adaptable to themes, plug ins and content. I use WordPress outside of work for my blogs and love it. Having something readily available for my thoughts and also showing me other blogs to gather inspiration and knowledge from reminds me why WordPress is one of a kind and so AWESOME.
All The Pretty Birds is a blog by fashion photographer Tamu McPherson. Tamu’s content is inspiring, but I’m most fascinated by her ‘approachability.â€ Her blog is lovely and friendly’ so much so that I’m likely to click on any link she shares. Visiting her site feels like reading letters and postcards from an old friend.
I am grateful for: The democratization of information, the capacity of facts to empower the weak and customizable keyboard shortcuts in MS excel.
Github – Github manages all of our code. It makes using git a bit easier and it provides an interface for awesome features like blame and tracking our commits. Through their APIs we are able to deploy our code from a central place quickly and easily. We are able to all stay on the same page, so code conflicts occur rarely. We get more done faster because of Github.
- Monster Rehab – Whether you are rehabilitating from a serious Red Bull habit, or you just got nauseous brushing your teeth, this is the drink for you. It will give you the caffeine you need to start a day or just remember last night. It has 10 calories, tastes like an Arnold Palmer Gatorade, and best of all, it’s not carbonated. Cause the last thing you should do right now is burp.
- Android portable Wi-Fi hotspot – The best thing about the smart phone was the ability to have internet in your pocket. Turn on an Android hotspot, and your phone acts like a portable wireless router. Speeds on my carrier are fast, and it supports up to five connected devices. Use it to connect any wireless device to the web virtually anywhere. Or let your friends connect with their smartphones. Then brag about how awesome you are.
- BuckyBalls: Thanks to my roommate for snagging these on a gift while on layover in an airport. Now, nearly the entire office is addicted to creating engaging Buckminster Fuller designs with the rare earth magnets. Productivity, zero. Mind rest in Quadrant 4, awesome.
- Kindle Fire: Color ebooks from Amazon on an affordable device that fits in my handbag. More readable than my phone, and easy, easy consumption of digital ‘stuffâ€ when I want it.
- Evernote: I totally underutilize this, but the quick synching and sharing of a note or list across multiple devices or people is just insanely helpful, especially during the holidays! Did you really think I would remember to pick up 3 different types of cinnamon, apricot filling, and sour cream from that recipe I saved back in July? Thank goodness for portable files.
I am thankful for the Up Experience and one of their amazing speakers in particular, Benjamin Zander. He shows through ‘The Art of Possibilityâ€ how to make the most out of a situation. At the Up Experience not only did he share his views on creativity and how to bring out excellence in others, but he also showed us passion and understanding for classical music. A truly motivating day. Thanks to Ernie and Sheryl Rapp for putting it together.
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for Tendenci and our Programming Team who created it. I am on a lot of association committees and am usually the geeky one on the committee so I always get the job of managing internet, website, and communications. I see at least 1 new software tool every single day if not multiple. To me, Tendenci is to websites what WordPress is for blogs.
The YouTube beauty community has been an inspiration to me for years now, but especially in 2011. I started my own beauty blog in January 2011 after watching YouTube ‘beauty gurusâ€ on a daily basis. I am pretty much addicted to watching makeup, hair and nail tutorials as well as clothing hauls from all of my subscriptions. The best part is connecting with people who have similar interests as you, but may live in other states or countries.
I’ve even had the opportunity to live chat with some beauty gurus through BlogTV (not as addictive as YouTube, but neat none the less). If you are into makeup and fashion you really need to check out the YouTube beauty community.
Here are some of my favorite beauty gurus:
I’m thankful for Siri, she’s officially my new bestfriend and tells me where the hottest places are. I asked her if she could find me a girlfriend and she searched for escort services around the city of Houston, now that’s what I call a ‘wingman’.
- Instapaper for keeping my mind from being idle at anytime
- Twitter for broadcasting the revolutions better and faster than traditional media
- The AV Club for exploring not only the best and worse but also the hows and whys of pop culture
- FFFFOUND! for encouraging creativity
- 5by5 podcasts for making my commute bearable.
I am thankful for online inspiration in 2011 from the blog Zen Habits. A blog about productivity, creativity, and embracing what’s really important. The gadget that has changed my life in 2011 is my Logitech Harmony all in one remote – we have all of the devices in the house programmed, including the fan! I am obsessed.
Chuzzle ‘ This is an iphone app game that I am completely obsessed with. You do not need to be tech-smart, nor do you need to be over the age of 1 years old. All you need to know is how to connect the same colored Chuzzles (adorable, googly-eyed balls of fur) and prepare for non-stop explosions.
Sound pedestrian? Well, it is. But I am forever thankful for this little gem because it helps me fall asleep in less than 5 minutes and takes my mind off of everyday stresses. And here’s a fun fact: Scientists believe that Chuzzles discovered cinnamon.
One of my favorite things that I’ve used so far this year is the Flipboard app for the iPad. It is kind of like an RSS reader that allows you to customize feeds of content from different sources (Wired, Cool Hunter, etc.). It also connects to your flickr, Facebook, and Twitter so you can flip through your friends’ updates and see images they post or go to links so it makes the user experience much better.
- Kindle Fire: I’m thankful for my new Amazon $200 Kindle Fire which isn’t just a book-reader that happens to have web browsing capabilities and can run Netflix. It is also an important video game platform. With the usual games like Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja, it runs the sci-fi horror game Dead Space with absolutely no effort.
- Xbox 360: I’m grateful for my Xbox 360 not only for the games but mostly for the Netflix and Hulu Plus apps. There isn’t a time at home when I’m not logged into Xbox Live. Nowadays, I never miss an episode of Modern Family or Parks and Recreation.
I’m thankful for in-ear thermometers. They are so easy to use and allow me to take a hot baby’s temperature in seconds compared to minutes with a non-in-ear thermometer. Speed of use is critical when you have a wriggly grumpy feverish baby. Each in-ear thermometer also allows you to share usage with other folks because they come with disposable covers that go over the part that you stick in your ear. Another favourite feature is the memory store that they have for previously taken temperatures.