Software I Live By: ClearContext#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

I am one of those people who…

  • Gets as much email traffic as Grand Central Station at rush hour, and;
  • Desperately tries to manage his Inbox effectively, usually without success.

While I have read and tried to apply David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” principles to my Inbox (even trying the GTD add-in for Microsoft Outlook), I just didn’t feel the techniques and technology worked for me. As a result, effectively managing my email flow has resulted in more effort than it’s worth. Then, I was introduced to ClearContext.

 ClearContext

ClearContext accomplishes the three most important aspects (to me, personally) of effective Inbox management:

  1. The ability to tag and file email messages and still maintain context.
    While I can use categories and can manually move messages to different folders, tracking and finding things 
  2. The ability to quickly act upon emails within the Outlook environment.
    By this, I mean turning emails in Appointments and Tasks. Yes, I can do this manually; in order to make sure that I still keep relevant information in the right place, though, takes time.
  3. The ability to easily see threads and relevant information.
    Sure – Outlook has threaded views. However, as you move emails around, threads are not so easy to manage.

I could go on and on about this (and other awesome features in ClearContext), but I will let this video demo of ClearContext Personal speak for itself -


Best of all ClearContext Personal is free! Once you get hooked on the free edition and see the Professional Edition, you will likely see the value of this commercial release. I definitely did ;-) It adds the ability to defer acting on emails for a specified time, temporarily moving the email from the Inbox. In addition, the ability to create tasks and appointments with the click of a button are available in the Professional Edition. Here is a video demo of ClearContext Professional in action -


If there is any question as to how effective ClearContext is to me, consider the fact that I used to be someone who averaged over 100 Inbox messages at any given time, even with Inbox management. With ClearContext, I now average around 10 messages in the Inbox at any time!

If you are feeling overwhelmed by email, you should definitely give ClearContext a try.

02/14/2009 11:14:27 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

Software I Live By: TechSmith’s SnagIt and Camtasia#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

Recently, I began posting up on my personal blog about some of the software that I use on a daily basis that I have come to find invaluable. When I mentioned this to Steve Hughes, he asked why I wasn’t posting things here as well. My answer was “Well, it’s not all Windows Mobile, you know.” ;-) he still thought that this would be of interest to our readers. As a result, this is the first in a series of posts I started writing about “Software I Live By”…

I often feel remiss in not giving enough praise where praise is due. I especially feel this way when a product or products I use simply make my life easier and more productive. Such is the case with TechSmith’s awesome products – SnagIt and Camtasia Studio.

 

snagitlogo

CamtasiaStudio

 

While I often rely on screen capture software for product reviews and news publishing at BostonPocketPC.com, this is but a fraction of what I do in my daily life. Most recently, I have been spending a great deal of time in documentation work. As you might imagine, both words and images make for good step-by-step instruction. While SnagIt is generally categorized as screen capture software, the product goes far beyond that simple action. It’s ability to allow me to capture and buffer multiple successive screen shots without the need for stopping and saving after each individual capture is invaluable from a productivity perspective. The SnagIt Editor is an amazing compliment to the screen capture functionality, and allows for the mark-up of captures with professional polish.

Recording video demonstrations of software is also an important part of my life, and I have yet to find a single solution that works nearly as well as Camtasia Studio. Whether it is ease of use,  the vast array of editing and production options or the reliability of the product as a whole, Camtasia Studio is nothing short of being the ssoftware recording equivalent of a best friend for me.

TechSmith also continues to amaze me with each new product release. I continually ask the question “what more could a new release have to offer?”, only to be impressed with the result. TechSmith truly listens to their community of users when it comes to both issues and requests.

If you are someone who regularly needs to capture screenshots and you aren’t already using SnagIt, I cannot encourage you enough to give it a try. The same goes for those who regularly record video from your desktop; Camtasia Studio is the way to go. I really don’t know how I would function without these products. More importantly, I don’t know how I would ever finish a project without them :-)

02/12/2009 09:39:39 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback

 

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