This website covers topics on knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

Some other tools in my space

I wrote a few days ago about my PKM System, where I focused on email and file management, and I discussed some of the flow of my work.  There are some other tools in my suite that help me with the flow of my work: anagram, BlogJet, Movable Type, MindManager, Outclass, AddEmailAddress, Firefox, AdAware, SmartList to Go, Flickr, Skype and emacs

anagram integrates with Outlook and helps me automate the process of creating contacts, appointments, notes and tasks from text that people send or that I come across on the web.  This is most helpful.  And I recently discovered that it works the other way around: when you have one of these items open, anagram places an item on the toolbar that lets you "copy as text" to paste into outgoing messages.  This makes it easy to copy contact information into an email message, for example.  From their website, they also have versions that work with Palm Desktop and Salesforce.com.  They offer a 45-day free trial, and purchase cost is $20.

BlogJet is my blog composition tool.  It's in the family of WYSIWYG editors that make life easier for bloggers.  The development team are responsive to suggestions, and the current version has most of what I want.  If you are tired of the web-based editor that comes with your tool, have a look.  They provide a 30-day free trial.  Cost is $40.

Movable Type 3 is my blogging engine, which I've used from the get go.  As I am moderately technically savvy, I wanted a tool that I could install on servers under my control.  The cost for MT depends on your planned usage and starts at $70 for individuals, less for education and not-for-profits.  KM Chicago uses Blogspot, and that works fine too.

MindManager for drawing mind maps.  I finally bought this tool to help in my thinking process around the KM class I am teaching at Northwestern.  I have also started using it with potential clients, and I am using it for my own purposes around looking at my future.  I think visually in some areas, and this is a nice complement to the "visual filing system" I have in PersonalBrain.  Cost is around $200 ($300 for the Pro version), depending on where you purchase it.  They offer a 21-day free trial.

Popfile + Outclass to banish spam in Outlook.  Popfile is a mail classification tool that one can train to stuff mail into any number of buckets.  Outclass is the Outlook plug-in that makes Popfile much more handy.  Getting these set up requires more than novice skill, but not expert.  While the tool can be trained to file in as many folders as you like, I have set it up to learn about spam / not spam.  I use the additional feature of "magnets" (similar to Outlook's rules) to file mail into appropriate mailing-list buckets.  These tools are free.

AddEmailAddress is another Outlook plug-in.  This tool watches what mail I send and asks me if I want to add new e-mail addresses to my contact list, this is a basic function and quite handy.  I add several new contacts to my list on busy mailing days.  (I have also looked at Bells & Whistles for Outlook on recommendation, but I found that it slowed the computer when searching for contact matches in my 1000+ contacts.)  Cost is $20 with no free trial. 

Firefox is my primary web browser, though half the reason I use it is to not use MSIE.  Why else I am using it has to do with the extensions, primarily SessionSaver that remembers all the open tabs and EditCSS that lets me dynamically tweak style sheets on websites I've been managing.  That said, Firefox has been doing odd things lately.  After visiting a wifi cafe last week, it seems to be losing its ability to see the 'net.  Everything else will be fine, but I'll need to shut it down.  Seems like a bug or unwanted spyware, but I can't find anything.

AdAware is my backup spy catcher to the primary of Norton's anti-virus and firewall.  AdAware hasn't found anything beyond activity-tracking cookies, but it's nice to have.  I also check my program list from time to time to see if there is anything obviously bad.  Things like the Startup Applications List or Task List Programs have been quite helpful in tracking down those poorly-named processes that run in the background.  AdAware offer a free version, and they have upgrades available to purchase.

SmartList to Go is a database for PDA's.  I've got a Palm Pilot (Palm Tungsten T), which I use much less now that I have my laptop with me nearly all the time.  But this tool is something I really like.  I have set up several databases to track important-to-me things: books (read and to-be-read), bike rides (distance, speed), and a few other things.  It has a desktop tool, so I can edit either on the computer or the PDA.  And I can export the databases if I need to do something like print or do heavy lifting of the data.  The tool comes from Datavis, who have a bunch of other PDA tools, like Documents To Go.  It costs $50, and there is a limited trial download.

I share selected photos on Flickr, which seems to be one of the easier tools for this purpose.  I wonder how long before Yahoo incorporates Flickr into their photo tool.  The free version limits you to 100 viewable photos, but it never loses any.  With the pay option, you get all your photos and probably fewer limits on uploads per month.  Since I share selected photos, this works just fine. 

Skype is my primary instant message and voice over IP tool.  I've used it more for IM than for phone conversations, but it is a nice addition to the rest of my suite.

I use emacs for windows for general text editing and coding, since it has a much more powerful macro capability than any of the standard tools that come on the PC.  I used to use it for mail and news reading, but gave it up for Outlook and fuller integration with other personal information.  This has been free forever, thanks to gnu.

For graphics, I haven't really settled on anything.  I just don't do enough drawing to spend the effort (and money) on the fancier tools.  Microsoft's Visio is one of the standards for "engineering drawings" that aren't CAD, and I recently discovered SmartDraw that offers a 30-day trial.  Both of these sell for around $200. 

I'm sure I've missed a few tools or services, but this covers most of the tools that I use.  Not sure that you are interested in my use of eMusic for music or that I just use the built-in music listening and CD-burning tools.

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South Park Jack