Using Google Calendar for Task Reminders

I have been using Google Calendar as an online calendar for years, but more recently I have utilized the "Reminder" feature to keep track of daily tasks, especially repeating tasks.

To create a Reminder, click on the appropriate day, enter the information, and select the Reminder button (instead of the Event button).  Googlecalendarreminder-create

You can set up the Reminder for a certain time, or leave it as "all day." You can make it a one-time task, or set up a schedule for the task.

The many options for Repeating the task are highly useful. There are multiple tasks that I do on a regular schedule, such as monthly, every other month, etc. I even have Reminders set for tasks that are only done once a year. 

Googlecalendarreminder-markasdoneWhen you have completed the task for the day, you can mark the task as done to cross it off of your list (hover your mouse over the task to get the Mark as done option). If you don't mark the task done, it will appear on the next day. The tasks keep appearing until you mark them done or delete them. 

Community Data - How do we compare?

Want to understand the industries, occupations, poverty, education, cost of living, and more in your community? 

Want to go further and see how you compare to other communities, the state, or the nation?  

Want to know how your community has changed over time? 

If so, here are a few resources to help make the analysis easier: 

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DataUSA: https://datausa.io/

Combines multiple public U.S. Government data sources into one visualization tool. The data sources are cited so you can check for more current data or actually get the underlying data so you can generate your own charts. Don’t miss the ADD COMPARISON option which allows you to compare to another community.

 

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Applied Population Lab: https://apl.wisc.edu/

The Applied Population Lab, Department of Community and Environmental Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison publishes research on Wisconsin trends. The reports and chartbooks tend to be at the county level, but many of the websites can be searched by village or town. Be sure to check-out their Wisconsin Food Security Project: http://foodsecurity.wisc.edu/ and the GetFacts: https://getfacts.wisc.edu/ websites.

 

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American FactFinder: https://factfinder.census.gov

The primary source of data used by many websites. The advanced search allows you to get the details by geographic areas including summary data for a neighboring community, the state of Wisconsin, or the entire United States. Explore the various topics including Product Type-Comparative Profiles that looks at trends over time of demographic, economic, housing, and social characteristics for populations of 5,000 or more. For details on what data can be compared, go to Comparing American Community Survey (ACS) Data: https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/guidance/comparing-acs-data.html

Easily combine text or csv files

I am totally nerding out. I admit it. I had a folder full of text files, and I wanted to dump them all into a single Excel worksheet. It turns out there is a super-easy way to do this, provided you're willing to open up a command line and type in a few DOS commands!!

Here's where I found the instructions:  https://www.rondebruin.nl/win/s3/win021.htm

In my case...

  1. I put the .log files (which are all really text files with a fancy extension) in a folder named "logs" on my desktop
  2. I clicked on the Windows Start button and typed cmd to open a command prompt
  3. My path showed that I was already in my user account. 
  4. I typed cd desktop/logs to navigate to the "logs" folder on my desktop
  5. I typed copy *.log all.txt  to copy ALL the .log files into a single text file titled "all.txt"
    Copy
  6. Then I opened Excel, chose File->Open and navigated to the all.txt file

I am ridiculously excited about this trick!

Gratitude for Technology

PresentIf you've attended a workshop* with me presenting, you'll hear me ask you to put your device away and be present. In fact, this is one of my favorite images to use when talking about being present. This doesn't mean that I'm anti-technology, though. I think it's just the opposite. I use technology all the time and am working to be more mindful of how I use it.

With Thanksgiving next week, I want to take a few minutes to tell you about some of the technology that I'm grateful for this year.

  • My new iPhone 7 (we upgraded from an iPhone 5s that we've had for over 4 years). It has lots more space for photos, podcasts, and audiobooks.
  • Speaking of podcasts, I truly appreciate the Note to Self podcast with Manoush Zomorodi. This podcast reminds me to utilize technology as a tool. And Manoush recently came out with a book, Bored and Brilliant, based on a Note to Self project. It's a great read and I highly recommend it!
  • Speaking of books, I'm grateful for digital access to advance copies from Edelweiss and NetGalley. You can have access, too. 
  • Also speaking of books, I'm grateful for Wisconsin's Digital Library, Libby, and the OverDrive App to keep me supplied with audiobooks and my husband with ebooks.
  • Google Docs makes it easy to share spreadsheets, documents, forms, etc. with my personal book club, my work groups, colleagues, etc. I use it everyday and can't imagine doing without it. There are other Google products that I use regularly - Keep, Maps, email, etc. too.
  • I discovered two new cooking/food related sites that I'm still learning about and wanted to share with you:
    • Copy Me That is a recipe manager, shopping list, and meal planner. You can also create a custom cookbook from here (I'll let you know how that goes).
    • Eat Your Books is a place where you can make better use of your personal collection of cookbooks. I heard about this one from Julia Collin Davison from America's Test Kitchen at ALA this past summer. I'm still learning about it and will keep you posted.

What technology are you grateful for this year? I'd love to  hear!

*The exception to this is when I'm training on using various tablets, phones, and devices to  use Wisconsin's Digital Library. Then, using a device is mandatory!

Low-cost internet

Last week I saw an article in the Wisconsin State Journal that I thought was worth sharing. It's about Charter's low-cost Spectrum Internet Assist program, which is available for $14.99 per month to families in all of its service regions who qualify for the National School Lunch Program or its Community Eligibility Provision and seniors over age 65 with Supplemental Security Income. Internet

Here's a link to the article on Madison.com:  East Madison Community Center partners with Charter to promote low-cost internet package

Sounds like a nice option for folks who have Charter service in their area and might not ordinarily be able to afford the regular high-speed internet packages!

Tip: To find the info on the Charter site, I did a search for "assist."

Hey, can you stop what you're doing and proofread this for me?

GrammarlyAbout two months ago or so an ad popped up while I was watching a YouTube video about Grammarly. The ad indicated it can check your spelling and grammar for free! I feel like I’m always asking someone (way smarter than me)to check my work for mistakes, and when I saw this ad I thought I would give it a try to see how well it worked. This article is going to be all me and Grammarly, so be kind in the comments if you find any mistakes, please.


You can download Grammarly from there website for free. They have a version for Microsoft Office and for web browsers. I downloaded both options just to try out. If you happen to write a lot more than I do and would like a more robust version, they do offer a subscription version.


I wrote this in Word with Grammarly turned off until this point. I intentionally misspelled a couple words, which I fixed that both Microsoft Office Spell Checker and Grammarly caught. I also left out a comma (not intentional) between mistakes and please at the end of the first paragraph that Grammarly said should be there.


I’m also getting an alert from Grammarly that it see’s five more mistakes that the Premium version will fix. Not today it won’t! Those are for you to find!

YouTube Tips and Tricks

    Is there anyone that doesn't know what YouTube is?  There isn't a day goes by that I am not on YouTube watching/listening to something either while I do my hair and makeup in the morning or making dinner at night.  If you are anything like me and you watch YouTube videos then you watch regular TV then you might already know these tips and tricks.  If not, here are some tips and tricks that I use when watching YouTube videos.

Loop a video:

    Have a song you can't get enough of?  YouTube will loop (continuously play) it for you.  Simply right click the video and select Loop.

 

Share a video at a certain time:

    Want to share a cute cat video with your friends but the real action doesn't start until 1:00 into the video?  No problem, just click Share at the bottom of the video and check the box Start at and enter a time.  Then choose how to share the video.   Share a video at a certain time

 

 

 

 

 

 

Captions:

    Maybe you are waiting in line at Starbucks and you don't have headphones.  Turn on the captions!  Captions are not available on all videos, but if it is you can click on the CC button on the bottom of the video. 

 

Watch Later:

    This is my most used tip for YouTube.  Let's say I'm watching a video and on the side of the video player is a couple similar videos I want to watch next.  Put your cursor on the thumbnail for the video and an option will appear in the upper right corner that looks like a clock.  This will add it to your Watch Later playlist which you can access anytime in the left menu bar of YouTube.

 

 Quick way to pause video:

    Almost get caught watching a cat video while at work when your boss walked in?  Simply press the space bar on the keyboard to pause the video fast.

 

Transcript:

    Watching a video for educational purposes but missed a quote?  You can view a transcript of the video easily.  Click on the three dots at the bottom of the video by the share button and select Open Transcript.  This displays the captions essentially and time stamps which you can click on to view that part of the video.     

View this photo

 

 

'Tis the season - clean your keyboards and mice.

I'm reprising a post of Cindy's from Sept 2009; a timely post as we work our way into the next cold and flu season.  Plus my keyboard needs a good cleaning.  Heidi O.

Keyboard Ickyness

Dirty Keyboard

Did you know that a study from the University of Arizona found more germs per inch on a keyboard or a mouse than on a toilet seat?  And not just a few more but many times more.  Yuck! 

 

Unfortunately most keyboards just don’t react well to a bath.  Nor do they really react well to bleaching.  And washing your hands after each and every time you touch your keyboard or mouse just isn’t practical.  So what can you do?  One recommendation is to wipe down your keyboard and mouse with commercial anti-bacterial computer spray or wipes.  Instead of a commercial cleaner, you could even use something as simple as isopropyl alcohol or a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water.  (That’s a major part of what’s in a lot of the commercial cleaners anyway and it’s cheaper.)

Tips for wiping down your keyboard or mouse:

  1. It easier to wipe down the keyboard and mouse while the computer is turned off so you don’t have random keystrokes and mouse clicks doing strange things to your PC. 
  2. Make sure that whatever you’re using isn’t too wet since both keyboards and mice don’t like when liquid gets down into their insides . 
  3. If you’re using a spray, make sure to spray the cloth and not spray the keyboard or mouse directly. 
  4. Don't use any anti-bacterial computer wipes or sprays on LCD monitors unless it specifically says it’s safe. 

So how often should you wipe down your keyboard and mouse?  I looked online and opinions on that differ.  Most recommendations were for around once a week, though some recommended daily if there was a nasty illness going around the office.  Just make sure you're not doing this so often you wipe the letters off of your keyboard.

Paste without formatting

KeyboardThis week I learned a new keyboard command, and I can't believe I didn't know it before now: paste without formatting.  It's perfect when you want to copy and paste text but you're only interested in the text, not the formatting.

Ctrl-Shift-V

(regular paste is just Ctrl-V)
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So... as I was typing this, I was thinking it sounded a little familiar.  A quick search of the TechBits blog (using the search box on the blog) and sure enough!  We have written about this twice before (Aug 2013 and June 2016), and one of those posts was even mine! So how do I remember this for next time? What tips do you have for remembering handy keyboard shortcuts? Each time I learn it I think this keyboard is super-handy, but somehow I can seem to make it stick as part of my repertoire...)

Checking links

LinkCheckerAs we're preparing to move to our redesigned website, we've been checking some content to make sure it looks tidy and functional.  One of the tools we've been using is Firefox's LinkChecker add-on.  When installed, it allows you to right-click a webpage and "Check Page Links."  If it thinks the link is a good one, it is highlighted green. Broken links are highlighted red. It's not a perfect tool, but it has helped us cover a lot of content and find problems with our links.

When I find links that are flagged as problems, I hover over the link to display the destination in the status bar. It's a quick way to check where the link will take you. (It's also a handy way to check where links in your email and on social media might be sending you and save yourself from phishing attempts!)  If you don't see this in your browser when you hover over a link, you may need to change a setting to show your browser's status bar.