3 Great Tools for Managing Information Overload and the Forgetful Mind

You are not alone.

It’s no secret that the daily ins and outs of being a web-worker are filled with steady streams of inbound information. Tweets, emails, instant messages, RSS feeds and your Facebook news stream are just some of the sources of links to all sorts of great blog posts and news articles that beg for your attention.

Saving it for later.

How many times have you clicked on a link to find an article that you’d love to read, but just don’t have the time to get to it right then and there? Instead, you leave the browser tab open with the intention of getting to it during lunch or later in the day. Sure, it’s convenient to have all those open tabs at the ready for when you have a free moment – but the tax for that type of convenience is an increasingly sluggish desktop and a “fun” romp through your browser’s history to find all those pages again after it decides to crash.

I’m also shocked at the number of web-workers who still use their web browser’s built-in bookmarking tool to save links for future reference. This method certainly provides easy access to the information while at that specific machine, but requires extra steps or plugins to sync the bookmarks to other machines. There’s also the unexpected machine meltdown that could take years worth of non-backed up bookmarks away to the great beyond.

And the password is…

Along with all the information and great links we like to save for future reference comes the need to create new user accounts on the numerous web-based applications that launch each year (or month!). Unfortunately, the majority of web-workers out there still lean towards using the same password across all their user accounts. While easy to remember, using a single password out in the wild is a recipe for disaster if one of those sites happens to have a security breach.

Imagine the task of trying to remember all the websites you’ve registered with over the past few years and changing their passwords to protect your personal information and identity. Oh, and while we’re at it, writing your passwords on post-it notes and placing them under your keyboard or mouse pad is not a recommended method of remembering them either. Come on, you know you’ve done that before.

Relief at last..

Fortunately, there are a number of great options for saving information for both short term consumption and long term reference. Being able to access stored nuggets of information from multiple platforms and devices is always near the top of my list when looking for software solutions to make my information processing easier to manage. And of course, finding apps that are free doesn’t hurt either!

Here are three of my favorite applications for keeping up with my daily flow of information and helping me remember things when I’m in the thick of it:

Instapaper

Instapaper

Instapaper has become an essential tool in my daily information processing workflow. It’s the perfect application for those who are constantly finding new online articles to read but don’t have the time to read them right then and there. With a simple click of a bookmarklet button, the text of the page your browser is on is sent to your Instapaper account for later consumption.

All your saved articles are then easily accessible from the Instapaper website or the official Instapaper iPhone or iPad app. Android users can currently access their accounts via a compatible web browser as well.

There are several additional options for saving information to your account, depending on where you are discovering the content you’d like to save. Each Instapaper account comes with a unique email address that can be used to forward links and email newsletters for future reading. Instapaper’s popularity has also caught the attention of many iPhone and iPad application developers and has resulted in over 130 apps that support sending pages directly to your account.

Instapaper accounts are free (ad-supported) to create and try and will support up to 10 saved articles. The Pro upgrade is just $4.99, allows up to 500 articles and offers a wide variety of other features, including iPad support.

This app definitely excels at “deferred reading” but is not a solution for long-term information storage. My next pick will fit your needs If you’re looking for something geared towards building a library of information to continually reference.

Evernote

Evernote

I was a huge fan of Microsoft’s Onenote prior to switching to the Mac. Its ability to act as a “digital notebook” to store text, images and webclips into definable sections made it an essential tool for creating a growing knowledge base. Since Onenote is not available on the Mac, I explored comparable solutions like Yojimbo to fill my needs.

Then came Evernote. Just as Instapaper became essential for my short-term information saving, Evernote has become the key to my long-term saving needs. Evernote allows you to store text, a web page, a photo, audio and other media. Everything you store is indexed and made searchable. You can also place your notes into different notebooks for further organization. This introductory video shows a few examples of how it can be used.

 

As shown in the video, Evernote is accessible everywhere via syncing. It supports a huge number of platforms including Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile and the Web. Best of all its free. They do have Premium and Sponsored accounts for increased storage, but the average user will probably not come close to outgrowing the limits of the free version for quite some time.

1Password

!Password

1Password from Agile Web Solutions is the perfect application for anyone who has ever forgotten a password. My guess is that includes you. It permanently eliminates the need to use the same easily-guessable, weak passwords that you have become accustomed to using, by creating string unique passwords for you that can be easily recalled from your web browser by using a single rememberable password that you define.

1Password also allows you to store other vital information such as credit card numbers that can also be recalled with your “one password” and filled into the appropriate field during checkout time when shopping online. Other items like software license and custom secure notes can be stored in 1Password as well. All information placed in its database is encrypted using AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) and 128-bit keys which would take “millions of years” to be decrypted using a brute force attack.

The following video will give you a good idea of how it works:

 

1Password was initially developed for the Mac however, versions are now available for the iPhone, iPad and Windows. Free 30 day trials for Mac and Windows are available, and there are a variety of licensing options to choose from to unlock it beyond that.

All three of these applications have become an essential part of my daily workflow. Do you currently use any of them? How have they changed the way you manage your daily influx of information? If any of these are new to you, then I hope you’ll give them a try. Please let us know about your experiences or recomendations via the comments!

Persuasive Picks for the week of 06/07/10

Social Media Marketing: You Have To Be Consistent
Congratulations! You’ve just made the first step towards getting your
feet wet in the sea of social media! But, do you have what it takes to
stay afloat? This post by Ely Delaney on Gather.com explains one of the keys to social media success.

The Ten Myths of Creating Web Content
Joe Ciarallo from Mediabistro’s PRNewser shares 10 web content creation myths and tips that bust them as presented by College Humor founder Ricky Van Veen at the Mashable Media Summit.

Social strategy: Web integration to leverage brand advocacy
Charles Nicholls explains why people tend to follow their favorite brands online, and explains how many companies are missing out by not leveraging this “gift horse.”

Coca-Cola Follows a New Social Media Strategy

Natalie Johnson, Digital Communications Manager for Coca-Cola states “When you think about what your homepage is … it’s not necessarily just your brand page. It’s Google.com. It’s Digg. It’s Twitter. It’s YouTube. It’s Facebook.” This post on Popsop.com provides some insite on that thinking and how Coca-Cola is implementing a new online strategy for increasing brand mentions.

Apple’s Worst Security Breach: 114,000 iPad Owners Exposed
The wildly popular iPad suffered its first blemish this week, but Apple recovered quickly. Luckily, I’m still keeping my iPad at the local Apple store, so I wasn’t affected by the breach.  :)

Photo Credit: Janine

 

Persuasive Picks for the week of 05/31/10

Will people stop buying Coca Cola? Maybe not, but Eric Bovim writes in PRWeek that Food and Beverage Companies Face a PR Challenge – facing a plethora of new programs focused on healthier food options. From First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move Campaign,” to a powerful new coalition of big brands and the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, big food companies need to convince the press to focus on the positive aspects of what they provide… a job easier said than done.

John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing wrote a provocative article for Ragan on “Why Social Media Doesn’t Matter Anymore.” He says too many people are focused on adopting or keeping up with the latest and greatest social media tools, when they should rather be focused on customer engagement. A smart piece that takes you through the hype to the heart of the matter when it comes to social media for business and marketing.

Speaking of John, he’s a great marketer who recently wrote a book called The Referral Engine – and it’s featured on Inc. Magazine’s new Business Book Bestseller List. If you’re looking for some great summer reading, check it out.

I’m a fan of Foursquare and am happy to see its growth, as more and  more marketers help brands use it in their campaigns. One of the latest collaborations is a partnership with Cynthia Rowley to launch Cynthia Rowley Bridesmaids at a wedding-centric event. One of PerkettPR’s partner firms, Fashionably Digital, was commissioned to develop and implement the campaign. Women’s Wear Daily Writes in this week’s Social Studies, this is “the first time a manufacturer, a designer and a retailer collaborated on this kind of initiative.”

I’m also in love with my iPad but I’m not quite as creative as other users – which I learned when glamour tech gal Shira Lazar recently pointed me to a CBS piece she wrote on “5 Totally Insane Ways to Use Your iPad.” I don’t plan to perform surgery with mine anytime soon, although I did enjoy learning that the iPad is so cool, it can indeed “Shred.”

 

 

Persuasive Picks for the week of 04/05/10

How Can SMB Owners Learn Social Media?
Lisa Barone provides some concrete ways SMBs can begin learning the ins and outs of social media on their own without the help of one of the gazillion “social media experts” out there. (Of course, it’s all about having the time to do it!)

Making the real-time Web relevant
The future of online search includes getting information in “real-time.” This CNET post from Tom Krazit gives a great overview on the new direction in search and the struggles that search engines like Google and Microsoft Bing are working through to provide information as it happens.

7 B2B Social Media Tools you haven’t heard of
This SocialMediaB2B.com post from Adam Holden-Bache provides seven new tools that are worth checking out. I’m impressed to finally come a across a list of tools that are all new to me!

10 Tricks For Getting Inspired to Write
Have you officially launched your blog, but have found it difficult to continually come up with fresh ideas for creating content? This Copyblogger post by Jonathan Morrow provides great tips and techniques for writing inspiration.

Will It Blend? – iPad
The long-lasting popularity of BlendTec’s “Will it blend” videos continues with the demise of a shiny new Apple iPad.

Mobile apps, free conference calls, online health, kids with cameras, free iPads and more – it’s a busy week!

It’s a big, busy week at PerkettPR and I’m acting as our own reporter because I’m so excited to share some client developments taking place. We’ve got product launches, mobile apps, a “kid’s cam” and more. Take a look and let us know what you think. Thanks for reading!

Powwownow – Europe’s largest free conference call provider launched today in the U.S. and unveiled its first iPhone app. You can download it for free here, or at the iPhone App Store or on iTunes. We’re at Think Mobile in New York City today and celebrating the launch with a fun contest where we’re giving away three iPads. Folks here are having fun with our “Powwownow app rap” video contest - check them out (including, embarrassingly, yours truly – although I can’t win!) and click here to learn how to enter for your own chance to win through April 23.

HealthLeap – a free and effortless way for patients to schedule health appointments (ex: doctors, dentists) and stay on top of their health. In turn, it also empowers doctors who want to increase their visibility and interactivity among a new breed of Internet-savvy patients in a measurable and effective way. The net net – HealthLeap makes  scheduling appointments a breeze for the patient, and helps doctors to showcase their practice, extend their brand awareness, fill available appointments and last minute cancellations, and more. Read the full news release for details.

Also today, client St. Louis Children’s Hospital launched their first “Kid Cam” production, where an eight-year-old brain tumor patient turns the tables on his caregivers and examines them to provide an inside look at the SLCH hospital experience. The goal of the video is to offer more personal insight into the hospital from a kid’s perspective so that others in the same situation understand they are not alone. The footage shows some of of the patient’s scarier moments – like accessing the port used to deliver chemotherapy medication – as well as lighter moments such as visits from the music therapist and the adorable therapy dogs. Watch now:

Our newest client, WaveMarket, launched their Veriplace Developer Community “LocationNation” last week, as well as a Developer Contest, awarding two cash prizes of $5,000 and iPads for all second place finishers. The contest encourages developers to create location-based services and applications that can be deployed across the Veriplace platform and remotely locate over 150 million phones in the U.S. Prizes will be awarded for Best location-aware Advertising or Marketing, Best Social app, Best Enterprise app and Most Innovative. The contest runs through July 1 and winners will be announced on July 26. Check out the contest site for details.