Charlie Newman

1. Todoist

http://todoist.com/app?v=85

Todoist ... better to-do lists

This app awesomely harnesses the power of HTML5, enabling offline access (and the ability to add more tasks offline) and even auto syncs across devices when it detects you’re back on the Interwebs.

Definitely have a go with Todoist, just ignore the very cheesy demo video!

I’m only using the free version since I am particularly fused about the additional features such as adding comments, but leave me a comment if you think it’s worth paying for the added benefits.

 

2. Kukuklok

http://kukuklok.com

kukuklok lets you know when to party!

Now you have your list of tasks sorted, pick one and aim to work solidly for a predefined amount of time. It’s recommended to work in ‘chunks’ of around 15 to 45 minutes followed by a 5 to 15 minute rest, personally I prefer to reverse those figures and work for 5 minutes before taking a well deserved 45 minute break.  Either way it’s fun to use Kukuklok as an alarm to let you know when you’ve earnt your break, especially as you can set some Slayer trash metal to be the alarm chime!

 

3. youarelistening.to

http://youarelistening.to

YouAreListening.To productivity

Obviously before any work can begin you need to set the mood. Youarelistening.to plays ambient music with US emergency services radio chatter overlaid in random bursts. You can select various US cities which changes the background picture, music and radio chatter – although I have found some cities don’t always work. You really need a decent pair of headphones to make out the chatter clearly, some are even quite funny such as officers ordering their lunch… surprisingly not donuts!

4. If That Then This (IFTTT)

https://ifttt.com

If This Then That - now you know programming

It That Then This (Pronounced IFT) allows you to create ‘recipes’ by defining the That and This parameters. For example one of my recipes is:

If The weather outside >25°C then SMS me

Obviously the weather in England is crap so we need to make the most of every bit of sun we have, you can always work when it rains. On a side note, I think this service would be useful for home automation and could get me closer to creating Jarvis (the computer running the Iron Man house).

 

So there are my 4 productivity tools, reading this has probably taken you a few minutes, it’s time for a well earned break!

 

Common Sense UX

User Experience (UX) is a much less mature field than Usability. Being the trendy, newer concept, UX seems to have become a buzzword amongst designers, brands and users – just about everyone is talking about it, doing it and using it to sell products.

I am a huge advocate of UX, however I’m often finding; what appears to be a great new interface, layout or navigation system at first – only to realise the new aesthetics may look good but the usability has been completely neglected. For example the other day I noticed my friend unlocking his mobile phone by drawing a pattern on his screen with his finger. At first I thought it was pretty neat, a nice change from the mundane PIN and number pad, however when the phone backlight turned off, it was very easy to make out the pattern he had just drawn, as shown to the right.

The pattern, a capital N, was done in one continuous motion, therefore could have only be drawn in two different ways. For a security function this seems like a fairly fundamental flaw hence, despite looking neat, I would say ultimately this is much worse UX since the phones security is compromised.

Android security fail Unlock Android pattern

What I’m trying to highlight is the need for common sense UX. Just because UX is a trendy buzzword, designers should never sacrifice usability for the sake of what might seem an innovative, novel and exciting user experience. The order of importance was actually a question raised at the end of our presentation and my answer is, usability and user experience should go hand-in-hand and have equal measures of importance – both are required to satisfy the end user.

Education: Mission Complete

Having just finished my Masters degree – I am pleased to say that I am now done with education. Although I probably said the same thing when I completed my undergraduate degree, I am definitely done now. No more exams, falling asleep in lecture theatres and coursework deadlines. Talking about coursework, I thought I should share some of the more embarrassing projects I handed in…

Dancing Tortoise

I don’t know what me think a tortoise dancing around on a stage would be a good idea.

Fitness For Life

See the Fitness Cowboy doing his thing – sit ups!

Fight Club

Here we have probably my greatest work ever, with over 10,500 views, just a little 3D max animation I *ahem* knocked out …

Hello world…

Well hello and welcome to my blog. I’ve somehow managed to resist having a blog for far too long but decided enough is enough, and *drum roll please* here it is! I have been looking for somewhere to keep track of the tools I find useful on the web, excitedly talk about some new advertising concept or name and shame a terrible user experience I encounter – and any other random topic I feel worthy enough for a rambling post.

Like most blogs out there, I imagine despite all the good intentions, over time the post count will diminish and huge cracks will emerge on the time-line… well I guess we’ll see.

Anyway I am a fan of concise posts that get to the point, no beating around the bush, short and sharp, waffle free, so without further ado, ready the horses and let’s get this show on the road.

Hello, World bird

 

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