How To Get Things Done in the Car (And Live to Tell the Tale)

Post by David Pierce. Find me on Twitter.

We begin today with a fun fact: when you drive, the thing you should do is drive. Not text, not read emails, not read Atlas Shrugged, not brush your teeth while doing your makeup. Crazy, right? Yet, somehow, I’ve seen all these things being done while the driver hurtles at unnatural speeds toward large objects both moving and inanimate.

There’s a balance to be struck somewhere between single-tasking on the road, and ultimate productivity. The balance, I think, is technology. There are a bunch of applications and services out there that will let you get done the things you need to get done, all while keeping your eyes and (most of) your focus on the road.

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How to Buy a Cell Phone

Post by David Pierce. Find me on Twitter.

I love gadgets. I know—surprising, right? I love ‘em, I read about ‘em, I talk about ‘em to the point where everyone hates me, and I buy ‘em in droves. Some say it’s a problem to have four screens, three laptops, too many phones and not enough money for a cup of coffee, but I say it’s all about priorities.

Over the last few months I’ve figured out there’s one thing I’m terrible at shopping for: cell phones. I bought a new phone in January, and over the last four months have hated it so furiously and fervently that I’m seriously debating buying a new one already.

The problem isn’t that the phone is broken, or defective, or just a bad device. The problem is that it’s absolutely 100% the wrong phone for me. 98% of the time, I need a phone for three things (other than, you know, phone calls): texting, checking email, and getting un-lost 39 times a day. Pretty much any phone out there can do those things by now, so I thought the world was my oyster. I went for cheap and small, and bought a Droid Eris.

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How I Work

Post by David Pierce. Find me on Twitter.

This is a long-overdue post for me. I even promised to write this post tomorrow, five weeks ago. But, at long last, this is the full explication of how it is that I get things done.

The first thing I should tell you is that this is an ever-evolving system. There are a few things, hardware and software, that have been around for a while, but there’s also a rapidly revolving door of applications, gadgets, and all sorts of things that come and go from my desk. What I’m sharing here is a snapshot, a look into the things that make me tick and keep me ticking right now.

I share these things not because they’re unique, or even particularly interesting. I do it because I’ve gotten so much from reading how other people organize, get things done, and work – this is me giving back, so to speak. And here we go!

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The Best Android Apps Out There (aka So I Bought a Droid Eris)

Post by David Pierce. Find me on Twitter.

I’m a bit of a gadget fiend. I had this terrible trend of always buying the one-behind gadget to save money, and then having constant, crippling gadget envy that would force me to upgrade—always right before a new one came out. It’s a vicious cycle.

But this time, I made the smart choice. I went out and said “to heck with you, money! I’m going to get whatever phone my little heart desires.” I went and tested just about every phone Verizon has (because a phone’s no good without decent service, AT&T), and eventually bought the Droid Eris. I’ve now had it for a few days, and let me tell you – I couldn’t be happier.

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Turn Your Cell Phone Into a Tool of Awesome

Post by David Pierce. Find me on Twitter.

This post was originally my column for this week in my school newspaper, The Cavalier Daily. But it’s too appropriate for The 2.0 Life to not put up here.

The one thing I have with me at all times isn’t a notebook, or my laptop, or underwear – it’s my cell phone. It lives in my pocket at all times, and if I’m without it for more than about 10 minutes, I begin to slowly lose my mind.

My phone’s not an iPhone, or even a particularly cool smartphone; it’s just a regular old phone. I have, though, learned a few cool tips and tricks for how to get the most out of my phone, and I’m going to share a bunch of them with you. If you’ve got a phone that makes calls and sends text messages, these tips are for you. (If your phone can’t do those things, I’m not saying you definitely got ripped off, but if the shoe fits…)

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The Definitive Guide to iPhone Twitter Apps

This is a post from a brand-new contributor to The 2.0 Life – Srikanth. Srikanth writes on the great Tech Inspiration blog about tips, gadgets, and technology. Check out his blog or Linkedin profile for even more.

2486803597_a5858ef2cbTwitter, the already hugely popular, massively-growing social networking site, is officially too big to ignore. The simple interface and ability to update quickly make it one of a kind social network – not to mention ripe for mobile applications.

There are countless clients available that allow the user to update his status on twitter easily, as well as much, much more. These apps are available for every platform, but the iPhone is far and away the most popular right now.

The iPhone, by allowing the user to load many different applications, and with superior connectivity options, is really  ideal for Internet usage. If you are a Twitter fan–and love your iPhone–then here is the list for you!

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5 Ways to Find Just About Anyone

Post by Squealer from Squealing Rat. Find Squealer on Twitter.

2589377492_4d5a732f29 In the old days (you know, like the 1990s?), people used to connect in ways that the new generation knows nothing about. In fact, if I told a 10 year old with a laptop that his grandparents lived without the Internet and only a simple phone that could only call people, his jaw would probably drop.

Now, despite all the many technological innovations of the last several decades, many members of older generations are still living by these, shall we say, ancient habits.

Here are some new, tech-involved ways to do the tasks that the oldies used to do with rotary phones:

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13 Ways Kwiry Juices Up Your Texting

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…Minus the ‘roid rage.

As long-time readers know, I can be counted on to always have my cell phone on me. Whether or not that’s healthy is another topic, but the only thing I’m just about guaranteed to be fewer than ten feet away from is my cell phone.

Because of that, I’m always looking for ways to be productive with my cell phone, to have it do tasks that I’d normally do at my computer- that way, I get things done at all the random times in the day when I’ve got nothing to do, and have my cell phone at hand.

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Got a Blackberry You Can't Figure Out?

I’ll grant you, this is a niche post. This isn’t for everyone, and not everyone will find use from this. So, if you don’t have a Blackberry, my apologies. Why don’t you have a Blackberry? Any reason? I’m curious to hear in the comments what you do have, and why. 

If you do have a Blackberry, do you know how to use it? It’s okay, no one does. Green button, red button, Brick Breaker. That’s really all you need.

If you really want to make great use of your Blackberry, InsideCRM has an exhaustive list of ways to rock out. They’ve come up with “The Power Users Blackberry Guide: 121 Crackberry Tips, Hacks, and Resources,” and it really is just about that good.

Whether you want to figure out how to dial letters (No more figuring out what numbers spell Comcast, or Vonage, or Mattress), dry the Blackberry you dropped in the toilet, or use it as a flashlight to find someone else’s in the toilet, the list has you covered.

It’s partly links to great tips, as well as links to other lists of great tips. I can’t possibly figure out how many tips there actually are- one, two, three degrees away- but it’s a ridiculous number.

If you want to become a true Blackberry power user, you might want to hoard food for a while and get started on the lists. If not, there’s lots of good stuff for the skimmers as well.

Personally, I don’t have a Blackberry, but I know enough people that do, and don’t know how to use it, that a Power User’s Guide is incredibly helpful. For even more, check out the comments section of their list.

Check out “The Power Users Blackberry Guide” here. (via jkOnTheRun)

Do you have any tips for Blackberry users? What about tips for any cell phone? Let us know in the comments.

Drop Your Contact Info with Dropcard

I’ve noticed recently that fewer and fewer people carry around business cards. For the most part, it’s fine- I’d rather just put your number into my phone. But when I meet someone, and need to know all of their contact info- email, phone, fax, etc.- writing it down can be a pain.

That’s where startup Dropcard comes in: it’s like the business card 2.0.

Here’s how it works: Create an account with Dropcard. When you meet someone, ask for their email. Send a text message to 41411 with “drop theiremail”. All your contact info will be sent to their email.

There are three reasons I like this:

1. You don’t have to write anything: All My business cards end up online anyway- why not just start there? It’s easy to put into my contacts, and easy to read, follow, and access.

2. It includes social networks: Want to connect on Facebook, or MySpace? Are there 11 million other people with your name? No matter, as Dropcard gives all your social information (or whatever you want to give) to your new contact.

3. All you need to carry is your cell phone: I love Dropcard because it doesn’t add anything to my briefcase or pockets. It works with a text message, which just about anyone can figure out, and is simple enough to be used by everyone.

Dropcard has both free and paid versions, with the biggest advantage of the paid version being that you can have multiple profiles. Maybe you don’t want business colleagues finding you on Facebook, but you do friends. Sending different profiles to different people is a crucial feature of something like this, and hopefully will be free to everyone soon.

This is the kind of thing that only really works if everyone uses it, but I’m hoping it really catches on. It’s an easier, simpler, and digitized version of your business card, and I’m certainly a convert. Once you sign up, feel free to drop your info to me at david@the20life.com, and we’ll connect!

Check out Dropcard here.

How do you use business cards? Online, off, memory? Let us know in the comments.