My husband gave me an iPad as a wedding gift. I thought it was pretty cool. I had no idea how much I would use it for my job.
I take my iPad with me everywhere. I do not have an iPhone, or even a smartphone. The thought of reading emails (and sending them) from something that fits in your jeans pocket makes my eyes hurt. My husband reads the news on his iPhone in bed, holding it so close to his eyes that the phone practically touches the tip of his nose. This is ridiculous to me.
But the iPad—now that’s different. I work on an iMac at home. I’m glued to my desk without a laptop. My iPad is less than a laptop and more than a phone. I love it. And when I read this post by Jason Falls on social media explorer on what mobile optimization does for your website, I listened. Continue Reading
The second edition of our Monster List of Freelance Job Sites has been valuable and much visited since April 2009. With over a hundred comments from our fantastic readers which has really added to its value. This list is a thorough update, removing dead links, adding new sites, and taking on board many of the suggestions from your comments.
Nowadays we use computers almost everywhere — and for everything. We use computers at work to do our job and at home to play games, chat with friends, view pictures or videos and sometimes even more work. Continue Reading
The search engine ranking game is full of pirates and marauders; sort of like the high seas of the 18th century. In order to navigate through these treacherous waters (and protect the good name of links to and from your clients’ and your websites), it pays to understand your enemy.
This article provides a short overview of the downside of search engine optimization as well as offers tricks and tips of how to ensure that your websites legally reach the page rank they deserve so you can attract clients.
It’s hard to believe that in 1993, Adobe first released Adobe Acrobat for the Mac. Within a few short years, this new “.pdf” format became the standard. Although there were many who provided free and always interesting ways to create Portable Document Format files, Adobe continued to improve the technology, adding capabilities along the way that still had businesses and freelancers alike purchasing the original application. And now, in 2008, Adobe has released Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro. Quite different than it’s humble origin, we’ve taken a close look at the new features and present our thoughts and findings for you.
Flash of Brilliance
While the feature list is extensive (check here for the full matrix), the one feature that really catches the eye is the new native Flash support. Now you can insert .flv or H.264 video for playback. Not just as attached files either. Part of the new portfolio feature includes the ability to use Flash as the welcome header. Personally, I can’t wait to see how this changes .pdf documents in the future (in both good and bad ways).
Thankfully, all the new functionality hasn’t caused a speed degradation. In fact, Adobe Acrobat Pro 9 is faster than ever. Continue Reading
Photo by Torchondo.
If you’re a web-working freelancer of any sort, you’re probably following umpteen RSS feeds in your favorite feed reader (Feed Demon, Google Reader, etc.), with your subscription list growing by the day. Are you overwhelmed by the number of RSS feed items in your feed reader that you haven’t read? Are you tired of the “same” items appearing over and over in your subscriptions, even though you’ve read them already? Is using an RSS feed reader becoming counterproductive, even with a structured folder system?
Maybe it’s time to declare RSS “feed reader bankruptcy” and find another way to monitor your niches.
That’s what I did maybe 8-9 months ago, though I’ve never said it publicly. In fact, I didn’t even admit it to myself until recently, fully intending to go back to my Feed Demon app. The massive quantities of unread items and the duplicates generated by some blogging platforms just overwhelmed me. Half my day was spent browsing through feed items I’d never have time to read or use in any way.
Freelancers tend to be generalists, which means they need to monitor multiple niches all the time. For some people, a good RSS reader is ideal. If you’re not ready to give up feed readers just yet, I recommend you read Chris Garrett’s excellent 21 Niche News and Feed Reading Productivity Tips.
However, if you are fed up with using an RSS reader, what do you do instead to stay on top of a specific niche? Continue Reading
Photo by psd.
If you’re a freelancer, I’m pretty sure you know the importance of a USB thumb drive. At a basic level, it helps you store important data and transfer files related to your projects from one computer to another.
If you’ve only ever used your thumb drive for the entry-level tasks of storing and transferring data, it’s time to unleash the hidden potential of this tiny device. Whether you’re a freelance writer, web developer or a freelancer on the move, you should take a look at the following tools, all of which take this device to the next level and convert it to a power drive. Continue Reading
Photo by flattop314.
Learning how to carry out a compelling conversation with your non-tech-savvy client is a crucial skill that all freelancers must possess, especially if you want to keep a steady cash flow.
This article will go through some strategies on how to talk jargon with your clients in such a way that you can maintain their attention and give an accurate picture of what they really need to understand. Continue Reading
Wish I had backed up
All that I wrote, deleted
I’ll start it again
- Benjamin Spencer
As more and more of our lives are converted into tiny 0′s and 1′s, we become increasingly dependent on the data we create. But how many of us, especially in the freelance world, have a plan or procedure in place to avoid the bane of our electronic existence: data loss. The excuses for this lack of disaster preparedness range from pure laziness, to inexperience (with the backup method or storage material), or just plain backup failure. There are solutions, and with the technology of today, no excuse should be valid anymore. Mozy, newly acquired by EMC, with their MozyHome and MozyPro backup solutions, hope to help you on the path to recovery. Let’s take a closer look at the options, and how well their products performed.
There are numerous discussions and debates in the world of freelancing–what’s the best website for this, what’s the best software for that, etc. In Switchoff, John and Jack will explore one of these debates in a calm, measured way–that hopefully won’t involve them killing each other in the process.
John Brougher: Welcome, Freelance Switch readers! Today, Jack Knight and I will be facing off against each other, flexing our rhetorical muscles regarding one of the most heated topics in the world: choice of computer platform. Mac or Windows PC? Continue Reading
For one reason or another, a lot of freelancers use Macs. It may be the raw power, the stability or they may just look rather – cool? Well, both of us know why that really is. It’s the apps! The software that makes the hardware bling, and it’s not necessarily thanks to Apple. Aperture and iCal may be nice, but often we rely on the smaller, even more useful applications. Here’s a list of great little applications that the Mac-powered freelancer should consider.
is a great little application for all those little snippets of text you need all the time. Writer? Typos can trigger Text Expande. Developers? No more code library needed. Designers? Well, we can always add signatures to email, right?
is a world of its own. Unlike most launchers, the best thing about Quicksilver is that it’s not only a launcher. As probably the best productivity application on the Mac, it’s something you need to learn how to use in order to master it.
is very simple. Just fill in a color or image and hide the desktop clutter. Need minimalistic? Now you have it…
4. Shoo Apps
does what the long forgotten (or so it seems) Spirited Away did. it hides inactive applications.
is a maid for your Mac. Have a lot of files just sitting waiting to be organized? Well, Hazel can move those files based on the criteria you set up. Be it name, date, location or what site or e-mail the file came from, this little application takes care of it.
is an application I personally can’t live without anymore. Say hello to tabs. Drag a window to the top, left or right edge of the screen and a tab will appear. To remove a tab, you just drag it away. It’s that simple.
is quite neat. It creates custom nap and sleep melodies for you to help you relax. Need a power nap – take one. It really may help, or it may just work as placebo. But hey, why not try it?
is a great tool for writers. From brainstorming, to outlining to writing in fullscreen mode, this application supports all the creative phases that a writer encounters. Say goodbye to Word and just… Write!
is a simple, yet very powerful application and full screen writing is the name of the game. Not more, but less. If the complexity of modern word processors isn’t inspiring, work it all out with Writeroom.
is a writing application specialized for fiction. Characters, locations, scenes. If you’re a fiction writer, Avenir will give you even more flexibility in writing your next bestseller.
One of the biggest challenges for freelancers is managing our time — if we don’t do it well, we won’t survive as freelancers.
Time management is about developing good work habits, and using time management tools that work without getting in the way.
As freelancers, we also want tools that can be used and accessed from anywhere — multiple locations, while traveling, and on the go with our mobile devices if necessary. So today we’ll look at a few online tools that are simple, easy to use, and effective — helping you manage your time and tasks without too much hassle.
This list actually contains alternatives for each type of time-management tool, so you have options to check out.
I hate software.
Seriously. I’m a tech enthusiast, I live off the drug-like feeling I get when I unwrap (or better yet, unbox) a new gadget, but I still hate software. Why?
Because it’s so darned expensive.
If you’ve ever needed to make an Access database, for example, you know this story all too well: a new full copy of Access 2007 (the most recent version) will set you back $200 from Amazon.com, as you likely don’t already own it (it’s not a part of the bestselling “Home and Student” version of Microsoft Office 2007). If you’d rather get it as part of a package, don’t worry, it’s also a great deal: $415. That’s right – I didn’t leave out a decimal point or anything. Four hundred and fifteen smackers. That’s roughly equivalent to more than a month’s worth of food for one person. Access isn’t the only culprit: Autodesk (creator of Maya and AutoCAD), Apple, and a billion other software providers charge massive amounts for their software, which is a big investment for anyone – but particularly freelancers. If we’re not lucky enough to have access to an educational or other discount, we’re looking at full price retail for these programs that we need to do our job, which can be a big problem, especially if we’re just starting out. What choice do we have?