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Welcome! I am Jason Nguyen, a graduate student in ethnomusicology at Indiana University, Bloomington, and this blog is where I make observations about music, culture, and academic life.

Talking about work is more fun than work: A glimpse at my toolbar

Computer technology is increasingly moving to a point where everything can be done inside the Internet browser.  In terms of my workflow, it means that you can get a pretty good idea of the tools I use by looking at my bookmarks bar:


A quick run-down of the programs/apps:

  • toolbar1 Gmail / Google Docs / Google Calendar: My life seems dictated by my email and Google apps.  The cool thing about them these days is that they are available via smart phones (e.g. my iPhone) and they all have offline access via Google Gears.  There are also usable through non-browser apps as well (Outlook/Thunderbird/etc.), but that’s not been a big deal for me.
  • toolbar2RememberTheMilk.com: An awesome task management tool, and also a great place to keep lists (I store my list of all the books I want here).  It integrates with Google Calendar if you need that, although I usually just access it from the website or my iPhone.
  • toolbar3WorldCat.org / Evernote / Zotero: These kinda go together for me.  Evernote is like a cloud-based equivalent of Microsoft One-Note, storing all the ephemera and notes you collect from your smart phone, the internet, scanned documents, etc., and making them all searchable.  Zotero, a Firefox plugin, is a bibliographic citation app like Endnote.  WorldCat, the gigantic library catalog, has multiple export options.  So typical workflow looks like:
    • Look at a class syllabus and find upcoming reading.
    • Search for the reading’s entry in WorldCat and export it to Zotero.
    • If a PDF is available, attach it to the Zotero entry.
    • Start a new entry in Evernote to take notes on the reading.  Attach the PDF here too (backups are good).
  • toolbar4 is just a Google Docs “to-do” list that I update each morning (or try to), to keep myself on track.
  • toolbar5 Oncourse: the portal for IU’s class resource sites
  • toolbar6 My blog: this thing
  • toolbar7Facebook / Twitter: Social networking sites–you have to take a break sometimes!
  • toolbar8Pandora / LaLa / last.fm : Various music sites I listen to during the course of the day.  Free, and they make me feel somewhat hip.
  • toolbar9: I always keep a folder of “bookmarklets,” little bits of code that do special tasks, in my browser toolbar. The ones I’m showing right now help me to: quickly add a new task to RememberTheMilk, make a website more readable by making it look print-formatted (really awesome–Readability), and to send a webpage to my blog so I can write about it.

At the end of the day, everybody has a specific way of doing things, but hopefully this will be helpful to somebody out there.

What does your workflow look like?  What tools do you find indispensable?  I always love finding out about neat new tools!


8 comments to Talking about work is more fun than work: A glimpse at my toolbar

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