d i g i t a l a d v i s o r . . .
Handy Software for an Academic Life
You will find that academic life can often be stressful and busy, and that you have to keep track of a lot of details--assignments in different classes, assignments for your job, things you are reading, and things you need to write. Here I list a few kinds of software that can be helpful to you.
EndNote is a bibliography progam, designed to keep track of the things you read. It has two functions. One is simply as a note-taking device. You can write notes to yourself about any article you read, and all your reading notes will be in one place. The second function is that it can help you create bibliographies when you write your own papers. It embeds itself into Word so that you can insert references wherever you need them in your text. Then, when you are finished with the text, it will create a formated bibliography for you at the end of your paper. What could be better than that?
The main window in it shows you a list of references at the top and a window below that shows the contents of the one you are highlighting, like this:
3-M Post-it Notes
Digital post-it notes work the same as paper post-it notes. You can write quick reminders for yourself and leave them sitting on your desktop, where you will see them. On your computer desktop, they look something like this:
You can adjust its size and color and you can alter the font and use features like bullets, bold face, etc.
There both free and paid-for versions of this software and the free one does everything you need. It also installs so that a little icon appears in your system tray (lower right corner of your desktop) so when you want to write youself a note, you just click on that icon and a blank note pops up on your screen. The icon looks like a little yellow post-it tablet and embeds with other system functions so it appears like this:
Post it Notes are available at http://www.post-it.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/Post_It/Global/Products/Digital_Products/ for $10.
Sugar Sync is a program that allows you to keep track of things that you have on different devices. If you have multiple devises, such as a desktop and laptop, or laptop and tablet, or tablet and phone, or one of each, Sugar Sync helps you manage it all. It's main function is to coordinate documents that are on multiple places, and to make sure you always have the most recent version on all devices. Here are a couple handy uses:
a. Do you keep a spreadsheet or file of some sort with a lit of all your passwords? If so, it is extremely helpful to have that list available on ALL of your devices, because you never know when you might visit a site and need it. SugarSync installs what it calls a "magic briefcase" on each device. Anything you put in that briefcase is automatically copied to every other device. The magic briefcase is a great place to keep things like your list of passwords or your pictures of your girlfriend, stuff you want with you at all times.
b. Do you sometimes find yourself sitting and waiting for a bus or waiting for your appointment with your optomitrist or waiting for a frield who said he'd be here at 3:00? It is annoying to wait with nothing to do when you know you have all these readings that hae been assigned to you. Well, you can select any folder you want on your laptop and ask SugarSync to copy that folder to your other devices. Then, while you are waiting, you can at least read something that you need to read anyway.
SugarSync has versions for Windows, Mac, IOS, and Android. My caretaker, Mary, has a version on her desktop, her laptop, her tablet and her phone. She has one set of files in the magic briefcase, so they appear on all of these devices. She also has created a link between her two desktops so that anything current on one machine will also show up on the other and on her tablet.
You manage all of this with a screen that looks like this:
The software has a really good manual that helps you get started. It comes in both a free and a monthly-fee version. Both offer full service but the free one has a limit on the volume of content that you can be sharing across platforms. Free is good though, and it admits enough material to suit most users. You have to get it separately for each device. On line, go to the Sugar Sync web site https://www.sugarsync.com/ to get your Windows version but go to your iStore or Android Market for those versions.
Remind me is also a pretty inexpensive and useful calendar program from Beiley Software. It puts a little calendar icon in your system tray, right next to your Post-it note icon. You can enter scheduled events that you don't want to forget, like your mom's birthday or the date when your term paper is due. You can set the reminder to go off at any time, from the very day of the event to a week ahead or whatever you need. You can also tell it to remind you again every day at, say, 1:00, until you finally turn it off. So if you need to get Mom a card, it will remind you again and again and again until you stop it.
You can also use it as a daily alarm, just to remind you that it is time to go now, but you likely have an easier alarm on your phone for that function. This is best for things you need to plan ahead for, and you want to b reminded a few days in advance about something. It comes with all holidays pre-installed.
This is what the reminder itself looks like. Notice that you can ask for a delay or you can check it off as finished. If you do neither, and just close the window, it will remind you again tomorrow.
Remind Me is available from Beiley Software http://www.beiley.com/remind-me/ for $25.