Lifehacker

The Guide to Working Smarter, Faster and Better


Chapter 6

Streamline Common Jobs

No doubt you perform dozens of repetitive actions every day, such as typing www.google.com into your browser's address bar, or clicking the Start button and navigating to the Programs menu, or typing "Let me know if you have any questions" at the end of an e-mail. These are opportunities for shortcuts that can add up to large savings over time. Every movement, every task, every action is a candidate for optimization and streamlining.

Hack 49
Search the Web in Three Keystrokes

Level: Easy
Platform: All (Firefox and Chrome)

There are dozens of ways to do a web search from your desktop, but the most common method takes the longest.

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Hack 50
Command Your Windows PC from the Keyboard

Level: Medium
Platform: Windows

The graphical user interface revolutionized personal computing because it made using a computer so much more visual. However, using the mouse is one of the most inefficient ways to drive a computer.

Hack 51
Command Your Mac from the Keyboard

Level: Medium
Platform: Mac OS X

Skip time-wasting point-and-click mouse movement on your Mac using free software called Quicksilver, which is a keyboard interface to an astonishing variety of computing actions.

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Hack 52
Reduce Repetitive Typing with Texter for Windows

Level: Medium
Platform: Windows

Define short abbreviations for phrases you use often, or misspellings you're prone to, and automatically expand those abbreviations to their full, intended form. This hack explains how to do that using the free Windows application, Texter.

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Hack 53
Reduce Repetitive Typing with TextExpander for Mac

Level: Medium
Platform: Mac OS X

In the same vein as Hack 48, Mac users can save thousands of keystrokes daily using the text substitution application TextExpander.

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Hack 54
Automatically Fill in Repetitive Web Forms (New in 3rd Edition!)

Level: Medium
Platform: All Platforms

Every time you sign up for a new website with your email address or username, enter in your shipping address, or type in your credit card information for purchases, you waste precious time typing out the same information.

Hack 55
Batch Resize Photos

Level: Easy
Platform: Windows

Everyone likes to email digital photos, but no one likes to receive pictures that are so huge they take forever to download and require you to scroll left and right and up and down to see the entire image.

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Hack 56
Bypass Free Site Registration with BugMeNot

Level: Easy
Platform: Web

An active web surfer can easily accumulate dozens of logins for various sites across the web. But what about when you don't want to go through the whole rigmarole of registering for a web site—you simply want inside?

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Hack 57
Speed Up Web Pages on a Slow Internet Connection

Level: Easy
Platform: All

When you're surfing the Web on a slow connection, it can seem like grass grows faster than the download progress meter on your web browser turns.

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Hack 58
Securely Save Web Site Passwords

Level: Easy
Platform: All with Firefox

One of the most convenient features in Firefox is its capability to save the passwords you use to log on to web sites—like your web mail and online banking—so you don't have to type them in every time.

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Hack 59
Become a Scheduling Black Belt with Google Calendar

Level: Easy
Platform: Web

This hack covers more advanced uses for GCal, such as adding and getting events from anywhere, subscribing to multiple calendars, sharing calendars, booking inanimate objects such as a conference room, and inviting multiple people to events.

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