Archive for the ‘Time Management’ Category

Who should read this: Readers would be people who have a need to scan and edit the occasional document. SimpleOCR is a freeware optical character recognition program. It provides similar functionality to that of OmniPage.
OmniPage and OmniPage Professional provide expanded features and support.

I do not have a constant need to convert scanned documents into editable text. SimpleOCR lets me do that occasionally without spending a $150 to get started. SimpleOCR exhibits the typical troubles competing commercial optical character recognition (OCR) software has recognizing certain fonts. They make errors like reading an 1 as a l, etc. I don’t use OCR software often enough to care. SimpleOCR saves me a ton of time when I do need it.

From the SimpleOCR website:

“If you have a scanner and want to avoid retyping your documents, SimpleOCR is the fast, free way to do it. The SimpleOCR freeware is 100% free and not limited in any way. Anyone can use SimpleOCR for free–home users, educational institutions, even corporate users.”

Links:

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Who should read this:
Readers will probably be people who tend to keep little pieces of paper with notes written all over them. Also anyone who needs to record or remember appointments should also consider this handy tool. There are so many other uses for a PocketMOD. I actually think anyone would benefit from what this free website offers.


This is certainly one of my favorite new sites. It lets you take a single piece of paper and make a incredibly useful booklet to take notes or to leave notes for yourself. There are a multitude of different pre-designed templates to fill each of the eight pages of your new customized PocketMOD book. The book is designed through a simple Adobe Flash application that lets you quickly choose which elements to include in your booklet. Once printed & folded, this piece of paper easily fits into your pocket and keeps track of many different pieces of information in an organized fashion. You don’t even need batteries. There are also pre-made conversion charts and you have the ability to add pictures of other valuable information. There are even ways to get RSS feed information into your custom booklet as well. You can add a page to your booklet that shows the current local weather with one of the templates. I’ve requested a mileage tracking template be added also. I’m keeping my fingers crossed but for now I’ve made due using one of the many lined and graph paper pages they offer for inclusion in the booklet.

The uses are endless. The concept is simple and the time I have saved using PocketMOD.com is unmeasurable. Even if you have a real PDA this can still help you to keep track of things to add when you get to your real computer rather than typing with the stylus or number pad.

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Who should read this:
Readers should want to know more about GPS and it’s potential application for time tracking to ease tracking billable hours for more accurate invoicing. Xora TimeTrack has features suited to individuals and other packages geared towards businesses with multiple mobile employees. You should have a cell phone provider that offers service & support for a Xora account.


Originally I purchased a Garmin StreetPilot 2720 GPS so that I could track where I go, how long I was on-site & bill my clients accordingly. Before buying, Garmin told me I could use the 2720 for that purpose since the unit can be used to log all the necessary information. Since I purchased the 2720, Garmin is now telling me it isn’t designed to “easily” do what I want.

In the car I type an address or select a business from a list. The GPS tells me where to go based on that information. On my home computer I can go into the software & download the information recorded in the StreetPilot 2720 with the logging feature. I am shown the longitutde & latitude of all these different points along my trip & not just the start/stop points. There is no easy way to manipulate this info to show where I started and where I ended my trips if I just leaving the GPS running all day. Even if the Garmin software did easily show that info, it doesn’t store or show the addresses I input when I was in the car. The logs only store the longitude/latitude of those points & how long I was at each point in the trip. It will show the entire trip on the map through MapSource but some of my clients are close to each other. It is a pain to zoom in & out to find the actual start/stop points on the map where things overlap.

It was actually easier to shut the Garmin StreetPilot 2720 off at each stop and start again when I returned to the car rather than just let it log everything as one big long trip with multiple destinations. It seems like each time you start on to new destination it should create a separate log. It doesn’t though. Eventually it became a habit to just keep shutting it off and back on again to start a new log each time I returned to the car.

Also you should keep a second record of what you did at each location and record the start/stop mileage some other way. The StreetPilot 2720 is not equipped with a voice recorder or any way to take notes, you will need paper for that.

Check out PocketMod.com for a free easy way to track things on paper.

Quickbooks wants to users to enter the actual starting miles and ending miles for each trip, not just the amount of miles which the StreetPilot 2720 reports are only capable of showing. I just found it too confusing & time consuming to be used for regular billing purposes.

I found an application for my Nextel/Sprint cell phone to solve my problem though. Xora TimeTrack is far more suited to my needs. When I arrive on-site I enter into the program on my phone and select Job Start. I am given an option to enter a Job Number and a Comment. I have clients in the same building so I use the Comment field to, at least, hold the customer code for each client & why I am there. The program time/date stamps the new job entry while sending the nearest physical street address to the Internet where it is all saved online with Xora. When I finish a job I select Job End and it does the same time/date stamp with optional comment and sends that information with the closest physical address to my online Xora account. I have everything I need to bill out my hours when I return home. Tracking mileage isn’t so good with Xora since the phone is actually on foot. You still need to manually record mileage entries with this solution. You could use the comment fields for that as well.

Once I get back to the office I can print a daily, weekly or monthly job report. I then must manually type that information into Quickbooks for billing. I’m still waiting for a way to download the information directly into Quickbooks but for now Xora suits my needs.

Xora also offers additional services for businesses with Shift Start tracking & multiple employees. Checking breadcrumbs for each phone is also available with the Xora service. Breadcrumbs will show you where the phone has been and for how long. If you have drivers working for you then Xora can optionally notify through e-mail if an employee is speeding.

Overall I have been quite happy with Xora for it’s simplicity and very disappointed with Garmin for leaving the logging/tracking feature so underdeveloped.
Check out Xora’s website for a full list of options & features.
Xora is the clear winner for me concerning personal GPS/time tracking.