Tools We Use @ Fiddler Online – Notes from BNI Presentation 2016

Today I’m giving my 10 minute presentation in my BNI chapter. Here’s links to the resources I’ll talk about. I’m going to go fast. So these links make it easy for you to review them later. Plus, I may not get to all of them, so even those who were there, may want to check out the last ones.

E.ggtimer.com – simple timer in your browser

MileIQ – easily track your business miles

Toggl – track your time doing anything, or everything

Evernote – save notes, websites, documents, etc

Inbox Pause – pause your inbox

HelloSign – legally fill-out and sign documents digitally

HelloFax – fax documents digitally

LastPass – remembers all your passwords

I created a quick screencast of the presentation, which I posted here:

8 Apps Every Small Business Owner Should Know About

 

How to Disable Pinch to Zoom on Windows in Chrome

So I bought this GMYLE keyboard and trackpad combination recently. It’s a nice little device. Lightweight, with a really great typing experience (if you hands aren’t too large). The trackpad is no Apple trackpad, but it’s a pretty decent experience.

Like most trackpads on Windows, it suffers from one major downfall: it often interprets my 2-finger scrolling as a pinch to zoom (or zoom-out). This is super annoying, constantly having to reset to 100% in Chrome. It was such a problem that I was ready to either beat the device against a rock, or return it.

On most laptops you can go to the trackpad settings (like those from Synaptics) in the mouse settings, and disable that particular gesture. But this keyboard doesn’t have any unique drivers. It just uses Microsoft’s built-in HID bluetooth drivers. Unlike OSX, which has settings for all this stuff, Windows doesn’t include any settings of it’s own.

So after lots of research I finally found a solution. I’d passed this solution several times, assuming it only applied to ctrl+scroll wheel on a regular mouse. But it actually disables pinch-to-zoom as well. All you need to do is install the great little program AutoHotKey and put in this script:

; Chrome - disable ctrl+wheel to zoom & pinch to zoom

#IfWinActive ahk_class Chrome_WidgetWin_1
{
^WheelDown::return
^WheelUp::return
#MaxHotkeysPerInterval 1000
}

Once it’s running in AutoHotKey, it’ll disable pinch to zoom in Chrome! That’s all I needed it to disable, but it could be modified for other apps as well (like if you use a different browser).

Reverse scrolling (Australian style)

While you’re at it, you could add this script to the same AutoHotKey script file to reverse the 2 finger scroll direction. That is, if you prefer Apple’s “natural” orientation (called Australian by Google). Basically it matches the direction of scrolling on a touch-screen device. I prefer it. Credit How-To Geek for this one.

; Reverse Scrolling Script by How-To Geek

#NoEnv ; Recommended for performance and compatibility with future AutoHotkey releases.
SendMode Input ; Recommended for new scripts due to its superior speed and reliability.
SetWorkingDir %A_ScriptDir% ; Ensures a consistent starting directory.

WheelUp::
Send {WheelDown}
Return

WheelDown::
Send {WheelUp}
Return

You’ll want to add AutoHotKey to your startup folder to make sure it runs these scripts automatically when Windows loads.

Join Me in the 30-Days to Happiness Challenge

Today everything changes!

Shawn Achor’s TEDx video has long been one of my favorites. And though I’ve paid lip-service to it and it’s principles, I’ve never really, fully implemented them. His research has yielded an amazing approach to happiness, that’s the exact opposite of how most people perceive it. We think: “when X happens, then I’ll be happy.” But as soon as X happens (new job, met sales goals, business reached profitability, new house, new social goals, etc), we push the goal out again, and enjoy very little happiness over what we’ve achieved.

Sean’s research flips this on it’s head: if we’re happy now, we’re happy regardless of success. But, we’re also more likely to be successful because of how much more creative, productive, and socially accessible and influential we are.

But how do we become happier? Shawn’s research has yielded some very concrete, daily practices to reprogram our brains for happiness:

  • 3 Gratitudes (write 3 things you’re grateful for)
  • Journaling (1 positive from the past 24 hrs)
  • Exercise (10 minutes)
  • Meditate (clear your mind, so you can stop multitasking)
  • Conscious Acts of Kindness (send a message of appreciation to someone)

4 of the 5 can be done in 2 minutes or less. In all, you can do all of this in less than 20 minutes each day. I think 20 minutes is totally worth it to be happy!

Sean recommends doing these things for 21 days to reprogram your brain. I’m going to do them for 30 (’cause I can be a little slow sometimes). Who wants to join me? I’d love to have a support group where we all track our progress in 1 place and share experiences, support, etc.

Comment or message me if you’d like to join me in a 30-day Happiness Challenge!

For more details and explanation of these ideas from Shawn, check out his “Talks at Google” appearance:

Discovered: Modern Geoglyph Marriage Proposal!

I work for Canyon County, ID as the webmaster for my day job. I was trying to get the precise location of a couple recreational areas the county owns, to put Google Maps on the website. As I was doing so, I stumbled across the modern geoglyph you see here.

I know nothing about their story. I don’t know who “LJ” is or or who hopes to marry her, or him? I’d guess it’s fairly recent, based on how clearly defined it is. But some parts look faded, so perhaps as much as several years? Was it intended to be seen on Google Maps? Or perhaps when LJ was flying over? Did it work? Did LJ accept?

If you know anything about this, I’d love to hear details. Even if you don’t, sharing/spreading this might get it to a person who does. Go: internet!

Fullsize image here

Now THAT’s How You Appologize

This is how a company should appologize. I use Simple. They’re an online bank that is reinventing banking. No fees, and really cool web and mobile apps to manage your finances: save, plan, budget, automate, and review your spending habits.

An upgrade they implemented caused me some troubles with my card, my goals, and even my “Safe-to-Spend” budget. I just want to give them huge props for customer service done right. For not only reversing my (& my wife’s, and many other’s) recent frustration, but turning us back into loyal customers again!

I’ve never had as enjoyable interactions with customer support as I have with Simple over the last year and a half since I switched to them as my primary bank. And especially not from banks! But in spite of that, recent problems with my account were really starting to build frustration. I already had 2 or 3 tickets open, but was thinking of complaining further. I hesitated to “waste” the time, becauase I was so used to banks not being willing to give up money for anything, even reversing fees they’d taken out of my account. Having worked for a bank, I was even more aware of that fact. I reasoned: “what are they going to do? Refund me those fees they didn’t charge me in the 1st place?” (because they don’t charge fees.)

I’d resolved to tough it out, and get my goals and such straightened out and not say anything. But it was definitely making me rethink my previous support and recommendation of Simple. Then only half an hour ago, I return to my desk to find the email you see above, in my inbox. On chat, a message from my wife:

my wife got $50 from Simple as well

$50! Sweet right? Wanna try this awesome “bank” that not only doesn’t charge fees, but puts their money where their mouth is, literally? It looks like you can now just signup on Simple.com. If that doesn’t work, ping me in the comments or via my contact form and I’ll send you an invite. I currently have 5 available to me. You can also check out the official appology on the Simple Blog.

That Time They Removed a 3/4-inch Stone from Me

Seriously! Look at the size of that monster!

Back in April they removed that thing from me, along with the gallbladder is was in. They wouldn’t let me keep it, so I won’t be putting it in the microwave (or some toxic ooze) to see if it takes on a life of it’s own. Maybe it would look like the rock monsters in the Noah movie?

I’ve long thought that precious stones’ value should be based on the amount of human suffering involved in creating them. Kidney stones (yes I get those too) and gallstones would become among the most valuable rocks on the planet. Talk about “suffering”! I would have demanded they give me this, “my precious” gallstone after the surgery. And perhaps been disappointed I could no longer produce the things. I’d become rich if I could just figure out how to pass kidney stones, without breaking them up. I could get my astronomical medical bill paid off in no time! Just kidding… it’s not worth it, at any price.

They did an initial procedure, before the actual gallbladder removal, where they sent a camera and a tool down my throat and widened an opening slightly, so that stones that had left the gallbladder, could pass though more easily. It wasn’t pleasant, though unconscious, I fought it, and have vague recollection of having a snake forced down my throat while my gag reflexes, reinforced by every muscle in my body, tried to barf it back up.

Anyway, after reviving from that procedure and returning to my room, I was removing the various “stickies” and tape that had been holding sensors and such on me. I happened across one on my right bum-cheek that turned out to be the sticker you see here (about 1.5in long). It was positioned in such a way as to indicate I should be laying on my left side. I’m not sure if me fighting the snake caused some problems and confusion, or if that’s standard procedure to put a visual reminder, so no mistakes are made? OR, if it was just an in-joke at my naked, unconscious expense…?

this-way-up-sticker-gallbladder-removal

Just have to say “thank you” to my beautiful wife, who was there with me keeping me positive, and laughing at the sticker on my bum.

Props to Costco, not so much to RayBan

I’ve been wearing RayBan’s since they were owned and made by Bausch & Lomb. In the past they’ve been great sunglasses and lasted a long time. Last June I’d been without any for a few months and was excited to find Costco selling a pair that I liked. My birthday was coming up, so I checked with Jill and forked over the cash. For just over a year now, I have been very pleased with them.

The other day Jill asked what was on the bottom of the lenses. Looking closely, and even running my fingernail over the area slightly, revealed that the outer coating on the lenses was bubbling up. I’d taken great care of them, mostly being on my face or in the visor of the car. I hadn’t taken them in water or done much at all, that might cause a reaction. So I took them back to Costco yesterday. Though it had been over a year (by a few weeks), Costco took them back and gave me a full refund.

It made me glad I’m a Costco member, and supportive of their business model. Luxotica (current owners/makers of the RayBan brand) on the other hand, lost some of my respect and probably future business. The only other brand-name sunglasses I’ve owned were Oakley, and they held up quite well too. So I checked Woot which had a “deal” on some Oakley Gascan sunglasses (pictured). It wasn’t much of a deal, only about $10 off their price elsewhere. But it saved me a lot of time searching around and trying to decide what to buy. I can waste a lot of time doing that sort of thing. They were about the same price as the RayBan’s I’d returned. I ordered those, and hopefully they’ll last for years, like my previous pair of Oakley’s did.

 

A Tech Guy’s 2014 Summer Wishlist

Tevya's 2014 Summer Wishlist

(in no particular order)

  1. FCC responds to the people it serves, makes Net Neutrality the law.
  2. Asana releases native mobile app, with all features of the webapp + offline sync.
  3. Google buys Sunrise.am. Replaces Calendar with it.
  4. Edward Snowden is welcomed home as a hero, without persecution or legal action.
  5. The leaked new Gmail interface arrives.
  6. The 4th Amendment is enforced. Real surveillance reform is implemented.
  7. ESPN Gameplan comes to the US.
  8. Asana or Evernote adds tight, direct integration with the other service.
  9. Hangouts fully integrates Voice, including contact options when tapping an avatar.
  10. Outlook simplifies, becomes more like Gmail (won’t happen, but I can dream).

It’s kinda like the “Grownup Christmas List” song.

My Blog, Simplified: Ghost, Gust, & Headwind

Gust - Ghost-style markdown writing for WordPress
If you haven’t heard of Ghost, it’s an excellent new blogging platform designed to get back to the roots of blogging: just writing. It’s simple, straightforward, and uses Markdown to allow you to add formatting as you type, without having to stop and click buttons to do the formatting. I’m actually using Markdown for the 1st time, right now as I type this.

Additionally Ghost shows you a live preview of what you’re writing, in a pane to the right of the Markdown area. For straightforward writing/blogging, it’s the best solution I’ve ever seen or heard of.

The downside is that unless you want to pay their pricing for a hosted blog, node.js (which Ghost runs on) is not something most of us can just setup in a few minutes. Plus, I’m heavily invested in WordPress: building, managing, and maintaining many sites on WordPress.

I’d thought about playing with Ghost, having my hosting provider setup node.js for me. Fortunately before we got that far, I happened upon Gust, an excellent plugin that brings the Ghost experience to WordPress.

This blog used to use the P2 theme because it’s front-end post box made it easier to write. It took me away from all the distracting aspects of the WP Admin. However, it was still a pain having to write HTML all the time, to get the formatting I wanted. Gust copies the Ghost experience almost exactly. It provides a 2-pane, markdown-based writing experience, but on top of WordPress. Appearantly Ghost was originally going to be a fork of WordPress, stripping it down and simplifying it back to it’s blogging roots.

This is my first post written using Gust and Markdown, and I must say, it’s a dream! I can just write, using very simple codes to insert links, formatting, etc.

I decided that the front-end of my blog needed to look more modern and simple. After a little searching I came across the incredibly simple, but well designed, Highwind theme by James Koster. It seems the perfect fit to compliment Gust: simple, modern, and clean.

The end result: A simpler, cleaner tevyawashburn.com. I may be installing Gust on all my blogs since I love the writing experience (yes, I’m in-love in just one post). It’s an excellent way to remove the mental barrier that comes with blogging taking a long time. It simplifies and speeds up the writing process. I feel like I have an entirely new blog, both front-end and back-end, but still with all the customizeability and power of WordPress.

Wells Fargo Just Made it Too Painful For Me To Stay With Them

I just received a message from Wells Fargo. The $25/month that I had automatically transferring from checking to savings will not longer qualify me for a free checking account. Though I’m a former employee, and respect the bank on some levels, I’ve long wanted to leave. However, there’s no great alternative. Local credit unions are great in almost all areas except their online banking and billpay, which are extremely important to me and my business.

  • I keep hoping for a mobile app from Ally, the best online bank currently in my opinion, as well as business accounts. But so far nothing.
  • I also keep hoping for a Simple invite, but still nothing there.
  • Finally, I hope for America First Credit Union to upgrade their online banking so I can see both my business accounts and personal with one login, in one place… no such luck. So now you can see why I’m still with Wells.

However, with this change is just too much. Because I’m self-employed, I can’t do direct deposit. A $1500 balance?!?!?! Are you kidding? I have a family. Oh, OR I can setup autopay on a WF loan or mortgage. Well I don’t have one of those, and I’ll never get one. Not for WF at least. That means I can pay $80/yr for my account (I do use electronic statements), or I can leave WF permanently.

When I used to work for WF, they would talk about “sticky products.” Those were various services or accounts the bank provided, that made it hard for a customer to leave. Well, Wells, after 13 years of banking with you, you’ve finally made it more painful for me to stay, than to go. Well done. Maybe we need to start abbreviating WF as WtF instead?

Upcoming changes to your Custom Management® Checking account
The March statement for your Custom Management Checking account included a message about changes to your account. For your convenience, we’ve summarized the changes below.
What’s changing
Effective May 4, 2012, the $25 monthly automatic transfer, Save As You Go® transfer and daily automatic transfer of $1 or more are no longer available options to waive the monthly service fee.

The current $10 monthly service fee is not changing. You can waive the current $10 monthly service fee when you have three additional linked accounts or services (such as a Wells Fargo debit card, savings account, online banking or direct deposit) and one of the following:

  • Maintain a $1,500 minimum daily balance, OR
  • Maintain a qualifying monthly direct deposit of $500 or more1, OR
  • Maintain a monthly automatic loan payment from this Package checking account to a Wells Fargo home equity/personal loan or line of credit, or Wells Fargo Home Mortgage® loan

If you do not meet the new criteria for the monthly service fee waiver, the monthly service fee will appear on your account statement on or after June 4, 2012.

Effective June 4, 2012, if you are assessed the monthly service fee, you can receive a discount of $2 per month when you set up and receive online only statements for this account.
What you may need to do

Automatic transfers are no longer available to waive the monthly service fee. Please review the new monthly service fee waivers carefully as it may be necessary for you to take action to ensure your account is not assessed a monthly service fee.

What isn’t changing:

  • The monthly service fee on your checking account will remain the same and there will continue to be options to waive this fee.
  • Your qualifying automatic transfer will continue to waive the monthly service fee on select savings accounts.
  • Your account number will remain the same.
  • You can continue to use your existing debit card and checks.
  • Your automatic payments, transfers, scheduled online bill payments and direct deposits will continue uninterrupted.
  • Your account will continue to be FDIC-insured up to the applicable limits.
  • You will continue receiving the same benefits and services including:

More than 6,300 Wells Fargo locations and 12,000 ATMs
Free access to Wells Fargo Online® Banking with Bill Pay
Telephone customer service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
If you have questions, or would like to receive a free financial review to see if you have the right accounts and services to meet your financial goals, please contact your local banker or call us at 1-800-TO-WELLS (1-800-869-3557), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Thank you. We appreciate your business.

Sincerely,
Wells Fargo Consumer Deposits Group

Circle, share, and Plus-One (+1) Buttons & Widgets for Google Plus

I previously wrote similar posts on where to find the buttons/widgets on Facebook and Twitter. Here’s the same for Google+

Creativity, Producing, and the Morning Routine

It seems to be the norm these days: I wish I had time to do write more.

I found 2 recent posts extremely insightful and interesting. The first came from Good Design, and explores the idea that creative types need different outlets for their creativity.

I don’t know that it’s exclusive to those who are creative, but regardless the major point is very true: I need different ways to express my creativity. Sometimes I’ll just create a logo for somebody for free, because I need to get away from building websites or even designing them. Sometimes I just have an itch to write, because I’ve been doing too much design. Sometimes I need to run, hike, or go shooting, because there’s creativity involved in all, and it gets me away from the norm of my days. My latest favorite creative outlet is telling stories. Like my Dad did for me when I was young, I tell Colter stories before naps and/or bedtime. He loves them. He’s always asking for a “cowboy Bill story” or a “bear story.” I enjoy it too, it’s a great creative outlet for me, even-though the stories are often very simple.

The other post was sorta re-posted on Lifehacker, and reminded me of a quote by Og Mandino:

Welcome every morning with a smile. Look on the new day as another special gift from your Creator, another golden opportunity to complete what you were unable to finish yesterday. Be a self-starter. Let your first hour set the theme of success and positive action that is certain to echo through your entire day. Today will never happen again. Don’t waste it with a false start or no start at all. You were not born to fail.

The article talked about how much more effective the author was when he started the day by writing some or creating something. On days where he started that way, rather than perusing his inbox, or checking up on friend’s status updates on The Facebook, he found he was many times more effective throughout the day. Even if the day included some of those kinds of distractions and breaks.

The first article is something I want to try and recognize better and make sure that I “shift gears” creatively so that I’m better at my creativity. The 2nd article reminded me of something I already knew, but need to focus on more: starting the day off by producing something. That’ll make me more focused and all around better at what I do.