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Best Windows 10 Laptops of 2020, and More Productivity and Technology News This Week
On this episode, Augusto and Ray cover the week’s productivity and technology news along with a discussion on MakeUseOf’s best Windows 10 laptops of 2020.
(If you’re reading this in a podcast directory/app, please visit https://anythingbutidle.com for clickable links and the full show notes and transcript of this cast.)
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In this Cast
Headlines & Show Notes | Best Windows 10 Laptops of 2020
Resources we mention, including links to them, will be provided here. Please listen to the episode for context.
Stories of the Week
Apple releases iOS 14.2.1 with bug fixes for iPhone 12 mini, text messaging, more
What’s New in macOS 11 Big Sur: Our Full Feature Roundup
Craig Federighi: Native Windows on M1 Macs is ‘Really up to Microsoft’
Alphabet CFO explains how Google fixed a dip in productivity during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic
Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for iOS add Microsoft Office editing
Google Message end-to-end encryption
Google Meet attendance reports come to Workspace tiers
Chromebook PDF annotation will soon be possible in the new media app
Google Assistant Arrives on the Fitbit Sense and Versa 3
Asus announces new Chromebox 4 with 10th Gen Intel processors
PayPal launches its answer to GoFundMe
Quirklogic releases first firmware update for the Papyr – Good e-Reader
Remember the Milk now supports Apple Silicon
How To Feel Awake In The Morning: 7 Easy Tips
8 Totally Free VPN Services to Protect Your Privacy | MakeUseOf
The Manager’s Guide to Todoist
The Steward Mindset: A Key Mindset to Maximize Your Personal Growth
The new dos and don’ts of effective meetings: Data from 1,000+ business leaders on what makes meetings work
How to Break Free from People Pleasing and Speak Your Mind
New: Connect distributed teams at scale
8 Things That Can Help You Get More Hygge This Winter
13 books to read when you’re in a career rut
Happy 25th Birthday, GIMP — you make Linux a viable Windows 10 alternative
Try This If You Can’t Stop Working At Night
Are You Missing This Essential Foundation for a Good Life?
Microsoft Edge Receives a New Copy-Paste Feature to Take On Chrome
How to disable Edge’s new URL copy and paste feature – The Verge
Microsoft Teams Takes on Zoom With Free All-Day Video Calling on the Web
New Tools of the Week
Augusto and I come across many personal productivity tools and services each week. In this segment, New Tools of the Week, we each bring you a tool we think you might like.
New Tool 1 (Ray)
New Tool 2 (Augusto)
Featured Story of the Week
Saving the best for last, our featured story of the week is…
The 7 Best Windows Laptops of 2020
Raw Text Transcript | Best Windows 10 Laptops of 2020
Raw, unedited and machine-produced text transcript so there may be substantial errors, but you can search for specific points in the episode to jump to, or to reference back to at a later date and time, by keywords or key phrases. The time coding is mm:ss (e.g., 0:04 starts at 4 seconds into the cast’s audio).Read More
Raymond Sidney-Smith 0:03
Hello personal productivity enthusiasts and community Welcome to anything but idle the productivity news podcast. Today’s show is brought to you by W three consulting. And I’m Ray Sidney-Smith. And we’re your hosts for anything but idle. This is Episode 32 and recording this on November 30 2020. Each week we cover and discuss the productivity and technology news for the week. And so with that, let’s get into the headlines. gousto What is our first headline this week we’re going to go through some apple news it looks like
Augusto Pinaud 0:35
let’s begin with the apple news Apple release 14.2 but it was a interesting release they have done this in the past but it was specifically for their iPhone 12 meanie and fixing text messages and a couple of other bugs. So they have done this a this this and I think part of the reason they have done this is to avoid the leaking. Guys, this is not the first time they hit it. But hey, if you got a an iPhone 12 meanie make sure that you update to the last of the right version of this. Our next one is about talking about features of big swarm Mac OS Big Four. And you know now that they’ve been using it more even that is still is not my main machine. I’m continue impressed of how well certain things work in comparison to Catalina again, I’ve MacBook is not my main driver, my main driver is the iPad. But there is still things that I do in in the MacBook. And I’ve been impressed how my old I have an old MacBook Air 2013 because there is no reason to upgrade it. But that now having the same messages between the iPad and the MacBook, that has been nice, because it was something that you know, a lot of times you get down and you’re gonna mess up and just go pick another device because he was so annoying how that works. So there are things like that that has worked incredibly well. Interestingly enough, I was really looking forward for the iPods, switching between the devices. And that has turned to be a nightmare. It may be because I have too many of them, I don’t know. But a lot of times, I am on a call on the airports and then I moved my head or change device and suddenly I lose the call. That has been annoying. There are ways to fix that you can tell them basically disable the airport switching. But it was something that I really was looking forward to the romantic idea of odd yes and grab the other device and change out dramatically. And I really didn’t thought about Yeah, but what what when you’re using multiple devices in the same call, that do not work as well as I plan in my mind. Our next item is quick for the righi talking about running native window on the ame. One, and on the new Mac chipset, then use from the reports we have seen has been incredible on this chipset. And it makes sense. I mean, they integrate everything, they made it in a really nice way. And even the reports we have seen on speeds on the Macs and the comparisons between the old MacBooks on the MacBook Pro with the new ones are really credible on so many ways. So there is a lot of people wondering, can I put windows in this thing and so far, you cannot I was reading over the weekend, somebody already port a version of it not the official Microsoft version but as correct for the rig for the rigors said, it’s up to Microsoft. And based on what we have seen on the news lately about other companies looking to get into this arm, I may see as a possibility that they really jump into this one.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 4:11
I’m I’m skeptical. I think that you know, eventually, you know, someone will make Microsoft Windows at least version 10 work on the M one chips. The reality though is that Apple is I even heard Linus Torvalds the the progenitor of the Linux kernel, which we all know is running. People say Linux but it’s you know, really the open source operating system on top of that, and the you know, the whole notion of the chips is that Apple is moving into this more island unto itself, architecture you know, they are creating a privacy wall around their entire ecosystem. And they’re only letting in those who they want to let in. And so I’m really curious whether or not this is really their, you know, shot across the bow to all software developers, all, you know, folks generally that they’re going to be controlling this. And if you want to play with them, you got to play by their rules. And they can do it now, because they’re making the chip they’re making, you know, they’re making everything. So, yeah, I’m not particularly interested in running Windows on a Mac anyway. But I think that, you know, seeing folks kind of bend the rules and making it work will be interesting to watch, or it is always looking interesting to
Augusto Pinaud 5:29
watch, you know that there is an incredible big market to the hackintosh. And I will wonder if we are going to start seeing the opposite. I don’t know. All right. So now we go to our Google world. And the first news we have is alphabet, CFO explaining how Google fixed a dip in productivity during the early days of the pandemic, and I’m going to say, my business work or move into Google meat. And that’s a big, big thing for all this pandemic. And do they have done some things? Great? Yes. I don’t know if I necessarily agree with hundred percent of this article. Yes, they did it if you go and closer to what they have done to their company. Yeah. When they did, you know, that work from home option to summer? 2021. They were really a guidance for that. But if I look into that, only, maybe, but I don’t know. I?
Raymond Sidney-Smith 6:40
Yeah, I think I think they’re, they’re talking about their, their internal employee response to the pandemic. And the fact that, you know, they, they basically increased the number of meetings and ways in which they were capable of checking in with everyone. And that, of course, what the CFO talked about was the idea that Google then was able to create more cohesion among their team by doing so. And yeah, I don’t know. I don’t doubt it. But I also don’t work for Google. So I don’t
Augusto Pinaud 7:12
work, either. I don’t, I don’t. So I don’t know, I what I have seen in other companies who have been increasing those checkups has not necessarily been done. So
Raymond Sidney-Smith 7:24
yeah. And I think the bigger the bigger statement from that article, at least as I read it was the fact that going back into the office is going to be the more complicated problem, that that alphabet as a as a company, you know, which is inclusive of Google is going to have to really deal with because the sending everybody home, you know, a lot of people work from home, and certainly at Google, they know how to, but bringing them back into the office, I think is going to be the more challenging piece. And that seems to be what the apple CFO was kind of noting here. So that makes make sense to me.
Augusto Pinaud 7:57
I mean, it’s a challenge. It is a challenge for for, you know, we, we discussed this, at the beginning of the pandemic, there was three kinds of people, the ones who always dream about this. And now they discover and they don’t want to come back and they want to love the office and cannot see the moment to go back. But the ones who wanted to have this and now been on this for maybe a year, those people they know now they prove their point, they prove that they can do it, they prove that they don’t need to go back. I don’t know.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 8:28
Yep. So next up in the news is Google Docs. Finally, Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides for iOS now supports Microsoft Office editing. And that’s with the impending change also that Microsoft Office editing will be the default process, the the office editor will be the default process for all of the platforms at some point in the future. And and so whenever you open an office file, whether that be a DSC x XLS x or otherwise, you’re going to open up in that office editing format.
Augusto Pinaud 9:03
And that is, finally, because that has been as much as I understand if you are going to work with deal with corporate America, you need that I don’t care what machines do decide to use. Work is still the standard on many corporations, especially large sized corporations. So I’m really excited for the people who work with them who don’t want to have Microsoft Office for no reason, I think is so exciting. That now the iOS will do it and will do it by default. I am for one. Pretty excited about that.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 9:41
Yep, absolutely. Next up is Google messages with their RCS functionality, which is there. I think it’s real time communications or something to that effect. Their RCS platform is now globally rolled out. So those of you who are on Android, we are now in the two silos, right? We have Android on one side. And we have iOS, the apple messages ecosystem on the other side. And now if you were using an Android device, and you’re in one of the latest operating systems, I can’t remember which one it goes back to. But in essence, you will now be able to message with another Android user in Google messages in the Google Messages app, the Android Messages app, and you will then start to see you know, like the moving dots, just like you would on iOS or otherwise, in one of the messaging apps generally. And you will be able to send stickers you’re capable of liking thumbs up thumbs up being, you know, things of those nature. Now, also, they are going to bring end to end encryption to those messages as well, meaning that the messages are you know, gousto has a private key, I have a private key, we share the public key, and only we are able to, you know, read the messages that are on either of our devices, this is a huge step forward. And, and I’m very glad to see it. I hope that at some point Apple and Google are capable of really it’s it’s apple in this particular circumstance, Apple needs to make the the step outward to allow platforms to integrate with messages. And, you know, the rest of the planet is Android based, and very small percentage is Apple messages based. And so it really is up to Apple to come join the rest of the planet and, and make the ecosystem work together so that we can all have stronger, encrypted messages and not be this weird, classist, you know, blue bubble green bubble problem that we consistently have going on right now, you know, I, I choose not to be on an on an Apple device in terms of my phone. And, but there are a lot of kids out there who don’t choose that there, they can’t afford an Apple device. And that creates the strata in schools and bullying and all kinds of other problems. So I am very much on the point of saying, Let’s bring RCS as a universal peace to everybody. And that will not only make us more productive, because we’re going to be more secure. But it will also be something that lowers this whole nonsense of you know, you know, one platform versus another kind of situation that we keep hearing about. Moving right along. Google meet has now brought attendance reports within the workspace and environment for more tiers. So as I understand it, or as I’m reading here in this nine to five Google article, it is now available in Google workspace, which is replacing which has replaced G Suite. It is now available in the tiers for essentials, business plus enterprise essentials, enterprise standard and enterprise plus. So it was in enterprise for education before. And now it has scaled out to those additional 12345 tiers of Google workspace. And so Google, are you are you going to be using this a gousto? Are you going to see your your children’s school using this?
Augusto Pinaud 12:57
You know, it is interesting, our children school was on Google meet, and they move out of Google me too soon, because Google meet had a problem that the teacher cannot if a student gets in the meeting before the teacher or the organizer, they are, they organize, consider the organizer for Google meet. So we had at the school some issues of students kicking the teacher out blocking other students game. And as much as I, as an adult, find that hysterical, and I may have may or may have not done something like that he will have had the chance when I went to school, for the student for the school for the teachers was
Raymond Sidney-Smith 13:44
fair enough. Fair enough. So next up, Chromebooks are now going to be getting PDF annotation, with within a new media app is what I’m understanding. And so if you’re using an essence, Chrome right now, you have the ability to read PDFs coming forward into the future, you’ll have an annotation feature that will give you the ability just to then markup the both the inside of a PDF, you know, you have text, and then you have images. So those two different types can then be drawn on, in essence, inside of this PDF annotation tool. And so it’ll be interesting, I’m not quite sure why it’s a new media app, as opposed to just bundling it into the existing ecosystem of the PDF reader itself. But that’s how they chose to do it. And, and so you’ll be able to do some level of editing. And so you know, like, you get a PDF form from, say, the IRS or another government authority, and you want to be able to fill it out by quote unquote, hand on screen, and then save it and send it back. This will hopefully give you the capability of doing that. And that just lowers the threshold for signing documents and all kinds of other things of that nature. And so that’ll be it’ll be really interesting to see how this all works out any additional thoughts? They’re like so,
Augusto Pinaud 15:02
you know, I think this is really interesting. And this is showing how much we are getting used to the form factor and the signing online and all this that as much as you know, the people in the technology and all that have seen this signing and PDF. And all this for so long. Finally is coming to the Chromebooks that instead of their high end Chromebooks, no question about it, and you can install the software. But when you bundle this now as part of the browser or a naec thing that people can associate to them to the browser, what, what it reads to me is we are finally getting to critical mass. And we’re finally getting to the point where people now seeing this as something that Okay, everybody do it. So that’s really cool.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 15:54
Absolutely. Okay. And to round out, is this rounding out our Oh, no, we’ve got a little bit more Google knows where to go. Second, second to next Google Assistant arrives on the Fitbit sense, and the Versa three, so Fitbit has these two models of smartwatches. And they’re bringing the google assistant to it. I think this is going to be great. I just want google assistant and everything. I think this is fantastic to be able to bring these devices online in terms of smart, you know, assistance. And and so I’m great. I’m glad to see them bring it to, you know, all of the platforms. Google owns Fitbit, is if I’m not mistaken.
Augusto Pinaud 16:33
They own they’re trying to integrate it. There has been some issues in the in Europe, with all this and about their what they’re going to do. But yeah, mostly, they own and they are going to they’re turning them into basically, they’re trying to turn them into the Google watch at some point, even if they keep the Fitbit brand. But yes, I think I agree. It’s great. It’s, you know, having the system on the watch. It is awesome. So I think having if you leave on the Google ecosystem, I think that will be really powerful.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 17:11
Yeah, they said that. Um, so this is Fitbit, os 5.1. So that’s rolling out in the US. And it seems like us only right now is going to be adding Google Assistant, it’ll be in English only for the time being, obviously, they’ll want to test see how it works out in that market. And then and then scale it out to the others over time. Next,
Augusto Pinaud 17:30
but the Google’s the Google already listening so many languages, that that is just a matter of turning the switch to
Raymond Sidney-Smith 17:38
Yeah, and they want it they want to make sure that the Fitbit devices can handle multiple languages. And all you know, it’s a it’s a processing power issue. It’s not necessarily the Google doesn’t have the data. Yeah, all the the microphones in it, they want to make sure all those pieces work fluidly with it. So next up, The Verge is made the announcement that aces, which makes many different chrome book, and Chrome OS devices, announced a new Chromebook for chromebox, four, with a 10 generation, a 10th generation Intel processor, where you’ll have an option between a Celeron or a core. And so this is really great news. The chrome box is one of the form factors of Chrome OS devices. So you have all kinds of Chrome OS devices, if you go back a few episodes, I actually outlined, I think all of them. And that, you know, we have a wide variety of different Chrome OS devices. And one of those being the Chromebooks kind of like a Mac Mini and it’s small form factor box. And very portable, if you wanted it to be, all you need to do is connect power, you know, mouse keyboard and display, and you’re up and running. And having this new one come out gives more credence to the fact that they’re obviously popular, and, and more people are going to want them. And I’m certain that in a school environment, you’re going to see more and more of this Come come about, especially if children are working from home schooling or schooling from home. And, and some of those are going to stay some of those children are maybe going to stay schooling from home. And and that will allow them to have a small form factor device that you can, I mean, really, it’s so small, you can just like you know, put a little mountain, put it underneath the desk, and then you’re not taking actually
Augusto Pinaud 19:11
even better. The it comes in the box with a VESA mount that you can put in the back of the thing where you will put a mount so you already get that in the box. So you can put that thing behind the TV immediately.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 19:25
Yes, you could put it you can mount it behind the display. So they do does does come with a display mount, which makes it kind of like an all in one, you know, desktop device, you get a nice display and put it, put it right behind it. And then you don’t have to have any footprint on the desk itself. And so yeah, I’m really excited to see all of these chromeboxes kind of coming out. I know that next year, we’re going to have a proliferation of Chrome OS devices. We’re gonna see a lot of Chromebooks coming out onto the market. And so 2021 is going to be a fun year to be talking about Google Chrome OS. I’ve talked long about the fact that it is it is the future of much of the, you know, processing on in the world. I mean, that’s how many people in at least first of all nations are going to be coming online and utilizing the world. And so seeing the proliferation of devices that give so many different form factors for the various ways in which we use and need computing devices, I’m just excited to see that
Augusto Pinaud 20:23
not only that it is really an incredible platform. I mean, we have discussed in previous episodes about how to get old devices that are really not operable in current standards, to bring it to current standards using Chrome OS, or just never were cloud and make them really a Chromebooks that will work completely fine. So that also open an incredible platform and an incredible space for devices that can be recycled now, that really will extend the life of the thing for a long, long, long time. And when you talk to those developing countries, that changed the game, because now you’re talking about people who can buy a $50 machine who will not really help them, turn them into a Chromebook and run up to date secure platform in their homes. Absolutely.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 21:22
All right, moving right along. In terms of news, we’ve got some news out of PayPal, PayPal has launched a platform for you to be able to raise money for causes. And so this is really interesting. They’re calling it the generosity network. And you can raise up to $20,000 on a project. Now I’m curious what their limitations on what they would consider a good cause is what you can fundraise for. Because that just sounds like a lot of these GoFundMe fees and other platforms where you can raise funds for not just personal situations, but say a small business that wants to start and all they need is a couple thousand dollars in order to get started. I wonder if they can use this platform for being able to do so clearly, they’re launching this in advance of Giving Tuesday. So if you’re watching right now, today is Cyber Monday, tomorrow’s Giving Tuesday, the program that was launched in partnership with the YMCA, out of New York, and one other organization, there was two organizations, but it was the 92nd why, and maybe the Red Cross, I could be getting that wrong. But either way, you know, tomorrow is is Giving Tuesday, or if you’re listening to the podcast today is Giving Tuesday. And so it’s a major event for for donating and giving to causes. And so PayPal was doing this, I’m presuming to be you know, kind of in the narrative for that giving holiday. But I’m really curious about learning more about this, because, you know, obviously coming into contact with as many small businesses as I do, in any given week, I’m very curious about how they’re going to be able to utilize this tool in a business environment.
Augusto Pinaud 23:01
Sorry, next one is quicklogic releases their first firmware for their reader puppeteer. And so they just released their first upgrade, and apparently is going to the sky is going to fall over us tonight. It’s raining pretty pretty hard here in New Jersey. So I apologize for the brain noise if you’re getting any. But current logic basically came with this 13 point tree he notes to the market. And now you will be able to do split screen you will be able to do swap screen open the last page improve your PDF experience depend performance. So they really are trying to make this device a lot more powerful than what it was this is still have a $700 price point. But they seem to be trying to compete to the remarkable two who has been having some success that one of the interesting things for me on the comparison between the puppeteer and the remarkable is the operating system because it appeared runs on Android. So I’m sure with that they can add a lot more things with that technology application wise that are going to allow you to interact with things that jus will not be able to interact. If you are on on the remarkable you know, you will be able to install the Kindle you will be able to install other things. And Kip you know that so
Raymond Sidney-Smith 24:43
yep. And to round out our first half of the news for this episode is that remember the milk is now capable of supporting and one chips Apple silicon. And so this is really a great addition. But remember the milk for Mac Now runs as they note in their post smoothly on both Apple silikon and Intel based Mac computer. So they basically have published a universal app is my understanding then and and you’re going to be able to be able to run. Remember the note for Mac on your new Apple and one chip devices. If you’ve already gotten one good on you, but into next year, as you get some Christmas presents and some some holiday presents, you’ll see that it runs smoothly on those. So that’s really great to hear. And I look forward to running remember the milk for myself on on the M one chips once I get my new Mac Mini. So with that we have reached our first half. And so we’ll now hear a word from our sponsor, WCC web services. And we will see after the break.
Sponsor Voice Over 25:45
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Raymond Sidney-Smith 26:44
Welcome back everybody to anything but idle Episode 32. And before the break, we were talking about the fact that Remember, the milk now supports apple and one Macs. And so that’s exciting news. But now let’s get on with the rest of our headlines this week. And so what is our next story this week of gousto
Augusto Pinaud 27:02
our next article is from life hack. And it’s titled How to feel awake in the morning, seven easy tips and it goes into, you know, for people who trying to wake up early, getting things done, you know, and feel good about the day. You know, it’s the you can watch the whole YouTube and we try to you know, talk about how you will get better sleep, how to get up early how to find success and happiness. You know, seven easy tips that you can get about that.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 27:39
Yeah, and they talk about like walking barefoot outside and some other kinds of interesting tips. They’re just, you know, their little little life hacks to be able to get yourself up and running in the morning. So you can go check out the YouTube video, and it’s embedded on the article itself. Okay, next up is an article that is entitled eight totally free VPN services to protect your privacy. And I just put this in here so that I could tell everybody please do not use a free VPN. So it is a it is a warning call that if you are using a free VPN, it is very unlikely the only one that I recommend that is free is the one that is produced by CloudFlare called one dot one dot one dot one or, you know, which is a it’s DNS. But, you know, the reality is, is that, you know, if you’re if you’re using any VPN that is free, it is likely using your data in some way shape or form in order to make money. And so just just don’t do it.
Augusto Pinaud 28:41
If you free you are the product.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 28:43
Yeah, it’s it’s a it’s a very unfortunate world. But that is just how it goes. Okay, next up is an article out of our to do list, and it’s called the managers guide to a to do list and it’s just a basic article on helping you be productive and managing a team. And they go into just kind of different sections on doing that. I don’t want to go into all of it here with you right now. But they have in essence, five different sections managing hiring and onboarding, managing work, managing people, managing the big picture strategic processes, and in managing yourself going down to that personal productivity level. And so it’s just worth checking out. It’s really well done. It’s thoughtful, and I took away a couple of really interesting tidbits here. Nothing ground shattering, but if you are feeling any level of stress related to managing a team, especially in this environment, it’s nice to be able to just kind of get a refresher and get yourself up and running there. Okay, next up is a life optimizer article.
Augusto Pinaud 29:51
Um, before before we go there, I agree with you and the article. The article was incredibly well done. I I was surprised Number one, how much I enjoyed the article. But number two, as you said it was there is nothing earth shattering on the article. But he’s a great compilation. They should have made it a PDF. I did but but they should have allowed people to get it in PDF for for future reference it was that well done.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 30:18
Absolutely. Absolutely. All right. Next up a life optimizer article
Augusto Pinaud 30:22
optimizer. So the steward mine. So the key mindset to maximize your personal growth and personal growth is one of the things that can be complicated can be, we tend to overcomplicate it much more than what is needed. But the reality is, it is really important. It’s that mindset that is going to determine direction is that mindset that is going to lead you into the right actions. So it wasn’t, it was a good, it was a good, good article I enjoy I need to admit I enjoy a lot more than to do is one. But but it’s still a really good Really.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 31:07
Yeah, and I mean, the the general idea here is that they’re talking about something they’re trying to equate this to the growth mindset idea. But the the idea here is that you have responsibility to, in essence, help yourself, steward yourself toward personal development, and that this is something that is intrinsic, you know, intrinsically motivated, and it’s just good for you. And so I, you know, it’s one of those motivational articles that helps you understand that you should be improving yourself on an ongoing basis, and why not get a little bit of excitement to do so. So I was, I think it’s a good addition, again, nothing earth shattering for me, but it’s just a nice reminder that, you know, spending some effort and time on yourself is not it’ll spend time. All right, continuing inside and on kind of the management space, our rescue time, put out a blog post called the new do’s and don’ts of effective meetings, data from 1000 plus business leaders on what makes meetings work. And what were your highlights from reading the article, a good sale?
Augusto Pinaud 32:13
You know, there was two things. One is they come later on, they’re on the page and on the article to talk about how is the average number of meetings change in the last year. And basically, we’re at this point, talking pre COVID plus COVID. It’s what it is. And I was interested for me. The amount of people were talking about 30, something percent of people who said no, it’s a stay about the same. That’s what impressed me, I was not expecting, I was expecting actually, more people to increase the meetings I have seen for me. My number of meetings may have not increased, but the way these meetings happen are, you know, it used to be a lot more phone calls than what I have now, you know, used to be great, you go into criminal Frankel. And now everybody, let’s meet Oh, send me a link, send me a sim link lets me Google mid link. And that makes some of these meetings a lot longer than what a quick phone call is. So that’s what I’ve been seen with me. So I I’m on that increase, you know, group. But the other theme that has changed is our what’s interesting is, when do you prefer to schedule meetings, because I avoid like the plague morning meeting. I don’t like morning meetings, because that’s the time I get to work. And then if I get meetings there, and the afternoon is usually full, I’m in trouble. So, but he was really interesting to see how many people prefer, you know, these meetings in the morning so that those two things were really, really interesting for me, they talk later about time blocking and pomodoro and swallow the frog the most important task to deal with old days, but but for me, the must do the two shocking parts. Were those two graphs in there.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 34:14
Yeah. So they they broke this down into three challenges. And I found this to be interesting, just, you know, because they did the data research collection, I thought it was interesting. But they said, building a culture of effective meetings comes down to three challenges, keeping the total number of meetings to a minimum batching meeting time to allow for longer stretches of focus time and running more effective meetings. And I can’t disagree with all all of them. But individually keeping the total number of meetings to a minimum, I’m not necessarily sure what that means. I mean, you should have as many meetings as is necessary in order to be effective, and I presume that’s what they mean by to a minimum. So I’ll agree with that. But you know, for me, you know, when I am billing by the hour, you know, more meetings is better for my business. So it’s It’s not a bad thing to have a lot of meetings, it means that I’m my utilization rate is high. And so we all have to take into account that if you’re, you know, an attorney, or an accountant or someone who bills hours in a consulting capacity, you need to recognize that you know, billable hours are more important. And if those meetings are billable hours, that needs to be taken into account as being kind of separate from what would be operational or administrative meetings, or strategic meetings, or just outright social or non work related meetings that are at work, whether that be via zoom, or otherwise? And so it’s a little bit more of a nuanced conversation for me in terms of what is the actual makeup of the meetings? And are you the type of person who’s more collaborative and thinking, and therefore capable of being more productive in a meeting environment? For example, I know several people who get a lot of work done during a meeting, because they’re talking to people, and then they’re typing and moving things around. And like, Oh, yeah, let’s move the calendar thing here. Let’s do this. And so they’re doing things throughout the meeting, I don’t have that capability, I have to like take notes and focus on what’s going on. Otherwise, I’m, I’m lost. Because if I start doing something that’s different than not different, but in the context of the meeting, if I try to do while I’m meeting, I lose concentration on the content of the meeting. And I can’t really do that level of bifurcation. So I just don’t, and I do the work that I need to do after the meeting. And that’s fine. But there are some people who are very, very capable of doing that kind of multitasking, and it works for them. I’m not a fan of it. I don’t like it. But But I do know, there are people out there who do so we have to know our own work styles in order to be really effective. And so that’s a piece of there about the other two pieces, I think absolutely putting together focused time where you can actually, you know, get focused action worked on you that is really important to be able to align in your calendar so that meetings don’t override those pieces. Those are the important not urgent functions in your life. And if you’re not doing that work, you’re really always going to feel like a laggard. And and that’s really unfortunate, then, of course, running more effective meetings, we’ve done these these discussions on ProductivityCast. So I would highly recommend folks jump over to ProductivityCast, and look to our episodes about meetings, and how to run effective meetings. And there are some really great tips in that in that ProductivityCast episode or episodes on meetings. So great article there. All right. Next up, we have an artist article from leadership freak, on how to break free from people pleasing and speaking your mind. And I came across this article, and I just thought, Oh, it’s just a very simple checklist of things. And and interesting perspective on it. So the first thing up that the gentleman noted, was that you have to own your addiction. And it says, begin by confessing you’re addicted to people pleasing. And, and I would argue that that’s probably not the thing. So the thing is, is that you’re addicted to to avoiding conflict. So conflict avoidance is something that all of us to some extent, either land toward, or are repelled by, right. So conflict avoidance, there are people who love, you know, conflict, so they’re going to avoid conflict avoidance, they’re going to be repelled by conflict avoidance, because those techniques don’t, aren’t dramatic, aren’t crazy making. And for those people, they don’t mind making conflict. So I, I get the idea of people pleasing, but understand that this is really about conflict. And we have to remember that the more or less we like conflict, and that’s not a bad thing, right? There are good and healthy reasons for having conflict, right? Like, if it goes down, I want to go to the movies, pre or post COVID. And we say, oh, let’s go to the movies. I’m gonna go up to New Jersey, I want to I want to take a six, seven and a half hour round trip drive.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 38:59
And we decided to do that. That is there was an inherent conflict, because I am a Star Trek fan. And a gousto is a Star Wars fan. And so that is a very healthy conflict. There’s nothing wrong with with us having a healthy debate over what we should go see in terms of a sci fi film or whether we decide to go take our loved ones to a more family friendly film or otherwise, that’s a conflict and we need to know how to deal with that well, and if you’re a people pleaser, then you’re potentially going to get walked on and not deal with the conflict in a healthy way. Which means that in essence kind of covey esque you know how covey talks about lose lose, and you know, lose Win Win lose and and win win. And in many times, it ends up being a losing proposition when you become a people pleaser. And so, yeah, just conflict avoidance is really issue is really big issue.
Augusto Pinaud 39:49
I agree. I agree on that. It’s more than the addiction and it’s, I don’t think that addiction is was was the people pleasing and there is people who may but I think it’s more with a conflict part. But I wrote a little book called now, I don’t know some years ago, and there the beginning of that book, have a quote from Josh Billings that says, half of the troubles in this life can be traced to saying just too quickly, and not saying no soon enough. And I have that or had that in my office for a really long time. Because it is not the problem is not if you’re a people pleasing or not. The problem is, what kind of trouble? Are you getting yourself down the road and liking the conflict or not? It is worth it to get into that trouble. And and sometimes it’s not about saying yes, or saying now that that it is into understanding what are the consequences to what we are saying yes. And we tend not to think on that we tend to underestimate that. And then we only notice it after we are in our neck. And it’s like, oh, so yeah, I would say ask yourself that if you find yourself related, you can relate to this political thing. The answer to say a better No, is to find out not the question they’re asking. But what are the implications of such question?
Raymond Sidney-Smith 41:23
Yeah, and so he has four more kind of recommendations in this article. And I would be it would be injustice to not mention them because they are all good after the the weird addiction part to I just don’t like pathologizing things that aren’t necessarily pathologies, or that are not clearly not pathologies, because there are probably people who are addicted to things that are, you know, clearly interrupting and hurting their productivity. But people pleasing is not something that you are likely addicted to. But anyway, so number one aside, being avoiding conflict. Number two, he says practicing no before you need to say it. And that’s, you know, read Agusta His Book Three is speak up with kindness. I liked this notion that we frequently want to bite by thinking that we’re speaking up, were somehow being aggressive, or, you know, wrong, when in reality, we can be assertive and compassionate. We can be assertive and kind. And I really liked this notion. So just number three, generally his little 10 little points there that I think are really worth delving into if you have concerns about coming up and being and speaking up with kindness, as he talks about improve incrementally. He’s talking about narrowing the scope of focus to one thing at a time, saying no, once this week, for example, is what he says, that’s really nice. And then five is contradict your inner critic. And he writes here, your inner critic needs approval from others while disapproving of yourself. And so really good stuff here. This is actually also in line with his, I think he has a new book out, am I am I incorrect about this, I thought this was all part of his new book, or at least some kind of notification about it. But I can’t find it now. But either way, if you check out leadership freaked up blog, you should be able to find that. Okay, next up, we have an article from Asana, from the Asana blog about how to connect a distributed team at scale. And the article really just talked about the notion of connecting various tools together so that your distributed workforce, your distributed teams are able to better scale because once those tools are connected to one another, you’re able to more seamlessly move in terms of size, but also move nimbly between different dynamic situations. So I thought that was really interesting. And so you know, when you when you connect tools, that tends to create the consolidation of tools. And so that means that not everybody is you know, you don’t have half your team using Google meat and half your team using zoom and half your team using Microsoft Teams, and, you know, whatever work that would be a third, a third and a third, but but the idea is, is that you are, you are in some way, shape, or form, bringing those tools into fewer of them so that people can be more productive in that space.
Augusto Pinaud 44:10
But there were three things interested in here. One was, you know, they give you an example of Santa and zoom, and they give you an example of teams. And I think, if your company leave in a center, these integrations are key to get into the meeting capture, you know, I as a productivity coach, he’s so hard to see people coming with the notes of the notes of the notes, and I understand there’s not everybody can do the multitasking. You know, as you were referring previously in the meeting, some people really need to take the notes and pay attention and they need to come back. But not having those tools that integrate or even a good place where you can put your own. It is so hard to process those notes on and I spend time teaching people split the page and teaching people how to manage though things they could take the notes they have been used to but also capture those actions because not every time you have the time to go back and read four or five pages of notes, and you should be able to identify the action. So for the people who is more digital, being able to capture that directly into their Asana, especially if they’re using an accompany, I think is fantastic, regardless if they are on film on teams, or Slack, or gyra. So I think it is a fantastic news.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 45:34
Wonderful. Okay. Next up is and just as a as a point of closing that the loop on that is that you know, they’re they’re trying to showcase their integrations functionality, Asana now has the ability to integrate throughout this entire marketplace, we talked about that, in a past show. And now they’re, they’re writing content to really highlight that function. And you You’re absolutely right, as though they are bringing, they’re bringing that to the fore and doing it well. And I appreciate them, letting us know, the use cases for this and how it really does help a business scale. Okay, next up is a an Art of Manliness, blog post, that was called the eight things that can help you get more Heuga in this winter. And for those of you who don’t know, Hagar or huka is a Danish cultural artifact. And it talks about kind of creating a cozy and comfortable environment in your in your home. And it’s just kind of a contentment, contentment or wellness care practice within the Danish culture. And it’s really interesting, because this actually makes its way into a lot of productivity discussions about how different cultures actually embrace productivity in, in really embracing the the culture itself, right, and who is that kind of concept where you actually have the Danish people who have very cold months for a good part of the year, and how they actually establish themselves to have that kind of self care, that kind of wellness care in, in, in built into their culture. And so I thought the article was great, it gives a whole bunch of great examples of really very, very Danish things, like lighting lots of candles, and, you know, slippers and layering up with blankets and so on, so forth. So definitely worth checking out. If you feel like this winter is going to be tough because you’re if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, at least, where winter is is coming upon us, as opposed to those of you who are down in the southern hemisphere, and I’m jealous of you because spring is beginning and you will soon be into your summer or spring is in full fledge and you’re going into your summer and that means I will be I’ll be wishing for being in the southern hemisphere right now. So check it out. Okay, next up is the ladders they came out with 13 books to read when you’re in a career rut. And I thought this is really interesting because I don’t know what it is like to be in a quote unquote rut with regard to a career and, and so I looked through the books thinking, Oh, this is gonna give me some level of, I don’t know, insight into things that can help people in that space kind of come out of it. And and I thought some of the books were actually really interesting. So did any of the books stand out for you? So
Augusto Pinaud 48:22
you know, it was it was interesting because for me, I have been in that career route many years ago and I work with my clients and coach with my clients with so there is some of this book that I marked immediately for for reading that I have not read I have read a lot of them, but there were some that I didn’t and sight you know I always still my coaching clients when we do this. So you know one of the things when you learn to when you go to to a driving Academy to learn to drive a high speed, okay, one of the things they told you is Look, if you lose control looks where you’re going to want to go not the wall, okay? Because you will hit the wall and one of the things that I tried to teach people and I teach people when I do the coaching is that is let’s look what else is a side of the wall. And sometimes Yes, the place is a wall, I believe, but a lot of times it is really the perspective we have towards the wall that change everything that I have been able to coach people yet to leave and back and do it in the best way possible and coach others to reach change and rework the way everything was to they go back to enjoying and having that big play. So it is without any questions an interesting read so if you are looking for a good Good book to read and you feel Do you are in that place, you know, there is a couple more that I can recommend.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 50:09
Fantastic. All right, next up is a birthday note to GIMP. So if you don’t know what GIMP is GIMP is the graphic image manipulation program. And we’re currently in GIMP. 2.0, I believe it is. But you can download GIMP from gimp.org. And what GIMP is, is in essence, like an Adobe Photoshop, it’s like a Photoshop alternative, predominantly for Linux, but they do actually have applications available on Windows and Mac OS X. So we’ll see what happens. You know, with the M one environment right now, you have to jump through a few hurdles in order to get it working on the Mac OS, but it does work on it. And so GIMP is out there. It’s been a great tool, and it’s 25 years old.
Augusto Pinaud 50:55
I was surprised by the 25 year old.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 50:57
Yeah, I know. I know. I think of scrapers and GIMP and and those tools being available. You know, I guess the big ones for me are Libra office, which is the Microsoft Office Suite alternative. And then GIMP and, and scribers, which is kind of like a InDesign, it’s a vector, a scalable vector graphic tool. Those have been really the three main ones that I have I have seen grow over the years in terms of really strong free open source software. And yeah, I didn’t expect 25 years. But it but it made me look in the mirror and remember the gray hair. All right, moving right along. There’s an article called try this if you want to stop working at night, and this is all about the fact that many of us are working or overworking. As we are in this, you know, the covid 19 pandemic, one of the real issues is that we’re on the precipice of many, many layoffs, right. So we’re going to see large companies starting to lay people off, and whether that’s before the holiday, you know, the winter holidays or after it, it’s just it’s bound to happen. We’re coming upon this next huge post Thanksgiving wave of COVID-19 cases, it’s just all around bad news. And what that does for people is that they lose themselves in something. And for those of us who are productivity oriented, we sometimes will lose ourselves in our work will try to cope by overworking. And so Darrius furrow wrote this article about how to really counteract that, how to really get yourself away from that. And he makes some really good arguments, I really feel like work overworking is as unproductive as under working. And so we really need to take heart to the fact that if you’re working too much, then there’s a rate of diminishing return with the extended number of hours that you’re putting in. Because quality goes down, and concentration goes down, strategic thinking goes down. And so that you end up actually doing worse off, you start making poor decisions, you start putting out less quality work, which means you have to redo or modify and edit that work more. And you just end up not doing as much. So it gives some really good suggestions for being able to do that. Which ones pointed on kind of stood out for you.
Augusto Pinaud 53:21
It was a really great article, I agree with him too much work is counter intuitive. And I love the fact that you know, limited devices. And I really, I’ve been for a year. So I have I have the iPad that I work. And he’s an iPad Pro 12.9 inches, that’s the iPad that I spend most of the day. But during the night I go or soon as he’s done, I go to the iPad Mini and the iPad Mini have, can I access everything work wise in the iPad Mini? Yes, I can. But he’s work or configure in a completely different way. It’s more personal centric than work centric. And all the notifications for work and stuff on you know, red bubbles, everything that is related to my professional side or my work. It’s completely deactivated. So I don’t get a notification. I don’t get any on that iPad. So after I leave this desk, I can grab that thing. And don’t really be called to work the as I tell people, I promise not that you want to work, you may get a great idea, do it. But you need to deactivate the notification so you don’t get called you don’t have the temptation. You know if if you can deal with the temptations fine. Most people cannot. And the other thing I have is all my devices are go all the notifications turned off unless you do meet certain criteria at 9pm He said 10pm. And I will disagree that 9pm is even better. Because what happened 10pm is, you get the five more minutes. So let me deactivate it and go, okay, you will do the same at 9pm. But you’re still going to get ahead, probably half an hour to 45 minutes into getting that disconnection from the device, go grab a book. And I know that I, I’ve been a multi device guy for many years. And I recommend the multi device. Because of that there is people who have, as you were describing before, about many serious people can have one device and don’t open their work email, there are others like me, okay, that cannot do that. Okay, if we were not mature enough to do that, I will work on bikes all day. But then if you are not in that camp, then have multiple devices where I’m not saying done connected to the work fine. But make it hard for you to access, you know, don’t put it on the dock, hide it leave the folder down. So you need to do and it’s annoying. So you or go and find a work device or don’t do it. That’s my advice on there.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 56:12
Yeah, absolutely. Okay. So next up, we have an article out of Scott h young, and he’s talking about the missing practice. And his his discussion about the missing practice in terms of of the foundation for a good life, he says is having conversations with with people who are on presuming, you know, unique and different and potentially smarter than you or otherwise more skilled than you. And he gives a couple of reasons for this. He talks about books being general and conversations being specific. I disagree with that point, that doesn’t make the veracity of the article any less. But I don’t I don’t disagree. I just disagree very much with the fact that books are somehow general books or good books, talk about something very specific. And and they cover that in depth, and I’m having conversation with the author. But no matter how kind of seemingly one sided it is, it strikes up for me lots of new ideas and challenges me to answer those questions myself, if the book doesn’t answer them. So I find books to be actually a very good form of conversation with myself with the author in an asynchronous fashion. So I don’t see that as an argument, but I do see the importance of engaging people in conversation. And, and of course, you know, he then goes on to say, a lot of important knowledge can’t can’t be down, people are showing you ideas, people are talking to you about things. And through that conversation, those things happen. Access matters that says, and so you know, of course, if you if you know somebody who you know, you have access to that other people don’t, that obviously gives you opportunity, and they can also open up opportunity for you through them. Right. If I if I know someone who is able to give me access to somebody else, that’s going to be good for me as well. And so yeah, he gives some suggestions on what you should do some unique. What do you call it? graphics associated with it? So it’s a well done graphic for fun?
Augusto Pinaud 58:16
Raymond Sidney-Smith 58:17
it was well done article. And I like the idea of of you talking to people, there’s really a good reason to connect with people. That’s not my argument. My argument was just the fact that somehow books are less good for you, I really don’t think that’s the case, I think you need to have a good mixture for in that, you know, concept of the good life, you need to read. And through reading, reading well, right, which is, again, for me being in conversation, being in right relationship with the author, and asking questions, as you were reading, and then being answered, getting those questions answered for finding out the answers yourself. That by itself is the process of being able to grow. And and so I would, I would say that I would take books out of that argument, and the rest of the article stands. All right, next up, Augusto, what do we have next?
Augusto Pinaud 59:11
Oh, the next one is an article on how edge Microsoft Edge received new copy paste feature to take on Chrome. And after Microsoft decided to get chromium as the base for Microsoft Edge and make that transition, you know, they still have the same problem to try to copy from the web based documents and SMS and what Microsoft is trying to do with smart copy is to clean that and really make you able to really copy and paste from the web to a document that will conclude saying, Hey, this is smartmove Microsoft and say yes, please do try to make your browser useful. This is going to be inclined to be a head in this game, even if you’re going to do or you’re going to do it. was a chromium based, I think it is a good thing.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:00:03
Yeah, it’s interesting to me. From my perspective, it’s good for Microsoft to keep adding new and useful features. I’m very happy about that. But the reality is, is that if I need that to happen, then I’m going to go to edge, do that thing. And then I’m going to go back to Chrome, you know, and I think for most people, they’re going to do that with their primary browser. And those of us who are, call it savvy enough, or at least technologically capable enough, will know how to use other tools for these kinds of specific features. And then we’ll go back to using our normal daily drivers. And and I think it’s good to know the feature exists, because there are times when you want to be able to copy and, and have a replicated nice copy version of that thing that you’re copying into another environment. So it’s good to know it exists. And this is something that I use Evernote Web Clipper for quite frequently, because the Evernote Web Clipper can copy in that HTML mode. So it’s doing a pretty robust web clip. And then I can move that data into other environments. I’ve even found that when I copy things from Google Docs into other places, I will sometimes get a better copy by copying it first into Google Docs, and then out of Google Docs and into wherever I’m trying to get it to. So it just depends on what you’re doing. So it’s a good tip to remember that different editors apply different metadata into the code. So you might have some HTML code, you can’t see it that that metadata is manipulating the code. And so by copying it between some of these environments, you can actually either include or basically, you know, filter out some of that gunk that’s causing the paste not to happen. And also remember, shift, either Command or Control V is your friend when you want to just copy plain data. So Oh, and Google Sheets, we talked about this before, but Google Sheets includes that new, smart functionality. I actually saw this in working myself the other day, I was typing something. And Google Sheets kept completing the data. And I was, I was in my Google workspace account. So it was pulling data from my own systems. And I just kept getting shocks because I was like, What is it doing, and it just kept adding in data. And it was saving me a huge amount of time, because as I was tabbing, over, it knew what next to put into that field. So I’m, I’m very excited to see this machine learning algorithm start to kick in and start to put data in where it just needs to be some very excited to see this happening across the board. But again, you can copy and paste into Google Sheets, pull out data, extract data and move those into other places. So just remember that you have that capability. Okay, next up another edge component
Augusto Pinaud 1:02:46
to their edge is you know, edge has something really annoying if you try to copy a URL, they copy the title instead of the URL. So the article talks about how to change this, and how to make it work for Microsoft Edge 87 for Windows 88, for Mac, so get back to the regular copy paste where you get the URL and go to your browser of choice.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:03:11
Fantastic. And to close out our headlines, we have one final Microsoft piece of news.
Augusto Pinaud 1:03:18
So Microsoft Teams is trying to take on tomb offering an all day video for the web, actually, for the Christmas instance given and they are going to offer everybody to call all day to be able to connect it that. I don’t know, it was interesting. We’re recording this episode after we talk on the video. But it was a short call, it was not a dinner with with the people we have tried the dinners before. It’s awkward. So and the time zones don’t help. So you know, our biggest issue of the time 70 such as a two hour difference. Or somebody need to eat really early or somebody to eat really late at the end of the day, that doesn’t work. So I don’t know, if you’re in the same time zone. This will be something that is appealing for people. It will need to be seen.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:04:15
So Zoom Zoom was zoom was just for Thanksgiving, but Microsoft Teams is now free for everybody. Altogether is my understanding, right?
Augusto Pinaud 1:04:24
Oh, I understood it was just during this week, but I could be wrong.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:04:30
Let’s look because I think that’s important. Because I think they are making it just there’s a free tier now. As opposed to zoom, which was just making that group calling more
Augusto Pinaud 1:04:41
people up to 49 friends and family in gallery view. Oh, interesting.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:04:46
Yep. And you can use the together mode which is that layering mode where people are kind of in a stadium seating environment. So yeah, so you you this is now it’s given giving you Microsoft Teams for up to 49 people Free. So this is this is a huge play at Google meat and and Facebook Messenger rooms. So this is this is their play at that piece so that you can, in essence start being productive in virtual environments not just at work but also at home.
Augusto Pinaud 1:05:20
No, no, it is it is. Team.
Augusto Pinaud 1:05:31
No, I think it is just just for since giving us the article, that the other articles the article on the verge says that it’s just for just for since giving. So during the son’s giving break, they were allowed to lift the theme same as still did not permanently.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:05:51
When does it stop them? Because I read the article I read basically said it was new forever. free forever. So that’s interesting. Okay, so So, so now free for use for 24 hour video calls in your browser. And
Augusto Pinaud 1:06:13
oh, yeah, up to 49, one meter Microsoft account, or the Microsoft Teams who joined Kohl’s, right as you joined free via web browser. Wow.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:06:24
Yeah. So this is only the browser version is my understanding. So you’re limited, you can’t use the desktop application. But this is free in the browser. And and they’re basically challenging.
Unknown Speaker 1:06:34
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:06:35
Yeah, I mean, this is this is free. Just like with Skype, you’re you can have these meetings now in a group environment free. So just wanted to make people know that. Sorry. No worries. All right. With that, that brings us to the end of at least our headlines for the stories of the week, which brings us to new tools of the week. gousto. And I come across many personal productivity tools, and services each week, as we’re calling through all of the various news and putting them together for you. We find tools that we know we enjoy using that we’ve just recently found and thought were really interesting. So we try to bring you those new tools, so that you can check them out. So they’re potentially new to you, they may be new to us, too. So with that, let’s talk about our new tools this week. So for our first new tool this week, I wanted to bring up a tool that I’ve been using for a long time, but we’ll call it a new tool for you. And that is a tool called brain.fm. And brain.fm allows you to in essence, put on a headset, you have to have a headset on and it plays out what it calls functional music. And this is a little bit more sophisticated than what some people know as binaural beats. Because it is listening to how you respond to that music and and then giving you the ability to focus to be able to go to sleep and sleep better and or go into light study mode, it really uses this very unique science and technology, you know, capabilities to help you get into the zone you’re looking to get into. So I highly recommend it. And there’s actually a science section here where you can go to brain.fm forward slash science, you can read all about what they’re doing and how they’re doing the work that they’re doing. So it’s very, very cool. And I have been playing the the different types of music for several years now and then what I will do is I will play my normal music over it so that I’m able to go ahead and listen to the the binary beat not to the brain.fm soundtrack and then play the binary beat I’m sorry, my normal music on top of the brain.fm as well. Okay, so are you ready with your I am
Augusto Pinaud 1:09:07
we are going to talk about sidekick and sidekick. It is something interesting again I live on on the iPad but if you live on a PC or a Mac, they also have some limits for rpm and then but basically you will be able to go and turn this sidekick into a Chrome OS browser and put all your apps on the side so you can click from there and get into your apps as if they were applications on the bar so that way instead of have multiple tabs on the back you understand you will have them all in the side you all your apps will be home will have a place to go even if you have to like Google, you will be able to select your date or make Gmail, you will be able to select your different Gmail when you access. So I, I was it was a really interesting unit especially for those people who have a bazillion of tabs open all the time. I don’t know who to use, get some benefit out of this, um you know, the the tabs are awesome. But But I think a lot of times we have tabs of tabs, grouping them per application, I think is something that will be also allows you to work with people show workplaces, spaces and everything else. So it’s, I thought it was a really good thing for people who don’t know the app.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:10:45
Yep, absolutely. Yeah, I definitely am interested in this. I mean, it’s challenging tools like shift, and station and that kind of thing, where it’s giving you a browser that holds those kinds of web apps. And when you’re using primarily, primarily web apps in your world, why not use that kind of environment to be more productive? I
Augusto Pinaud 1:11:08
was interesting, because I was doing this, my kid came. And so that I say, Oh, can I do that on my thing? It’s on my Chromebook at school. And no, you cannot do you cannot install sidekick on the Chromebook at school. But then I teach her how to create taps on Chromebook that then can be look as little apps on the dog. And she was really, really excited. Basically, she reproduced this on her Chromebook. So that was really fun.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:11:39
That’s great. And hopefully chrome brings vertical tabs to it. I mean, you can you can install the vertical tabs. Excuse me, the vertical tabs, Chrome extension. But my understanding is that you know, there aren’t, you can’t actually have side tabs are now looking because I’m I, my understanding is that you can’t have side tabs. See, let’s see. Side tabs. See, I don’t Yeah, they got rid of it back. A while back, they I think you were able to at one point, but they got rid of the vertical tabs, there is a browser extension called vertical tabs where you can kind of have a similar side bar type thing on on the left hand side, but Firefox has it where you can actually have all of your tabs on the on what would be here for you, if you’re watching, it would be you know, up and down. And I just I really want to see more of that. And if sidekick is going to give you that functionality for those kinds of, you know, working applications as opposed to your normal browsing, I want to be able to see the things that I’m browsing and looking at that might be in Chrome. But just like the general workhorse applications, those can be in maybe a different tool or otherwise, I really like the idea of maybe running shift, station and sidekick and those having different context of work. So in sidekick, I might have my design stuff in, you know, my end shift, I might have a set of applications for email and calendar and task management, and then another one, that’s where I keep my personal applications. So there’s some potential opportunities there where you can split those pieces apart. All right, those are new tools of the week. Hopefully, you got some value out of them, maybe you’ll try them out. Let us know in the comments or elsewhere on anything that I know, you can tweet at us, if you find find one of them to be useful to you. Okay, that brings us to our main story this week, which we’ve already done one about Chromebooks. And so we thought this episode, we would talk about the best windows laptops of 2020. And make use of comm had put out the seven best laptops of 2020. And I just wanted us to have a conversation about really what has been the best of those devices in 2020. And I have to say, you know, the best one that I’ve seen so far has been the Microsoft Surface Book Three. And that ended up being the top pick for their premium choice. So I thought that was really interesting, because the Microsoft Surface Book Three is really a beautiful device. You know, all of the details about it. Microsoft has really done a great job of creating a great experience on that Surface Book. And they come up with a couple of other ones that I had forgotten about. And then I was like, Oh, yeah, that’s right. Microsoft has the the surface laptop go. I totally forgot that was even in the market. So it was good to see that. The Dell XPS 13 that comes up as their Editor’s Choice. I thought that was a really interesting choice. Just all around. Dell does make good Windows devices, certainly in a work environment and You know, just as a workstation, but their laptops the XPS line, as well as the gaming brand, I forget what their gaming line is called. But those gaming laptops are also really, really good. And so I was pleased to see those show up. And then last but not least in terms of the premium pick was the Microsoft Surface Book Three, the Dell XPS 13 was their Editor’s Choice, and then their best value came in with the Acer swift three. And so the Acer swift three was there. And honestly, I hadn’t I haven’t looked at one that has an AMD ryzen seven, so the CPU is an AMD CPU. So I really haven’t looked at it. And I will want to do a little bit more research on that. I will I have to say that the the, the laptops I’ve really seen is Acer has the switch to switch seven. And and of all of the kind of it’s it’s kind of like the Apple iPad Pro, in the sense that it’s a touchscreen device with magnetic clip on keyboard cover. And it is just a really, really great computing device. And so of all of the ones that I’ve really thought were the best, the switch seven is a really, really nice device. And I’m surprised it didn’t show up on the list.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:16:30
But that’s built by Acer and is just a what I think is a just a very, very nice tool in one PC, right? Like it gives you a laptop environment with a with a tablet feel. It’s a little bit on kind of the Microsoft Surface Book Three pricing, you know where it comes in around 16 1700 dollars. But it’s a really, I think, a really nice device for the cost.
Augusto Pinaud 1:16:56
Yeah, I look at the list. I mean, obviously, Microsoft has done such a great job to to make, you know, all this, the surface line, they have really make an incredible thing. But I wasn’t in I don’t know if I didn’t look at the specs correctly. But it seems like that Acer was not touchscreen, that was interesting for me that it was not a not a touchscreen, everything else was and
Augusto Pinaud 1:17:34
even with the Mac books on I understand that the Why don’t but they I understand that if you want it to touchscreen, that now how thin you can go into that vessel, you know, it’s affected, I get it. And then the weight if you if you make it heavier, then you need a heavier base. Otherwise, you need some kind of support that has the original surface. And so far, so on, although things I get, but it’s still surprising for me, especially on a laptop, that people that you make it to the best value or to the best computers without one especially because I don’t want anything that that and it may be completely a preference thing. But I don’t want anything that is not touchscreen at this point.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:18:20
Yeah, I’m, I go back and forth, right, because I certainly have devices that are not touchscreen. And I still feel like I want them to be even even understanding the fact that I’m not always going to get that and I’m going to still want a fairly robust processing system with a with a capability of hoping in the future than being touchscreen. But I’m not foregoing necessarily. Right now. I I feel like there was a point earlier in the year where I was like, that’s it nothing. I’m not buying any more devices that aren’t touchscreen. And I’ve definitely compromised on that one is I bought the Raspberry Pi 400 to play with and that doesn’t have a touchscreen. So although that’s more of a toy than anything else for me, I still find that I do have mostly touchscreens around but my primary desktop yet isn’t. And and and i think that I actually want it to be at some point. But I’m just, you know, it’s working, everything’s doing its thing. I don’t need to spend more time forcing it to be touchscreen than not. So I I hear what you’re saying and I’m, I’m almost there, maybe in 2021 I will probably make that next step into it where I’ll say, Okay, you know what, I’m not making any more purchases of devices that are not touchscreen, and, and kind of you know, just go from there. But right now, I think I can make the recommendation that some of these laptops Like the Surface Book Three, which is really nice, and is touchscreen, but I’m not, that’s not the reason if it wasn’t, I would still probably recommend it, you know, but it is nice and it, you know, cracking, you know, clicks apart, you’ve got a nice touchscreen, you know, after that, I mean, some good things there. One of the other things that that stood out to me is that the, the Galaxy Tab S seven, which came out this year, was also not on this list, and I understand the kind of argument that, you know, what’s a tablet versus a laptop anymore, there’s this blurred line for me, I see the I see the Galaxy Tab seven s and a seven s plus, certainly, really more in the tablet space, you know, you have a great laptop, you know, you know, modality there with the keyboard, and, and so on and so forth. Now it’s not, it’s, it’s running Android. So obviously, it’s not in the windows lineup. And that’s why it’s not, but you know, it’s it’s in that character of laptops that I think about, but either way, the switch seven is a 13 inch, you know, convertible, and that is a Windows 10. laptop, and I very much believe that it should have been in this lineup of the best windows laptops of the year. And I’ve seen several switch devices now from the five to now the seven. And just great performance out of them a little bit of issue with the, the touch the touchscreen, I’m sorry, the fingerprint sensor to unlock. But you know, that’s like Windows updates, and it causes it to break and then it fixes and whatever else. But for paying a much lower price than you would on buying Surface Pro. You’re getting a really nice device. And so I’ve really liked the switch line of devices. Any other thoughts or gousto regarding windows laptops this year?
Augusto Pinaud 1:22:01
No, no, I think we have covered them all. At this point.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:22:07
Yeah, I’m trying to look to see what the other ones Oh, so just so everybody knows the other ones that they had offered. Were the as I said, the Microsoft Surface laptop go is number four and number five was the HP Spectre x 360. Again, a foldable, you know, you can flip it over and and use it in a tent mode, or as a kind of a tablet, the Huawei Mate book 13 I’m not sure if you can buy that in the States because of the the block on that. And then the asis RRG zipperless zisis sG x 701. And no, I’ve never heard of it. And no, I don’t know what it looks like.
Augusto Pinaud 1:22:54
Oh, it is. That is that is a monster thing is a 17.3 inch level.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:23:00
Got it. So that’s a gamer that’s a gaming laptop
Augusto Pinaud 1:23:03
in theme, it has a Windows 10 it has a Gx 701 dX eight, it is a monster it’s really you know, as you said, or a heavy sign person or, or a gamer on what it has a special is that even with that, you know, power, it’s still really thin and really light for for what it is. This is still point seven, three millimeters thin. That that it is pretty thin. And so you can get a monster power wise. 17 inches. With that, you know, less than less than a centimeter thin.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 1:23:48
Yeah, three, three grand i can i can get better. I can get better devices. Okay, a quick announcement then as we close out the show. Lucy, you had an announcement? No, I see her last pass. announcement about last pass. Well, either way, I’m seeing an announcement and it says you can get 40% off LastPass premium currently during cyber week. So it’s Cyber Monday. So I’m guessing that’s the case. But it looks like it’s only available for the next four hours. So if you’re listening to this in the podcast, you missed it. Sorry. But if you’re watching now, for more hours to get 40% off LastPass premium, which is a pretty good discount, it ends up being $1 80 per month, billed annually. So I don’t know how it showed up in our announcements, but there it is, and now you know about it. So with that, that brings us to the end of our show today. If you have any questions about any of the stories that we discussed, you will find those in our show notes. We’ll have links to all of them for you to be able to access and If we missed something, you can go over to our contact page at anything but idle comm where you can tweet or DMS at anything but idle on Twitter. And so if a question or comment, as I said, you can go ahead and also leave those comments on anything but idle. While you’re on anything but idle. You’ll notice that the show notes also includes a machine generated transcripts, you can jump to sections in there, we have extra links to any stories we didn’t cover in a show. And so all of that stuff is there that links to the new tools of the week. If this is your first time watching the live stream, you could do us a favor by clicking the thumbs up icon that helps us to bring new personal productivity friends into the fold. And so thank you, if you’re listening to the podcast in the audio version, you can also leave a rating and review in Apple podcasts or Stitcher and otherwise, that of course helps expose us to more personal productivity friends out there in the Pato sphere. So thank you for doing that as well. With that, that brings us to the end of anything but idle, the productivity news and technology commentary show. Thank you to gousto pronoun for joining me this and every week for anything but idle. And with that, Take care everybody, here’s your productive life. Thank you.
Download a PDF of raw, text transcript of the interview here.