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Kindletodo Puts a To-Do List on Your Kindle

It looks like this on a Kindle, except more book-like and pretentious.

There's a lot to be excited about for Kindle owners these days. Whether you're excited about the new hardware on the way, or using free 3G data while studying abroad, the Kindle's a great buy for a number of students. For students without a smartphone though, it could afford to pick up a few extra features. Luckily, Kindletodo is a web app that adds a to-do list, calendar, and notepad to any Kindle. 

Simply visit on the Kindle's rudimentary browser to get started. The rest is pretty self-explanatory. You can add and check off to-do items, access a simple calendar (though it doesn't handle events, so it's utility is essentially nonexistent), and type away on a notepad if you're struck with a moment of inspiration.

Obviously, this won't be a life changer for many of us, but if you don't have a smartphone, and tend to carry your Kindle around, it could certainly come in handy.

[Via Lifehacker]


Schedule Your Homework Six Weeks in Advance for Ease of Mind

You don't want this. No one wants this. Image courtesy of Flickr user Samat Jain. Licensed under CC BY SA 2.0.

Here at HackCollege, we love a good discussion about planners. However, even if you're a nose-to-the-grindstone planner user, things can sneak up on you, particularly this time of year. I have several friends who, because they do their planning in week-long chunks, have inadvertently wound up cramming for midterms or writing papers over their fall break. It's not that they were wrong--they were just thinking in an inconvenient time frame.

If you've found yourself having difficulty seeing the trajectory of your semester because you can't look ahead at your workload, this hack is for you. Pick a convenient Sunday and write down on your planner all of the non-class things you will be doing for more than a few hours this semester. Think visits from your parents, school breaks, or a formal for your Greek organization--times when you don't want to be doing homework. Then, go through all of your syllabi, writing down what homework you'll be doing on each night for the next six weeks.

Move things around so that--by reading ahead--you can avoid having to do homework during the time when you'll be busy. You can also even out your nightly homework loads so that you don't have nothing to do one day and 400 pages of reading the next. It takes twenty minutes, but by the end of this process you'll know when your tough weeks will be, when you're free to travel or chill out, and when you need to start studying for exams. Best of all, you won't be stuck studying when you won't be able to. Make a note of when you stopped scheduling your homework, and start the process again once you're at that point.

Though not strictly GTD, this follows some of the same ideas--by writing out weeks of homework at a time, you autopilot it. That's one less thing to think about and stress you out, and it means that you can just do what you need to do, secure in the knowledge that you're not forgetting anything.

Oct102011 Lets You Tear Through Articles at Double Speed

It wasn't long ago that I found a service called Spreeder that promised to double text skimming speed by eliminating your subvocalization, or inner reading voice. It seemed like a pretty underground idea at the time, so I'm both surprised and thrilled to see a legitimate-seeming startup attempt to perfect the idea. takes the idea of Spreeder, but improves on it with a paginated interface that gives you the sense of moving through a page of text, rather than watching word after word whiz by your face with no sense of how much has passed, or when new paragraphs begin. basically greys out an entire page of text except for a string of five or six words that you focus on. As it snakes through the paragraphs, you'll find that you can follow along at much faster speeds than you might expect. In my experience with both, I feel I retain more of the information with's approach. 

The service starts you off with a simple exercise to determine your baseline reading speed, and you can take more once you're done to refine your tastes. Once you get into the service, you'll find the usual assortment of badges and sharing features, a news feed and friends list to find content, and a handy bookmarklet to import web articles. 

Unfortunately, it seems the bookmarklet is the only way to import an article at this time, but hopefully they'll allow file uploads or copy/pasted text in the future for some added flexibility. UPDATE: Copy/Paste functionality is available here. My bad.

Still though, if you're anything like me and spend far too much time reading web articles each day, could shave a valuable few minutes off your routine.  

[Via CollegeCandy]


Chrome Extension Yellow Highlighter Pen Makes Sharing Article Passages Easier

It's a screencap of an article on Yellow Highlighter Pen highlighted using Yellow Hightlighter Pen. Inception.As you comb diligently through articles and papers when working on a research project, you will undoubtably come across a passage or a sentence that makes you pause, either because it confuses or intrigues you. If you wanted to ask your professor about the passage in question, but didn't want to simply copy and paste the quote into an email without the proper context, what would you do? Why, you would install the Chrome extension Yellow Highlighter Pen.

Yellow Highlighter Pen is an unobtrusive browser extension for Chrome that allows you to highlight a passage from an online article, and then provides you with a unique link to that article with the selected passage that you highlighted. It's a rather simply premise, but a very helpful one for students who are constantly sharing articles with professors and peers within their major. Just the other day while doing research for my communication thesis, an article that I was reading had a section that went along with the research that one of my friends was doing. Had I had this extension then, I could have sent her the article with only the section relevant to her research highlighted.

Additionally, this tool is great for sharing links through social media sites. Sometimes posting links on Twitter to long articles is great to prove a point, but 99% of people are not going to read the entire article. To get your point across with an article, highlight the particular sections of the article that you found appealing and then post it to Twitter.

What do you think of the Yellow Highlighter Pen? Do you find it a useful tool for students in sharing information more quickly? Let us know in the comments!

[via Lifehacker]


Deals of the Week: 10/10/11 - 10/16/11

Macy's is one of many places you can save this Columbus Day! 
Columbus Day sales (today only):
  • Get 15% off your order at Macy's with code: SAVEMORE 
  • Get $15 off your order of $60 or more with code: 1411 at Express
  • Get 20% off your order at JCPenney's with code: BESTCROP.
  • Belk is offering 20% off of your order with code: 21077575.
  • Take an additional 50% off all clearance items at American Eagle, plus get free shipping with code: 82476531.


The rest: 

  • UberStrike HD is free for a limited time on the Mac App Store, normally $9.99. 
  • iCursor if now free in the Mac App Store, previously $1.99 
  • EasyRingtone for Mac is free for a limited time as "a tribute to Steve Jobs," normally $1.99.
  • Alarm Clock for iPhone/iPod Touch is free for a limited time, normally $1.99.
  • Nitro PDF Express for Windows is free after rebate through 10/13, normally $39.99.
  • Get 10% off any order at Costume Kingdom with code: CK10 through 10/31. 
  • New customers get 15% off their order by clicking on this link.
  • PCMicrostore is offering an extra 20% Off Purchases of Apple iPhone 4 Accessories w/ Coupon Code: 20OFFIP4G. 



Guest Post: Grab the Kindle Keyboard if You're Going Abroad

The Kindle can get you free web access at almost any beach around the world, making it perfect for studying abroad. Photo by goXunuReviews and licensed under CC BY-2.0Today's guest post comes from Daniel Hernandez, an international student from El Salvador and senior at Trinity University studying Finance and Economics, and Shep's old college roommate! He is currently studying abroad in São Paulo, Brazil with CIEE Study Abroad Programs. He spent a month in Salvador, Brazil for a pre-session and later went to São Paulo.

Editor's Note: The new generation of Kindle doesn't support web browsing over 3G. For that privilege, be sure to pick up the Kindle Keyboard before Amazon runs out, or buy one used.

You might think that you already read too much in college, so why would you need an Amazon Kindle 3G ? Well, you might not know that in addition to its book-reading capabilities, it's also a portable international web browser! You can also get books in English, which in foreign countries can be expensive and hard to find. The books can be delivered through 3G (which Amazon calls Whispernet), Wifi, or by connecting your Kindle to your computer.

Check the 3G Availability

Amazon Kindle uses either the faster 3G network or the slower EDGE network depending on your location. I've had experience using both networks and they were about the same speed, at least for downloading books. I would worry more about the availability of either than which specific type is available at your location. You can check that here.

It's really important to note that depending on your study abroad university or institute, Wi-Fi might be extremely limited. I spent a month in Salvador, Brazil before coming to São Paulo and my local university didn't have Wi-Fi. I stayed with a host family and the host family didn't have Wi-Fi, and for some reason I have yet to figure out, they would only allow me to plug in my computer to the ethernet cable about an hour a day. Although I would understand if it had been dial up, it was actually a high-speed internet connection, so they weren't getting charged per minute!

When I wanted to read in my room The Economist, The New York Times, or Facebook I would just turn on the 3G, and go to the website. It was sometimes a bit tricky because the websites aren't optimized for reading on the Kindle over the web browser. With a bit of practice though it isn't that inconvenient, you just need to have the right zoom and/or the appropriate screen orientation. If people in the study abroad group posted on Facebook they were meeting somewhere to eat, I could just read it directly from my Kindle and then go there. Having some internet was way better than having no internet!

Want to learn more about saving money with the Kindle? Read on to see more tips.

Click to read more ...


OS Tips - Navigate your Windows PC More Easily with the Windows Key

Unlock the power of Windows with this little gem of a key! Photo courtesy of Flickr user 123 Chroma Pixels. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.If you want to get around your PC more easily, turn to the Windows Key! For the longest time, Microsoft has built some great functionality into this little key, yet I feel as if many users don’t know about how powerful it really is. I hope you learn about something you haven’t seen before that helps to improve your workflow. Without further ado, here are some of my favorite Windows Key shortcuts (most work in Windows XP and up, but I will note which are Vista/7 only):

  1. Show Desktop: Windows+D. If you’re looking for a quick way to get to your desktop icons/folders, go with Windows+D. You can also do the same thing with Windows+M (minimize all windows) if that’s your prerogative. If you hit Windows+D again, it sends you right back to your previous window arrangement. Again, Windows+Shift+M does the same thing (unminimize all windows). I also like combining this with Alt+F4 directly afterward for a quick shutdown/restart key combo.
  2. Open a New Windows Explorer Window: Windows+E. I like this global shortcut because it doesn’t require me to choose my explorer window first; it’s great for instant access to your files from anywhere.
  3. Open Find All Files Dialog Box: Windows+F. Similarly, Windows+F is a global shortcut to search your entire PC, saving you a few steps in the process you’d typically go through to search for files.
  4. Lock Your Computer: Windows+L. If you want to make sure no one snoops around your PC while you’re gone at the library to get a drink of water or use the bathroom, make sure to use Windows+L before you leave to send your PC directly back to its log-in screen.
  5. Display the Run command: Windows+R. When you know the name of the program you want to launch (or it’s some esoteric Windows utility you rarely use), just go with Windows+R to quickly open the run command and launch programs to your heart’s desire.
  6. Open the start menu: Windows. Even by itself, the Windows key is still really powerful. Once you quick-access the start menu, you can right arrow key over to shut down/restart/whatever you want, or you can start typing to find whatever program you wish. With this alone, I’ve stopped using my mouse to open programs altogether.
  7. Display the Help Menu: Windows+F1. If you find the help function within programs useful, go with Windows+F1 to get help as quickly as possible.
  8. Select the First Icon in the Notification Area: Windows+B. If you want to be even more of a keyboard ninja, use Windows+B to highlight the notification area, then the arrow keys/enter to move around and select.
  9. Launch Pinned Taskbar Applications: Windows+Number Key (7 only). Let’s say you’ve got Chrome lined up as the first program pinned to your taskbar. Simply hit Windows+1 to launch Chrome. The same applies with any other application pinned to your taskbar. As you probably figured out, this is great for quickly opening applications that you always use.
  10. Aero Snap: Windows+Arrow Key (7 only). Use this to quickly and easily resize windows without the fuss or muss of clicking and dragging with the mouse
  11. Aero Peek: Windows+Space Bar (7 only). If you want to see how your windows are laid out and simultaneously show your desktop, this is the shortcut for you (although that seems like a very limited use doesn’t it?).

Do you know any more handy Windows Key shortcuts? What are your favorite uses for them? Let us know in the comments!


App of the Week - Access Google Voice From Your Desktop with GVNotifier

A while back, I wrote about Google Voice (GV) for one of my App of the Week features (read it here!). As I’ve used Google Voice more frequently, I’ve found it incredibly useful to just text from while working or studying from my computer. It’s just a million times quicker to use my keyboard as opposed to my touchscreen. In essence, texting has replaced instant messaging for me because now I can just text from my computer, and I’m assured my friends will get the message no matter where they are. At the same time, I discovered just how bare-bones the GV website is: I had to manually refresh the page every time I received a new message, which became very troublesome very quickly. In my quest to alleviate this annoyance, I came across GVNotifier, a handy app I’ve found useful enough to share with everyone on App of the Week

Platform Availability: Windows XP and up; you’ll also need to set up a free GV account here.

Cost: It’s free! Get it here!

What it is: GVNotifier is a full-featured GV desktop client. That means you can access all the functionality of GV without dealing with Google’s annoying and confusing GV website.

How does it work: After you download and install the app, login using your GV account information to get to the main window with three panes: contacts, call history, and voicemail. On the contact pane, simply click on a contact to start texting with that person or to initiate a call. As you probably figured, the other two panes allow you to access your call history and listen to your voicemails straight from your desktop.

Features: Real-Time Updates – As I mentioned before, the main drawback to the GV website is that you have to refresh the page every time a new text arrives. To make sure you’re on top of all your friends’ drunken texts, GVNotifier does as its title says it should and automatically notifies you whenever you receive a new text with a chime and a flashing taskbar icon. This is the number one reason I prefer GVNotifier to the official GV website.

Google Contacts Integration – GVNotifier automatically brings in all your contacts from Google Contacts, along with their pictures. This makes GVNotifier even more like an IM program, allowing you to quickly text your closest friends wherever they are. You can even initiate calls using your affiliated voice number or Google Talk!

Notification Area Icon – If you don’t like having clutter on your desktop, banish GVNotifier to the notification area (the right side of the taskbar with all the little icons), and it will only bother you when someone else texts you.

The Competition: There are a couple GV desktop clients out there:

VoiceMac – Free – Mac OS X 10.4 and up

Google Voice Chrome Extension – Free – Download it here

First off, GVNotifier and VoiceMac essentially do the same things, just on different platforms. If you don’t run Windows but you want a GV desktop client, get VoiceMac. While these programs do the same things as the official GV Chrome Extension, the main reason I favor these apps is because they still work without having to run Chrome (if you prefer another browser or don’t want any browser windows open). I also dislike how all the text messages in the browser extension are clumped together in the unintuitive inbox style, just like on the official GV website.

Summary: GVNotifier brings nearly all of GV’s features straight to your desktop. Most importantly, instead of manually refreshing the GV website every time you want to check for new texts, use GVNotifier to keep on top of all your messages automatically

Do you know of any other GV desktop clients? Why do you prefer them to GVNotifier? Let us know in the comments!