Multimedia: Tips and Tricks – Feb 2013 (Part 2)

2/26/2013 6:29:23 PM

Too many distractions can bring down your productivity, but so can boredom, a whole pile of brainless and repetitive tasks and so on and so forth. Here we’ve compiled a list of apps and Chrome extensions that can help streamline your work as well as take care of those “pesky” distractions.

Managing desktops

Anyone who has used an OS like Ubuntu or OS X will be familiar with the concept of a virtual desktop and how convenient it can be. Windows users need not fret however. Download mdesktop from

mdesktop is a tiny little app that, once installed, will allow you to manage up to 10 desktops at a time. By default you will be given 4 virtual desktops to work in and you can switch between them using the ALT+(number) keys; very handy and perfect for managing your work (or ensuring a quick and easy escape route in case your boss happens to come around).

Description: mdesktop is a tiny little app that, once installed, will allow you to manage up to 10 desktops at a time.

mdesktop is a tiny little app that, once installed, will allow you to manage up to 10 desktops at a time.

Chrome plug-ins

Google Chrome is now the most popular browser in the world and chances are, most of your work revolves around using this browser and many of Googe’s myriad services.

This is a free app that is available on iOS, Android and as a plug-in to Chrome. All you need to do is download it and set it up and it will sync tasks across all your devices. It can sync with Gmail, remind you to call someone back, send a mail and much more. The app will add a bar below your mail (with options for setting reminders) and a “remind me” button near the header to allow you to manage your mail. This is a must have app/extension for the scatter-brained among us

Split Screen

Available at, split screen does exactly what the name suggests. It creates a new chrome tab that will let you browse two different sites at once. If 40 open tabs weren’t enough, you can now literally double the number of sites you view simultaneously. Just imagine a boring spreadsheet on one page, YouTube on the other. Work and play at the same time, what more could you ask for?

Quotes Book

Running out of quotes for that epic speech you’re preparing? This is the app for you. This Chrome App is nothing more than a veritable Quot Encyclopedia; allowing you to search and pick the ideal quote. Download the app at http://

Save to Google Drive

This is one of the most useful productivity enhancing apps that we’ve come across. Its working is very similar to other site/article archiving utilities like Evernote but with a twist. Just install the plug-in from and hit the button. The extension will scroll through the entire webpage that you are viewing and take snapshots, compiling them into one large image that will be saved to your Google drive.

Description: Google Drive - This is one of the most useful productivity enhancing apps that we’ve come across

Google Drive - This is one of the most useful productivity enhancing apps that we’ve come across

Not closing your browser because there are too many tabs open and you don’t know which ones you want? Want to save a collection of articles for later use? is the ideal tool for you. This handy extension (http: // will package all your open tabs into one link that you can share, save or do whatever you want with. There are privacy issues though, where if you accidentally create a tab package with some private tabs, the link is not immediately deleted; so use with caution.


This extension’s sole purpose is to make sure that you’re actually working at your PC. You can download the plugin at Rzw0dB. After installation, you will need to setup the plugin. There are a myriad of settings to choose from and they are surprisingly comprehensive. Some of the functions of this plugin are as follows:

·         Set a blacklist and whitelist from the sites you regularly visit.

·         Allot a fixed amount of time in total for your blacklisted sites, access to which will be blocked once your allotted time has expired.

·         A nuclear mode that will block all sites permanently till the timer is reset for the next day.

·         A complicated puzzle needs to be solved to change the settings, making it more of a hassle if you want to sneak in some extra time behind the program’s back.

·         Hitting the “StayFocusd” button in your Chrome browser will automatically add that site to the blacklist.

·         The plugin will warn you when you are AFK for more than a set period of time.


Those of you who are searching for an app to get organized in order to finish your work on time, your search ends here.  Wunderlist is one of the best, easy to use and free cross plat form task management applications one can use to simply get things done on time. Wunderlist shows your tasks in the form of Inboxes’. In Wunderlist you can tap on the box displayed above your list to create a new task and add notes to that task or set reminders or due dates on it. Let’s look at some of the tips you can use to make the most out of Wunderlist.

Note: The below tricks only work with Windows and Mac OS application for Wunderlist.

Description: Mac OS application for Wunderlist


Mac OS application for Wunderlist

Starring a task faster

To set our tasks by their priority, we can use the “star” functionality of Wunderlist. Instead of clicking the star icon on the task to make it a starred task, you can add an * (Asterisk) at the beginning of the task to directly make it a starred task by default. For  Example, If you want to create a  task or to do item called “Complete Physics Homework ” and  mark it starred, Just write the  name of the task as “ *Complete  Physics Homework ”. This will mark your task as starred by default and make this task appear at the top of your list.

Using Smart Date Recognition

You can add a due date to a task while creating it by typing the date after the task name. To do this you first have to enable “smart date recognition” by going to the Settings tab and selecting “Enable smart date recognition” in the desktop application of Wunderlist and restart the application. Now,  If you want to create a task  named “Submit Project” with  the due date 12th of January,  Just type the name of the task  followed by the due date like  this “Submit Project on 12th  January” or like “Submit Project on 12 January”. This will set the due date for the task to 12/01/2013 by default.

You can also use Smart date recognition to type dates naturally by just typing the following words:

today adds today as the due  date, tomorrow adds tomorrow  as the due date, in 4 days adds  the date in 4 days, in 4 months  adds the date from today in 4  months, in 4 years adds the  date from today in 4 years, on  april 20/on april 20th adds the  due date for april 20.

Or you can add dates quickly by adding # (Hash tags) like:-#td for Today, #tm for Tomorrow, #4d - In 4 days, #4m - In 4 months, #4y - In 4 years, #tuesday adds next Tuesday’s date, #april20 / #20april adds April 20.

Merging lists in Wunderlist

If for some reason you want to move your tasks from an existing list to another list, without re-typing every task into the new list, then don’t worry as this is relatively simple. In the desktop version of Wunderlist, simply click and hold a task and move it to your desired list and you’re done. You just have to drag a task and drop it into another list to make that task appear in that list.

Emailing to List

When you are working on an email and you want to add a task or to do to your list based on the message you received, you can email the desired task to your Wunderlist. You just have to simply put your task in the body of the email, type the name of the list you want your task to be added to in the Subject line of the email and send this email”. When you’re done, your task will be added to your chosen list. It is a very handy and a lesser known feature of Wunderlist.

Note: At the time of this issue going into print, Wunderlist released a new version of their app called Wunderlist 2. Some of the tricks mentioned above such as Smart Date and Starring Lists may not work with this version. But Wunderlist will eventually release an updated version of their app thus addressing this issue.

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