App of the Week: Nebo; the handwriting app is like paper, only better.

 

 

 

BY CHARLIE SORREL of Cult of Mac

Nebo is an alternative to Apple’s upcoming iOS 11 Notes app. Like the Apple app, Nebo lets you use the Apple Pencil to draw and write in notes. It also recognizes the words you write and lets you search on those terms. Unlike the native Notes app, however, Nebo also converts your longhand scrawls into actual, editable text, which can be copied and pasted anywhere.

In fact, I used Nebo to write this entire article. My handwriting isn’t as fast as my typing any more (my hand still hurts), but the app is fantastic.

Nebo is like a smart piece of paper

 

Nebo is absurdly easy to use. That comes, I think, because it works so well. At no point during writing this piece did I get frustrated, or find the app doing something I didn’t want it to do. Quite the opposite, in fact: Nebo works just like paper, only better.

As you write, Nebo converts your words to text, and shows them at the top of the paragraph. This gives you confidence that it’s doing a good job. The handwriting recognition is uncanny. After a while I stopped trying to be clear, and just wrote in messy “joined-up.” Nebo got almost everything. Even better, you can make corrections like you would with pen and paper by writing over the word you want to replace. Nebo recognizes this and corrects the word for you. It’s not perfect, although the level of imperfection depends on how bad your handwriting is.

To erase a word, just scribble over it. To add and remove spaces, or split and join paragraphs, just draw a vertical line up or down. Then, when you’re done, simply convert to text or export text via the standard share sheet.

More than words

 

In Nebo, you can also sketch, add images and diagrams, and even do math. This last feature is pretty neat — you write an equation, then Nebo converts it into fancy math symbols. Better still, it’ll work out the answers for you, which paper will never do.

You can also search your notes (the search terms will be highlighted) and write bulleted lists just by starting each new line with a dash.

Sketches and diagrams are done in boxes, but they remain in-line with the body text. This is already an improvement on iOS 10’s Notes app, which shifts you to a separate mode for drawings.

Apple Pencil required

 

To use Nebo, you need an Apple Pencil. (The app actually requires you to prove you own one on first launch.) But if you have one, and you like handwriting, you’ll love Nebo. It’s not quite the same as the iOS 11 Notes app — in some ways it’s actually more powerful than Apple’s app, which is currently available in beta only.
If you’re hankering for a handwriting recognition app now, Nebo might be perfect for you.

Nebo will cost you just $3.

Download Nebo foriPad.

Nebo is also available for Android and Windows 10.

Do you have a favorite handwriting App for your tablet? Tell us in the comments below!

How to: Automate Twitter To Get Attention and Grow Your Followers

Ladies,

This article has actually changed my workflow. I’ve bounced between several automation tools and hadn’t really loved any of them. After reading this article, I couldn’t wait to give Dvlr.it a try and so far, I’m impressed. Try it out for yourself and let me know what you think. Also, hit me up with your favorite Social Media Automators; if you use one…

By Jeff Bullas http://www.jeffbullas.com

The social web has amplified many truths about humanity.
Some of us will do anything to get noticed and build a brand. This even includes some new dubious tactics such as fake news and alternate truth. They have been used to both divert and attract scrutiny.

The reality is that most people love a bit of attention. It is how we are wired.

Attention seeking can come in many forms and constant posting on Facebook and other social networks has now become part of that routine and habit.

Too much sharing can see us being accused of being a narcissist. The question that it raises….. where does narcissism and a healthy self worth start and stop?
It is a question that I wrote about in the New York Times titled “On the Social Web, Everyone has a Voice, Everyone is Judged”

And your answer maybe different to mine.

5 reasons we share

I have always been intrigued by the power of social media and why we share so much. It was one of the first things I noticed about people’s online social media behaviour nearly 10 years ago. But there is more than one reason we share content on the social web and attention seeking is only one.

In a post on Co-Schedule based on the research from the New York Times Customer Insight Group  they reveal the top 5 reasons people share on social.

he first two on the list resonate with me.

To bring valuable and entertaining content to others
To define ourselves to others

At its simplest level this can be done two ways. By taking the big step of starting a blog and then publishing our opinions and thoughts online or just simply sharing other people’s posts and updates.
Curating content worth sharing is one way to scale your content.

Curating is time consuming

But manual curating is time consuming.

Another reality is that there is a lot of crap content on the web. So constant sifting and sorting is a time sink.

The flip side is that there are some sensational authors, bloggers and creators who publish content worth reading, viewing and sharing. The challenge is that we don’t have much time and spending all day just sharing is not efficient or productive time management.

So here is the thing….you can automate curation on Twitter.

How to automate Twitter content curation

For many years I was using Twitterfeed to automate other top bloggers and influencers new blog posts.

This app automatically shared on Twitter when it detected that their posts had been published. But this simple software tool was closed down last year.
I wrote blog posts on how to do it these included:

The Twitter Tool I Can’t Do Without
10 Smart Tips For Creating, Marketing and Sharing content on Twitter

And guess what?….people included my blog when they set it up. So after a while I noticed was getting 300 instant Twitter shares on auto pilot from my Twitter tribe after publishing a new post.

So I started looking for another tool to replace Twitterfeed. The tool I am now using is Dlvr.it.

So how do you set it up to share great content, attract attention from top bloggers and influencers, be effective and save valuable time?

Step 1. Identify your topic ecosystem

One of the biggest challenges as a blogger and content creator is coming up with new topics to write about. It’s also what you need to think about when looking for your sources of reading and inspiration.

So before setting up Dlvr.it you need to identify the topic subject categories that fit into your eco-system of interests.

For me these include:
Digital marketing of any flavour: Social media marketing, content marketing and email marketing
Blogging tips: This includes search engines and conversion strategies to grow traffic and revenue
Innovation: Some topics here include growth hacking that combines the art and science of marketing
Technology: Apps and and artificial intelligence and marketing automation tools
Entrepreneurship – The skills for building a business in a digital world

And a few others that include writing, personal development and publishing.
This can also be a good exercise while identifying your key phrases for search engines. It is really worth sitting down and getting clarity on this. It will drive your SEO strategy and content creation planning.

Step 2: Find trusted bloggers

There are many bloggers who publish regular quality content.

If they publish once a day that is  maybe optimal but once a week is fine too.

My aim is to find a few that I know all add value to my followers on Twitter. 
Personal brands are my first choice. Corporate blogs can be good but I like that hands on approach and tactical insights that you get from the blogger that shares their insights in a practical manner.

I am sure that most of us have our favourites.

How many should you select? This is completely personal and I have about 15 to 25 bloggers that publish regularly who I share on Twitter.

Step 3: Identify their blog feed (RSS)

This is quite straight forward and just put in the blog URL and Dlvrt.com will pull up the right RSS feed that will trigger the automated sharing of the blog post when a new post is published.

So enter the URL for the blog. In this example I am using Jeff Goin’s Writing blog as an example here.

You may see the description as being a bit strange so you can edit it later. Click on the “Plus (+) button at the bottom right corner. You have now added your first blog.


Step 4. Connect it to Twitter

Now you can use other social networks but I use Twitter most of the time because it is not strangled by algorithms that can hide your sharing.

 

Click on the Twitter account to connect it and start posting straight away.

 

Step 5: Add a suffix to the tweet

Now this is simple but important and should not be overlooked. Add the @mention Twitter name of the blog you are sharing.

When they scan their notifications stream they will see that you are sharing their content.

 

So how does it look after we have arranged the RSS automation and set it up in the platform?

Here is a tweet on my Twitter account that detected that Mark Schaefer had published a new post and includes the all important suffix with via @markwscahefer.


Wrapping it up

Automated curation sharing on Twitter is not complicated and is something I have done for years.

Using tools to increase your productivity and scaling your efforts should be part of your ongoing strategy.

It is a simple tactic but over time it will achieve a few goals.

Add value to your Twitter tribe
Attract more Twitter followers
Save you time. My estimate is about 20-30 hours a month
Alert you to the latest and best content from bloggers that you trust
Invite attention from influencers in your industry niche
Attract more blog and website traffic

So for me it ticks a lot of boxes.

It doesn’t mean that you stop looking for new content to share manually but automated curation of great content from bloggers that you know and trust is effective.

So give Dlvr.it a try and look forward to hearing your thoughts.

I Want You to Think Differently…

 

 

Ladies, throughout our history, we have fought for equal treatment by our government and the laws of our country. We have made monumental strides for Women’s Rights from Seneca Falls in 1848 to Philadelphia in 2016. We are poised to make history once again with our first female Presidential Nominee and there are more serious conversations about the wage gap than ever before.
Women are dominating fields once open only to men; Doctors, Lawyers, and Architects. We can drive, vote, and fight in our military’s combat missions. There are women who are firefighters, cops and truck drivers. And for the first time this season (2016), the NFL will have it’s first female coach after the debut of the first female referee last season.

Yet, with all this progress, there is still one arena where women still lag hopelessly behind men; technology. While 57% of occupations in the workforce are held by women, that figure drops to 25% when it comes to computing occupations. Only 12% of software developers are women compared to the overwhelming 92% that belong to men. Even the world’s most valuable Technology company, Apple, severely lacks in feminine influence in their senior leadership. Of the 19 people that make up Apple’s senior leadership team only three of them are women. It should be noted that those 3 women hold titles in Human Resources, Environment & Social Initiatives, and Retail. All of the titles relating to Apple’s hardware, software and user experiences belong to men. (The one exception to this “Men Only” rule in the tech field is Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer. Though she’s constantly belittled and criticized by her peers and our media.)

So, it should come as no surprise that most women feel disconnected from their technology. Our society has made technology an integral part of our lives while simultaneously alienating women from it. It’s a fascinating and ultimately, depressing study of our times.
The challenge then, is how do we fix this unique problem? Through education and training. With the right information and mindset, women will be able to challenge technology companies to respect us and our demographic. We will not be ignored, Tim.

Let me paint you a clearer picture… We’ve already established that it’s men who build these devices we’re addicted to, right? Hardware and software design are dominated by men. Then, it stands to reason that these devices are designed to think like men do. The idea of men and women’s brains work differently isn’t new. In fact, there is mountains of data to support the idea. Countless, books, talk shows, and infomercials promising to help one sex understand the mind of the other. Gals, these devices have been programmed to not communicate with us. I’ll give you an example: You are making a batch of peanut butter cookies for a bake sale and realize you don’t have enough peanut butter to finish the recipe. There’s one batch already in the oven so you can’t leave to go to the store, so you ask someone to go for you. If you ask a man, he’ll say, “Ok.”and will return promptly with the first jar of peanut butter he came across. It’ll probably be some generic, no name brand that was on sale and featured at the top of the aisle. Mission accomplished, right? Not necessarily. He brought you crunchy peanut butter and you wanted smooth. Well, you didn’t specify that when you asked him. Now, if you ask a woman to run the same errand, she’ll say, “What kind? Smooth or crunchy? Lower sodium or regular? All natural, sweetened with honey?” And so on until she knows exactly what brand, flavor, and texture you prefer before she even gets to the car. Computers, smart phones and tablets have been programmed to think just like men do. You have to be very specific when giving them a command. If you tell a computer to save a file, but not where to save it, good luck trying to find that document when you need it. As far as the computer knows, it did just as you told it and since you didn’t specify where that document needed to go, it put wherever it wanted.

Here’s another example: when I was working for Apple, I was once fortunate enough to be a part of a conference call with a group of software engineers for the Mac Operating System. (I can’t say if I was the only female on the call but, if there were other women present, they didn’t speak up.) We were tasked by the moderator of the call to speak about the features of the OS our customers were finding useful and what features were lacking. I listened as several of my male peers made suggestions that were either completely ridiculous ( Star Trek GIF’s for email) or just not possible at the time (voice recognition). When asked if any women on the call had suggestions, I spoke up and mentioned that several of my customers found Mac’s Address Book lacking. They asked me to explain and I told them that the user cannot print return address labels, nor could you create formal labels when you wanted to. I also told him I was confident there were no women on the Address Book development team. There was silence on the other end of the phone for a few seconds, then some laughter and then he asked me to explain. I told him I had quite a few women ask me about both of these features. Why couldn’t they print out return address labels to put on their Xmas Cards every year? Why couldn’t they tell the address book to print out 40 of the 350 contacts using the formal “Mr. & Mrs.” heading on labels meant for wedding invitations? And why did I have to find 3rd party solutions for these customers when Mac’s were supposed to be so intuitive? Now, I knew why those features didn’t exist; the programming architecture was too simplistic. If I wanted to print out 120 labels of my name and address for return labels, I’d have to have 120 contact cards with my name and address housed in my address book. I told them emphatically that no woman would design a tool to only work some of the time. The response I got from the moderator though, was one I will never forget. He said, “It never occurred to us that those were features were needed.” He then confirmed that I was right, there were no women on that team. A situation that would be corrected soon.

So Ladies, my mission is clearer than it’s ever been. I was put here to teach women to think differently when it comes to technology. And maybe we’ll teach the tech giants there is value in thinking like a woman… Fingers crossed.

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