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IFTTT: Automate Your Life

IFTTT: Put the internet to work for you

IFTTT is a great tool for putting the internet to work for you. You can automate things such as saving all your favorite tweets into a note in Evernote, switching your alarm on when you leave your house and switching your phone to vibrate when you enter school.

The IFTTT logo

I perform many tedious tasks, and there are many things I want to automate to make my life quicker, easier and more simple. With IFTTT, you can set up ‘recipes’ (which are actually macros) to automate many things.

My favorite recipes can be found below.

IFTTT Recipe: Video archive to Evernote connects youtube to evernote

IFTTT Recipe: Put your Dropbox files into OneDrive connects dropbox to onedriveIFTTT Recipe: Siri to Wunderlist connects ios-reminders to gmail

IFTTT Recipe: Notability to Evernote connects dropbox to gmail

IFTTT Recipe: Remind myself to read my @Pocket articles with @Wunderlist connects pocket to gmail

Using IFTTT will smooth up your work flow, and probably increase the amount of time you have to do things. Keep forgetting to switch your alarm on or off? Set up a recipe so that when you leave a location your alarm is switched off. Got a new follower on Twitter? Thank them. Want to add your notes from Notability to Evernote, with three taps? Do it all automatically with IFTTT.

IFTTT Recipe: Arm Scout Alarm when I Leave the House connects ios-location to scout-alarm
IFTTT is integrated with loads of services (called ‘Channels’ in the IFTTT world). You can find the full list here.

All in all, IFTTT is a great way to save time, and its kind of fun to set up, and see you recipes in action. Its massive amount of integrations mean you will be hard pushed not to find the service you want on it.

IFTTT have recently released the DO apps, and they are another way to smoothen your life out at the tap of a button.

You can find all of my recipes here.

Do you use IFTTT? Do you like it and why? Feel free to comment in the comments section below!

Have Your Say in the Future of The Nerdy Student!

Hello there!

I have been considering whether to add Pokemon to this blog, Please take the 10 second survey below to have your say in the future of The Nerdy Student!

Thank you very much!

Never Have to Worry About Losing Your Important Files with Cloud Storage!

Cloud storage is great for students, as it means all your work is safely backed up, and accessible from anywhere. I especially love it because if I forget some work at home, I can just print it off at school.

There are many companies offering cloud storage, and the main ones are Box, OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive. Below, I will compare the storage size they offer, the file size limit, and the size of boosts you can get. Below is a detailed list of the bigger cloud service providers.

My favorite cloud service is Dropbox, but due to the limited space limit, I use OneDrive for nearly everything. I currently have 200 gigabytes of space, as I got 15 from camera upload, and I have joined special events which have given me 100 gigabytes each.

Box is free for anyone, and its great for collaborating. It allows you to comment on files, add tasks, share files with other people and get notified when the file changes.

Box is great to use with Office 2013, as they offer Box for Office, which adds a location to your Microsoft save areas. You can also download Box Sync, which syncs your hardrive and Box together.

Box is best for businesses, as it allows you to password protect files and choose who you share folders with.


[ Changes have been made to OneDrive: Only 5 GB space for free, and no camera upload bonus ]

OneDrive is already built into Windows 8 and 10 computers, and gives you the most free space for free. When you install OneDrive for mobile, and switch on photo backup, it gives you 15GB, which would give you a total of 30GB.

OneDrive also offers loads of free bonuses, and the two latest ones will give you 100GB of space each.

Dropbox is the largest cloud storage provider as it is simple, easy to use, and its sync is extremely quick.

You can add any file type to Dropbox, either through the website or the desktop app. There is no size limit on the files on Dropbox, but if you’re a free user your file size will probably be limited by Dropbox’s 2GB free space.

Dropbox does allow you to get more space for free; if you participate in the getting started tutorial, you get 250MB, and if you connect your social media you get 250MB per each one. If you refer a friend, both you and the friend will get 500MB if they sign into the web version and install the desktop app. You can keep referring friends up to 16 GB.

I use Dropbox to store important PDFs in, and I use my IFTTT recipe (below) to automatically send my Notability notes to Evernote with Dropbox.

IFTTT Recipe: Notability to Evernote connects dropbox to gmail

Google Drive
Most people will have experienced the irritation of attempting to add a file which is too big to an email. If you use Gmail, you will be happy to know that you can add files to an email you might be sending via Google Drive.

Google Drive comes with 15GB of space, which is shared over the cloud drive storage, Gmail, and Google+. In my experience, Google Drive does not give out much free space, and when they do it is usually only around 2GB (which is still a lot of space!). If you create something using Google Docs, Google Draw, Google Slides or Google Sheets, the document will not take any space out of your storage.

All in all, I think that cloud storage is a great way to store stuff you don’t want to lose it to a dreaded hard drive crash. It also means you can access it across all devices, and that you don’t need to worry about losing or forgetting that important document.

Get 500MB on OneDrive for free using this referral!
Get 500MB on Dropbox for free using this referral!

Feel free to share your opinions on cloud storage in the comments section below!

Write, Scribble or Sketch with the Adonit Jot Script 2 Evernote Edition

Write, scribble or sketch with the Adonit Jot Script 2 Evernote Edition.

The stylus in its boxing

You may have heard about the Adonit Jot Script 2, which costs around £60 (inc. VAT). It is an active stylus designed for iPad’s which have Bluetooth 4 or later. It is made by Adonit, which make many well known and high quality styluses.

The stylus on its USB charger

I found that taking notes by hand helps me remember things (many studies say that handwriting notes is better for the memory). I originally started out using a Wacom Bamboo Solo 3, but I found that it did not cut it for me. I decided to spend some money, and get an upgrade.

Pairing the stylus

The stylus arrived in two days after I got the shipping notification email; as soon as I got it I gave it a go. It arrived in a neat box, and was ready for use straight after unpacking. It is easy to use, and just requires you to switch bluetooth on, and pair it with the app you use (I use Evernote’s Penultimate handwriting app), and your ready to go.

The Adonit Jot Script 2

Writing notes quickly is easy with the Adonit Jot Script 2. It feels like your writing with a real pen, and the battery lasts for ages. When the Jot Script 2 runs out, it only takes 45 minutes to fully charge it again. To see how long it will last on your device, see below:

  • iPad Air 2 – 30 hours
  • iPad 4 – 20 hours
  • iPad Air 1 – 50 hours
  • iPad Mini – 50 hours

The Adonit Jot Script 2 Evernote edition is a solid choice for digital notetaking, even with the hefty price tag. It is accurate, light, and is a pleasure to use.

Buy it from the Evernote Market here.

Feel free to ask questions or voice your opinion in the comments section below!

Annotate Images Easily Using Skitch

Skitch is an application made by Evernote which allows you to easily annotate images, and then save them to Evernote or to your computer.

The Skitch application on Windows

You may have seen on many of my blog posts that bits and pieces are pixelated, have squares and arrows pointing to them, and this is all done with Skitch.

Skitch is also built into Evernote, and this allows you to directly annotate images in the Evernote client. If you are a premium user (try Evernote Premium out for one month free by using this link), you will be able to annotate PDFs in the Evernote client, or in Skitch for iOS or Android. After the PDF has been annotated, you will get an annotation summary, which will indicate things such as how many of the tick stamps you used, how many question mark stamps you used, and how many highlights you made, for example.

An annotated PDFs summary

Skitch is a great tool for students and teachers that want to point out objects in images in a clear and professional way. You can download it for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.

Feel free to share how you use Skitch in the comments below!

Make Attention Seeking Designs with Canva!

Canva is a great tool for designing things from infographics, e-book covers and posters to social media headers (my Twitter, Google+ and this blog headers are made in Canva).

The Canva logo

Canva is simple and easy to use, and its free.

You can pay for some elements, such as more backgrounds, images, icons and more. Each of these elements cost $1 dollar each. If I made a infographic, and I used three premium elements, I would have to pay $3 to get the image (or PDF) without a watermark. You can also upload your own images.

Canva User Interface

The Canva user interface is simple and easy to use, and it gives you a quick tutorial when you sign up. Its easy to navigate, and after a few minutes you will probably have got the hang of it.

Canva is a great tool for making many things, and its also great that its free. Check out all the most recent public designs here (account required).

Do you use Canva? Feel free to say what you use it for, and if you want to, post a link to your favorite design!

Easily Make Great Looking Infographics with Piktochart

Ever wanted to quickly make beautiful diagrams or infographics? I suggest you try out Piktochart. Its easy to use, and gives great results. There are many free templates, and its easy to put together your own.

The User Interface of Piktochart

 After you’ve signed up, you will appear on the templates page. Simply select a template and then get going.

You can add pictures, themes, text, and then spruce the up with great tools such as picture frames and text frames. Its also easy to add interactive charts and maps, and also embed videos.

Piktochart also gives you the option to export your Piktochart to popular services such as Evernote and Slideshare (this is only available with a Pro account), and also to email them or share them with popular social media.

One of my Piktocharts

Piktochart is a great tool to quickly make enticing infographics that can grab attention and can transform boring information or numbers into great looking pieces of ‘art’.

Feel free to share the links to your infographics in the comments section below!

A Quick Note on the Evernote Changes

Just a quick update on the new changes to Evernote, which took place yesterday.

A new account type, Plus has been introduced, and this costs £20 a year. It gives you 1gb of upload space, and allows you to access your notes offline on mobile devices. You can also forward emails, and add a passcode to the app on your phone.
Evernote has also made a few changes to the Premium account, and this is boosting the upload allowance to be unlimited.
The maximum note size is now 200mb, which means that you can add more content to a note.
To see the comparison table, click here.
For the official Evernote blog post outlining all the details, look here.

Notability: One of the Best Note-Taking App for Students

Notability is amazing software for taking notes; you can write plain text, annotate PDFs, and even write whole notes in handwriting. It is available for the iPad, iPhone and Mac. Throughout this post, I am talking about the iPad version, which may be slightly different to the Mac version. The iPad and iPhone version cost £2.29, and the Mac version cost £4.99.

Notability on the iPad home screen

Notability is one of my favorite apps because of its seamless palm-detection, great-looking design and its sticky-note, web-page annotation feature and also the ability to add images.

Making a subject is easy; firstly, tap the plus button at the top of the page, and then tap ‘Divider’ to make a divider; ‘School’, for example. Then, tap the plus button and tap ‘Subject’ to make a new notebook. If you use Evernote, dividers are like notebook stacks, and subjects are notebooks. Then, at the top right, tap the button button with a pencil to make a new note.

Notability home view

Quickly writing a quick note with Notability is quick and easy. You have the option to add text, handwriting, highlight, and use the snipping tool to move, rotate and resize objects. The rubbing tool is extremely easy to use; just a tap will erase connected ink. If I have joined handwriting, and I write ‘Notability’, if I used the rubber and tapped on the end of the word, ‘otability’ would be the result. If I did not have joined handwriting, it would delete the letter.

Rubbing out writing on a PDF

Notability also gives you the ability to add ‘Media’ to the notes; this includes images, web pages and sticky notes. Sticky notes can be placed anywhere on the page, and can be typed on or written on. There are four stick note types you can choose from: blank, typing, lined or squared.

Viewing a PDF in Notability

Notability also gives you the option to back up your notes to popular cloud services such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Box. I am still hoping that Notability will introduce OneDrive backup eventually. If you are a fan of Evernote, and are reluctant to purchase another notetaking app, you would be glad to know that you can easily export your notes to Evernote via Gmail and Dropbox through this IFTTT recipe.

The notes view whilst viewing a PDF

Notability also lets you annotate PDFs, which is great for proofreading and also for giving feedback. If you’re a teacher, you can export PDFs sent from students into it, and write you feedback on it and then export it to a cloud service, and then email the annotated PDF back to the student. All you need is a stylus (if you want the writing to be neat) and an internet connection. When you tap on the top right, where the pages view is, you will see a section next to the pages view called ‘Notes’. This shows all the pages which have annotations on them.

Viewing a note on Notability

All in all, Notability is a great tool for students and teachers (and even for people in other professions). I love its flexibility, and the ability to type and write all in the same note. I would recommend you try this brilliant app out.

Do you have Notability? Feel free to comment on how you use it, and why you like it.

Use Prezi to Make Engaging Presentations

Prezi is a easy to use piece of software that is available on the web and for tablets.

The Prezi logo

Prezi is great for making engaging presentations quickly and easily.

In Prezi, you don’t have slides. Instead, you have one ‘board’ where you link together information which zooms in and out. Its simple and easy to use, and there are lots of help guides.

An example of the user interface

I prefer Prezi to PowerPoint as I find PowerPoints boring, and a bit old fashioned, and it takes longer to make the animations look professional. whilst I find Prezi quite impressive, as it can look very well done, but only take you a few minutes to put together.

Prezi is a great application and I recommend you take a look at it. It also offers software for PC and Mac, but you need to have a Pro account to be able to make Prezis on them.