Make Google Docs Beautifully Inspiring And Google Reader Clutter Free

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Since starting this blog less than two weeks ago I’ve started to put more effort into writing.  Inspiration can be a fleeting thing so finding an inspiring place to read and write can be useful.  Just this week I found two ways to make Google Docs better for writing and Google Reader a little better for reading.

Linen Background For Google Docs

Google Docs is a great place to write but the normal white expanse of the Docs page may not inspire everyone’s muse.  If that sounds like you then you can try this beautiful Linen Background like the image above.

Get this for your Google Docs by:

  1. Install Stylish for Firefox (then restart your browser) or Stylish for Chrome.
  2. Go to the Linen Background for Google Docs page and click the +Install With Stylish button.

Google Reader Minimal Readable Expanded

As for reading, Google Reader is a very popular service for aggregating and reading articles.  With Minimal Readable, you can easily strip away everything from Reader except what is important, the articles you want to read.  Even the menu gets out of your way but it reappears when you hover over the sidebar area with your mouse pointer.

Get this for your Google Reader by:

  1. Install Stylish for Firefox (then restart your browser) or Stylish for Chrome.
  2. Go to the Google Reader Minimal Readable Expanded page and click the +Install with Stylish button

Notes On Minimal Readable Expanded

There are some caveats with Minimal Readable.  All the Google Reader buttons and share features also disappear so you will need to learn the keyboard shortcuts to accomplish usual functions.  Learn them at the link below.

Google Reader Keyboard Shortcuts

Additionally, Minimal Readable Expanded works only at the URL:

http://www.google.com/reader/view/*

This is the web address for Google Reader.  However, Google adds a bit to that URL if you are in a country other than the U.S.A.  For instance, I am in Belize so my Google Reader address starts with:

http://www.google.com.bz/…

So, if this happens, Minimal Readable Expanded won’t work.  You can simply delete the country bit out of the address in your address bar.  I opted to edit the code of the Readable userstyle so I wouldn’t have to edit the address bar every time.

I am trying this with Reader and the Docs update looks very nice too.  What do you use to do your best writing?  What do you use to read articles?

App Review: Tasks Syncs Beautifully With Google Tasks [Android]

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Everyone could use a great to-do app but finding one with all the right features and functionality that works they way you work is a never-ending search.  For me, a great to-do app must have:  a clean user interface, a quick workflow, drag and drop functionality so rearranging task is easy, a mobile app, a web app and seamless syncing between the mobile and web versions.  I think I may have found that perfect app.

Tasks [Free]

Tasks

Task brings the full Google Tasks experience to Android. It is available in a free version and a paid version (currently $1.10 USD).  Both the free and paid versions have the same features and functionality but the free version is ad-supported.

I only just found this app today and I love it so much I’ve already uninstalled all my other to-do apps from my Android phone.  When starting up the app for the first time I had to select a Google Tasks account.  Seeing as how this app is built around Google Tasks, I went ahead an authorized my account.  The initial sync took only a few seconds and went flawlessly.  Some forgotten tasks in my Google account were then shown in my lists but it was easy to delete those.  I then set up my lists (or folders if your mind works that way).  The app arranges lists alphabetically from left to right but the app makes it so easy to move from one list to another that I didn’t mind this.  Simply swiping left or right moves you to adjacent lists, similar to the Android/iOS home screens.  This arrangement is awesome because there are no menus to slow you down.  The entry button, check boxes to complete tasks and drag-and-drop buttons are always on screen so working with your tasks is quick and easy.  The aesthetics of the app is also very clean and pleasing.  Seriously, this app is simple, quick and it works.  What more would you want?

(This is my first ever app review but I am an app junkie so, if you follow this blog, you will probably see more of these.  Enjoy.)