Managing Tasks Using Pipelines

0

Pipelines are a way of planning and organising your work – a visual todo list, ordered by what is due at the closest date. They are a great way to quickly see what you need to do in a glance.

With pipelines, you can see all your tasks ordered by the deadline with a quick glance. It’s easy and quick to set up pipelines, so make sure to keep reading!

My pipeline for The Nerdy Student

Win Forest for iOS – Stop Getting Distracted!

0

Forest is a great app for iPhone, Android and Chrome that allows you to stop getting distracted. Be one of five people to win a code for Forest!

This giveaway is only for the iOS app.

If you find yourself always getting distracted by your phone or websites, Forest can help you out. Start growing a tree, and if you leave the app, your tree gets killed. It’s a great way to stay on task and focus!
You can enter via the form below, and get higher chances by completing more things such as commenting, retweeting and so on.

The winners will be contacted on the 4th of June, 2017 by the email address they added. You must reply within 24 hours of the email being sent to you, or the code will be given to someone else.

Good luck!

Forest iOS giveaway

Newton Mail – Supercharged Email

Email’s are a large part of people’s lives, and there are so many choices for an email app out there. I manage three email accounts on a regular basis, two of which have many emails incoming at all hours of the day. Newton Mail is an iOS, Android, Mac and Windows email application that aims to help you tackle your email, with some powerful features that are under a simple interface, such as read receipts and app integrations.

PDF Expert 6 – Edit PDFs Like Word Documents, New Design & Much More!

I reviewed PDF Expert 5 around a year ago, and I was really impressed with it. The Readdle team have released a new major update for it, PDF Expert 6, which boasts a new design, better search, and the ability to edit PDF text, images and links as if they were a Word document – something that I haven’t found on any other program, whether that is on desktop or mobile.

The major feature of PDF Expert 6 is something that I haven’t found on any platform or program, and is a great selling point of PDF Expert 6. You can edit and modify the text in PDFs, add and replace images, and add links to text and pictures. One reason that people may not like PDFs is the inability to edit them – however, PDF Expert has some magic worked into it that allows you to edit that PDF. If the PDF you got sent has sensitive information, you’ll be able to hide that to prevent other people from seeing it. I’m really impressed by this, and it certainly is a great new feature of PDF Expert 6, and will be a major selling point for the app. The PDF editing feature does come as a £10 in app purchase, but it is for people with a very specific use case, and not all people would need this ability.

PDF Expert 6 has an all new interface, which allows you to do more complex actions such as batch moving files, creating .zip files, tagging, and syncing files in fewer taps. I found that moving multiple files in the old PDF Expert 5 was quite cumbersome, however in the updated version, I can easily move 100 PDFs into a new folder. I can also zip these 100 PDFs into a file that I can easily email or share to other people.

Unzipping can also be done in PDF Expert – simple import a .zip file, and when you tap on it all the individual documents in that file are extracted into the folder with the zip. I work with zip files a lot, and found that whilst Workflow offered a good but clumsy solution, it was still pretty difficult to work with PDFs on iPad. However, now I can simply import the zip into PDF Expert, tap on it, and it’s extracted. Great!

Another change that I quite like is the larger file preview thumbnails. These allow you to see the contents of a file such as a PDF or a spreadsheet. The Readdle team has made the icons bigger, and this lets you quickly glance at the contents of a file. I have found that it does take a while for the spreadsheet or PowerPoint preview to come up.

Readdle has added great support for working with documents that are stored in the cloud. If you use Dropbox, Google Drive, Box or OneDrive to store your files, you can allow PDF Expert 6 to access those cloud storage providers, and you can edit your documents in there without downloading the document, saving both time and data usage. There is also a noticeable improvement in the cloud sync speed, which is also a great improvement.

If you work with sensitive data, you’ll be glad to know that you can password protect individual PDFs. Note that there is no way of recovering the password if you forget it, so you need to be careful and not forget it. The individual document protection does also not work with Touch ID, and it would be great if it did. You can also protect the whole of the app by setting a password, and this does work with Touch ID.

Search has also been enhanced with the new update. You can search through different file types, and you can also select whether you want to search the file content, or just the file titles.

Another change that the Readdle team has added to PDF Expert 6 is the ability to edit outlines. Outlines are like a table of contents in a large document – they let you easily move around the document, and find where certain things are. You can now change where the landing page of an outline is, as well as the name, and the order of outlines. Whilst this feature may not appeal to everyone, it’s very useful if you work on large documents.

I’m really impressed with the new update, and I think that PDF Expert 6 is now the best PDF and file manager that you’ll find for iOS. It’s got a simple interface, and it’s very easy to learn how to use it. However, it has the power of a desktop class application. If you want a way to manage your files on iOS, you won’t find a better app that PDF Expert.

PDF Expert is available on the App Store at £9.99.

Thanks for reading!

Feel free to comment below!

Track Planets & Stars in Real Time with Cosmic Watch

Cosmic Watch is a great looking real time world-clock, which shows you positions of planets in the solar system, star charts and so much more. It shows these above the beautifully rendered earth, and allows you to select and view times in various places in the world.

If you are a fan of astronomy and stars, Cosmic Watch may be of interest to you.

There are three main modes that Cosmic Watch offers you. These are the Clock Mode, the Astrology Mode, Astronomy Mode and the Solar System mode. These can be accessed to the left of the app. Above these modes is the minimal view, which removes overlays from the planet. You can also remove all the other buttons with the button at the top right. This lets you just look at Earth and the positions of planets, and it does look great. There is a search feature, allowing you to search for different places on the earth, and then there is a star icon. The star icon allows you to save favourite locations, such as your nearest city or somewhere where you often visit.

The bottom of the app contains the setting button, and then an icon of a clock. I’ll go into the clock first – I think it’s a really cool feature of the app. With it, you can rewind and fast forward time, and this allows you to see the different positions planets will be in, as well as sunset and sunrise times, and constellations.

The settings button will allow you to add many more overlays to your view, such as changing the view from a celestial sphere (viewing the planet from the outside, with the constellations in an orb), or the open sky view (viewing the planet with all the constellations outside it), changing the way the earth is shown, adding constellations and many more.

Celestial sphere view (left) and open sky view (right)

Clock Mode shows the local time of the selected location in digitally in 24-hour format, and then analog time is surrounding the earth. Areas that are facing the sun are lit, whilst those that are facing away are dark. The circle around the planet is made up of a few rings, with one having the earth and Sun in their current positions, and then a clock which shows minutes and hours.

The next button is Astronomy mode, where there is a dome with the constellations it. Stars and constellations have name tags, and planets in the solar system are shown at various positions around the earth. However, I have found that it’s pretty confusing if you want to use the app to find constellations. This is because they are the other way around, and you wouldn’t actually see them like this. I think that Cosmic-Watch isn’t very effective as a star map as you are viewing the constellations from the outside, and a star map is best served viewing from the earth’s surface. The open sky partially aids in solving this issue, however it still does not fix it as the earth is still shown, and this gets in the way.

Astrology mode can be accessed by the next button. I’ve never really been interested in astrology, so I didn’t really understand what was going on. The 12 astrological signs are displayed in a ring around the planet, and another ring which is broken down into b=months shows where the sun is. You can use the clock feature to go backwards to when your were born or another date, and see what your star sign is if you like to do that sort of thing.

Finally, the solar system mode shows the solar system. The first four planets are shown inside the orb, and the orb has rings around it with the season and month. Other planets are shown outside the orb. Cosmic Watch also offers a geocentric view, which allows you to see the motion of the other planets relative to the earth’s position, and then the topocentric view that shows their motion relative to the point you have selected on Earth.

Cosmic Watch is a beautifully crafted app, and I like the amount of modes it comes with, so you can really explore what is going on around the earth. Whilst Cosmic Watch’s Astronomy view is hard to use to star gaze, it does offer features that are fun to play around with, such as the time warping feature. I think that Cosmic Watch is an app that may interest those that are intrested in the workings of the universe.

Cosmic-Watch is available for £4.99 on the App Store, and is also available for Google Play.

Thanks for reading!

Feel free to comment below!

Getting the Most out of Todoist Filters

0

Todoist has many powerful features, and filters are one of them. Filters allow you to create custom filters that filter down tasks according to what you set. You can set filters to only show tasks with labels, or to show tasks with a certain date. You could think of them as saved searches – if you use a certain search over and over again, you could save it as a filter.

I’ll give an introduction on filters, then go into some examples and how I use them in this post.

Todoist filters are a premium Todoist feature – if you don’t have Todoist Premium, you can check out my in-depth post on Todoist here; it’s a great program, and I urge you to check out Premium!

Filters allow you to quickly save and refer to searches that you do on a regular basis. This is really useful as you can quickly bring up tasks with certain labels, due date, priority level and many more. This Todoist support page goes over the many types of links you can use.

It’s very easy to set up filter in Todoist – you just tap on the plus button to create a new filter, and then enter what you want in the Query box. Todoist offers a page with all the types of queries you can use, which was linked above.

I’ve found that I have been using Todoist a lot, and I’ve also been using filters more. They allow me to break down tasks into manageable lists, and see what I can do where. You can check out what filters I use below.

My most used filter is the ‘Next’ Filter. This filter shows me tasks that I have scheduled for the current day, and the next day. To get it, simply put today, tomorrow in the query box. Then, Todoist finds the tasks with a due date of today and tomorrow, and shows them on the screen. I find this useful as if I still have time after completing my tasks for one day, I can go and complete the tasks I have the next day.

The next filter I use is the ‘Overdue’ filter. I don’t often have overdue tasks, but if I do I like having a filter that allows me to see them all at once. To get this filter, simply put ‘over due’ into the query box.

I use priority flags a lot in Todoist, and having a filter that allows me only to see tasks with the top priority flag comes in very handy. This lets me see all my crucial tasks, and it lets me know what I need to get done. Once again, it’s pretty easy to set this up – just type priority 1 into query box.

My next filter is ‘Weekend tasks’. This filter shows tasks that are due on Saturday and Sunday, and I find this useful as it allows me to clear up my weekend to do things I enjoy, and not school work. I often move tasks out of this filter into the week, so I can work on them and have a free weekend. This filter takes advantage of the date query, and I have sat, sun in the query section.

A few of the filters I have are just general ones, that show tasks with no due date, or no labels. I like this as I can see tasks that I have not scheduled, and maybe adjust their due date if needs be. I also like the ‘no labels’ filter as it lets me look over those tasks and see if I need to assign a label to them.

My final filters are one’s for my devices. I have one which is called ‘Online iPad’. This filter brings up all my tasks with the label ‘online’ and ‘ipad’, and these are tasks that I have to have my iPad online to complete. I also have one for my computer. This is pretty useful as it lets me complete those certain tasks when I am at my computer or iPad, and do them before I go offline.

Those are my filters! I hope they gave you some ideas on how to set up yours. Think of things you often refer to, and make filters for those. They come in pretty handy!

I hope you found this post useful, and thanks for reading!

Feel free to comment below!

Evernote for Students: Sharing Notes for Revision

0

All my notes are taken in Evernote, and many of my friends also take their notes in Evernote. Evernote is great – you can share notes, and discuss them in work chat. A great way for students to use Evernote is to share revision notes in a shared notebook, which you share with your other classmates and allow them to view and edit your revision notes.

In this post, I’ll go through how I share revision notes, and how I make it easy to navigate and for others to find and use them.

We share one notebook between ourselves, which contains all the shared school information. It has things such as important documents, things about projects, and much more things that are school related.

As I write all my notes in Evernote, it’s quite easy just to simply right click on a note, and select copy to notebook. Then, I select our shared notebook, and I also select the tag option as I want to preserve the tags when they go into the notebook. If you don’t take your notes on Evernote, and take them on paper, you could always scan them in using the Evernote App Scanner for the notes you want to share. The Evernote Webclipper is also a great way to get revision notes – many of my English quotes are from websites, so I clip them and save them to the shared notebook to allow my friends to easily use them too.

So, I duplicate the notes I want to share into the single shared notebook that my friends and I have. I then make table of contents for each topic in a subject – for example, I make a table of contents for poems in English, for each book we are studying and so on. I then combine these separate table of contents into one large one for each subject1. You can see one of the tables for my English notes below.

This gives me the ability to see all components of a certain subject, and allows for easier navigation. I do this for all the notes I share.

You may be thinking that now there are tons of table of contents for each subject all over the place, and you would be right. What I do next eradicates this problem – I select all the subject table of contents, and merge them into one ‘master’ table of contents. This gives me a list of all the subjects, and a link to their relative table of contents, which links to each individual note.

Finally, I give the master note a reminder. This reminder ‘pins’ it to the top of the note list, and enables quick and easy access to that note wherever it is on the list.

That’s how I share notes with my classmates with Evernote. Evernote is great as it allows you to easily search notebooks too, so you can find things really quickly – for example, if you want to find a certain topic, you can search a keyword and all notes with that topic in them come up. Evernote is a great way to share revision information, and I really recommend you give it a go.

You can find my post about how to use Evernote as a student here, or sign up for free here.

Thanks for reading!

Feel free to comment below!


  1. Using the combine notes feature is very handy for this. ↩︎

The Nerdy Student is now on Apple News!

You can now subscribe to The Nerdy Student on Apple News!

Simply head over to this link, and make sure to have Apple News installed on your iOS device.

Posts are updated via the feed, so you’ll always receive the post on Apple News as soon as the post is up. You’ll be able to easily read posts on your iPhone and iPad.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you like it!

A few minor changes to The Nerdy Student

0

I’ve been making a few minor changes to The Nerdy Student here and there, and wanted to share with you what these are.

Read on to find out what has changed!

To the right of posts, you’ll find a how-to tutorial on how to comment anonymously1 with Disqus. I added this as not many people knew how to do it, and this way people can follow the small guide and see how to comment.

It caught to my attention that most of the posts I have done recently are about iOS, so I’ve started doing other posts about web-apps, and about apps that work on both iOS, Mac, Windows and Android to increase my audience. I’ve done Todoist, Trello, Evernote and Opera posts in the past months, and I’m going to keep doing more posts on non-iOS specific apps, and every so often an iOS specific post.

Small changes are also coming to the looks of posts – I’ve customised the look of The Nerdy Student a little, and I’m now using Ulysses to write posts, which gives me a lot more customisation and power over the posts. You see footnotes2 appearing occasionally on my posts – I’ve always wanted to include these, but I used to have to do some difficult things with the post, but now it is a lot easier. I’m debating whether to change some other aspects of post look3, but I’m not sure. If you want anything changed, be sure to comment in the comment section!

I’ve also made a few minor changes ‘beneath the hood’, but above is everything you will see for now.

Thanks for reading!

Feel free to comment below!


  1. With Disqus, you have to select ‘Post as a guest’ at the bottom after selecting the name field. You still have to put in an email address, put you can use a random one if you don’t want to be notified of replies. ↩︎
  2. Like this. ↩︎
  3. Such as post font, etc. ↩︎

LiquidText: Powerful PDF Annotation

PDFs are one of the most used file types, and they often come with limitations. They are difficult to annotate, to change and to highlight, and generally to work on. However, LiquidText solves those problems.
LiquidText is an iOS app that allows you to annotate and work on a PDF alongside a ‘workspace’, a dedicated area where you can drag in excerpts, comment on them, and much more. You can also comment directly on the PDF itself, highlight it, link between pages and many more features.
If you find yourself working with PDFs a lot, LiquidText may be the app for you.
With LiquidText, you aren’t limited to just static comments on the PDF, like you are in many desktop and mobile apps. You can move over excerpts to the side to go into more detail and comment on them, or you can comment on the page. Using the pen tool, you can link across pages or to something in your workspace.
Before we go into LiquidText in more detail, I’ll talk about the workspace that I have been mentioning a little. The workspace is an area to the left of your document (or below if you are using the app in portrait mode) in which you can drag out excerpts of the document by highlighting the text you want and dragging it out to the workspace, comment on that excerpt and also write with a pen on it. You can also make blank text boxes where you can write on, or type in. If you want, you can also write directly onto the workspace.
The workspace

ne thing many people may like about LiquidText is the ability to write on anything you see – this includes both on the PDF and on the workspace. For example, you can underline a line on the PDF, and you can also cross out things or write over things in the workspace. This allows people that like working on paper to still get that handwriting feeling, and also allows the app to be more flexible.

LiquidText offers standard commenting features, and also offers highlighting capabilities. You can change the comment and highlight color, as well as selecting two selections of text that you want to comment on. Comments in LiquidText link back to the excerpt of text that you selected, and if you use the ‘Select More’ button, it allows you to link a single comment back to two or more areas of text.
The select more feature allows you to select separate bits of text, and have a comment link to both of them
Apple Pencil is also supported by LiquidText, meaning you can use it to take full advantage of the pen and highlighting tools that are offered at the bottom of the screen.
The pen tool also has another cool and handy feature – you can draw a circle or box around anything you want to excerpt, whether that is an image or text, and pull it out as an excerpt. 
Circling some text, and then pulling it out as an excerpt

A feature of LiquidText that certainly impressed me is the feature that allows you to link between pages and between the workspace. For example, if you were annotating a book and you found a reference to something that occurred much earlier in the book, you may want to link it. LiquidText allows you to compress the pages in between by pinching above the quote you found, and compressing the document until you get to the other quote. Then, the pen tool can be used to create a link between those two places, across the page. When you expand the compressed section again, the link stays, and you can tap on it to compress the section quicker and see the other quote. This can also be done with linking the document and the workspace.

Linking across the workspace, and then across compressed pages

I was also impressed by the highlighting merge option. Here, you select ‘Highlight View’, and you pinch on the screen as if you where compressing pages. However, it compresses but continues to show the highlights. This view is great if you want to see just the important bits you have highlighted.

Using the Highlight View
Documents can be searched in LiquidText. Whilst the search isn’t particularly different or more powerful than other apps, it does have a handy feature that is similar to the Highlight View. You can compress the document so only words that match your search term show up. If found this really useful as it let me quickly see all places where the term came up, and it was easier to find what I was looking for.

If you are working on multiple PDF documents, LiquidText also comes in handy. You can have a document manager, that allows you to select various documents that you want to work with. Then, you can use the Document Panel that appears to the left of the screen to drag in pages into the document you are working on, and you can link between those documents and compare and contrast them.
LiquidText has multiple cloud storage services, including Dropbox and Box, so you can back up your documents in case your device gets damaged. LiquidText also offers lots of exporting features, such as exporting it as a LiquidText file that you can share with other LiquidText users, or exporting it as a standard PDF document. Note that only comments and highlights will show here, not linking between pages.
I’ve found LiquidText to be extremely useful in highlighting the book I have been studying in English, and adding more comments to it. The features LiquidText provides for document annotation is by far the best out there, and I really recommend you check it out if you find yourself handling PDFs often. 
Thanks for reading!
Feel free to comment below!