Feb 28

Occasionally you may need to archive a copy of a webpage or your cloud data for future reference. You may need to retain regular (weekly or daily) snapshots of certain sites that change regularly, for example stock listings. Not just that, a snapshot of your cloud data can be useful if the site temporarily goes down. I had this problem last week as my online to-do list app, Wunderlist, went offline for several hours. No big deal you might think, but I use Wunderlist as my go to reference of tasks I have to complete next day. When I connected that morning, the site was down and I was left trying to figure out my priority to-dos for the day. Luckily the site was back in a couple of hours, but it left me thinking perhaps I should be archiving my to-do lists on a daily basis so I don’t get caught out again.

Fortunately, there are a myriad of free apps that will archive webpages or cloud data to your preferred online storage option. I had a think through some of the sites I’ve signed up to in the past and these came to mind: Evernote, Bo.lt, Minus – of course there are plenty others, including Dropbox. So let’s look at one or two options.

Email

Applications like Wunderlist allow you to email the page to yourself so that’s one option I could use to back-up my to-dos at night. Just click the email icon in the top right corner of the main window in Wunderlist. If you have an Evernote account, you could also email the page to Evernote using the email address all registered Evernote users have to send data to their account.

Evernote

Still in Evernote, another alternative is to clip the to-do list using the Evernote Web Clipper browser extension.

Minus

Some months ago, I signed up to Minus, an online storage service giving 10 GB of free storage. It’s perhaps not the most intuitive of apps and takes a little time to figure out, but in the Settings of the Desktop Tool, you can set a screen capture hotkey. As long as Minus is running in your system tray, you can use this hotkey to capture a webpage either as full screen, or a rectangular area to your online Minus account.

minus

Here’s a recent Wunderlist to-do list captured in minus. Clicking the entry opens it up for viewing.

Instapaper

Sign up to Instapaper and install the Read Later bookmarklet in your browser. One click now saves your webpage to Instapaper.

Bo.lt

Allows you to archive everything on the webpage including links and formatting. There’s a good write up of Bo.lt here.

Automatically archive webpages

All of the above are fine but they all need you to actually save  the webpage. Isn’t there anything which needs less intervention to archive? Something that will automatically save a webpage when you open it? Well there is, and at the moment it’s in beta and it’s still free. It’s called Archify and it’s one of my best finds of recent months.

archify

Archify helps you find everything you saw in your browser and search your stream on social networks. Just open a webpage and Archify will save a copy to your account – unless you blacklist the site or exclude it for security reasons (e.g. HTTPS sites). Needs a little bit of tweaking to set up they way you like it so it doesn’t continually archive pages you don’t need.  Archify seems to effortlessly track and archive your every move on the net!

Schedule an archive of webpages

Sorry I can help yet on this one. I’ve looked around the net and asked on a tech forum and no-one had any great ideas. So, anyone out there have any bright ideas on how to schedule an automatic daily archive of a webpage, particularly one you have to log into first? Surely there has to be a demand for an app that will make a regular snapshot of a webpage or an open tab in your web browser?

Update (6 March 2012): I’ve just found a small utility that will take scheduled snapshots of a webpage and it’s called SiteShoter. There’s a good write-up here. You can set it to take snapshots at specific intervals from 1 minute to say 24 hours. The one downside is, perhaps not surprisingly, it won’t log in to a site before it takes the snapshot, so archiving your cloud data is probably not possible. Still, if you want scheduled snapshots of webpages, SiteShoter is worth checking out.

So that’s my suggestions to save important webpages. My current routine is to use the screen capture hotkey to save it to my Minus account. But if I forget, I should have a copy in Archify if I opened that page recently, and that’s definitely going to be the case for my to-dos in Wunderlist as I update them in the evening with the next day’s projects.

So how do you archive webpages? Drop a comment below.


Feb 21

phone

We all get them unfortunately but it’s very hard to put a stop to them. The cheery ultra positive attitude of the salesman greeting you very often by your forename and asking how you are before following up with his sales pitch. How do you deal with this interruption at work? Your concentration is disrupted and if the call irritates you, it can be 2 or 3  minutes or longer after the end of the call before you switch properly back into work mode again. I hate these calls because I just don’t respond to telemarketers. If I want to buy something, I’ll research it myself, find the best price and purchase it in my own time. I don’t want to be rushed into buying something I haven’t researched properly.

Well, here are some tips on dealing with telemarketing calls mostly learned the hard way.

Treasure your phone number

Seems obvious but think very carefully before you give out your landline or cell phone number to anyone. The crucial point is, if you don’t mind voice communication with them go ahead but be very careful. I’ve been caught out here in the past when the telemarketers pass on (sell) your contact details to others. If you are asked to give a number when signing up for anything online and you just don’t want phone contact from them for fear of telemarketing calls, just change the area code and number slightly and give them that. Probably best to go ex-directory as well – that way you have more control who gets your number.

Take control of the conversation

So it’s too late. Your number has been passed around the marketers. I’ve found that you often get an idea when a marketing call is coming up. Sometimes when your phone rings, you pick it up and you’ll hear a ring tone as the dialling bot at the other end routes your call to a telemarketer. If they don’t respond in time the bot will hang up. Assuming they respond, you may hear a lot of background noise as other marketers in the vicinity go about their business.  On my caller ID display, the telemarketers calls often show up these days as ‘International’. When you’ve identified you have a telemarketer on the line, be polite but firm right from the start; you have to take control of the conversation. I generally stop them early on with ‘I’m sorry, I just don’t respond to telemarketers’, and hang up before they answer. Don’t bother asking them to remove your number from their database – they just won’t bother.

Further action

In the UK, you can join the Telephone Preference Service.  It’s an opt out register where you can record your preference not to receive unsolicited sales or marketing calls. It’s a legal requirement in the UK that all organisations (including charities, voluntary organisations and political parties) do not make such calls to numbers registered on the TPS unless they have your consent to do so. However, it just doesn’t stop the increasing numbers of overseas marketers and the scammers trying to fix your computer which I’ve already blogged about.

If the worst comes to the worst, change your landline number and go ex-directory. It’s a nuisance having to give your friends, family and business associates your new number but it may be worth it in the end.

Stopping cell phone telemarketing

Thankfully, I don’t have the problem of telemarketers on my mobile phone – I learned the lesson from my landline experience and I’m very careful who gets my mobile number. Rich Menga at PCMech published a good post recently on how to deal with cell phone telemarketing with particular advice for the US. With most mobile phones you have the great facility to block or reject these calls. And Guiding Tech have a great post on how to filter and block calls on Android phones using the NetQin app.

Do you have any tips for dealing with telemarketers? What’s your approach? Drop a comment below.


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