One thing I’ve found about the online lifestyle (and I’m sure this isn’t news to anyone!) is that a search for one thing often takes on a life of its own or morphs into something else entirely. In the first case I usually continue looking for whatever it is even after I’ve found a suitable solution because I want satisfy myself that what I’ve found is the best possible option. In the second case, a search for that one thing ends up providing fodder for other searches. So it was when I discovered a couple of new-to-me tools that I’m highlighting here.
Timesavers for digital scrapbookers
It is customary when posting a digital scrapbook layout in an online gallery to include information about the products that are used in the layout. Until recently, I did this by keeping notes on a piece of scratch paper and then adding all that to my post but, inevitably, I would miss one or two items and then have to go back into my stash to figure out what I used and who the designer was. So, I was thrilled when I saw a forum entry about a “supply tracker” script with a link to the download page of Christy VanderWall’s speedscraps.com. Here are brief descriptions of these nifty finds:
- File save (options for one- and two-page layouts) creates and saves full resolution and 72 dpi .jpg files without having to manually go through Photoshop’s save and save for web processes.
- Rename layer copies the file name to the layer name so when the layer is moved onto the layout document, its file name is copied too. This provides the data for subsequent use of the supply tracker.
- Supply tracker copies layer names from the .psd file into a credits layer at the top of the layer stack and adds the list to the .psd’s File Info (meta data; see File_File Info). The credits layer can be moved to the bottom of the stack and its contents can copied to a Word or text file for further editing. The script also has an option to record the data for visible layers only, so turning off visibility of non-product layers before running the script will provide a shorter, product only list.
Note: Christy also provides instructions for several different installation options, including recording the scripts as actions (the option I chose). All this was a bit intimidating to me, but the installation process worked easily and well, and the tools themselves are well worth the effort.
For quote collectors
Quote collecting is, for many of us, either an activity for personal inspiration or something we have adopted to support online activities like photo posts and blog entries. I must admit I’m of the latter category and have, at times, had quotes for various subjects stored willy-nilly on my hard drive, on both my physical and computer desktop, and on whatever scrap of paper was at hand when I read or heard something I thought might be useful someday. Given my lack of organization, it has sometimes been a real challenge to find a quote to fit a particular need.
After an unsuccessful search for either an online or computer-based quote management program, I ended up using Microsoft Access to create a barebones database for this purpose. I’ve added to it from time to time over the several months since then, but I still find myself scribbling notes on scrap paper or just adding the quote to a post or photo without recording it in my database.
Since I’m not as consistent as I should be with this project, I was pleased to discover that one of my favorite quote sites, ThinkExist, has added a “My Quotations” feature to its site. A book icon appears in the left margin of the quotations page and, once a person registers on the site, the book is personalized and has options to save quotations by category. Every quote on the site has an associated “Add to Chapter” link which provides a dropdown list of the categories in the user’s book.
This is a convenient way to save candidate quotes while searching for exactly the right one, but the tool does have its limits. For example, users can print only single quotes rather than everything in a chapter or their entire collection. Another problem is that you can save only those quotes that are found on the ThinkExist site; there is no functionality for adding a non-site quote to a user’s personal collection. Users can contribute quotes (which I did last week when I couldn’t add a recent quote to my collection), but there isn’t much information about the review and approval process for such quotes, and my contribution has not yet been added to the site. I hope ThinkExist will improve its feature set but, in the meantime, this is at least a partial solution for this quote collector.