Smile Software’s TextExpander is the productivity app I use the most. It allows one to define and expand abbreviations for frequently used content (text and images). For example, suppose you frequently need to refer to me in text. You might create a snippet whose abbreviation is “@luc” (without the quotes) and whose target content is “Luc P. Beaudoin“. (See the section on name abbreviations.) That’s particularly handy for long or foreign names. (Mine is a French name).
TextExpander provides statistics that quantify its benefits. From the screenshot below you can see that I’ve expanded nearly 212,000 snippets, saving me 2.8M characters. Continue reading The Value of TextExpander Snippet Conventions: Web Addresses, Citations, Bibliographical References, Markdown and More
In my previous blog post, I talked about the 2-second file access rule in relation to an excellent reference management app, Papers 3 for Mac. This rule (which I explained in Cognitive Productivity: Using Knowledge to Become Profoundly Effective) states that you need to be able, 8 times out of 10, to access a knowledge resource (typically a PDF or a meta-doc) within 2 seconds. That normally means without using your mouse. I noted in that post that if you enable Papers 3 syncing, it’s hard to satisfy that constraint.
I encourage researchers to consider using Papers 3. So this blog post briefly explains the file name issue and proposes a solution.
Update. I’ve written a post that follows up on this one.
I want to make it clear that although I am documenting some glitches here, I highly recommend Papers for Mac.
In Cognitive Productivity I described and advocated for a 2s rule: You need to be able to access 80% of the files you work with on any given day within 2s. So, if there are a 10 PDFs that are critical to your project, and you need access to some random file in that lot, 8 times out of 8 you should be able to get to such a file in 2s. Obviously, if you want to access the same file twice that day, then it the probability of quickly accessing it should increase.
This is a very important rule, because when you are doing cognitive work, time is of the essence. For example: