Gmail as a Recipe Organizer

July 26, 2006

logo1.pngMy wonderful wife (of 13 months and one day, today) has come up with the brilliant idea to use a Gmail account to save recipes she finds online.

She had been using Yum, but got frustrated with trying to format the recipe correctly and stopped using it. It would try to be smart and convert the ingredient measurements to standard abbreviations, but usually didn’t get it right, and just made more work for her.

Now with her Gmail Recipe Book, she can log in, copy and paste the recipe and send it to herself. Auto-magically she has the recipe saved for future cooking.

But with Gmails tagging system, she can organize her recipes into categories like ‘chicken’ or ‘beef’. Since you can add multiple tags to an email, she can put recipes into different sections.

In the future, she could create two tags: ‘eaten’ and ‘uneaten’ to further differentiate from those recipes she has tried, and those yet to come.

She also came up with a good rating system. After trying a recipe, she can reply to that recipe and input our thoughts in the reply. That way each time she looks at that recipe, she can see all the replies (reviews) that go with it. Perfect! And if she wants a visual cue to the ratings, we could always use one of the alt symbols: ◊,†,•,‡ etc.

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gCal Cleared my Dock

May 20, 2006

dockAs seen in the <small> picture, I now have only two items on my dock: Firefox and NetNewsWire Lite. Quicksilver takes care of accessing every other application easily without the need to see it down there all the time.

Until recently, I had included iCal with the docked applications. Not because I used it all the time, but because I felt I should be using it more, and thought that if I saw it, I would be more likely to use it.

However, Google's new Calendar has now permanently removed iCal from that exalted position.

gCal (as I will now refer to it) gives me everything I need in a calendar application. I can access from any computer, I can add new events without having to navigate to the specific date, and I can see my wife's calendar at the same time, so we both know what's going on when. Universal access was always a big limitation in iCal. As I'm at school or work for much of the day, to use iCal I would have to try to remember any events until I get home, and then put them into the calendar.

I also like to be efficient (which my wife calls 'laziness') and so gCal's intuitive short-cuts to adding new events really helps me with that 'efficientness'. I can essentially click anywhere and add an event by typing something like "Tim's birthday party 5:30 – 7:30 on May 19th" and it is automagically added to the correct day and correct time.

Also, when someone calls and invites us to something (which happens oh so often) I can call up gCal and check both my and my wife's schedule right there. Here is a pretty good web site that explains a lot of the tips and tricks of google calendar.

And with Quicksilver, its just as easy to access gCal as any other 'application'. I simply set up a key-binding (Command+shift+c) to open gCal in a new tab.

I also have it email me every morning with my schedule (looks like you can have it send it to your phone as well, but it won't work with my Verizon plan as of yet) so in-case something big is going down, I'll be ready.

Give it a try, and add me to your shared calendar space. Soon people won't have to talk to one another, just check GMail and gCal, and you know what's what.