Wednesday, November 9, 2011

NDSR - Consultant's toolkit

This is non-digital signage related (NDSR) but relevant to all consultants and office workers out there...

I'm sharing here some of the most useful and practical tools I use on a daily basis:
  • Freshbooks. This is the best online tool to manage your invoices, clients and budgets.
  • Dropbox: If you don't already have a Dropbox account, get one now. I use this service to share and synchronize content across all my PCs, iPad and iPhone. Its an essential part of my toolkit.
  • Evernote: Great for stashing away stuff you find online. Also great for sharing across multiple devices. I probably don't use this one to its full potential.
  • LogMeIn: If you are in the digital signage business or in any technical field, you need some type of remote access solution. I have used many but the free LogMeIn service has been the best I have used so far (and I have used several).
  • GoToMeeting and Join.Me: Two indispensable tools for anyone who needs to perform online meetings, product demos and training sessions. These tools have never let me down. Highly recommended.
  • Google Docs: As much as I rely on Microsoft Office for my day to day work, I also often use the various tools in Google Docs. I find their presentation tools particularly easy to use when integrating the material on sites like Linked-In for example. Another great service that complements Google Docs is Zoho Office.
  • TechSmith applications: TechSmith has a great suite of products you can use to capture on screen content. I rely on Jing! and Snagit daily.
I'm sure there are other tools and services I could have added but these are the ones I use on a daily basis. Don't know how I could spend a day without them.

Setting up a good studio

I do a lot of online training and audio recording for training videos. One of the biggest challenge is having an office environment that is suitable for recording. I found this excellent posting on the ZD Net web site that covers this subject. I haven't had to paint one of my office walls green (yet) as I mostly record voice, not video. But there are lots of good advice in this article and I recommend anyone who needs to record themselves to read up before they start spending bundles of cash on various acoustic treatments and expensive recording devices.