Friday, January 2, 2009

Lets Be Productive & Communicate Better in 2009

So it's 2009 and this year I want to be extra productive in comparison to my previous years. And I'm intent on using technology to help me achieve this. So I'll list a few of the links I've found recently that are going to help me with this.
  • twitter - great for keeping up with people. you can even have it feed your Face Book Updates.
  • delicious - this is how I'm keeping track of my bookmarks now a days. Lets you add tags and you can find your bookmarks later very quickly.
  • livetimer - I will be keeping track of my time in 2009 with this web app. If  you don't hear of me switching to something else, it pretty much means I like it.
  • Iphone hacks - for ways to use your iPhone more efficiently. , ,
  • Google Calendar - Love the fact that you can share it and it interacts with many other apps. You can also set up meetings and invite people through it. 
  • wrike - I will be using this to collaborate with my business partners. I really like it and it is pretty cheap.
  • Word Press - this is an open source blogging software that you can install on your web hosting server and start blogging. I'm also using Blogger  as you can see, but I like the flexibility of blogger and the amount of templates you can find.
  • Media Embedded HTML Generator - I was trying to add a Quicktime file on one of my pages and found this handy HTML generator.
  • TinyURL - this lets you make a small URL of a longer URL so your friends don't have to copy and paste a long URL which sometimes gets a break in it. Its free and easy to use.
  • Remember The Milk - I'm still using but some people really like this. I was looking at it to see if it would be better than, but I don't think it's as robust for a work group setting.
  • Get Satisfaction - I will be looking at this in the future. Some of you might be interested now.
  • oDesk - you can find freelancers here to do some programming. I'll let you know how my venture turns out.
  • Free Conference - Phone conferencing made easy. (and free if you keep it to their free requirements.) Pretty cool if you ask me.
  • Green Dimes - this is a good way to keep you junk mail down. And it's great for the environment.
  • Event Brite - just found this and thought it might be helpful if I ever organize paid events.
  • Earth Class Mail - This is a service that takes in your mail and scans it for you. Good if you travel a lot, but also good if you want to stop junk mail. I believe you get a P.O. Box and because of that, it stops a lot of your junk mail. Plus it shreds your documents for you if you ask them to, and saves a digital version of the important stuff. Might do that soon.
  • Pay Trust - this is a bill management web service. My brother uses it. it links to your bank electronically but also to many of the Credit card companies. It really helps you keep your checkbook balanced. I will probably join this service shortly.
OK. These are it, for now. Gotta get back to work.

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year. May 2009 be a productive year for you!!!


Monday, December 8, 2008

Open Source

As some of you know, I stayed up all night on the Eve of Black Friday to try to get a laptop. Luckily, I got #8 out of 9 laptops at Office Depot on Wilshire Blvd. (this was in my opinion, the best deal of Black Friday this year)

Needless to say, it's not a top of the line laptop, but for $350, I decided on an impulse to just wait it out.

So now, I'm setting it up with software and such, and have been looking at Open Source Software (which is typically free) For one, the price is VERY NICE! But also, open source software usually doesn't take up as much resources from your computer as other private software. This usually comes at the expense of some features, but it is usually those features of the software that I rarely use. Therefore, since my new laptop doesn't have the horsepower, I will try to keep it light and thin.

Here are some sites that might help:
  • Open Source Windows: This one has a list of a bunch of great Open Source Software. I might list some others within this site individually because I have either used them or I'm interested in them.
  • Mozilla Firefox: I mean, C'mon who doesn't know this one. Though lately, I've been trying Chrome from Google and I'm very happy with it. (still in beta version)
  • Open Office: This seems to be the best open source (free) replacement for Microsoft Office. As far as I know. I've actually installed this one and have used it briefly. I have to say, so far I like it.
  • Celtx: Here is one for us film makers. I'm not writing any scripts now, but I've installed it on my desktop. I like it. Its a pre-production tool. Lets  you write scripts, storyboard, collaborate with others, and even schedule shoots. The Celtx Project Central, lets you collaborate and share your project. If you make films, definitely give this one a looksy.
  • Evolution: I've been trying to see what else is out there besides Microsoft Outlook. So far, I think I'm staying with Outlook, but I'm using Google Calendar (which as per my previous post) now links to my iPhone. But this solution seems like it might work just as good.
  • Paint.Net: I tried this one on my laptop, but it just didn't seem to be as powerful as Photoshop. Actually I was trying to do something simple with it and it very quickly showed it's lack of capabilities. It might work for some, but it didn't for me. Maybe GIMP might be better.
That's it for now. I'll see what else I can find.

Thanks for reading,
Luis Sinibaldi

Friday, December 5, 2008

Independent Films

As many of you know, there are many forums online that deal with independent film making. I belong to a few.
The ones that I'm usually on are:
But there are many others that have much information for the independent film maker. From time to time, I like to do a search and see what's out there.

Recently I found:
  • : This site seems interested. It seems you can get a free membership to become a Hobbyist Filmmaker, but you would need to upgrade your membership to become Serious Filmmaker or a Professional Filmmaker. (they don't say how much it costs) The difference is the Serious Filmmakers can invite people to become cast/crew of your project and give you some management tools for your project. As a Professional Filmmaker, you are able to do more administrative/management functions, but mainly, you are able to accept donations and or Producers (investors) to your project and RAISE FUNDS FOR YOUR MOVIE. (I haven't joined yet, but it seems interesting. I am a little worried that they don't list how much it takes to upgrade your membership. For their exact breakdown of their features, please visit their site) 
  • : Now this one sounds very exciting. It seems they let you self distribute your film. The beauty is that it is non-exclusive so you can shop your project elsewhere, and they give you a 70/30 slip. YES THAT IS 70% TO YOU!!! They let people buy your movie via DVD (suggested $9.95 for a feature and $5.95 for a short but you can set whatever you want) But I think they are adding a pay-per-view feature. (not sure about the cost?) Its free to enter, but your film has to be an "Official Selection" at a film festival. (thought, they make exceptions. yay!!!)
Hope you check out these sites, as I will be doing in the near future and try to use them to become a better Artist & Entrepreneur.

Thanks for reading,
Luis Sinibaldi

(note: for this and all posts on this blog, please verify information with said websites and/or company. I write what I understand to be the rules and requirements of the companies mentioned, but I leave the responsibility to you to verify that it is correct. Also, companies change their policy from time to time. I will not be updating this blog to reflect such changes.)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Calendars and To Dos

In my effort to become more organized and productive, I've been researching software that will help me do this. So far, I've signed up at:
I really like Toodledo for a To Do application. I've signed up for a whole year to get the extra features. (it was only like $12 for the year) I like how it lets you prioritize your tasks as  you input them and then you can list all your task by priority. When I have a huge list of things to do, I always find it difficult to sort which one is more important. But when I'm inputting the task, it seems easy for me to put a deadline, an importance level, etc.. Then when I look at the whole list in priority view and most of the tasks are set up the way I should be tackling them.
Also, there is an iPhone App for Toodledo. (I'm really trying to be able to use my iPhone to the max)

Wrike, I'm still just getting used to. This is mainly for collaborating with Mark and Tim, my partners. I think it will be a great tool for all of us to be on the same page.

As for Google Calendar, I just switched over to it, and I really like it. For some reason it just seems visually simple and intuitive. (not sure why Outlook doesn't feel the same to me?) One other thing I figured out was how to sync my Google Calendar to my Calendar on my iPhone without being plugged in. For outlook, I needed and exchange server, (which I wasn't about to set up) or I needed to plug in my phone to my computer. Fortunately, I found this so try:
for an easy way to sync your iPhone with your Google Calendar.
One other added bonus, there is a way to integrate Toodledo with Google Calendar. (only on the web version of Google Calendar that is) Its not like it imports the items directly on the calendar, but it gives you a drop down menu of your task. If they could combine Toodledo with Google calendar, where you could drag and drop your tasks into the calendar, this would be ideal. But so far, I like it very much.

That's it for now. Hope this helps some of you.

Thanks for reading,
Luis Sinibaldi

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Welcome & Hello!

Ha, it took me 3 post to get to say hello. So, I got my iPhone a few months ago, and finally getting to start using it more and more. I'm also trying to get more organized with my personal and professional life. On top of that, I'm working on improving my time management skill and just myself in general.

In the spirit of improving myself, I felt that sharing my experiences would be a good start. Therefore, I started this Blog. Hopefully, I'll be able to share some of the knowledge that my experiences bring to me. I know, very subjective, and perhaps not much help to anyone. In any case, at the very least, it will serve as sort of a journal of some kind. I should be able to see my posts here and remember what I was doing in the past.

I haven't post any pictures, but I will start soon. Also, I will hopefully get into posting some videos. For now, I'm looking for the best software to be able to post on this and other web sites with my phone. I found and installed, CellSpin. Which lets you post to a few other sites.

One thing I didn't like about CellSpin, was that I had typed a long post, then went back to the main screen on my iPhone, and when I went back to CellSpin, I had to re-type the whole thing. So now I know, I can't quit the application until I send the info. (I did get a call while typing, and that did not cause me to loose my info)

  • For posting on Blogs with your iPhone (or other cell phones I believe) try using. CELLSPIN
I'll leave you with that. So thank you for reading, and welcome to the blog.

Thanks for reading,
Luis Sinibaldi

Making Snow

Last night I was helping a friend on a Christmas horror short. We needed snow, so we talked about spray painting cornflakes white. Then thought about buying that fake snow that you just add water to. But with a styrofoam bounce board that they had picked up at home depot (at the insulation section) we had a much better solution.

We grabbed two pieces of styrofoam and rubbed them together to make snow. I gotta say, it looked great on camera and added a lot of production value.

  • So for a bounce, a sheet of styrofoam insulation is a good alternative.
  • But it's also a good alternative for snow.
Thanks for reading,
Luis Sinibaldi

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday Eve

Ok, so I stayed up all night in front of Office Depot to get a great deal on a laptop. It's not like I should be spending the money, but with my old computer no longer working (some of you know why, or rather who is the cause. Haha) I was either going to spend some money on my old computer or get something new.

I had looked at the Black Friday deals. And kept eyeing the $350 laptop at OD. When I saw an article on the front page of I pretty much thought the hype was so much for this deal, that there was no way I was gonna get it.

So I wasn't going to do it, but after heading home from Mom's place at 11:00pm I had to go to the market and decided why not, I'll just drive by. Stopped home, got a second jacket, a soda, and headed to OD. What a Surprise!! Only 7 ahead of me. So, decided to stay. 1/2 an hour into it I thought "man, this is going slow" hahaha. But what I learned was:

• Bring something to sit on.
• Something to read or listen to. (thank god for my iPhone)
• Be friendly to the ones in line with you.
• Bring something to eat and drink, but not too much. Remember there are no bathrooms on the street.
• Don't let anyone cut line or think they can stay in their car while thinking they are in line. (yes, we had a jerk on our line. Lucky was right after me, cus I would not have let him do that)
• And if things don't go your way, voice your opinion and voice it loud.

Hope this helps anyone that might be thinking of waiting in line to buy something the night before.

Thanks for reading,
Luis Sinibaldi