The simple (work) life

Sometimes it can be the simplest technology that can make business better. BRENDAN LEWIS

Brendan Lewis

By Brendan Lewis

Sometimes little bits of ubiquitous technology are much more useful than meets the eye, sometimes not.

Consider the square root key on a calculator. Outside of high school, only a handful of engineers seem to use it. But it’s on every single calculator despite the fact that 99% of the population isn’t actually sure what they would use it for.

The real estate on the surface of the calculator is quite limited, so I’m thinking that the square root button must have had good PR people originally.

Personally I would much rather prefer a button that lets me know I am dealing with money and therefore rounds everything up or down to two decimal places.

Anyway, enough square root bashing – I thought I would mention a tiny bit of technology that’s often overlooked, but which I use every day.

Windows Notepad.

In my life I have a number of web-based content management systems, using free platforms such as Drupal and Joomla, as well as a variety of systems both such as Google Calendar and the proprietary system behind the Churchill Club website. However the majority of information I own is stored in PDFs, emails, Microsoft Word and Open Office Write documents.

When I simply cut and paste information (such as a speaker bio) I often get unexpected and undesired formatting that was hidden inside the source document. This can be quite a pain to remove as it often involves messing around in an HTML-encoded view of my information.

This is where Notepad comes in.

Every time I transfer information from one system to another I paste it into Notepad, then copy it and paste into the system I am using. The beauty of Notepad is that because it is only a primitive text editor, it simply can’t handle any hidden formatting information, and strips out things such as font types, sizes and carriage returns. And because Notepad is such a primitive application, it runs almost instantly and never crashes.

In real terms I reckon that on an average day, by doing this I save myself 15 minutes that I would spend (very frustrated) trying to alter paragraphs I have pasted into a content management system that looks wrong.


Brendan Lewis is a serial technology entrepreneur having founded : Ideas Lighting, Carradale Media, Edion, Verve IT, The Churchill Club, Flinders Pacific and L2i Technology Advisory. He has set up businesses for others in Romania, Indonesia and Vietnam. Qualified in IT and Accounting, he has also spent time running an Advertising agency and as a Cavalry Officer with the Australian Army Reserve.

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