How To Stream Pandora to Your Apple TV

When Randy and I met, we created a Pandora station*. It’s an interesting blend of my Eurotrash and his AltMetal (with the occasional soundtrack thrown in, thanks to the fact that I like Danny Elfman’s first solo album). We are a big music family; there is almost always something playing or a dance party taking place.

In the past we’ve streamed it through our stereo, but since we got the Apple TV, we’ve been trying to figure out how to stream it via that, so that we don’t have the extra cords.

I googled it, and there are several complicated sounding ways to do it that included purchasing some other piece of software or box, but I knew there had to be an easier way (and if there wasn’t, there should be).

This past Saturday, I went onto Pandora via my iPhone and noticed this:

That little rectangle in the corner is what appears anytime I can choose which speakers I want to use: iPhone or Apple TV.

My pulse quickened (not kidding!!) as I clicked and it VOILA!!!

This appeared:

I clicked Apple TV and it immediately started playing the song through our tv.

So simple, yet I have yet to see this written about anywhere else.

CAVEAT: The only way this works is if you have the Pandora app on your phone and your Apple TV must be set up on your home WI-FI network.

*Be sure to check out the name of the account. There is a funny/sweet story behind it, waiting to be blogged about…
Also – our dual station is the “Archer” station. The rest are mine – Randy will never claim them ;)

Windows Phone

It may not make you want to buy their phone, but this ad, created for Microsoft Windows Phone by the brilliant minds at Crispin Porter + Bogusky, didn’t have to look far for its inspiration. We are a society consumed by our phones.

Track Your Money with Mint.com

Almost all banks give you access to online banking, so Mint.com isn’t a novelty in that regard. But what makes it unique is the extra tools that it offers.

mint.com welcome

How to budget with Mint.com ..

mint.com

View graphs of your spending

See your spending

Tools to help you reduce your debt

Access it anywhere, choose what you’d like to have texted to your phone; there is also an iPhone app…

Mint.com is completely secure: no money gets moved around; they use the same security as banks.

It’s free and easy to use.

Saving Money on Your Cell Phone Bill

I usually feel like an oddball when it comes to this topic, because I am one of the few people who doesn’t seem to have unlimited text and calls on my cell phone. I have a really basic phone (It does take photos) and a prepaid calling plan. It helps us stick to our budget.

But if you are have to have something other than a prepaid plan but also need to fit it into your budget, I would suggest trying out the following sites and tools to see if you can bring down your cell phone bill.

billshrink

Bill Shrink: Find the out if you are getting the best price on cell phone plans, but also check on gas prices and credit cards. (free)

Over My Minutes: Want to make sure you don’t go over your minutes, but are too busy to keep track? Sign up at Over My Minutes and you will receive an alert on your phone when you are getting close. (free)

Or, you can go all crazy like me, and just use a prepaid card. Frankly, I can’t stand being on the phone all of the time, so it suits me fine. Maybe it will work for you too.

Sound off: How do you save money on your cell phone bill?

Setting Up Your Work-at-Home Space

setting up office banner

Welcome to the Work from Home Productively and Keep Your Sanity series. For more information on what the series is about, please check out these posts: here and here.

While logically it might make sense to start this series with an article laying out what to consider before making the decision to work from home, I am saving that for later in the series. To start it off, I want to consider the space that you may already be working in.

Whether you live in a huge home with lots of extra rooms to choose from or a flat with limited space, it is still of utmost importance that you have the proper place set up for working at home.

If you simply plop down on the couch with your laptop when it is time to work, you aren’t allowing yourself the delineation between work and home. Even if it is just setting up your laptop at the table, you are a step closer to emulating a proper work space.

No two home offices are going to be set up the same. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t basic steps you should follow or consider when doing so. Here are some suggestions to get you started and thinking about your office space.

Make a list of everything that you need for your office space

Will you need a fax? A printer? A drafting board? These are things to consider as you look for your space within the home. Due to space limitations, you may have to settle for having some of these items in different places within the home. Have everything you need before you start prettying up your space. Get a dedicated computer, reliable internet and phone service (consider the possibility of a separate phone line if you will be making a lot of calls; Skype is a great option for being able to make phone calls without an extra line or extra charges.)

home office 1

Find a quiet spot to set up your space

It may be a corner of a room. It may be an entire room. It may just be a closet. Whatever space it is, make sure that it is a spot that will allow for quiet at some point throughout the day. Try not to set it up right in the middle of the kitchen, where every dirty dish will scream your name and taunt your throughout the day. If this is your only option, then make it a priority to keep the kitchen as tidy and clean as possible, to alleviate that distraction.

Keep your office space dedicated to office items

Don’t place the laundry basket on your desk. Don’t even think about putting leisure reading material there either. Again, the potential for distraction is severely reduced if you de-clutter your working area. Toss out anything that you do not need in order to work. Throw it away or find another home for it. (for great de-cluttering tips, stop by Simple Mom)

Make sure that the area is well lit and well ventilated

Nothing will make you want to get up again and again faster than poor lighting around your work space. Not only is it hard to see what you are doing, but it fatigues the eyes. Good lighting and fresh air are a must.

home office 2

No unoccupied room? No problem

Your home office doesn’t need to be in a room all to itself. Yes – this would be wonderful and ideal. But not all of us have that option available. Look around your home or apartment at the space you do have and consider the possibilities, even if it currently houses something else. Maybe it’s a closet. A space under the stairs. A corner of your living room. If you don’t have room at the moment, you will have to make room. You can’t run a business sitting on your couch. So clear out a space if need be. Donate items to charity or a needy family. Do something with it so that you can have your office space.

“Carving out a space that is designated as the business space is imperative.  This helps with work flow and focusTake into consideration your specific learning style. For example if you are easily distracted by noise or people then having your office in the middle of the den will not be very functional. Your space, just like your business may grow. Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon of God’s Word Sculpture Art,

Get organized early on

I will be dedicating an entire article to this topic, but start planning out your office organization and continually evaluate how well you are doing with it. Don’t let your work area messes get out of control. You don’t want to get caught wasting time searching for a pen every time you need to take notes during a phone conversation. Organize your space just like you would if you were at an out of the home office. Keep supplies handy and stocked. You will probably needs bookshelves, storage bins, filing cabinets and such as you go along. There are creative ways to make use of your space for organization that I will discuss in the upcoming article.

Have a comfortable seat to sit on and a desk that is the proper size

This may seem like obvious statement of the day, but you’d be amazed how quickly this can get backburned when all of the other issues related to getting started are considered. An improper seat will kill your bottom. And a desk that is the wrong size will kill your back and neck. Neither one of these issues will increase your productivity.

home office 3

There are many options for setting up your office and how to do it, but it is so important to get yourself off on the right foot. Think through these basics and spend some time preparing for your space. It will make a huge difference if you do.

(photo source top image: .Fabio)
(photo source middle image: super-structure)
(photo source bottom image: dierken)