Your $70 Personal Assistant – A Productivity Guide for 3D Artists and Game Developers

I am a disorganised person – and let’s face it, most of us are. Given the opportunity, I would LOVE to be able to delegate most of the humdrum organisation that I normally do to an assistant so that I can get on with the important things (ie the things I enjoy) rather than the mediocre things (ie the things that enable me to have time to do the things I enjoy).
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a PA. To just be able to say “OK Google” (bear with me…) and have your attentive PA take a note, set an appointment, make a call for you, text someone or do just about anything else you need doing while you are still doing the important things you need to do (playtesting new games is RESEARCH remember).
We got you covered. Read on…

My beautiful PA Fred.

There is just one thing you need for your own Fred. (A good name I think we all agree) You need a crappy Android Phone. For this I use a Huawei p635 which cost me £60 in British money about a year ago. This is a fairly nondescript and functional Android phone that is ideal for the every day things I need to do – checking messages, reading books on kindle and making and getting calls etc. However, with the addition of just a little piece of free software, suddenly Fred is working for me!

Step one! Buy yourself a crappy Android phone – or just ask a friend if they have one in a drawer even – we all have one of those friends that has an old phone lying about!

Step two! Install Google Now! from the Play store. Its a 15 meg download. You may also need to change your configuration, I did with the Huawei as it was using its own loader and front end and you want to be using the Google Now! one. This will probably require a reboot however once done your phone is about ready.

Step three! Dress your phone up as a PA. Perhaps a pinstripe phone suit and stick on mustache? You are now ready to ROLL!

In all seriousness, I use this all of the time now – while typing this I can look up spellings on my phone, send messages, add notes and reminders and even interact with my site without having to stop what i’m doing at the moment (ie typing this). It saves me a shedload of time and effort and means that I can work more productively. For example conversion of units?

Let’s say I need to stop what Im doing, open a new window and calculate fifteen meters into feet? I dont even need to look at my screen. I just did the following;

“Ok Google.” (Phone wakes up with jaunty message)
“What is fifteen meters in feet?”
“Fifteen meters in feet is forty nine feet and two point five five one inches” (spoken clearly)

I don’t even need to look at the screen. I can use this to do all sorts of things that normally I would need to spend additional time doing and because the phone is reading it back to me, it is saving me a lot of time that I can spend doing … well… this.

So, dress up that phone and get yourself some free time. Perhaps treat your new PA to a night out with some drinks to celebrate?

Alcohol and technology – a winning combination!

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