Setting Contexts

Yep I Drank the Kool-Aid!!

Posted in 37signals, Apple, applications, iPhone, Software, Ta-Da, Twitter by jquig99 on July 15, 2007

I bought an 8G iPhone on the first available weekend. For weeks before I was saying I was going to wait – and yet, Saturday morning I’m in (and out) of Apple Soho in 10 minutes with my shiny new gadget and case.

Impressions after two weeks – it’s exceeded all my expectations. My Twitter feed that first weekend was full of hyberbole (even from usual low-key developers) but it really lived up to the hype.
– It’s easy to navigate with the touch screen (the “Calamari” commercial is a real-time example)
– Developers (especially after iPhoneDevCamp) have been churning out new apps
– The iPod sound is so clear, a definite step ahead
– The Text Feature is fun (looks like iChat bubbles) and I’m using it so much more than previously
– The Web app (Safari) turns horizontally and vertically (I really like the the keyboard input while on it’s side)
– While the keyboard was a little challenging at first, I was a pro after just a couple of days.
– The battery life (I have heard others have had issues) has been great. I turn off the Wifi when I’m not using it as I think the sniffer uses a lot of power
– I have a lot of email accounts and all are now on (except work, I need help from my Network guys on that)

Favorite Applications (so far) –
Mockdock (an online dock for iPhone apps)
PocketTweets (Twitter on the iPhone)
gOffice (Microsoft Office for iPhone)
Meebo (Chat client that includes AIM, MSN, Yahoo!, etc.)
Ta-Da (37Signals Ta-Da – to do list maker)

Resources –
Top 25 Web Apps for iPhone (
iPhone Appr
iPhoneDevCampsApps(’s test for dead pixels
iPhone Typing Test
Simple Spark

Acknowledgements –
These resources and applications have been gathered from a number of places, including my Twitter feed, Pownce, Daring Fireball, The Macalope, Scobleizer, TUAW, and probably more.

Thanks to everyone who shares resources/apps/etc!

I am slowly incorporating the iPhone into my GTD system – more as it becomes ingrained.

37signals Product Blog: Twitter, Campfire, and the power of persistent real-time chat amoung groups

Posted in 37signals, Twitter by jquig99 on May 31, 2007

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Highrise – Update

Posted in 37signals, GTD, Highrise, Online Productivity by jquig99 on March 22, 2007

One of the things that I love about 37Signals is how responsive they are to their users. “Case” in point – When Highrise launched, the Cases feature was only available on the Plus, Premium and Max plans and there was a lively discussion on the forums. Everyone wanted the Cases feature!

Today 37signals announced that all plans will include Cases:
> Plus, Premium, and Max continue to include unlimited Cases
> The new Solo plan (explained below) includes unlimited Cases
> Basic includes 5 Cases
> Personal includes 3 Cases
> Free includes 1 Case
> These numbers mean OPEN Cases – you can have other Cases that are Closed

There’s also a new plan added – the Solo Plan. It’s just like the Plus plan (which is what I’m on), except it’s for the single user – someone who doesn’t need to share their Highrise with anyone outside.

They have also increased disk space:
> Max moves up to to 50 gigs (was 20 gigs)
> Premium moves up to to 10 gigs (was 3 gigs)
> Plus moves up to 3 gigs (was 1 gig)
> Basic moves up to 500 megs (was 400 megs)
> Personal moves up to 250 megs (was 200 megs)

I’m on the perfect plan for me (and now it’s even better!) but I love that 37signals not only listened to what their early adopters were saying – but that they responded in a pretty robust manner. This is a company that enables better communication between people and have proven that they practice what they preach.

37Signals – Highrise is released!

Posted in 37signals, Actiontastic, Basecamp, CMS, GTD, Highrise, Online Productivity by jquig99 on March 20, 2007

I’ve been playing with 37Signals new Highrise application for the last 24 hours and think that it’s a great Contact Management resource (CMS). There’s a great tour that walks you through the entire application and all of it’s many features.

Since I’ve been using Basecamp (another 37Signals app) for over 2 years, many of these features are familiar to me. There’s a 30-day free trial (although you do have to give them a credit card) and I decided that I wanted to test the Plus plan ($49/month). The Plus plan includes up to 15 users, 1GB of file storage, Cases (a really interesting feature), SSl and 20,000 contacts. There are six levels in the Highrise pricing plan and I wanted to experience the whole application – especially the “cases“.

After I signed-up, I immediately imported my contacts into my account by exporting my iCal contacts as a group vCard. You can manually add contacts, upload vCards and also import from Basecamp accounts (We use Basecamp as an internal project management tool that we don’t share with clients, so that didn’t work for me!). After importing contacts, I set up my first case. What’s great about cases is that I can share them with the people directly involved with these projects. I had originally thought that “Cases” might be able to be adapted as a GTD system, but while it has some great features – Actiontastic is still my GTD app of choice. Highrise may work for some people for a GTD app, just not for me right now.

> Contacts – each contact has a page that includes a photo, contact info, tags, notes, files, tasks and more
> Tasks – Can be assigned to yourself or others. Action categories can be added (Call, Email, Etc.) and reminders can be sent by email or cell phone.
> Permissions – specify who can see whatever.
> Users and Groups – You can invite people to join your account and set the permissions for people, notes and cases.
> Cases – Keeps everything all together. Great to organize projects with its notes, tasks, files, images, people and more.
> Email friendly – Forward email to the Highrise dropbox and it will automatically be attached to the specific contacts page.

Highrise also has a FAQs and an active Forum. The 37Signals crew heavily participate in the forum on all topics – even those that may be less than a constructive critique.

37signals – Highrise: A New GTD app?

Posted in 37signals, GTD, Highrise, Online Productivity by jquig99 on March 17, 2007

After reading the last Signal and Noise (37Signals) update on their new Highrise application, I’m really hoping to get a peek at it soon. It sounds like it has significant GTD applications. And I’m a big 37signals fan.

According to the new preview, Highrise will “play nice” with email – by that it means it has a “dropbox” that can be sent, bcc or forwarded emailed to. Those emails can then be attached to the pertinent page (the original sender) and notes attached so that records of all interaction (even phone calls!) can be kept. New pages can even be added on the fly if someone isn’t in your system already.

My favorite piece of this new system is the Email/Task functionality. There’s 5 different identifiers (+Today, +Tomorrow, +ThisWeek, +NextWeek, +Later) which can be appended to the dropbox (like my existing @action, @hold, @respond, etc? mailboxes). Highrise then turns this email in to a task.

37signals has begun issuing “Golden Tickets” – I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I “find” one soon.

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37Signals – Highrise Preview

Posted in 37signals, CMS, Highrise, Online Productivity by jquig99 on March 12, 2007

37Signals posted another preview of it’s soon-to-be-released Highrise service. This is their CRM app and it really looks great. Highrise looks like it was completely thought out – from the initial set-up to the day to day collaboration between people. All with a beautifully intuitive (a 37Signals trademark) interface. Sign up for a “Golden Ticket” – Beta Testing? – today.

“You can think of it as a company-wide, web-based, shared address book with a few twists.” – from the Website.

Preview 1, Preview 2, Preview 3, Preview 4, Preview 5, Preview 6 and Preview 7

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Posted in 37signals, Backpack, Basecamp, GTD, Online Productivity, Packrat by jquig99 on March 9, 2007

I’m a big fan of 37Signals. They have killer products, which include Basecamp (a collaborative project management system which I’ve used with my team for 2 years), Backpack (a space where you can create your to-do lists, gather ideas, notes, files… online. Also collaborative.) – I used this as my GTD system for awhile, Campfire (Instant group chat) which is great for remote teams and can integrate with Basecamp. Their next release is a CMS product named Highrise (coming soon!).

37Signals also has a very active blog, Signals vs Noise, which talks about their products and the industry at large. It’s one of my (endless) feeds that I read each day and one that always gives me something to add to my account.

I started using Basecamp at the urging of one of my Art Directors. My team was growing quickly and we needed to implement a more robust project management system. It fit our bill for a number of reasons:

> Functions as an Internal and/or Client Extranet
> Schedules Milestones and ToDos by Team member
> All interaction tracked by project and email
> Tracks time
> File sharing

It really gave order to chaos pretty quickly and as they have pretty flexible pricing plans, our Basecamp was able to grow as we did (during this time frame – 2 years – we grew from 2 people to 12). We’ve tried to implement other agency-wide systems with no success. Great flexibility, great price, great product.

The other product I’ve used from 37Signals for the last year is Backpack. To me is a more personalized productivity tool.

> Makes ToDo lists
> Adds Photos
> Set reminders
> Keep a calendar
> Send email to Backpack
> Tag Pages
> Keep it private or share!
> Plays well with email
> Send alerts to your cell phone

After I read Patrick Rhone’s great article (listed below) I started implementing GTD on my Backpack system. I made a page called “Inbox” where everything was dumped and then created pages for each of my actions (@calls, @email, @work, @mac, etc.) and then individual project pages. The project pages were shared between team members and I could also send items back to my computer to integrate with Basecamp.

While this has turned out to not be my GTD system of choice, I still like the product and still use it. Again, flexible payment plans, great flexibility, great price, great product.

Links I’ve found useful for Backpack GTD:
> What’s the Next Action
> GTBackpacked
> Backpack: New GTD Implementation Ideas by Patrick Rhone
> Packrat – a Mac Widget