Setting Contexts

Productivity on the iPhone

Posted in Apple, Crayon, iPhone, productivity, tools by jquig99 on September 26, 2008

It’s been almost 2 1/2 months since Apple’s AppStore debuted (and I upgraded my first gen to a 3G) and I’ve been testing out and using a number of different applications. The Productivity section of the AppStore easily had the most applications the first day and it has continued to grow steadily.

My Productivity apps

My Productivity apps

I had been a part of the OmniFocus beta test group and it was one of the best testing experiences I’ve had. A great group of people, starting with Ken Case and the whole development team – all of whom were really responsive and excited to be working on the application. So I was excited to see that OmniFocus would be available for the iPhone the first day. The iPhone version is great – especially as it used the 3G location services so effectively. Put together a shopping list and OF shows you the closest store to your current location. It still has the same capture features as the desktop app and you can take pictures, enter text and make voice notes quickly. And it syncs with the desktop version. Very intuitive and comprehensive – also a bit too much for me. But I truly love this company and it’s products.

Another iPhone application I use frequently is Jott. I’ve been a Jott user for awhile and they finally exited their beta period and have a number of tiered pricing options to choose from. And a well-featured free account, which works well with the iPhone app. I use Jott to quickly call in notes to myself (I loved when these would go to Backpack, but that seems to be not working anymore) and now the iPhone app makes it easy to do this and sync to all of the services I have associated with the account. It definitely helps me remember things when I’m traveling or just need a quick reminder.

I also hear some great things about, well, Things (which also has a desktop version).

But what do I actually use, day in and day out? I still use the web versions of my 37signals apps – Basecamp, Backpack, Campfire (which is iPhone optimized) and Highrise – and am hoping for iPhone versions to come along soon (And so not holding my breath…). My system, which I’ll update about soon, works really well for me and I love that I can have these icons on my iPhone homepage and are a tap away.

Having said that – it was the biggest disappointment that the AppStore didn’t open with any 37s apps.

Just an FYI – I have given in to putting my 37signals Affiliate Banners on here (you’ll see them on the right). These are definitely product endorsements over participation in the program. I love their products – we use them at crayon, and I have had my own accounts for years. So – feel free to use these links, I just love the company.

(Aside – I originally wrote this post over a week ago on the WordPress iPhone app, which saved it locally and then lost it. Shows that I have a post saved in Local Drafts, but nothing when you open the folder. Ouch. Also, MORE IMPORTANTLY!!! this week Apple decided that iPhone developers couldn’t talk about AppStore rejected – for any reason – applications because they are covered under the still-existing NDA. Ugly Apple. How could they treat their incredible independent developer community like this? These developers and companies are amazingly collaborative, generous and creative – Apple is should feel privileged to have the like of Daniel Jalkut, Wil Shipley, Craig Hockenberry and Brent Simmons developing for them. I’m continually impressed by the level of work and commitment all of the Apple Dev Community show and shame on Apple for not appreciating what they bring to the brand experience. Apple is just really nice hardware without them. They make Macs sing.)

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 (Rev2.org)
iPhone Appr
iPhoneDevCampsApps(BarCamp.org)
Macenstein.com’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.

Pukka – a Del.icio.us app (Mac)

Posted in Apple, Code Sorcery Workshop, Del.icio.us, Pukka, Software by jquig99 on March 11, 2007

A quick note about one of my (currently) favorite apps – Pukka (Code Sorcery Workshop). This handy application easily post links to your del.icio.us account(s) and more.

Features: (taken from website):

> Fast & lightweight
> Handles multiple del.icio.us accounts
> Remembers bookmarks and warns on duplicates
> Bookmarks available in the dock menu
> Auto-completes tags
> Support for private bookmarking
> Full AppleScript support* (there’s a great script for posting to del.icio.us and Yojimbo)
> Stores passwords in the keychain
> Accesses del.icio.us over SSL
> Bonjour auto-discovery of local Pukka users
> Drag URLs to window or dock
> Fast and efficient keyboard navigation
> Can install a bookmarklet for fast posting from any browser
> Use as an external weblog editor in NetNewsWire and NewsFire
> Growl integration
> Dynamic display of notes length while typing to stay within limit
> Compatible with .webloc and .url files
> Able to post in the background
> System service for sending a URL from other applications
> Self-updating with Sparkle
> Universal application

There now a Pukka screencast, which tells you everything you need to know in about 5 minutes. I’ve used Pukka since January and don’t know what I’d do without it. For those with a Tumblelog via Tumblr, it makes it very easy to post to my del. account which then posts to my Tumblr. I’ve traded emails with the developer on a couple of tips and requests and he has responded both quickly and graciously.

*BTW – I’m looking for a script to send to del.icio.us and DEVONthink Pro. If anyone sees anything – please comment! Thanks.

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MailTags – 2.0b8(Beta)

Posted in Apple, GTD, Mail Act-On, MailTags, Software by jquig99 on March 9, 2007

I received this update on my VersionTracker feed about an hour ago. MailTags (by Indev) works with Apple’s Mail.app to add metadata (comments, due dates, projects and priority) to messages for classification and easy searching (with Mail’s built in Search or your Mac’s Spotlight). I’ve been using MailTags in conjunction with Indev’s Mail Act-On (which builds Mail rules sorting through simple keystrokes) for about a year and it really has changed the way I’m able to work throughout my day. In a typical day, I receive over 150 email. These 2 applications allow me to quickly sort through my Inbox in minutes, and get it back to zero.

New Features:
> IMAP tagging and indexing of IMAP messages
> Coordinate your metadata in your workgroup
> Create multiple iCal Events and To Dos

MailTags also plays nice with Actiontastic – which I will illustrate with some screenshots later today.

MailTags will cost $29.95 once it’s officially released (During the beta – $25). Scott Morrison (the developer) is extremely responsive and works very quickly on updates and upgrades. I’ve been quite impressed in any email exchange I’ve had with him and I encourage anyone who uses this software to buy (or in Mail Act-On’s case – Donate!)

HawkWings.net – Getting Things Done with Mail and iCal

Posted in Apple, GTD by jquig99 on March 5, 2007

Tim Gaden’s HawkWings, is a blog featuring Apple’s Mail.app and is, besides 43Folders, a leading resource on GTD. He has a great post today on Getting Things Done with Mail and iCal.

What’s great about Tim’s post is that he lists several links for people who are just getting started with GTD and might be confused on where to begin – or maybe for those of us who need a refresher!

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Actiontastic screenshots

Posted in Actiontastic, Apple, GTD, Software by jquig99 on March 4, 2007

I’m enjoying my experience with Actiontastic. Here are some screenshots of my process – feel free to comment with any questions.
First the Inbox – this is where I dump everything I need to get done:
Inbox

Second: This is how I process the Inbox: daily – 1st thing, noon and before I leave for home.
Inbox processing

Third: The Projects Window:
The Projects window

Last (For now): The Contexts Screen:
The contexts window

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