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 (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.

OmniFocus

Posted in Beta, GTD, OmniFocus, OmniGroup, Online Productivity, productivity, Software by jquig99 on May 15, 2007

Last night I was one of the lucky few sent my username and password for the initial look at OmniFocus. I had a quick email exchange with Ken Case (CEO of the OmniGroup), who said he doesn’t mind me blogging about my experience as long as I strongly reiterate that this is a WORK IN PROGRESS!!!

So, in the coming days (and weeks), I’ll be putting my experiences and impressions (screenshots, etc) here. I’m really starting to dig into this app, so I expect a bit of adaption time. And will it really cause me to leave Actiontastic completely (which I intend to still use during this beta period).

I’ll post initial thoughts this evening.

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The New Kid on the Block – iGTD

Posted in Actiontastic, GTD, iGTD, MailTags, productivity, Quicksilver, Software by jquig99 on April 11, 2007

There’s a new kid on the (very) crowded GTD space – iGTD. I’ve been playing with this app (which seems to get an update almost each day) for a week now, and while I’m not ready to leave Actiontastic yet, this is a great alternative.

What I really like about this app (besides it’s simplicity, MailTags integration and the AutoBackups) is the actual website. There’s an a active forum (which the developer seems to be very involved in), a blog, a wiki, a “Tips and Tricks” page, a page on Keyboard shortcuts (and who doesn’t love those?), a page just on Quicksilver integration (see editorial comment on Keyboard shortcuts), a Help/Feedback page, a Thanks page and finally – a page to Donate*. And people should.

Merlin Mann has also been taking it for a spin and shared his thoughts today on 43Folders.

Features include: (from the Wiki)
> Tasks
> Contexts
> Hierarchical Projects
> Process your tasks
> Keyboard Control
> Quicksilver Integration
> iGTD on the menu bar

While this is not my GTD app of choice, iGTD is a clean, powerful application that let’s you get on with your work in a “mind like water” manner.

* Jon! Time to add a Donate button (or page) to Actiontastic!

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Journler – New Version

Posted in GTD, Journler, productivity, Software by jquig99 on April 9, 2007

I have used Journler for awhile – as a GTD tool, (See this post from Scarfone – older, but still a great start), a project managemnt system and a blog editor. I’m a big fan of this app and it’s wonderfully responsive developer, Phil Dow.

Feature List: (from the website)

> AppleScript Support
> Filtering & Searching
> The Drop Box & JPanel
> Smart Families
> Editing Entries
> iLife Integration
> Importing
> Video Recording
> iPod Notes
> Printing and Exporting
> Tabbed Editing
> The Spoken Word

The addition of the dropbox and the JPanel features makes importing to Journler a breeze. Journler is donation-ware and has a busy forum, a wiki and a terrific help section.

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Monthly Tools – 1) Mind-Mapping

Posted in GTD, Mind-mapping, NovaMind, productivity, Software by jquig99 on April 8, 2007

Mind-mapping intrigues me. I’ve tried a number of ways (including the wonderful GTD Template by Dr. Pascal Venier at [Productivity Workflows]) to incorporate mind-mapping as my GTD tool of choice and have never been able to adapt to it. I guess it’s a left brian/right brain thing.

What I have been able to do is to use mind-mapping as a monthly overview tool, a brainstorming tool, and a project tool (but only for client presentation – very impressive as a tool the client can use to map all that you are doing to help them!). What helps ME is mapping (at the beginning of each month) all the projects and tasks that my teams are working on, as well as who is working on what. What I find is not only is it a great way for at-a-glance tracking tool, but that it can spur visual cues – connections – on ways I can integrate services or other products for my clients.

I start with placing the name/year in the middle of the map. Then I detail the new projects for the month at the upper-right quadrant. I include the client, project tasks and team members. I then move to the lower-right quadrant and detail the projects already in process and their status (carried over from the last month’s map). Then in the lower-left quadrant I focus on team development – specific activities that include meetings, reviews, etc. Finally in the upper-left quadrant, I put in my “Someday” list – house projects, new development, etc. (These have a 3-month cycle before I have to put them into the “New” project quadrant).

There are many free and pay mind-mapping tools. I’m using NovaMind at the moment (after I tested MindJet’s MindManager for Mac, FreeMind, NoteMind and MyMind. NovaMind has a great website with a number of templates (I’ve downloaded the project templates, the company org template and the brainstorming template) – it also reads MindManager templates.

Resources:

Novamind – Different versions to suit need/trial versions/templates
Mindjet’s MindManager – Different versions to suit need/trial versions/templates/webinars/plug-ins
MyMind – Free tool
FreeMind – Free tool

Spanning Sync – v1.o Released!

Posted in Google, iCal, Online Productivity, Software, Spanning Sync by jquig99 on March 13, 2007

Spanning Sync, which connects Google Calendars to iCal, has released V1.0 and it’s pricing structure today.

I’ve been a part of the Spanning Sync beta team for the last four months and have really watched this product grow. The team is really responsive and I’m sure that support (as with any V1.0 product) will be focused and quick.

How this has impacted what I do each day: My schedule is basically full with appointments 2 (or even 3) weeks out. My team is unable to schedule project reviews, client meetings, etc., without checking with me and my availability first. This way I’m able to give them access to my Google calendars which update with Spanning Sync every 10 minutes. This has really allowed my team to schedule meetings, etc quickly, be responsive to our clients, all without needing immediate access to me and my computer.

Spanning Sync also has a discussion group and a development blog. Both have been helpful.

Event Maker 0.4 – Quickly adds To Dos/Events to Calendars

Posted in Event Maker, GTD, MailTags, Quicksilver, Software by jquig99 on March 11, 2007

Event Maker 0.4 is an application that I use when I have to quickly create a new event, either from a phone call or an event from an email message (one that doesn’t include an invitation). Using a trigger that I created in Quicksilver, I’m able to call up Event Maker and fill in the fields. I know that there are ways of using the Quicksilver text “send to…” functionality, but I still haven’t mastered all that QS has to offer.

Event Maker makes it easy to compose and add to iCal both To Dos and Events in seconds. I have a tendency to use this less in creating Events/To Dos from my email as a recently added feature in MailTags allows me to do these right from my MTs pane. Still – this app is a great to have as part of my GTD process.

Mike Abdullah’s Event Maker is available from MacUpdate.

Below are screenshots of Event Maker in action:

Event Maker’s Opening Screen

To Do Screen

Alarm Menu

Last screen

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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!)

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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