For several years now I’ve been trying to find a way of keeping on top of everything that I need to get done. To be honest, I didn’t think I had a problem until I read David Allens book “Getting Things Done” (GTD). It was whilst reading that book that I realised that I spend most of my time worry about what I need to get done and what I might be forgetting to do and not enough time actually doing things.
I’ve had several attempts at trying to follow the GTD methodology but so far they have all failed and I’ve reverted to just relying on the good ole grey matter to remember what I have got to do. I’ve tried using software to help me – iGTD, Midnight Inbox, OmniFocus, Outlook, iCal, Google Calendar – but the problem with a lot of these is that they are either platform specific (I need my laptop with me) or are calendar based (a lot of what I need to remember is not date specific).
Other attempts have been centered around a notebook that I try to remember to take with me. This has inevitably resulted in my failing to remember to take my notebook with me and therefore forgetting to update it what I have it to hand again.
I am now embarking on another attempt to follow the GTD methodology. This time I’m resting my faith on a relatively new entry into the GTD software arena: TheHitList form a compay called Potion Factory. A couple of nice features that I’m hoping are going to make this easier for me to get along with are:
- iCal syncing (I have all my calendars synced – iCal, Google, Entourage, iPhone)
- Repeating tasks (cleaning fish tank, mothly invoicing, etc.)
- Timer (hopefully no more getting distracted!)
- Future iPhone support (I may forget my notepad but I NEVER forget my iPhone!)
As great as this software is shaping up there is one striking feature that I think this app – and all other GTD apps – really needs. Task Locations! So I’ll go out to run some errands, get home and realised there was some else I could have got done because I was in the area but didn’t because I didn;t think of it whilst I was there – if I had a map on my iPhone of tasks in my current location I could get more done in less time.
I’m not sure of how the iPhone app UI is going to look for TheHitList but I came up with a (very) rough Photoshop version of what the desktop app might look like.
This example is showing the Today list selected and the map with the number of tasks for today on their locations. If you had general list selected it might show the tasks for today in red with tasks in the future fading through to grey for tasks without a specific date. With this type of functionality you’d be easily able to see if you’re going to a location for a specific task whether or not there were other things in the area you could do at the same time.
This morning when I tried adding a new note to Evernote I was surprised to get a warning message saying that Evernote could not synchronise with my online account. However, due to good application design this didn’t stop me from creating new notes, it simply meant I’d have to wait until later to get text recognition on images.
On checking the Evernote website it appears that some changes to the web application are being rolled out as visitors are greeted with the following message:
Ssshhh. The elephant fell asleep.
Actually, we’re performing some maintenance.
We’ll be back up and running very soon.
Please be patient and check back in a bit. This page will auto-refresh every 60 seconds.
Also the design is a little different. Does this mean a mobile java version of Evernote is just about to be released? Who knows but I’ll be watching and waiting with anticipation.
Evernote has just released an Mac OS X version of the interface to the Evernote application. I haven’t had a chance to test it yet as I work in a Windows only office but I shall be testing it as soon as I get home.
This must be news hot off the press as they haven’t posted any information about it on their blog yet!
I just noticed today on the Evernote blog (I really need to subscribe to their RSS feed) that they have got an IMAP interface into their system. This makes it easy to access your notes through any email client that has IMAP support, such as Apple Mail, Windows Mail, Outlook, Thunderbird. Also, any folders that you have set up in Evernote for filing your notes will show up in your email client.
The settings for the IMAP interface aren’t terribly well advertised but can be found in Getting Start and Help section on the IMAP instructions page.
The guys at Evernote have also added an instruction video on how to use the web clipper in Firefox 2 and IE7. They’ve bumped it up to the top of the page to make it more obvious but forgot the update the reference to the desktop version in the Good, Better, Best bit, as the desktop download is now below the web clipper not above
The other day I saw an article on TechCrunch about and online application called Evernote. The promise of Evernote is that it will be an online extension to your memory. You can copy pictures text and audio from anywhere (web, email, documents, etc.) and save them as notes in Evernote. Then, when you want to recall a note you can use the search functionality. Where it goes beyond other note applications is that you can search for text within images!
At the moment they currently have interfaces for the web, windows desktop,
mac desktop [ed: sorry, not yet!] and windows mobile devices (phones). It is also possible to email notes to Evernote, so you can email images from a non-windows mobile device but they are promising a J2ME application soon.
Why is this so good? Imagine you’re out to dinner and order a bottle of wine. You really like it and would like to buy some for at home. Rather than try to remember the name of it and the year, just whip out your mobile, take a picture of the label, tag it and send it to Evernote. At some point in the future you can then search Evernote to get the label image back.
At the moment they are only running an invitation only preview so I recommend everyone signs up for an invitation now! My invitation came through today and I’m already making good use of it. I can’t wait until they release the J2ME version for Java mobiles, and when Apple finally releases a 3G enabled iPhone I will finally be able to do away with the old grey-matter
Whilst reading an article I was curious about the number of commas and full-stops that the author used – when you become an editor of a newsletter you start to think about things like this. After hunting around the various utilities on my system I discovered that I didn’t have anything that could easily do this. So, I did what any self-respecting programmer would do and threw together a quick app to do it for me.
I have made both the source code and pre-compiled binary available for download under a BSD license (share, remix, no endorsement). It is written in C# and requires the .Net 2.0 framework, if you want to compile the source you will probably require MS Visual Studio (Express should be ok), although it may work with SharpDevelop or Mono.
It is a console application (sorry, no pretty GUI this time) that reads the contents of input.txt (in the same directory as the app), it then counts the occurrences of each character and outputs the results to the console. Simple!
If you make any improvements to the code please leave a comment and/or email the changes to me: gringod [at] gmail [dot] com.