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Remainders 11.10.2006

I have not used Microsoft OneNote much as I am not a very regular Windows user. That being said, here is an excellent tutorial on using it’s Note Flags feature to get your Org-fu on.
I am a big fan of Blinksale for invoicing clients for my business. Now they have added integration with Basecamp for sharing client info between the two apps. Pretty nifty!
Stikkit is a new web application that is basically like sticky notes – except these sticky notes get parsed for data. Enter a address for instance and it will automagicaly get parsed out and added to a contact section, links get added to bookmarks, etc. Looks interesting but it certainly wont replace my fave.

More Site News

A few more minor changes around here, some you can see, some you cant. I will run them down real quick:

  • The site is now running on Movable Type 3.3.
  • A new “popular” category has been added to highlight the articles that are getting linked to, del.icio.us’ed and read the most. Want to get a feel for what the site is all about? This is a good place to start.

  • I have added my most recent Flickr uploads to the “status” page.

  • I now use John Gruber’s most excellent Markdown formatting syntax for all of my posts.

  • Remainders now have both a header and comments in deference to Princess Bethany

Once again, thanks to Michael my web-fu sensi for all of his hard work.


Yojimbo 1.3: Some Thoughts on Searching vs. Sorting

Yojimbo, an application that is quickly gaining ground as my favorite software of all time, was upgraded today to version 1.3. This release adds, among other things, the ability to easily tag items and then to group those items into “tag collections” by said tag. While, this is the one feature that I was waiting for to turn Yojimbo into the info-ninja I have been waiting for, I am sure it will not satisfy those who are champions of the long in the tooth idea of sorting.
You see, one of the reoccurring requests that keeps coming up on the Yojimbo mailing list that I am member of is the ability to have endless sub-collections. That is, to be able to have a collection folder called “Projects” and then be able to have sub-collection folders underneath that with the names of your ious projects, then sub-collections under that for the ious project areas, etc. Basically, a way to organize information that is not much different than the Mac OS Finder (for our purposes here – “sorting”).
The Bare Bones folks have countered that this feature is not in their current plans for the product and may never be. Their argument is that, with the ability to label, tag, flag, search and the ability to create your own tag collections will provide all of these benefits of sorting and more. Better yet, they say, the Core Data based capability to search for the information one seeks by any of these criteria and/or the content of the info is all one needs to be able to slice and dice their heaps of info (for our purposes here “searching”). They hasten to add that this arrangement is not really any different than what Apple is doing in iTunes and iPhoto, and the direction Apple is moving even in the Finder with sidebars and smart collections – why should data in Yojimbo be any different?
There are many things I find interesting about this. Not insignificantly, what I see as the upcoming computing battle royale of the decade, search (including labels, tags and flags) versus sort. Search, as an organization metaphor, is quickly gaining ground on the mature but aging sort paradigm. Needless to say, those that are strongly tied to the sort method are up in arms over this decision and are forced to either suck it up and change their long standing way of organizing or go elsewhere to an application that fits this need.
I personally agree with Bare Bones on this one. I think that by following this course, Yojimbo is doing just what it is supposed to do, allow one to be able to dump all sorts of information into it and then be able to recall that information quickly when needed. All of the options given (collections, labels, tags, flags, etc.) allow one to easily sort the data for the time such sorting is needed. For me, sorting items into endless levels of organization is actually less productive and in fact a giant time sucking wolf in organizational sheep’s clothing. Give me the ability to tag and bag quickly and easily any day and then I can let the little elves inside my computer do the heavy sorting work for me.

Remainders 11.07.2006

Khoi Vihn @ Subtraction switched from using kGTD to Mori for managing his GTD and is not looking back. “At a stage in my life where I’ve come to accept that things will only get busier, dead simple is really attractive.”
The new Lamy dialog 2 is a very sexy new rollerball pen. The most interesting feature is a clip that retracts into the pens body so it is out of the way when you write. Very cool. (via Notebookism)
Speaking of sexy, dare I say fetishistic gear, I want to take long walks on deserted beaches with this watch from Nixon. I will whisper secret private love notes into it and play them back in Princess Bethany’s ears.
Yesterday’s installment of Productive Talk, the series of interviews by Merlin Mann featuring David Allen, was the best so far. This one dealt with something I experience hourly – Interuptions and how to manage them (because they will never, actually, go away).
Lastly, do your country a favor and get out and vote today. Remember, especially if you are female or minority, many have fought and died to extend your constitutional right to do so. Honor them by exercising it.

Remainders 10.31.2006

Have you been considering quitting your job and striking out on your own? Phil Gyford has recently updated and expanded his excellent Beginners Guide to Freelancing. It is a little anglo-centric as he works across the pond but the basic themes are excellent and well laid out.
Lifehacker has a good roundup of 12 Killer Apps for Palm PDAs.
Back in the day, you know that day when all Macs were beige, Acta was a great little outliner for the Mac. Note quite a full featured as others but, for some, less was More (pun intended). Opal is a port of Acta for Mac OS X re-done from the ground up in Cocoa by the original developer. If you are looking for a great, straight forward outliner for the Mac with very few bells and jiggles, it is worth a look-see. (via TidBITS)
Here is a little GTD luv for the Ubuntu crowd – GTD with Linux, Gnome and Tomboy

Short Term Personal Savior: Neal Stephenson

Every so often someone inspires me in such a way that I designate them my Short Term Personal Savior. There are many ways one can receive this special designation. It could be through a lesson I have learned from them, a way that they are living life that is inspirational or that they are just plain badass.
Today’s Short Term Personal Savior is Neal Stephenson. Here is why:

  1. He is hands down one of my favorite authors and I feel probably one of the greatest writers of the last 20 years. I mean, this guy not only writes novels, he writes epics. His last work was The Baroque Cycle which consisted of three books, each nearly 900 pages long… Which he wrote by hand… i.e. Longhand… On legal pads… With a quill pen… Badass!
  2. He discourages almost all public interaction in an effort to increase his productivity as a writer. To him, e-mail, speaking engagements, silly questions about petty details in his book that he has not only answered dozens of times but are also easy to find his answers to them on the internets, all of these keep him from doing the one thing he was put on this earth to do – write. Which he explains thusly:

“Writing novels is hard, and requires vast, unbroken slabs of time. Four quiet hours is a resource that I can put to good use. Two slabs of time, each two hours long, might add up to the same four hours, but are not nearly as productive as an unbroken four. If I know that I am going to be interrupted, I can’t concentrate, and if I suspect that I might be interrupted, I can’t do anything at all. Likewise, several consecutive days with four-hour time-slabs in them give me a stretch of time in which I can write a decent book chapter, but the same number of hours spread out across a few weeks, with interruptions in between them, are nearly useless.”

  1. His only web presence is a page on The Well the contents of which one could basically boil down to this phrase:

“All of my time and attention are spoken for–several times over. Please do not ask for them.”

He is not trying to be an ass. He is just explaining why he does not even have the time to put up a pretty web page or even hire someone to do so for him. He is caring for his inner introvert.
It is for these reasons that Neal Stephenson rocks the block and is worthy of being my Short Term Personal Savior.

Remainders 10.26.2006

No matter what your political stance, here is a great piece on Presentation Zen about former President Bill Clinton’s oratory style and what lessons one can take away for their own use.
There is a great tutorial on using GTDTiddlyWiki @ Lifehacker. Worth a check out.
Need a little paper pr0n? Here is a great little write-up on the new Moleskine City Book. If they release the San Francisco one before I go to Macworld I will be a very happy boy and provide you, the reader, with a full review and pictures cause I will use the heck out of it.
Getting Real, the book on software design and business practice by 37 Signals is now available on the web for free.

Give your resumé a face lift @ LifeClever

I have to give Chanpory at LifeClever some props. He is turning out some consistently deft content. This post is no exception. I have designed quite a few resumés in my life. I am usually the go to guy for resumé design among my friends and family. I have read a lot about resumé design and practices. That being said, I have yet to read anything as straight forward, well explained and right on as this. This is one to print and save people.
Give your resumé a face lift
Boy I wish I had this a few days ago when my friend Matthew asked me for some tips.

Remainders 10.23.2006

Scrybe is a new, very promising looking, browser based web application with calendaring, to-do lists, notes and the amazing ability to work on all of this info offline and the changes are then synced the next time you have an internet connection. Oh, and they “get” paper as well and offer the ability to print your stuff out PocketMod style.
The Apple Blog takes a look at ways to extend the Mac OS X Address Book in “Address Book: Picked Last for Kickball
Here is a nice video profile on Apple’s site about the 37Signals crew. (via Daring Fireball)
For those of you using Googe Docs (formerly Writely), here are some useful keyboard shortcuts one can use to get around and do stuff. (via Lifehacker)

Remainders 10.18.2006

GTD cult members, unless you have been living under a rock somewhere, I am sure you have been listening to the Productive Talk series. You know, the one where Merlin Mann is interviewing David Allen of Getting Things Done fame? No? Well, what are you waiting for? Go listen to it now.
Doodle is an online service to help you easily pick a time and date for a meeting for small groups (via 43 Folders).
Looking to bend the will of the Palm OS into a mobile GTD solution? Tammy Cravit says a program called MemoLeaf is the way to go. See the break down in “Doing GTD With Memoleaf”.
EagleFiler is yet another Info Manager in the Yojimbo vein. The difference here is that it stores its library in a Finder format so the data is still in it’s original state and therefore can be used “in concert with the other tools in your Mac ecosystem”. (via Hawk Wings)