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Messages - thomthowolf [ switch to compact view ]

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I got through college writing all my papers in a beautiful software called "Wordbench."  This was a wonderful tool for writers, which allowed you to collect notes on notecards, build an outline to which you connected them, and then generate a rough draft.  I also featured a couple of really great tools for getting unblocked.  It had a freewriting tool I still miss, which set a timer for 5 minutes, nagged you if you stopped pressing keys, and hid your typing behind x's until your time was up.  I have never found another software like it. :(

Post New Requests Here / Re: IDEA: application sensitive pop-up notes
« on: November 03, 2006, 10:16 PM »
You might want to check out Wirenote
I have been using it for years, mainly because it is the only freeware sticky note program I have ever seen that allows me to stick a note to a particular file or program.  Some other nice features as well.

I have still not received my code for Essential PIM :mad: :'(

Living Room / Re: College - what to do?
« on: October 06, 2006, 01:59 PM »
I also say drop.  FWIW, never make any decision based on whether you will appear weak (or strong, for that matter.)  The important lessons of college are about setting priorities and asking for help and advice when needed.  You seem to be learning that lesson well, in this case.
BTW, what kind of cool site is this that you could feel free to ask and we could feel obliged to answer.   :D


maybe a more detailed workflow will shed some light on how to link a project with all its related tasks in a particular view (projects).
I will attempt to write something about how I handle projects this weekend.
(I can only identify xplorer2 in the quick launch area.)
Sorry, nothing exciting, just my personal arrangement of True Launch Bar. :)

The Getting Organized Experiment of 2006 / a very quick look at evernote
« on: September 29, 2006, 10:06 PM »
I promised vixay that I would upload my Evernote database (empty of contents, of course).  Anyone who read my earlier posting on using Evernote to support your GTD efforts can find an empty database attached to this post  which could provide you with a starting place.
I also promised to generate a short tutorial to give some sense of the flow of items through this database .  I decided to go ahead and use vixay's request as an example.
I started by  cutting the relevant piece from the e-mail using the Evernote web clipper.
 Now I have a new item in my inbox. 
I very quickly type a few keywords into the body of the clipping somewhere.  I usually type "to do" or "project" and then  a short sentence telling me exactly what I'm supposed to do with this clipping .  This is the equivalent of taking a piece of paper that someone handed me, writing myself a note on the top and putting it into a file folder for action later.
 This item is now a part of my regular workflow. What makes this work for me  is the intersection panel.
  I simply click on next actions to highlight it then go to the intersection panel, click on context. Since I am at home , I choose  home .  This gives me a list of all todo items that I have I identified as being doable in this location.  I also assigned to this item a context of today so I select today and see a bit shorter list of items I have agreed to with myself to do today. This is my attempt work on a closed loop . 
 If there is any significant interest in this tool I would be happy to write a longer piece as I am sure that this particular database reflects my peculiar way of looking at the world, and that with just a little bit of effort you can make it reflected your peculiar way of looking at the world too. Anyway here it is. enjoy!

The deadline for this assignment is September 31.
30 days hath September, ... :P

 :) I won something!! That is just so cool.  This is the best site ever, and not just 'cause I won. 

So, you are writing, and you want to file the note using a tag whose word appears on the note body, so you put the word between brackets beforehand, instead of having to type the word again on the tag fieldline.
This is already a capability of evernote, which I make a lot of use of.  Further, you can designate a word to be a category and automatically assign anything in your database that contains that word to that category.  Let's say, for example you wanted to collect all your website passwords together into your evernote database.  You can merrily drop them in, either typing or using web capture,  and, since you probably used the Username: password: format, you can make "password:" a category and every note you typed or captured that contains "password:" will be connected. 
Now, the other half of that, to give me an indicator that I have used a word as a category elsewhere, would be really cool.


I think it is a very exciting idea (it's all about intellectual curiosity, right) that you have a menu of things to pick from. But it is doomed to creating a backlog, and the projects rot if you do not work on them actively.

I think Mark Forster gets it right when he spends the first 2-3 chapters of his books showing you that your time is not infinite. In fact, it is very reduced, and most of us have activities that demand more attention than we can possibly allocate.
Very true.  I still like the menu metaphor, though.  The point of GTD is that life changes so quickly that a list you made this morning may not make sense by this afternoon.  If I can torture my own metaphor, then having the menu in front of you is not where you stop.  You still have to select something and get it done.  The idea is that you have EVERYTHING on the menu so that you can select exactly the right thing to do without worrying that you have forgotten anything important.  At least that's how I see it right now.  It isn't that time is infinite, but that it is free for you to fill with what makes the most sense at that moment.

While I am at it, I thought I would collect some responses to earlier posts:
BTW. Others that want to try a Screen PostIt note program, could do worse then trying HottNotes
has a checklist feature that Stickies lacks
My personal favorite in this category of apps is WireNote
It is updated frequently, and does one trick that no other freeware alternative I have seen can do:it allows you to "stick" a note to a particular window, so that it opens and closes with that window.
I'm using todoList (TDL) http://www.codeproje.../tools/ToDoList2.asp and I'm completely in awe with all the things it can do. The timing of tasks is great.
I was really impressed with this particular software as well.  My only reason for not using it is that it is organized around projects rather than around contexts, and I really only want 1 list of things to do.  Also, I think that GTD is an attempt to completely disregard the traditional "to do" list.  No priorities, no dates, no timing.  The image I have in mind after reading the book is that you should see yourself as having endless free time, and a lovely menu of possible ways to spend it based on your time and energy. 
Being the creative type, and knowing that ideas often hit at inconvenient times/places, I try to maintain supplies needed for recording those spontaneous 'brain farts' in every room of the house...even my bathroom has a small hard cover spiral notebook with ribbon through the spirals that hangs on a hook on the wall, with a pen attached to another ribbon so it won't disappear. My 'personal space' is whatever space I am occupying at the moment.
I really love this idea.  I love computers, but paper is really faster and easier to add ideas to.  Later, I enter the notes into my evernote system.  My wife was not thrilled with all the pads I distributed around the house, but she seems ok now ... I think ...
One thought I was having about this experiment...cost. We shouldn't need to have a second job to pay for getting things will give us less time to get things done.
Amen, brother!
I was now thinking i need something that can make my schedule for me. But not something that will make me a full day schedule (since i tend to procastinate, i would leave the stuff that were meant to do during the morning, to the end of the afternoon). I need something where i can put the tasks i need to do, their priority and the time they take, and then, on the moment i am at home, i input it how much time i have before i have to leave (or go dinner or something), and it gives me a list of what to do.
Anyone knows any similar software?
Have you ever looked at What to Do
This is another really close second place software, and, IMHO better realized than MLO.

OK, I am done here.  I have cleared off my desk at work and at home, and I have finally selected  my set of tools.   :D
I will be going the software route, though I also plan to print out useful items and carry them with me.  In an earlier life I was an actor, and any professional actor will tell you that you must NEVER be more than an arms reach from your resume and head shot.  As I transition to writing,  I have adapted that to NEVER be more than an arm's length from paper and pen. I have finally accomplished that by  printing a calendar or todo list on the back of something I have already printed on, and I fold that into thirds (like a letter about to be put into an envelope) and stick it into my pocket. 

After having tried just about every existing to do list manager (no, really, I think I got to them all) I have finally decided to use Evernote.

Here's how I set it up:
1. Produce keyword category "@ context"
2. Make subcategories (@ call, @ work, @ computer, @ home, etc.)
3. Right-mouse click on each category and activate keyword filter using name of category. For example, "@ work" category is set to automatically assign any note with the phrase "@ work" to the @work auto category.
(To assign "@ call", I entered the words "@ call,@ phone,@ telephone" so that I can use any of those terms to assign the @ call category.)

How to use it
Collect all your to do items ( I use the single to do template rather than lists)
as you review the list, add keywords to indicate what project they belong to, and where they must (or can) be done.  Just type the keywords anywhere in the note
If you like, you can also add words indicating priority, or urgency, or even energy required. (I also have a category for "@easy" and for "@hard". )
Screenshot - 9_4_2006 , 2_33_14 PM.png
The auto keyword category system will automatically categorize the note into "@ computer and @ work". Need items to complete while "at the computer"? Click on the @ computer category line, and all notes with the @ computer text will appear. Obviously, it's easy to select >1 category if required.
Screenshot - 9_4_2006 , 2_38_56 PM.png
What really makes this work for me is the intersection panel.  During the collection phase I develope a practical list of all my "next actions" and I can quickly limit it to where I am and even to how much energy I think it will take, which gives me a menu to select how I will spend the next 15 or 20 minutes of my available time.
Screenshot - 9_4_2006 , 2_44_34 PM.png

Count me in, I have been using GTD for a while and not as well as I might like.  This is another great idea

Don't scratch it off yet.  You might also try Quintessential Music Player,
which has a kick - *** timer feature which allows the music to fade up OR DOWN and allows multiple alarms on almost any schedule.
Another toy in this category is Talking Alarm Clock
which uses a microsoft agent character and has no trouble waking your computer from sleep mode in order to wake you.
My personal favorite in this category is Aquariussoft alarm clock
which has a wealth of features and has been rock solid for at least the several years I have been using it.
Hope this helps. :)

Living Room / Re: BookMooch - exchange your used books
« on: August 12, 2006, 09:26 PM »
This is another site with similar goals.

Zane, are you watching the same media as the rest of us?  Conservative media is such an oxymoron, I think you must be joking.  And did you really say conservative courts?  You mean the ones who create laws from the bench?  And demand states create laws to accomodate homosexual marriage?

BTW Darwin's "Theory" does not have enough backing to merit the actual designation of Theory.  Darwin himself said his hypothesis would be defeated if there were not an abundance of transitional forms in the fossil record.  To date, there are no, none, zero substantiated transitional forms discovered.
This is usually such a friendly place that I hesitate to weigh in on this, but this is clearly intended as an attack and I just cannot let it go completely unanswered. The problem with America lately is largely one of incivility.  The essence of conservatism is that only one answer is possible, and it must be mine.  Anyone who dares to suggest that any conservative might possibly be mistaken in any regard is instantly attacked like this. Liberals are at a disadvantage because the heart of liberal thought is that there may be other answers, and that honest people can disagree. 
So with all due respect, if conservative media is impossible, who are Sean Hannity, Bill O'reilly, Ann Coulter, Arrianna Huffington and every single host of every talk radio program?
I suspect that any comment on conservative courts is probably directed at courts that allow the 10 commandments to be displayed but not a copy of the Talmud, or that allow creationism to be taught as science.
Any working scientist will tell you that Darwin's Theory is a theory in exactly the same way that Newton's theory of gravity is.  Any biologist will tell you that evolution absolutely does not require transitional forms.  The only place I have ever read anything about a requirement for transitional forms was in diatribes written by Jerry Falwell and his ilk.  It is certainly not in Origin of Species or Descent of Man. 
BTW, Zane, shame on you, too.  Your comment was no less incendiary. 
My point is that Americans are slowly sliding into the dark ages, not because of right wing religious radicals or evil liberal evolutionists, but because of the decline of civil discourse.  The Karl Roves and James Carvills (did I really just misspell both those names? :o)  of this world have convinced us that anyone who disagrees with us is evil and dangerous and must be silenced at all costs.  The Democrats warn us that all Republicans are planning to establish a police state in which all education will be rote learning of Bible verses and the Republicans warn us that any victory of any Democrat will immediately result in the establishment of mandatory homosexuality and bible burnings, and sooner or later we decide that they are both right.  The world is a scary place and only absolute certainty can save us, so no one can be allowed to really discuss anything.  Discussion requires accepting the most dangerous of all possible beliefs: there is some chance that we might not be right :'(
Civil discourse mandates a kind of new golden rule.  Well, no, I kinda like the current golden rule, so let's call this one a silver rule.  Here it is, the silver rule: Never attribute to malice what ignorance will explain. 
I have no fear of discussing any topic with anyone, if we can agree to limit ourselves to really trying to understand each other's point of view, and if we will both accept that dangerous possibility that we might be wrong. I love discussion, but I cannot abide arguement.  Discussion is an attempt to find truth, arguement is an attempt to prove your opponent wrong and yourself right. 
The fact that a majority of Americans don't know the difference between science and religion doesn't frighten me nearly so much as the fact that we cannot sit down and discuss such things rationally and politely. :(

Oh, it seems that the preview doesn't show images... but the actual post does...
Thanks for discovering that before I did.  Any day you learn something is not wasted.  :Thmbsup:

I am also a huge fan of your uninstaller.  I just don't think that any software junkie can live with the windows applet, and too many program uninstallers are not "well mannered" enough to really clean up after themselves.
I also teach several technical courses to less than savvy users, which involves my having to install and reinstall the same software over and over.  I really like having a clean slate every time.

Just to keep everyone updated here, I have just finished writing the first official roundup of this thread. 
This sounds wonderful.  When can we see it?

The for-pay version of Evernote has OCR built in.  They say it's for handwriting recognition, and support various pen input devices; no immediately obvious mention of scanners.

I didn't read the whole manual, but searching on scanner, TWAIN, and OCR gave no results, and use of scanner as an input option isn't listed. I don't actually care much about OCR, but do care about scanning articles, etc.
You might want to take a look at the user forum.  I know this link take you to a method of using a scanner with evernote.
That said, you may want to look at the announcements section of the forum. There you will see this sad news
Michael Lunsford has recently accepted the offer from another company and will leave EverNote Corporation by the end of this week.

As a VP of Product Management, Michael was instrumental in shaping the EverNote's product line to make all applications more user-friendly. He also set up a high standard in customer's support and showed us all what a real customer care is about.

We shall all miss Michael and wish him success in his new role.
Micheal's (known to this forum as evermike) departure does not fill me with confidence in the ongoing development of this product.   :(

In my opinion the best interface would be one that shows the current day's tasks & maybe the tasks for the next 7 days with a "# days to go until dental appointment" style entry.  What program is closest to this type of format?
You should look at miniminder.  My absolute fovorite, it does exactly what you describe.

Thanks for pointing this one out.  I "cut my teeth" on Wordstar and Dbase.  For thier time, they were wonderful products.  I never thought I would become nostalgic for either of them.

I use Evernote and Agendus.  I have set up a very solid GTD system using Evernote, and I have always used Agendus for calendar based items.

LM is just too different.  I guarantee you most people will give up on the software in the first 10 minutes, if their intention is to find a notetaking application.  I mean, just imagine, a user downloads several programs to try, say, Surfulater, Evernote, Mybase, Keynote, Onenote, Myinfo.  And then he comes across long do you think he will stick to it?
:up:Yeah, you have a point.  I think I will still do a mini review, mainly because I think I see some personal usability for this program, and I might as well share what I learn.
Speaking of giving up on software in the first 10 minutes ...  I tried Taonotes again.  I am truly sorry to say this, but I have never seen a piece of software more desperately in need of a good technical writer, and I see a LOT of software.  I am, by trade, a technical trainer, which makes me kind of the bastard son of a technical writer and a shop teacher.  I develop training materials for software and hardware, generally starting from the blueprint and alpha versions.  The trouble with Taonotes is not just that there is not sufficient documentation, but that what there is is counter productive.   :down:
Vadim, if you read this, then please don't be offended, but if you want to get people to use your software in place of the variety of competing products, you need to do at least these 2 things:
1. Scrap your sample data completely.  It only serves to make the interface look too busy.
2.  Decide what the software wants to be when it grows up.  What I mean is, your users cannot effectively decide on whether to use your software if they don't know what it is for.  I know the application will do everything but make your morning coffee, but if I am looking for a note taking app, I want to be able to get my notes into it immediately.  It needs to be obvious to use.  You need to decide what one thing the software does better than anything else, and use that feature, and ONLY that feature, to ease the user into using it.  Take another look at the (admittedly annoying) flash introduction to Evernote, for example.  If Taonotes could introduce itself that way on first start as, for example, a note taker, then your potential users will be delighted to discover  later on that it also works as a PIM, and still later that it will walk your dog or whatever.
I am certain that I could find some use for this software, `but is is just too hard to decide where to start. 
Sorry for the rant, but documentation is a subject that matters, and does not get enough attention.   

(I'm moving this topic back into the brainstorming thread, since I think it applies)

OK, I just went back and looked at Taonotes again.  It's very interesting for sure. 

--I like how there's several ways to organize data. 

--The filter-as-you-type feature is awesome! 

I tried this a couple of months ago, but got frightened  away by the interface.  I will also try to give this an honest chance

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