18 Feb 2013

Making Thinking Rock v2.1 Work on OSX 10.8

So, PRODUCTIVITY, GTD, BUZZWORDS HERE. I’ve used ThinkingRock before when on a GTD kick a few years back. I liked how strictly it followed GTD. I liked being able to email myself thoughts to act on later, since email is the universal currency. I liked the tickle feature. I’m certainly willing to pay for software, as evidenced even by my donations to VIM, but I like the flexibility that’s available with open source software. The older version, v2.1, of ThinkingRock is available on SourceForge along with the source files. Given that I know zero Java, I thought it would be fun to have the source available for any program that I’m regularly using. So that leaves me with installing v2.1 on OSX 10.8 rather than the newer version. Unfortunately, while the newer version installs quite nicely and opens as you’d expect, v2.1 throws an error : unable to locate jdkhome, use –jdkhome switch. I Googled around and found this explanation of the JDK location and combined it with this explanation in order to come up with the following solution: hard code the bin/tr shell script to include the appropriate jdkhome location. Here’s the modified file:Note that line 21 is the modified line. Now on to revive my 3 year old GTD files, do some major deleting, get email dumps setup, and Get Things Done.

16 Feb 2013

Ignoring All the Things

I found a great talk by Scott Hanselman on Vimeo about information overload and learning to ignore things. In the video he laments that more conversation is taking place in walled gardens (ie Twitter) rather than on the wide open web (ie blogs). He also summarizes what I’ve felt for a few months: * that keeping up with news and the latest things is reducing my ability to produce and innovate *.

It comes back to the concepts in this article: 500 Words before 8am. Start the day as a producer, not a consumer.

In order to work on this, I’ve set myself up with RescueTime and am tracking the amount of time spent on ‘consumptive tasks’ (no relation to romantic portrayals of consumption by Val Kilmer in ‘Tombstone’). I’m receiving pop-up warnings when I exceed a set quantity of time on reading Twitter, reading blogs, etc. I’m also looking to transition more of my consumption time to ‘curated content’ such as ‘ye old books’.

Another point that I took to heart from Scott Hanselman’s talk was about learning to use IFTTT. It’s an SF startup that makes common web tasks automatic. Think of it as a recurrent cron job for the web. Things like : ‘anytime I start a tweet, add the contained links to instapaper’, or ‘anytime I start a vimeo video, post it to twitter’. One filter that I added to help with the Ruby Rogues Parley list is ‘anytime I star a gmail message, copy the content into Evernote’… this should help easily archive good content for later viewing and recall :).

Well, that’s it for this round of production. I spent much of last night working on an internal web application for work that I plan to soon pitch to my company :). I finished the final polish on it (CSS, a little Javascript) and I must say that it feels 100% better. It’s a good reminder for me about how important the UI is for applications.