hjertnes.blog

Moving back to OF

08.03.2014 01:00

The key parts of my general approach to workflow, tools and everything else is that I use the thing that is correct for me right now.

I moved away from OmniFocus in december, after using my then current setup, without it being the right thing. And I continued to use TaskPaper for two whole months.

Something happened between the beginning of january and last week. I realised that I had token up so many extra projects, that I needed to go back. And there is no shame in that.

You might wonder how it is to move back to OmniFocus? And it was pretty straight forward. I know the apps in and out. What I did this time was to start with a blank database.

One of the things I miss from TaskPaper is how easy it is to do a brain dump.

It takes at least twice the time to do the same work in OmniFocus compared to TaskPaper.

It’s great to be back in OmniFocus. It is without doubt the best tool out there, if you have a lot on your plate.

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Taskpaper Posts.

27.02.2014 01:00

I wish to some day create a cooler way to do this. But until then I’ll continue creating posts containing lists of everything I have written about a subject. Here is a list of everything I have written about Taskpaper.

Enjoy!

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Hemingway

18.02.2014 01:00

Hemningway is the coolest web-app I have seen in a long time. And I want it as a desktop app on OS X, on my iPhone and iPad. This is one of these apps that I believe in. I believe it makes my writing better. And it could also make your writing better!

Here is the basic idea, you either write or paste some text into it. It highlights a few key aspects. Difficult sentences, adverbs.

It also highlights words and phrases that you should simplify and parts that you written in a passive voice. It also looks at how easy it is to read your text, on a grade level.

It’s a great app, every english language blogger that want to have a clear and bold voice should use this.

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TaskPaper

18.02.2014 01:00

TaskPaper themes is one of the many interesting parts of it. The themes in TaskPaper is both what you expect it to be, modifying how your TaskPaper looks: colors, fonts and text-sizes. The regular stuff. And this is what you expect from any kind of theme support in apps. There is nothing revolutionary about that. I wouldn’t write about this, if that was the case.

One of the things I love about the theme’s in TaskPaper is the ability to apply special formatting to tags. Yes – tags. What I love about this is that it makes it easy to highlight and make each of your main tags to stick out.

Let’s take an example. I want my @today tags to stick out, because it makes it easy to see them when I’m just scrolling through my main TaskPaper file. I also want everything that I tag with either @next or @tomorrow to stick out, both of them in a different way; and less so than @today.

I’m baffled by how cool some of the features in TaskPaper is; the tags, the themes, the search and the general flexibility.

Go and download TaskPaper.

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TaskPaper

12.02.2014 01:00

I have been writing a lot about task paper lately, and I don’t think there will be many more articles about it in a while. It will be this one, and I have another planned. One of the things I find very interesting about tags in TaskPaper, is that they can be both what we usually look at as “tags”, but also meta-data.

Let me explain. You can filter out everything with the tag @done, this will result in everything with the tag @done. But, tags can also have some data associated to it. Let’s take this on as an example: @done(2014-01-01). This is a tag with the content 2014-01-01; this is all the stuff I completed on the first of january 2014. The filter “@done” will display everything with the tag @done. While the filter ‘@done = “2014-01-01″‘, let you filter out everything with a certain tag, that also have an exact value associated to it.

You can also do more advanced searches like <, data-preserve-html-node=”true”> etc. And combine filter together with “and”, “or” and not statements; you also filter on projects. This query language, with a very powerful tag-syntax makes TaskPaper insanely powerful. I would love to be able to search searches I often use, either in a list, or be able to add them as buttons to the toolbar. TextExpander is a brilliant companion, for the time being, since we don’t have these possibilities.

So, let’s move on to my main point. The tagging system in TaskPaper is more like a data for associating meta-data to tasks, projects and note, than a regular tagging system. But, it’s way more powerful than most meta-data fields in GTD systems. And it is way more efficient to work with. The important note here, is to always stride against something that isn’t more complicated than you actually need. The other important thing is to standardise everything, pick one tag for one purpose, and don’t mix singular and plural names.

It’s a nightmare if you have more than one tag, for the same purpose. Decide! Think about these things, and you life will be much easier.

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Working against a good tagging system in TaskPaper.

12.02.2014 01:00

One of the biggest powers, or deepest holes in TaskPaper is it’s tags. You are not limited to one. I have been trying to refine everything against a more usable system than what I had thrown together when I wrote the post after I had used TaskPaper for a month. My current setup have six different tags, and a few others, that are only used to track different kinds of stuff for the future; like my @book tag, which I use to create lists in DayOne containing all the books I have read during a year.

My current tag-setup is divided into two different categories, I have three tags for scheduling, and three tags for OmniFocus like contexts.

Scheduling.

My scheduling tags are @next, @today and @tomorrow. One important note here is that nothing have anything close to a strict schedule. They are just a guiding principle; but I try to only schedule tasks that I actually intend to complete any given day.

The @today tag, is the tag I set on all tasks I intend of hope to complete on any given day. While the @tomorrow tag is all the tags I intend to complete the the next day, and I just do a simple search and replace the every morning to move them from @tomorrow to @today. This is a simple hack, but it works.

@next is the tag I use the most. This is more like a flag, than anything else. I go through all of the tasks in my main TaskPaper file, and just add @next to any task that I should get started on as soon as possible. That might be today, it might be in a week. The reason for using it is to have a tag to filter on when I schedule what to do today, or tomorrow.

Contexts.

Contexts are probably on it’s own a very good reason to buy OmniFocus; I’m not the hardest context user on the planet. But, I like to use them on some stuff. Some people like to divide tasks into contexts like mac, iPhone, iPad, home, work etc. I don’t.

I have three contexts: @home, @university and @hidden. The reason I don’t need or have ever needed contexts like computer, iPad or iPhone is that I always have at least one computer where I can do most of the tasks I need a computer to complete.

I try to avoid using contexts, unless there are a very good reason for it. There are some kinds of tasks that isn’t that relevant if I’m not at campus, or at home. Like for example printing documents, I can’t do that at home, or anywhere except at the University. And I don’t need to see a lot of projects related to doing laundry or doing the dishes, when I’m not at home.

Hidden is probably the only tag, that might be strange for some people. This just a tag I use to hide tasks(and projects) that I don’t need to see right now. I have a lot of tasks in my main file, that won’t be relevant in a few weeks. I use @hidden to hide them, until I need to see them.

Use one tag.

One of the big problems with tags, is that you can use many of them, at once. After trying different systems over the years, I always stride to get away by only using one at the time. And I always live by the policy of every tag having a purpose. There have to be some kind of filtering purpose for using tags. Don’t start using tags before you need them. And don’t be afraid of re-factoring your tagging system when you need to.

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Create the site you would pay for.

06.02.2014 01:00

Patrick Rhone just wrote a great post called “Some Thoughts About Writing”. Patrick is my favourite internet writer, and you should go and get all of his books, and subscribe to at least Minimal Mac and Patrick Rhone.

I’m not going to comment too much on what he is writing there, and you should go and read it before you move on.

Have you read it? Good!. Let’s get started.

I don’t have a direct quote, or link for this, but I often used to hear that John Gruber of Daring Fireball defined the perfect Daring Fireball reader as himself. That might sound cocky or kind of ego-centric. But, I would strongly disagree with that.

One of the things I’ve always been working against on this site, is to write the kind of content I would like to read. One of the others are to try to replicate my inner Internal monologue, in a way that makes sense to other people. My perfect reader is me. Your perfect reader should be you.

You can’t do wrong if you write content that you are proud of, and that is something that you would also enjoy. I have never been into thinking about “wonder if someone likes this” or “this will probably attract a lot of clicks”. I don’t care – and have never cared about that. I write for me, the stuff I need to figure out and get out there – and I write the kind of content I would enjoy.

Go out there, and create the kind of site you would pay for.

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Facebook Paper.

04.02.2014 01:00

Facebook released another app, last week. It’s not available in Norway yet, something that always drives me completely nuts. But, I have read a few reviews, looked at the promo video and quite a few screenshots.

There is a few things here. First of all, the app itself looks amazing. But, I doubt I’ll ever use it, more than a few minutes, just to play around with it.

The thing about Facebook is that most people I know, use it for different things. There is a few things Facebook is really good at: – Chat – Group Chat – Group communication – Events

And that is more or less what I use it for, I also use it as a way to learn the name of people I have met. Let me explain. I’m terrible at names, but I remember close to every face. In other words, it’s a good way to connect the face to the name, after “networking-events”.

You can see it above, but Facebook is mainly some kind of communication device for me. While others use it to share pictures, and stuff like that.

Here is the thing, I use twitter to follow persons that are sharing information that I find entertaining. I don’t care if I know them or not. While Facebook is just a huge collection of people I have met, talked or chatted / emailed with at some point. Some of them are sharing interesting stuff, while others are boring as hell.

But, I know there are a lot of people, that enjoy the kind of crap that are being shared on Facebook; maybe not in this corner of the internet. Anyway, I think it will be exciting to see what Facebook end up doing with Paper.

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Is it a waste of money to go to a university

28.01.2014 01:00

This is kind of a response to Episode 10, of Pragmatic, an awesome show that you should listen to. But also some thoughts I have regarding Universities, and higher education in general.

One important note before we move on. I live in Norway. If you go to a public University here(which is the best ones, in many, if not most cases) you don’t pay much money in intuition. I paid less than $100.

I think there are people that should go to University, and I think there are people that shouldn’t.

This is a very difficult question, and I think there is something to both sides of the discussion. I think most self thought developers and designers don’t need to take a Bachelor. But, they should consider doing it.

I don’t take a degree in computer science, I’m working on a degree in History, with a minor in Philosophy. I think the general idea is the same.

You shouldn’t take an academic education if you just want to learn enough about something to go out there and do some kind of job. But there is something to the act of going to a university, and try to soak up as much information and knowledge as you can.

I can now spend either three or five years reading in depth about History, and philosophers, and discuss it with people that are doing the exact same thing. And you have more or less the same thing in a computer science department, they are playing around with projects and technologies that you wouldn’t get to work with in most development jobs.

Don’t waste your time in a University if your goal is to write iOS apps; go to Big Nerd Ranch and download their iOS development book.

/To be completely honest: most of the really good developers I have met, did not take a computer science degree, they either took something completely different, or didn’t go a University./

There is a big difference between the students you find in the computer science department, and the kind of people you find at the humanities department. Most of the people that complete something in my department are doing it because they are genuinely really interesting in their subject.

While I find this to a lesser degree in computer science departments; there are a lot of people that believe that they need that kind of education to work as a developer. It’s like taking a PhD in Physics to play basketball.

So, is going to a university a waste of money? It is a waste of money if you just want to learn a certain skill. But it is a great experience if you want to learn as much as possible about your area of interest, have good discussions and to learn how the academic and research really works.

A Bachelor or Master degree should be both a education and cultivation.

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Instapaper

26.01.2014 01:00

I was sitting the other day and reading through my Instapaper queue, and I realised that something had to change. Instapaper have always been the place I go to read, and I just add anything that seems interesting. One of the problems with this strategy is that it might take a week, and it might take six months before I get to any article I add.

The result was that I came up with a set of three question, that I’m going to apply to anything I add to Instapaper from here on.

  • Would this article be interesting in three months?

  • Is it something I’m going to read, and not just “skim”?

  • Is this something I both enjoy and find interesting?

I think and hope that the end result after using these rules for a while will be fewer, but better articles in my Instapaper queue. But also a more enjoyable experience in general.

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