Use activeCollab to manage your projects online for free

I have long wanted to install a project management system in my web server. I have gone through a couple of open source project management scripts, from eGroupWare, more.Groupware to dotProject and yet somehow I never found a PHP/MySQL script that was easy to install and use but at the same time fit my needs.

I had wanted to manage my tasks using groupware applications hosted on my server. I don’t do a lot of projects and the bulk of my time is spent on newsroom tasks. But often, I have to deal with different groups of people or even a separate department for some of my personal and work-related projects. I wanted to simplify and centralize all these tasks in an online task manager.

I gave up on installing a script in my own server and instead used Basecamp’s free account and even PBWiki for projects that required me to work with other people.

In July, however, I read a post in TechCrunch about a Basecamp “clone” that was released as an open source project. I immediately checked the site out and fount that activeCollab required a PHP 5 server. Since I was on a web host that only had PHP 4, I just bookmarked activeCollab and made a note to try it in a local server.

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Version control

I can be extremely disorganized with computer files. My bare desktop hides a labyrinthine hard drive that contains files in sub-folders upon illogically named sub-folders that at times, I actually have to search for files.

I’m dependent on online drives for the centralized storage of files I’m working on. For so long, I used my online drive as repository of the latest versions of the files I’d need. Several times, however, I’d forget to upload the latest version of a file and then I’d find myself working on an old copy and grappling to remember which parts I’ve changed.

At times I’d redo the changes I did earlier but often, I’d just wait to report for work (if the files are in my office PC) or go home (if they’re in my home computer).

This can be such a downer, especially if you’ve already map out the things you’d be doing and you’re all set to pull an all-nighter.

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Work on blog post ideas with Wridea

I seldom finish a blog post in one session in front of the computer. My typical blogging day starts with reading news feeds to check on updates on topics that interest me. Sometimes I get a blog post idea while reading RSS feed items and I’d write a note in my personal wiki about the topic.

I’d then work on the post in the office, right before the newsroom goes into overdrive chasing page deadlines and after I’ve finished my pages and while waiting for pages assigned to me for line-reading. I’d then publish the post at home, after my early morning meal–that’s dinner for all you morning people.

Most of the time, however, I’m working on several projects that can generate several blog posts. These projects are experiments on content management systems, blogging, wikis and anything that might be of use in a newsroom environment, particularly that of a small community newspaper.

I keep my technical notes on these experiments and my to-do lists in various personal wikis, including a txt file in my K750i. But for blog post ideas, I may have found the best notes repository, for me, in Wridea. (Click on photo to view larger image)

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I’m writing this post to avoid finalizing the design of a site

Here’s an interesting essay on structured procrastination by John Perry, a philosophy professor at Stanford.

In the essay, Perry points the way forward to procrastinators like me:

“The key idea is that procrastinating does not mean doing absolutely nothing. Procrastinators seldom do absolutely nothing; they do marginally useful things, like gardening or sharpening pencils or making a diagram of how they will reorganize their files when they get around to it.”

Structured procrastination, Perry said, is organizing your tasks to exploit the fact that “procrastinator can be motivated to do difficult, timely and important tasks, as long as these tasks are a way of not doing something more important.”

It’s a matter of picking the right set of tasks to be placed at the top of the list: tasks that “seem to have clear deadlines (but really don’t). Second, they seem awfully important (but really aren’t).”

Finally, I see method to my madness.

After weeks of testing, it’s ZiddlyWiki and ServerSideWiki for me

I’ve been testing ServerSideWiki and ZiddlyWiki for weeks now. In those days of heavy-duty testing I used only either service for my notes and tasks list � no jottings on paper, no reminders in my cell phone and no notes saved as e-mail drafts in GMail.

After the tests based on current versions of the two TiddlyWiki adaptations, I finally decided to use both.

I am reorganizing my ServerSideWiki account based on notes on specific topics: WordPress, the section I manage, the column I write, general web technology notes and my blog. I am reorganizing my ZiddlyWiki to host my notes for long-term projects.

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