Using a TiddlyWiki: a video guide

I am a long-time user of TiddlyWikis and its various adaptations. Before a catastrophic accident involving the synchronization of various offline files wiped out my tasks list, I was an extensive user of GTDTiddlyWiki. After the accident, I moved to a server-side TiddlyWiki, alternating between Serversidewiki.com and ZiddlyWiki before finally settling with TiddlySpot.

I am also a long-time TiddlyWiki “evangelist.” Any chance I get to introduce TiddlyWiki, I’d show it off.

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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.

Printable CEO goes online: Color-code and assign points to your tasks

David Seah’s Printable CEO is an effective productivity tool. It allows you to focus on important tasks based on your hierarchy of values. The color-coding and the assignment of points make it easy to decide which tasks to prioritize. The accompanying tasks tracker helps you keep tab on the things you’ve done and the points you’ve earned.

I’ve long wanted to implement online the concept behind the Printable CEO. I’m not very good at doing things on paper, despite the fact that I work for a newspaper. I’ve frequently lost notebooks and pieces of paper containing jottings, notes, phone numbers and e-mail addresses. The longest paper-based organizer I’ve kept is my Pocketmod “Sony” edition. I keep a lot of blank Pocketmods in case I need to brainstorm when I’m away from the desk.

I already keep my notes online through ZiddlyWiki and it doesn’t make sense, at least for me, to depend on a paper-based task tracker.
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Wiki on a K750i? A txt file will do

I’m a huge fan of TiddlyWiki, a standalone web page that you can edit through a browser for just about anything: to-do lists, notes or any other text data. I’m an extensive user of one of its derivatives: the Zope server-based ZiddlyWiki but before that, I used GTDTiddlyWiki, a version that incorporates a getting things done menu and is formatted for easy printing on index cards.

ZiddlyWiki fits my need for a server-side notes taking and archiving solution that is accessible anywhere. I host my ZiddlyWiki on a free Zope hosting account with Objectis. I needed a server-side solution because I wiped out a lot of notes trying to synchronize the GTDTiddlyWiki in my home PC and in my office PC last year.

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Get things done faster on your mobile phone and PC with FMA

If there’s one application responsible for an exponential boost in my productivity at the news copy desk it’s Float’s Mobile Agent (FMA). I wrote a short post about FMA earlier. FMA is an open source application that allows you to manage and operate your mobile phone through your PC via a data cable, infrared or Bluetooth connection.

Float's Mobile Agent

With FMA installed in your computer, you can just leave your phone in your desk and do all your mobile communications in your PC-from sending, receiving and archiving SMS messages, managing phone contacts, to-do lists and calendar entries to (for some phone models) taking and making calls using your regular PC headset. The program also allows you to easily back up important phone data like messages and contact numbers.
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Starting the year with a massive traffic spike

The start of the year saw a massive (for me) traffic spike for this blog. My previous post on using the Xinha Here plugin to color code Backpackit.com tasks using The Printable CEO as guide was featured in life hacks portal Lifehacker.com. For a while, it was even on the popular page of del.icio.us. The post was also linked to by the Backpack blog.
Before I found a way to use color coding in my Backpackit.com tasks, I relied solely on Rememberthemilk.com to keep track of things I should be doing. But after more than a week of using the Backpackit plus The Printable CEO system, I find that I am able to prioritize my tasks better.

The install link of version 0.5 of Xinha Here, however, is broken (as of this writing) . The Mozilla addons page for the extension is still at version 0.3. Version 0.5 offers options on themes and plugins for the what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) editor.

Color code your Backpackit.com tasks using The Printable CEO as guide

David Seah’s printable CEO is an excellent guide on which tasks to tackle first and which distractions to deal with later. It lists various answers to the question: When is something worth doing? The answers are color coded and come with points, ranked based on their importance to your goals. Seah uses it to track his tasks using a printable progress chart that he fills up.

I use Seah’s printable CEO as guide but I do not keep track of the scores of my tasks. Instead, I use it as guide on which tasks to perform first. I organize tasks by topics and use color code, based on the printable CEO, to prioritize.

I then implemented this in BackPackIt using the Firefox extension Xinha Here, which launches a visual HTML editor for any text entry area (screenshots below). I edited the main page of my free BackPackIt account and used it as dashboard. For the body text, I entered my version of The Printable CEO and used color coding.

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Objectis.net free Zope hosting getting to be reliable again

The previous free Zope host of my ZiddlyWiki seems to have fixed its services. I use ZiddlyWiki extensively for note-taking when I’m on a PC. I checked my free account there last week and found that it was still up. I monitored its services for a few days and did not experience any downtime. With this, I quickly reconfigured my ZiddlyWiki account there and have started using it extensively again.

When Objectis.net experienced problems with its servers, I used a free account that I had opened with Freezope.org months back. Still, in my experience, FreeZope.org’s services don’t seem to be at par with what Objectis.net offers. FreeZope, for one, doesn’t allow quick imports. And is it just me or is access to FreeZope really slower than Objectis.net’s?

If you have no idea what a ZiddlyWiki is, check out my post here.