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Stand Up Eight » 2006 » December
Looking glass

Archive for December, 2006

Getting things started

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

I worked off and on all through the holiday break to get my productivity workflow in order. I’m not where I wanted to be, but I’m a lot closer than I was before I began.

I’m trying to move everything into web services. I use multiple machines between home and work and I often need to sit down and get something done with minimal prep time. If I don’t have my laptop and my laptop is where my master task list is, I’m sunk. The problem is that each tool wants to do a bigger chunk of the workflow than I think it is capable of. There is no “one tool to rule them all”.

Here’s what I’ve got hooked up so far:

  1. Netvibes. I like the ability to add modular content via RSS and HTML and the ease of adding new tabs as well. This has all but replaced my news reader for my daily feeds.
  2. Microsoft Outlook Web Access. This is what I am required to use at work. I’m trying to get auto-redirects going to Gmail, but that has its own problems.
  3. Central Desktop. This is a Basecamp-like project management tool that we’ve licensed at work. I like it, but the licensing model is a bit restrictive (limits on number of projects, most of all) and I’m looking for an alternative. Enter…
  4. ActiveCollab. I’ve got several instances of this set up for different groups and I am really liking where it is going. It is now my de-facto tool for managing search committees, as it allows for many types of interaction (posting candidate docs, discussing interviews, etc.). I’m also testing it as a general purpose, low-level project management tool for intra- and extra-unit collaboration.
  5. Remember The Milk. This is my working to-do list manager. I have master task lists associated with projects (in the various tools listed above), and when I’m getting to work, I plunk down in front of RTM and get rid of a few next actions. It also integrates well with…
  6. Google Calendar. I keep a copy of this open not to reference my work schedule (which is still in Outlook), but rather as a quick reference calendar that I can use to set up reminders, tasks (via the RTM interface), or even just to see what day of the week the conference I’m considering ends on. I know that there are many OS-level calendars that can be up a bit more quickly, but they aren’t tied directly to my working task lists. I’m experimenting with a few other uses, but these are still very much in the mushy development stage.
  7. Google Docs. I used Writely before they were purchased by Google. I know I’m selling my life away to the big G here, but I like the ease of integration with my other tools. I’ve used Zoho apps, but I’m a little leery of their beta status and don’t want to get too invested until I know how much it will cost me in the future.

Quick and dirty overview, I know. I’ll try to keep you posted regarding how it goes.

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Friday, December 1st, 2006

I’ve had an account for a while, but it wasn’t until I had a project that I jumped into the Web 2.0 development service called Ning. I’ve got a buddy in Charlotte who likes food almost as much as I do, and every once in a while we try to compare notes about where to get the best burger/mexican food/steak/etc. I played around a bit and in around 20 minutes had a semi-functional site for personal restaurant reviews. Take a look, and then try your hand and making your own web service.

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