Things To-Do Manager for OS X

5 12 2008

thingsWhile there is no shortage of to-do lists for OS X,  many don’t fit the requirements that I need to have one that suits my needs. TaskPaper oversimplifies it, OmniFocus is fairly expensive and more complex than necessary and the built-in To-Do list for OS X doesn’t have enough features. This is where Things comes in.

Things, by the folks at Cultured Code, is a very simple and organized task manager that works with most users’ needs for a task manager. The Things sidebar is broken down into three main sections: Collect, Focus and Organize. Let’s start with Collect.

The Collect section in Things is where new to-dos that haven’t been sorted will be sent to. In short, it’s your dumping ground for to-dos. Once you’ve inputted all of your things that need to be done, it’s times to move into the second section, Focus.

The Focus section of Things is where you’ll be spending most of your time, and is also what makes Things so great to use. It’s divided into four main parts: Today, Next, Scheduled and Someday. Any tasks that you feel you should be able to complete that day, you can place in the Today section. The checkbox to the left of it will turn yellow indicating that it should be completed today. The Next area is where you will place items that you can complete once you’ve finished everything in your Today section. Scheduled is used if you want to repeat to-do items more than once on a regular basis or want a specific to-do to appear on a ceartain date. For example, you have to ask your boss something at work, but you aren’t able to do it because it’s the weekend and your boss is away, so you move it to the scheduled section and set it to appear on Monday in your Today section. Very handy. Finally, the Someday section is used for items that you don’t want to accomplish right now, but will want to eventually – such as re-doing the basement, but you don’t have the money right now so you file it under Someday.

Now for the final section: Organize. In here, you can create Projects and Areas. A project is basically a multi-step goal that you have that can be accomplished. An area on the other hand, is http://a5.s3.p.quickshareit.com/files/button5b9fa7.png that can not actually ever be finished. Taking the previous example of building a kitchen, lets say you finally have the money to do it. You would make a project  called “Redo Kitchen” and place all your to-dos for that inside there such as “Pick out backsplash” or “Find nice cupboards” etc. If you were to have a Work folder, you wouldn’t make it a project because it can’t actually be completed. This is what the Areas section is for. You can make a new area called “Work” and place all of your to-dos for it in there.

And that is the gist of how Things works as a to-do list manager. There are some other neat features that Things also has. First of all, you can invoke the Quick Entry panel using the hotkey of your choice (I use F5), which brings up a nice HUD for inputting all the things you need for a new to-do: title, tags, notes, due date and its location inside of Things. They also save your data in an open XML file format which means that third parties are able to communicate with Things and your to-do list is viewable using any modern browser, regardless of operating system. Cultured Code also has built a beautiful iPhone/iPod touch application that’s available through iTunes for $9.99 [iTunes link]. The app syncs over-the-air with your Mac as long as the application is open on both systems. The only issues I have dfound with the app would be the lack of support for Areas or tags for to-dos. To get around the Areas issue, I just use Projects section instead, which I haven’t found any issues with.

Overall, Things is a very solid application – and now with the ability to access it on your iPod/iPhone – quite versatile. My ONE complaint? No web-syncing.

Things is currently available as a free preview until 1.0 is released at the Macworld Expo ’09  on January 6. The price for version 1.0 will be $49, but if you sign up to their newsletter before it’s official release, you’ll gain a 20% discount bringing the cost down to $39.





Error 13213 with iPod Touch? [Fix]

10 09 2008

Yesterday, I downloaded the new version of iTunes along with the update for my iPod touch. In doing so, I got the error message “The iPod “Jahfers iPod” cannot be synced. An unknown error occurred (13213).

My first guess was that something went wrong in the iPod firmware update so I restored it to factory settings. If you have gotten this error too, don’t bother – it doesn’t help. As of yesterday there was nothing on the web but today I found a discussion on Apple’s site that seems to have fixed the issue. Follow the steps below and your ipod should work fine.
1. Unplug your iPod Touch and turn it off. Hold the power button at the top until the red slider appears and power it down completely.
2. Quit iTunes 8
3. Relaunch iTunes 8
4. Plug in Touch – DO NOT TURN IT ON FIRST. Make sure it’s still off completely from step 1.
5. Should sync normally

[Apple Discussions]





Maximizing Your iPod/iPhone’s Battery

2 09 2008

Recently, I took a trip down to Ottawa from my hometown of Oakville, Ontario to drop my older sister off at university. The time it takes to get there is roughly around five and a half hours. Naturally on a rip of this caliber I decided to take my trusty iPod touch along for the ride. On the way there I was using regular settings and was able to watch around 20-30 min of video and a couple hours of music – no other applications.

When we arrived at our destination, I got the warning that my iPod had only “10% battery life remaining” and I thought to myself, Oh crap!. And of course, being the great planner I am, I didn’t bring an iPod charger with me so I would have to make do with what I had. And so I set out to achieve a record battery life on 10% juice remaining – 7 and a half hours!

Curious as to how I did this? I am kind of too…but what I can tell you are the settings I used for the trip back to limit my power usage. The first thing I did was to turn off the “Ask to Join Networks” option (Settings>Wi-Fi). That saves a chunk of power because it won’t constantly be looking for new networks to join. The second setting I changed was the brightness (Settings>Brightness). I lowered the slider all the way to the bottom and turned auto-brightness off. Finally I made a personal decision to listen to only to music and to keep it off unless I needed to change a song. In which case I would use the handy double-tap on the home button to bring up the simplified music controls.

That final step may not be everyone’s choice but I have a feeling that it was one of the major reasons that it lasted so long.  Feel free to experiment for yourself and if you have any other battery-life saving tips, feel free to post them below.

Cheers!





Top 10 Free iPhone Apps [Quick List]

5 08 2008

Below is my personal list of my top ten favorite free applications from the App Store as of current.

10.WordPress

9. Exposure

8. NetNewsWire

7. Aurora Feint

6. Remote

5. Facebook

4.DizzyBeeFree

3. 1Password

2. BoxOffice

1. Zenbe Lists





Installer.app Almost Ready for Release [Firmware 2.0]

24 07 2008

The RiP Dev team today announced the imminent arrival of their fourth version of Installer.app. This version will be able to be used with the recently released 2.0 firmware for iPod touches and iPhones. From what Gizmodo is reporting, the new version will contain multi-threading “meaning everything doesn’t come to a halt while your sources are being updated” and support for package dependencies. By the looks of the screenshots posted on the RiP Dev Blog, they are looking to match the style of the App Store. It also appears to look less cluttered than before. The proposed released date for the app is sometime in the next week.





Zenbe Review [Part One – iPhone & iPod touch]

24 07 2008

While browsing through the iPhone and iPod touch App Store, I found an application called “Zenbe”. Figuring I was just going to open it just to end up deleting it from my system minutes later, I didn’t give it much hope. Once the application finished downloading, I opened it up to find a beautifully clean interface that offers many more options than the other simple to-do applications. When you first start it up, you must create a free Zenbe account which you can input in the Zenbe Settings, under Settings.

The beautiful feature about this application is for one, because you now have a Zenbe account, you can sync anything you do on the Zenbe Lists in your iPhone or iPod touch to the web version, which is accessible on any computer with Internet access.

Another killer feature of Zenbe is that you can create multiple lists instead of a single To-Do list (e.g. Things to Buy, Places to Eat, Things to Blog On, To-Do, etc.) Also, once a list is created, you are able to share it with others so they can check off possibly completed items themselves and add more of their own. A great example of this would be having a shared grocery list between two people, so if one of them were to pick something up off  of the list, the other would see it and know not to buy it as well. Lists are also organizable by moving them up and down as you would with an On-The -Go playlist, and are just as easy to delete by swiping.

All of the information put on your Zenbe application is also accessible through their site here. I just wish that they would make some sort of widget or Adobe AIR application so I could see it on my desktop. Other than that, no problems whatsoever – flawless.

Stay tuned for part two of my Zenbe review, which will cover the web application portion.





WordPress For iPhone

22 07 2008

photo

Early today, WordPress released their brand new iPhone and iPod touch app into the App Store. As of right now, I can tell to covers basically every blogging function in WordPress and places it in this great package. The option to preview a post is a great feature that I wouldn’t have expected to been implemented in the initial release, but non-the-less it was brought to us.
The only function I would like to see added as of right now would be the addition of blog stats like the ones on their website (and obviously you can’t view the graphs in Mobile Safari because of the lack of Flash).
Overall, this is a very nicely designed app and am excited to test it out further on the near future.

Note: This entire post was written through the WordPress app.








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