Links for 2011-5-21 through 2011-6-1

Links for 2011-5-21 through 2011-6-1:

  • Structured Procrastination the 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. Structured procrastination means shaping the structure of the tasks one has to do in a way that exploits this fact.
  • 18 Signs That Life In U.S. Public Schools Is Now Essentially Equivalent To Life In U.S. Prisons In the United States today, our public schools are not very good at educating our students, but they sure are great training grounds for learning how to live in a Big Brother police state control grid. Sadly, life in many U.S. public schools is now essentially equivalent to life in U.S. prisons. Most parents don't realize this, but our students have very few rights when they are in school. Our public school students are being watched, tracked, recorded, searched and controlled like never before.
  • Accessorizer Made Simple
  • Appsterdam Immigration | Now for the entry you’ve all been waiting for: a quick guide on how to emigrate to Appsterdam.
  • TextEditors Wiki: HomePage

Posted by Postilicious

Links for 2011-03-04 through 2011-03-07

Links for 2011-03-04 through 2011-03-07:

  • 4 Golden Rules of iPhone Game Design | App News – At the core of your game you need a simple, fun game mechanic. And I stress simple. In this A.D.D. world if you don’t grab players in the first 10 seconds, you’ve probably lost them. Unlike a console game they haven’t invested $50 (in all likelihood it’s $0.99 or nothing), so they have not made a big commitment to your game. If they don’t get it in the first 10 seconds, then they are going to hit the home button and launch something else.
  • Onramps | eliolhan – Luckily* I have techniques to get back on track when I feel blocked or unmotivated. Without adding any new code, I’ll clean things up:

    Conform code indentation to my house style
    Fix whitespace and tabs
    Remove stray blank lines
    Delete superfluous comments
    Remove commented-out NSLog() statements
    Group and label related methods

  • Fatal Distractions | eliolhan – I want to talk about what I’ve learned in the last few months about Distractions and how to fight them.
  • The 3 Ingredients of Successful iPhone Apps | Tapity – To me, say I put in 300 hours to make an app; I’ll call it a success if I make over $23,000 in the first year.
  • He Thinks Many People Will Like To Read It

Posted by Postilicious

Links for 2011-01-17 through 2011-02-02

Links for 2011-01-17 through 2011-02-02:

Posted by Postilicious

Things vs. OmniFocus

I always loved how things looks and its simple, elegant user interface. The iPad version is simply beautiful: it works exactly the way a task management app on an iPad should work.

Unfortunately, Things’ syncing has never worked smoothly. Syncing it between two different computers can only be done with something like DropBox, and you can’t run it on both machines at the same time when using the same data file. Things can also sync with iCal, but that always causes duplicate & missing items and doesn’t work at all between two different machines sharing a data file. Things usually syncs nicely between a single Mac, iPhone, and iPad, but today it suddenly stopped recognizing my iPhone, even after I removed it and paired it again.

OmniFocus is a lot more powerful and flexible, but as a result it doesn’t feel as clean & elegant as Things. OmniFocus has a major advantage over Things in syncing. While Things only syncs mobile devices over the local network, OmniFocus supports several different syncing methods, including MobileMe. OmniFocus can only sync manually with iCal, but it doesn’t screw up the way Things does. Most importantly, when syncing via MobileMe, you can run it on two computers at the same time without screwing anything up, and you can sync your iPhone even when you’re away from the computer.

Due to all of the syncing problems I’ve been having with Things, I’ve switched back to OmniFocus. Unfortunately they still don’t have an iPad version, so the iPhone version (like most iPhone apps) is just plain ugly when run on an iPad. I miss Things’s beauty & elegance, but not losing data is more critical.

Add TFS Work Tickets to OmniFocus

At work we use Microsoft Team Foundation Server to assign tasks & work tickets. When someone assigns me a work ticket I get an email with a subject like ‘so and so assigned you work ticket 12345 – fix some bug’. It would be really useful if they could be automatically added as a task to OmniFocus.

I looked at OmniFocus’ mail rule for creating new tasks, but unfortunately it won’t work with TFS work ticket notifications because it requires a specially formatted email.

Using that script as an inspiration, I came up with this script that creates a new task with the message linked to the note field. I’m sharing it just in case anyone else finds it useful.

First you’ll need to create a mail rule that filters messages matching the criteria of the subject ‘assigned you work ticket’ and the TFS notification email address as the sender.

Mail Rule.jpg

Here’s the mail action script:

using terms from application "Mail"

	on process_message(theMessage)
		tell application "OmniFocus"
			log "OmniFocus calling process_message in MailAction script"
		end tell
		set theSubject to subject of theMessage
		set p to offset of "Work Ticket" in theSubject
		set theSubject to characters p through end of theSubject as string
		set theText to "message:%3C" & message id of theMessage & "%3E"
		tell application "OmniFocus"
			tell default document
				set ctx to context "Work"
				make new inbox task with properties {name:theSubject, note:theText, context:ctx}
			end tell
		end tell
	end process_message

	on perform mail action with messages theMessages
			set theMessageCount to count of theMessages
			repeat with theMessageIndex from 1 to theMessageCount
				my process_message(item theMessageIndex of theMessages)
			end repeat
		on error m number n
			tell application "OmniFocus"
				log "Exception in Mail action: (" & n & ") " & m
			end tell
		end try
	end perform mail action with messages
end using terms from

I switched to OmniFocus

I’ve gone back and forth between Things and The Hit List for a while, but I was never completely happy with either one of them.

I like THL’s user interface and flexibility to set up nested lists & folders, but I’m frustrated with the lack of an iPhone app, which I find essential.

I use Things just for their iPhone sync, but I’m frustrated with its inflexible structure and lack of folders or outlines with subtasks.

After trying the Mac app for a while, I finally took the plunge today and got both the Mac & iPhone versions of OmniFocus. Like The Hit List, OmniFocus allows complete flexibility to create outlines of subtasks and it goes even further by letting you promote a task to a project. iPhone sync is even better than Things, which can only sync over the local network. OmniFocus syncs via Mobile Me, so you don’t have to be near your computer to sync with it.

OmniFocus is more expensive than the other applications but it’s well worth the price if you want complete flexibility and iPhone support.