Backing up the Mac etc.

PsyncX ScreenshotI’ve had PsyncX on my desktop for a couple months now and I’ve been meaning to give it a try. As of now, it looks great! I’ve had all kinds of problems with Retrospect Express from Dantz that came with my external Maxtor drive. Scheduled scripts never seem to run right and they start at arbitrary times. I had the exact same problems with Retrospect Backup on two different Macs and I’m done with trying. PsyncX is priced right (free) and looks like it should do a great job.

I’ve also been experimenting with using OmniOutliner for my task/project/etc. list. It’s not perfect for the GTD method, but it is extremely easy to enter data and pretty customizable. Right now I just have to get it all out of my head somehow, and this is working great for now. OmniOutliner is really nice program, both in looks and functionality–they really know how to do OS X.


At school I’m taking a class on distance education. Last night we were asked to create a framework for distance education in Powerpoint or something similar. It was a quick project, based off work we’d done in class, but one that I think OmniGraffle was perfect for. This is what I came up with. I know I sound like a salesman for the Omni Group, but really.. they’re a great company :).

This could almost be four different posts, but I’ve found that while I’m cleaning out my Bloglines subscriptions, the type of blogs I like best aren’t those that post 20 times a day like Scoble, Instapundit and others. My favorites are low(er) volume blogs, anywhere from under 3 posts a day to a post once a week, where you know most of the time you’ll get something decent. I’ve unsubscribed to almost all high volume websites in favor of picking a few that are either narrowly focused on the information I want or generally focused but only post when it’s something really good. How would this blog fit into that spectrum?

etc. Family Software Technology

Getting Things Done The Last Two Months

Is it wrong to want to write a blog entry just because the software you write the entry in is so nice? I haven’t written for a couple months and every so often I’ll remember just how nice Ecto is and want to write again. Aside from that, a lot has happened.

I’ve finally started reading Getting Things Done by David Allen. I got two other co-workers reading it at my recommendation (before I even started reading it) and when they they really liked it, I figured I had better have a taste of my own medicine. It lives up to the hype.

GTD has inspired me to find a better way to get everything out of my mind and on “paper.” I really feel his philosophy that you have to have it all out of your mind (which doesn’t know how to manage tasks based on the best time to do them) before you can really become productive and relaxed is right on.

I’ve looked at a few options for doing this and haven’t really ruled any out yet. These are the choices so far:

  • A Wiki – I’d probably just use my install of PmWiki which has been great (it’s moved now because of all the wiki spam).
  • Entourage X 2004 – Theoretically this would be nice, but it has been super buggy for me and I can’t stand the instability.
  • PlannerMode (planner.el) in Emacs. This looks like a powerful way to manage tasks/projects etc. but requires learning Emacs. That might not be such a bad thing, but I haven’t decided for sure if I’m up to it. This is an article with a screenshot of what to expect.
  • PocketInformant – Pocket PC software that does it all.
  • Tracks – a Ruby on Rails application that looks great. I, however, have not had much luck getting it installed.
  • A Paper planner
  • Text files
  • Something else.

I don’t think anything is going to be ideal. In order to do that, it would need to:

  1. Be accessible from work and home. At work they block every port but port 80 so I have no access to SSH or port 3000 (what Tracks seems to like to use) or anything else.
  2. Be accessible from both my Mac and my Pocket PC
  3. Be intuitive and quick. If I’m going to enter everything I need to do, it needs to be fast.
  4. and it should obviously allow for the basic GTD philosophy

So that’s where I am with that. I still haven’t even finished the book, but I’m sold on the idea.

I’ve also been working a lot more in Flash, programming in ActionScript. It goes in cycles, I program for a couple months then spend awhile in production. I definitely like the programming (and design) part of the cycles much better.

This time around I found TextMate and it also lives up to the hype. It’s a text editor with a very OS X feel and all the features I need to keep me happy while coding.

Since last time I wrote I’ve been to Florida to visit family, enjoyed a couple good snow storms (including one that’s going on at this very moment), redesigned Silverfish Longboarding, started work on a Masters in Instructional Design and Technology at Old Dominion University and ordered an iPod shuffle (which unfortunately won’t be here for another month).

I’ve also gotten 4782 blogspams which were blocked by MT-Blacklist as well as 634 that were moderated. I’m seriously considering switching to WordPress which my wife uses and I get jealous of every so often. I need to check to see if image uploading is supported by Ecto for WordPress now.

Over the past few months I’ve read less on Bloglines (the best aggregator available IMO) have been unsubscribing to blogs at a rapid pace. I’m no less enthusiastic about weblogs, I’ve just become a little more picky about which ones I read. I continue to be amazed at how much Rui Carmo manages to post on the Tao of Mac.

That’s about it for now. Best Tool for the Job is back (again) from vacation.