It's all spinning wheels and self-doubt until the first pot of coffee.

Homebrew Productivity via Rube Goldberg

Here's a quick weekend assemblage of a hack that might be of use to someone:

I recently switched to a Palm Zire from a Handspring Visor--which itself was a downgrade from a Treo 600. The Zire was a bit of a lateral move from the Visor, since the Zire is rechargeable and more pocketable, but has less storage and a screen with tinier eye-strainy pixels. (Actually, the product page I linked here shows the Zire 21, whereas what I have is the discontinued classic Zire.)

Anyway, I've been idly poking at making this thing more useful as my take-along brain bucket. The out-of-box tools--Palm Desktop, etal--have never quite worked for me, so I wanted to see what might actually help me get some use out of the thing. So far, it turns out that it ends up being most convenient when I use it as a glorified electronic notepad, a Hipster PDA with a USB socket.

I've thrown together a combination of MacNoteTaker, Markdown, Remind, Dasher, and ShellWatcher to implement my own idea-dump and to-do conduits into my PowerBook.

The nice thing about MacNoteTaker is that it simply syncs text files. From there, it's easy to route things through Markdown and Remind.

I was using Nick Vargish's Remind Widget before my hard drive crash, but since then the download seems to have gone AWOL. So, ShellWatcher it is, running ~/local/bin/remind to update my Dashboard reminders on a regular basis. To keep these reminders in my face throughout the day, I've got Dasher set to bring the Dashboard up whenever I walk away for more than 5 minutes.

As for plain old ideas, I've got a 00-random.txt file I maintain between the PowerBook and MacNoteTaker. This is in Markdown format, and I occasionally view it via a filter CGI in my browser. I'm considering plastering it up on my Dashboard via a browser-refresh widget also. Eventually, these ideas migrate into Tinderbox or a personal wiki.

For my next productivity micro-project, I'm thinking of setting up an email gateway to let my fiancée email me honey-do lists that'll get merged in with my reminders...

Archived Comments

  • So the focus in this posting is on the unstructured-note area, not on Address Books, Calendar, etc., right? I'm pretty sure there's a little wiki that runs on Palm, just layering name-clickability on top of notes. I just got PikiPiki running on my Zaurus. I need to start playing with models of having a big PrivateWiki on my ibook, and moving subsets back and forth to the Zaurus... http://webseitz.fluxent.com/wiki/WikiOnZaurus
  • a good tool for taking a task outline and automatically calculating which task is more important where and when is http://llamagraphics.com . most people register it within a week and i, an inveterate computer-to-do-app hater, am still using it daily 6 years later.