Michael Koehler

Exploring the intersection of productivity, technology, and life.

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ReVuDo version 0.2

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I originally posted this on my ReVuDo page, but with many changes to come, I realized that this belongs on my blog.  So here is the short list of changes that made it into version 0.2 on June 8th, 2011.

Changes in 0.2:

I have added buttons to the main projects window to open windows for Inbox tasks, tasks that have a Due Date, tasks that are Next Actions, and a list of Contexts.

I also cleaned up the display of tasks and fixed a bug where completed projects and tasks were being displayed.


Written by mwkoehler

2011/06/21 at 9:26 pm

Posted in Nozbe, ReVuDo, Windows

How to see Nozbe in a whole new way – ReVuDo

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Almost two months ago I announced both the release of an open source .Net library for writing programs and scripts that access Nozbe, and something that I had code named WinNozbe until I could think of a real name.  My intention was to develop this Windows client for Nozbe publicly so that anyone could comment and steer its development.

Tonight I finally reached the point where the program was useful, even if it is so very far away from version 1.

Version 0.1 of ReVuDo is now available here.

So why did I name it ReVuDo?  First, I did not want Nozbe in the name.  That name is not mine and I did not want to step on someone else’s trademark.  I actually need to ask Michael Sliwinski if he will forgive Nozbe.Net’s name.  If not, I will need to rename it.

The second reason for the name was that I wanted the new name to be as unique as Nozbe’s.  Something that could be found easily in the vastness of the Internet.

Finally, I wanted a name that meant something.  What does ReVuDo mean?  The ultimate lesson of GTD: Review, decide, then do.

So, what should I enhance first?

Written by mwkoehler

2011/06/06 at 11:28 pm

Posted in GTD, ReVuDo, Windows

Preparing For Dark Clouds

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Jack Delano, photographer. Farm Security Administration.

In an earlier post I described how I had narrowed my GTD software options down to cloud based systems and chose Nozbe.  Amazon’s outage the other day highlights the risk of moving such a critical aspect of one’s work into the cloud: what do you do when the cloud fails you?

Michael Sliwinski talked about this on the Nozbe blog after a bug caused problems for many Nozbe users.  His main point was that Nozbe has been designed with problems, and recovering from them, in mind.  I applaud this, and I am glad that he took the time to describe what they have done to protect our data.  But, for me the right model is to have my own offline copy, ideally one that is more than just a backup.  It should be a copy that I can use.

Evernote does exactly what I want from every cloud based application.  They offer web access, apps for all the major mobile phones, and programs for Windows and Mac that will sync with the cloud, and allow you to work offline.  This means that if Evernote has a problem, as long as I have my laptop I have everything since my last sync (and everything that was ever entered using that laptop).  In short, Evernote could be down for a week, and I would just be inconvenienced.  I would still have all my Evernote data.

WinNozbe is intended first and foremost to solve this problem for Windows users.  It will connect to Nozbe, sync your information so both Nozbe and your PC are in agreement, and let you work offline.  Even if Nozbe is having a problem.  Even if you decide to leave Nozbe.  Even if you never signed up for Nozbe.

I know this is not coming quickly; is probably months away; but I am committed to making it happen.  And there will be some other goodies in WinNozbe as well.

Written by mwkoehler

2011/04/26 at 7:40 am

Posted in GTD, Nozbe, ReVuDo, Windows

WinNozbe Status

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Michael Sliwinski, the founder of Nozbe, has said that Nozbe would have been written much faster if only he hadn’t had to stop to learn how to do something so often.  I feel I am following in his footsteps.

When I started work on WinNozbe, I decided that I would use the project to learn Windows Presentation Foundation or WPF.  Not only would I learn something new, but WPF seemed to offer a lot of cool stuff that would make WinNozbe a better, more fun application.  Well, I am learning.  So far I don’t really regret my decision, as the promise of WPF is still there; but, it is really slowing me down.

At this point there is nothing to show you, but I have a stack of WPF articles to read and I hope to make a break through soon.  Sometimes you just have to put in a lot of upfront work before you can see the payoff.

Written by mwkoehler

2011/04/21 at 8:00 am

Posted in GTD, Nozbe, ReVuDo, Windows

Listen to your product

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When you need to make a decision, but you don’t have enough information, you have two options.  Seth Godin suggests flipping a coin, and I agree that sometimes this is the best way to go.  When you are short on time, or there is simply no cost effective way to get the information you need, coin flipping will at least move you forward.  The second option is to get more information.  One of the great things about software is that you can often get more information with the simple investment of time.  Of course, when you can’t afford the necessary time, your back to coin flipping.

As I mentioned last time, I have shifted from Nozbe.Net to what I am calling WinNozbe (at least for now).  The idea is a Windows application that can either operate on it’s own, or sync with Nozbe.  I want it to operate either offline or online as needed.  But all this is work to be done; it is still early days.

The reason for the switch was that I did not feel that I had enough information to finish the part of Nozbe.Net that updates Nozbe itself.  Until I wrote a program that actually wanted to do that, it wasn’t clear how it should work.  So read-only Nozbe.Net was published, and I turned to developing the program I wanted to begin with so I could let the program give me the answers.

Did I learn how I wanted to update Nozbe?  No, I learned that I needed to modify how I provided the information from Nozbe!  Nozbe.Net was originally tested by writing Powershell scripts that sliced and diced the projects and actions, so Nozbe.Net returns arrays of hash tables, the sort of thing Powershell handles with ease (and not incidentally a simple translation of the data as provided by Nozbe).  But, WinNozbe is a more complicated system and hash tables are not exactly what is wants.  So work has shifted into the gray area between the two.  The end result will likely be an update to Nozbe.Net before WinNozbe is ready for publication.

I have heard artists say that a statue is not something they make out of stone, but something they find in the stone.  The structure of the stone constrains what is possible, and the combination of the stone and the sculptor creates the statue.  Working in software is far from working with stone, but that same interaction occurs.  If you can take the time to listen to what you are making, it will tell you what you should do, and the result will be amazing.

Written by mwkoehler

2011/04/13 at 10:33 pm

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