TaskPaper and my iPhone

I wrote a comment in a previous post (Considering TaskPaper 3) to describe how I could add information to my TaskPaper files with Siri using Reminders and Drafts. Check that out. Now, I’ll briefly explain how I’ve worked with my TaskPaper files on my iPhone so far.

My decision to get TaskMator was based on Gabe Weatherhead’s reviews on Macdrifter. I recommend reading them first. 🙂

This morning, I also listened to Episode 026 — Old Stock Ale and Task Management from Nerds on Draft (an episode from a year ago), which includes some discussion about TaskPaper and TaskMator. (See show notes.)

Anyway. I haven’t used the alarm feature yet. Filtering by project or tag works well. Same with search from the home screen, which seems fast. I’m also fiddling with saved searches:


Due
(@due or @today or @flag) and not @done

Not @done
not (type = note or @done)

Quick tasks <= 15m
@time <= 15 and not (type = note or @done)


At the moment, I omit the notes in some saved searches because I use often include notes. (In the TaskPaper app, I collapse these quickly. All from my keyboard, loving it.) With the above syntax, that means done tasks aren’t displayed even though the notes under those tasks are technically not marked as done.

Anyway, the goal is to narrow the scope of my tasks. I might create two dupes that include notes for more detail.

For adding stuff to my TaskPaper files, I have several actions in Drafts that prepends the chosen draft.

  • TP (Personal)
  • TP (Personal, done)
  • TP (Personal, added)

For the second and third, those are for instances where I only have a single-line draft.1

When ready to clear my “inbox” at the top of the file, and on my iPhone, I can tap each task, and move it to my desired “project”.2 Or, using two fingers—tap and hold the bottom menubar, then proceed tapping the other tasks you’d like to manage—I can add the relevant tags, then move it to the correct project.

I’m not certain if the purpose of Taskmator is to use a one or two huge TaskPaper files. If you enable the badge number, and the most recent file you opened had over 250 tasks, your mind would go numb. I’d like the ability to designate a project for each TaskPaper file, but I imagine using a different setting for separate files would be tough to implement.

Even though I’ve gotten comfortable with Things, I’m pleased with TaskMator!

 


  1.  See also: My Habit of Noting Timestamps 
  2. Remember: I use “projects”—as labeled with TaskPaper files and apps—as “Areas” to combine a broad group of related items. 

TaskPaper 3: Fold and Focus

Two days at work alongside TaskPaper 3, and I’m digging these two features:

Folding items – You can now fold items, hiding the items indented under them. To fold and item click the blue bullet point to the left of the items text.

Focus projects – You can now truly focus projects instead of just filtering to show a single project. The difference is when you focus a project like this you’ll no longer see all the leading indentation. This means you can create deep levels of subprojects and still edit them comfortably, instead of seeing a bunch of leading whitespace everywhere.

I keep track of my work through our various ticket (email) queues with a few notes under the task for each queue. Having everything neatly folded when I open TaskPaper and makes me happy. I switch to the Today saved search, then working through tasks one at a time, focusing with ease when needed. Super quick, and entirely from the keyboard.

It’s also fast and handy to start a clean ad hoc brain dump without opening a new file or window. (I did this today reviewing some information for an internal P2 thread.) The following takes a couple of seconds.

  1. Start a new line.
  2. Create your heading.
  3. Go In (⌥⌘→), and all the other text disappears.
  4. When you’re done, you can Go Out (⌥⌘←).

No need for the text? Indent the line after the header for speedy folding (⌘.) under that header. When you’re ready to trash that text, fold the branch (⌘.), select the branch (⇧⌘B), then delete (⌃⇧K).

Try the demo!

Workflow: Alfred and DMCA predefs at Automattic

In November 2014, my pal and colleague, Clicky Steve, posted at Transparency Report for Automattic, “Open Sourcing Our DMCA Process“:

[…] we are pleased to announce that today we are open sourcing our DMCA process docs on GitHub – under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license.

[…] there is also a comprehensive set of detailed ‘predefined replies’ that we use when corresponding with both users and complainants in specific situations.

For awhile, I had these saved as Snippets in Alfred, which meant I couldn’t easily share those with my team.

So, I made an Alfred workflow with the DMCA snippets I use most frequently:

screen shot a8c dmca predefs.png

When using the predefined reply To User → Processed Notice, we’re working with two browser tabs because we create a new ticket to the site owner.

After I confirm the notice is valid and process the takedown request, I do the following:

  1. Copy the text of the DMCA notice from the complainant, then press Control–Tab to switch to the new ticket in the other browser tab.
  2. Clicking in the body of the message, I summon Alfred ( ⌘–Spacebar ), enter the keyword dmca.b.proc, then press Enter.

How’d I save time?

  • Since I have the {clipboard} dynamic placeholder (Alfred) inserted where the complainant’s notice needs to be pasted, it saves me the motion of another copy-paste. Estimate: 5 seconds.
  • I don’t have to navigate through our ticket system snippets by trackpad. Estimate: 5 seconds.

Save ten seconds per notice — I’ll take it!

Assuming I don’t have any blockers for uploading the Alfred workflow to Automattic, I’ll work on sharing it in the near future. 🙂

Hello, Day One 2!

I got the latest version of Day One for my Mac and iPhone, taking advantage of the 50% off pricing.1 Jake Underwood wrote a solid review at MacStories. I’m determined to get into a habit of writing regularly for myself.

Here are my notes during the migration from Day One Classic:

Next, I’ll start with a few reminders throughout each day on my phone. I haven’t before, but I’d like to see how I feel after adding that small habit. To make it quick, I can use my Logitech Bluetooth Easy-Switch K811 Keyboard and Amy’s Glif (affiliate links) when I’m at my desk.

(I should review the Day One Uses page.)

Using this fine app, I look forward to being mindful of my thoughts, feelings, and actions on a regular basis.


Another cool tidbit: dayoneapp.com uses WordPress and Jetpack! ⭐


  1. I think today is the last day of the sale pricing for the iOS app. However, from the Day One listing in the Mac App Store, “Sale extended until Feb 17th to assist our users that have no yet heard about the new app, and those having trouble purchasing due to errors in the Mac App Store.” 

Lyft: My first three experiences

A few colleagues used Lyft from their phones while I was in San Francisco for UserConf in November 2014. However, I won’t count that as my first experience because I didn’t use it on my iPhone.

I worked a couple of shifts at the WordPress booth (by WordPress.com)1 at NAMM 2016 in Anaheim on Thursday and Friday, January 21st and 22nd.

A day or two earlier, I installed Lyft.

Along with my pal, Ryan Cowles, we took public transportation from Pasadena to Anaheim early Thursday morning.2 After arriving at ARTIC (Anaheim), we went to the pickup area, and I requested a Lyft driver. 3 minutes — cool!

The time estimate was accurate, and I also received a text messsage right when we saw the car. Nice. Davey was friendly, and the drive was smooth.

I love everything about the ride history shown in the Lyft app. Davey drove us from ARTIC to Anaheim Marriott Suites in eleven minutes. 🙂

Next, I decided to test Lyft’s Lost & Found procedure.

Not.

As we tried to find the place to get our exhibitor badges, it took me about five minutes to realize that I forgot my DSLR camera in his car.3

Doing my best to stay calm, I opened the Lyft app, went to Ride History, and spotted “Find lost item” at the bottom. I described my lost item, entered my Google Voice number, and waited.

Eight minutes after Hideto dropped us off, he returned my call, and said he could meet me where we were earlier. Happy ending! He was super cool about it, too.

With my camera in hands, I was like:

On Saturday morning, the third driver (Joshua) picked me up at Marriott Anaheim Suites for part of my journey back to Pasadena. Really nice person, incredibly gregarious (despite being sleep deprived), and the drive was smooth.

I thoroughly enjoyed my three Lyft experiences. Highly recommended!


  1. I’ll save that for a separate post. 
  2. Ryan took a couple of cool photos: Metrolink, and Track 1 to Los Angeles
  3. Canon EOS 40D + Sigma 30mm f/1.4. 

Why We Encrypt

Great post from Bruce Schneier from June 2015:

Encryption should be enabled for everything by default, not a feature you turn on only if you’re doing something you consider worth protecting.

This is important. If we only use encryption when we’re working with important data, then encryption signals that data’s importance. If only dissidents use encryption in a country, that country’s authorities have an easy way of identifying them. But if everyone uses it all of the time, encryption ceases to be a signal. No one can distinguish simple chatting from deeply private conversation. The government can’t tell the dissidents from the rest of the population. Every time you use encryption, you’re protecting someone who needs to use it to stay alive.

Private/group messaging and calling with iOS or Android? Signal is fantastic. For email, James Huff uses ProtonMail.