Sunday, December 1, 2013

Confirming my pain... Soccer Livescores App

I am an Australian fan of the world game (football in most places around the world, and soccer in the USA, some parts of Australia and other parts of the world).

At the moment, I am experiencing quite a bit of pain with my beloved Melbourne Heart rooted at the bottom of the A-League table with no apparent plans to go anywhere. I am also a massive Tottenham Hotspur fan as well as interested in Fiorentina in the Italian Serie A and Shimizu S-Pulse in the Japanese J-League.

The wonderful app Soccer Livescores is my app of choice when trying to keep in touch with the many different teams I follow in the many leagues around the world.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Falling in love with Currents again

I use a combination of GReader Pro and Pocket for my news reading. Over the last week, I have started using Google Currents again. It is simple, clean and very easy to share articles from (although there is a trick to it, you need to tap the article title to get the sharing bar to pop up).

I whimsically installed Flipboard again to try it out but found that it didn't quite do it for me. I flicked over to Currents to see what was new and was surprised to see it has simplified even further and scales really nicely between small and large screens.

Give it a try if you haven't already. See what you reckon.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Android GTD Dream

Those of you following this blog will know that I have been holding out for what I believe to be the best GTD solution on Android to date, which is Nirvana HQ. If you are observant, you will have realised that it is almost close to a year now that Nirvana's Android client has been in beta. This is a long time in internet terms.

Whilst waiting, I have been looking around for alternatives. It is hard to get a GTD client that is faithful to the GTD methodology and with the additional tweaks that work for me.

I manage a couple of teams, supervise/mentor several people, manage a significant amount of public communication for two organisations not to mention try to be a good husband and dad. It's hard to sit on my hands waiting for my system to catch up.

I have been keeping an eye on Zendone and for my purposes, Nirvana and Zendone are now neck and neck in the Android GTD Derby!

I have been waiting for the Nirvana Android client for the better part of a year and I have also been informed by the very communicative team at Zendone, that the update to their Android client is imminently upon us.

If their Android client:

  1. Allows me to filter by context,
  2. Allows me to process my inbox,
  3. Allows me to manage my current to do list via auto next action on projects...
I think we will have a winner!

The massive bonus with Zendone is that it is wed very closely to Evernote which I have been using for years now. It creates actions out of your Evernote Inbox (or whatever folder you nominate as your "default" folder), and you can capture all the various bits of media and attach them to tasks/projects.

This is one of the more longer waits I have had to endure on the technology front. (Don't get me started on the HP 11 Chromebook!)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Little Droid Lost

Not sure if you are aware of this yet but the recent update to the Google Play store app on Android now allows you to locate, ring, lock and even delete the data on your droid remotely (as long as it is connected to either the phone or a wifi network of course).

Simply go to, set up your devices (you may need to change settings on your actual devices too, follow the prompts for this) and you are on your way!

Makes all those 3rd party apps a little redundant now I guess?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Citation Nirvana for Research Students on Android, PC and Mac

I was wrestling with citations for my current masters subject on Evernote the other day. I find the research capabilities of Evernote brilliant, especially as a premium user. The ability to just slam anything into Evernote, organise it and then do my work without having to remember where everything is does wonders for my mental health.

Where Evernote absolutely fails as a manager for research papers is in the area of citations. I have tried all sorts of tricks and no cigar.

So there I was, on the train to work a few days ago, bouncing between Evernote and LibreOffice (when will you build and Android version!?), wrestling with my citations and my train buddy says to me "Why don't you use Zotero?"
Don't you love those serendipitous moments when your life takes a drastic new course? You can imagine my response. "Zote what?" I quickly download the Mac version (Windows, Mac and Linux versions of the clients are all free, costs are associated with the storage of documents). You download the relevant clipper item for your browser toolbar Safari, Firefox and my preference, Chrome) and you are off and running.

What completely placed the delicious icing on the cake for me this morning was discovering the Zotero Scanner for my Android phone. Point the sucker at the book in question (as long as the app which set me back a cool $2.40 AU, and Barcode Scanner app are installed) and I was able to add another 17 books to my bibliography in under 10 minutes.

Scan the books on my phone, sync the desktop client, select all the volumes and request a bibliography in Chicago (Note) format and I am in citation heaven.

Yes, I don't get out very much but with this new development, perhaps I will!?

Scotty, peace out for our random train encounter. You are still a legend in my book!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Zendone: You really need to check this out!

Once again, whilst waiting for the development of the beta client for my web based GTD system, I discovered Zendone. I have to say I am sorely tempted!

Zendone's web based interface has quite a beautiful aesthetic. I downloaded the Android client from the Google Play store and it is still quite crude in terms of functionality. You are unable to sort tasks by context, nor does it neatly replicate the web based views that you may have set up. If they can nail these things down quickly (which I believe they are as I consulted their published roadmap) it will be very difficult for me to justify staying with Nirvana.

The reason being is that Zendone integrates incredibly well with both Evernote and Google Calendars. I will keep an eye on the development of the Android app and keep you posted. Exciting times for Android GTD'ers...

Monday, August 26, 2013

While I'm waiting for my GTD app...

While I'm waiting for NirvanaHQ to get their beta to a relatively stable place, I have been exploring other GTDbaseed solutions. Since I've started down this track, things like being able to tag a task with multiple contexts and sync across multiple devices have become mandatory necessities for me.

With that in mind, I found todo.txt. This text based GTD app is brilliant. It uses Dropbox to sync a simple text file that you can edit directly using a simple syntax on a desktop/laptop computer. It is small, simple and fast. I seriously contemplated covering over to todo.tx. The only thing that held me back was the lack of a decent desktop based rapid entry facility.

I still however highly recommend you check it out if you are looking for a small simple GTD based system for Android.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Goodbye Spotify, hello Google Music!

Google Music have finally made "Access All Area's" available in Australia. "Access All Area's" is the monthly subscription facility. I have been using Spotify for the last year or so as I wanted to be legit in terms of my music. Spotify was less than perfect, simply on the basis that I could not add to it all of the cool live tracks and the many variations of songs that I have downloaded over the years, not to mention my large CD collection. Google music does what Spotify does, with the addition of adding unique tracks and your CD collection.

One thing that I have found is that Google Music's search facility is not as good as Spotify's! (Go figure! They are a search company after all!) On a few occasions, I tried looking for tracks on Google music and thought that for whatever reason Google Music did not have access to the track. I then tried adding further information and it found the track. I have found that you need to spell the track and any additional information (band name, album name etc) perfectly otherwise you will get a "track not found" error.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Twitter photo issues on Android

Tried adding a photo to a Tweet on the official Android app all weekend but to no avail! It was just personal stuff so I wasn't too put out. When I tried to do so for work, well let's just say it got a little frustrating!

Five Google minutes later and I had my answer from the official Twitter help web site. Seems it's a known bug. The work around in the short term is go to Settings, Apps, then scroll down to the Twitter app. Do a Force Stop, Clear Data then Uninstall. Reboot your device then reinstall it. It should be good to go after that.

Thanks Twitter. Sort of.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Google Reader Replacement Solution

After freaking out about what to do post Google Reader, two organistions came to my rescue!

Ever since I can remember, I have been using GReader Pro on my phone and tablet as my Google Reader Interface. GReader Pro is solid, has a small memory footprint, has all the power user features you could ask for (including things like reading out articles to you) and as per my workflow setup, lets me easily flick articles to Pocket for reading later (even though it has its own "Save for later" function).

Problem was GReader Pro is a reader and does not host feeds on a web based aggregator. What to do?

Feedly was the most likely candidate for me in terms of web based aggregation, but the client, whilst looking really cool, was just a little too flaky for my liking. I was trying to use and like Feedly but the flakiness factor was too much for me to feel comfortable with it managing my 60 odd feeds and over 3000 news items each week.

I fired up GReader Pro a few days ago to pleasantly discover that GReader Pro now is able to use both Feedly and Good Old Reader as their back end!

So it is like nothing has changed for me! Feedly as my web based aggregator with GReader Pro as my sorter and sifter and finally, Pocket as my reader. Happy camper!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Screwy paragraphs in Google Drive Document Editing

I've been writing up my semester paper for my masters. Thought I would go all out and use Google Document. It has been doing the trick so far (except it deals with footnotes in a quirky kind of fashion). One of the things I struck about 15 minutes ago and took, well 15 minutes to solve is the paragraph formatting tool. Most of your formatting gear is in the Format menu item as you would imagine. I set double space on my font and off I went.

Been working on this sucker for the better part of two weeks, so when I came back to it tonight, I found that later paragraphs were not spacing correctly. When I hit return, effectively creating a new paragraph, the space between paragraphs was different to the formatting earlier in the document. I checked the setting in the Format menu and they were set correctly. What gives?

Then I found that cute little icon on the menu bar (check the picture to the left) that has a setting "Add space before paragraph". Selected the space between the paragraph, selected the option and I was back in business. Tricky little "feature". Hope you find it helpful.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Cases and keyboards and bears, oh my!

I finally got my hands on all of the various accessories that I ordered for my new Nexus 10. Initially I ordered the combined Poetic Bluetooth Keyboard and Case. For some stupid reason, Amazon do not ship certain items to Australia. I cannot ascertain their logic. I need to have them shipped to a friend of mine who then forwards them onto me. Because I am finding the Nexus 10 absolutely fantastic (I now only take my PC laptop into the office once a month and use it on average a couple of hours a week) I needed a case that was going to arrive more quickly than the Bluetooth cover. So in addition I ordered the Poetic hard case as well from an EBay retailer who would not be so prejudiced regarding my geographical location! The hard case arrived first. It is great, just like the one that I used for the ASUS Infinity. A quality product. I used it for a few days and found 

it slipped neatly into my satchel bag. It seems like so long ago I had a larger bag to carry my laptop and all of the additional paraphernalia. When the Bluetooth keyboard folder finally arrived, I tried to use it for a few days but it was just too bulky. In addition, it only had one stance setting (as you can see from the picture) and it was useless on my lap. The hard case was not a whole lot better but at least you could set it on your lap. Also, if you try fold the Bluetooth keyboard back in order to use the tablet by itself, it is an incredibly bulky package indeed. What to do? Fortunately you can detach the Bluetooth keyboard from its folder. So I tried putting the tablet into the hard case and then put that combination and the detached Bluetooth keyboard into my satchel and bingo, I have my solution. When I want to whip out the tablet and work like it is a tablet, I have a good solution that keeps my tablet safe. When I sit down to write or take extensive notes, I pull out the detached Bluetooth keyboard, set the tablet up using the hard case (which has variable positions) and it works a treat. In addition, the tablet in the hard case and the detached Bluetooth keyboard fits easily into my existing satchel as opposed to the Bluetooth keyboard/case combination (my poor old satchel was bursting at the seams!). When I sat down and did the sums, selling my ASUS Infinity on EBay, purchasing the Nexus 10 and the two cases actually left me about $15AU in front! I'm going to go and find me a nice dumpling restaurant, set up my rig and do some work!

Monday, May 6, 2013

In a transition to Nexus

It has been quite a while since I last posted. I had quite a bit on. I had to move all of my other blogs across from Posterous to various services. For my personal blog of faith, justice and culture I chose Tumblr because the Android app is small, light and incredibly well designed.

For this blog I chose Blogger because I am keen to try and do everything on my Android devices.

In addition, I have moved from the Motorola RAZR HD to the Google Nexus 4, which I was finally able to get my hands on. I have to say that the difference between the RAZR HD and the Nexus 4 is drastic to say the least. The Nexus 4 is smooth, fast, solid and so much lighter compared to the bloated version of Android on the Moto.

Because I had such a positive experience of the Nexus 4, I splashed out and got myself a Nexus 10. I thought I would try the Nexus 10 for a few days before I decided whether I would continue using the ASUS Transformer Infinity TF700T or the new Nexus 10. Within minutes it became apparent that the different between the two units was significant.

I don't know what ASUS does to Android but the experience of "vanilla" Android on the Nexus 10 is like using a totally different OS. The smooth, solid, slick performance is vastly superior to the ASUS tablet.

I also discovered that ASUS make tweaks to where certain soft buttons appear in the interface that are just counter intuitive. I am really liking the intuitive nature of the Nexus.

I decided that in future, I will only purchase Nexus devices from here on in.

So the transition is complete. I am just waiting on a cover and Bluetooth keyboard which should arrive in the next few days (and for the sale of the ASUS on eBay) and from here on in, blog posts should be a little more regular.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Another GTD Contender - Openloopz

There was a slight setback in my GTD life this week. NirvanaHQ have decided to pull the pin on their current Android app direction. They will be looking at developing a new Android app from scratch and it may be a couple of months before we see anything. That means I am left with a second version of the beta. It is functional but as you would expect, buggy.

That means that the 2nd place prize winner is back in my focus once again. I haven't written about Openloopz but I have to say, this little app is quite the cracker!

OpenLoopz, IMHO tick's just about all of the boxes, and the ones it doesn't are being developed.

  1. Firstly, it is a very pure implementation of GTD, complete with what I consider to be the Holy Grail on an Android platform, auto next action.
  2. Secondly, it is a smooth, bug free, fast light app. It is a pleasure to use. Seriously, you should check it out. If only the majority of Android apps were both as smooth and aesthetically pleasing.
  3. OpenLoopz also has a handy little geo location dimension to it. If you tag geographical contexts (like @Home and @Work as opposed to @Computer etc) your list of active tasks will be based upon your location. Very very handy, certainly for someone like me.
The reason why it doesn't have a five star rating from me (and indeed the reason I am still hobbling along with Nirvana HQ instead of OpenLoopz) is that:
  1. The big drawback is that it is a hack to make work across multiple devices. There is a backup function, but there is no simple cloud sync option just yet. The developer is working on this as we speak and I look forward to seeing what it will look like.
  2. Another smaller pet peeve of mine is the ability to look at a list of tasks by context. I have not been able to figure out how to do this just yet. What I mean is the ability to flick to @Agenda-Team Meeting and get a list of all the tasks I have added to that context quickly. (This was the reason why MLO is in third place, see my previous posts for more info on that handy little app.)
So in my mind, it is a race. NirvanaHQ are working on their Android app to supplement their first class web based GTD system, whilst OpenLoopz has a brilliant Android app but are now working on the back end. A race to the middle. Good luck to the both of them.

Watch this space.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Apps - Cloudmagic

I work in a mixed environment. Android, Windows and Mac. Our organisation has a BYOD policy too.

In such an environment, even thought we use Dropbox as a team, various staff members use a range of different cloud based solutions for file storage.

I would often find myself spending a little bit of time trying to figure out of that shared file we were working on was emailed to me, in Dropbox, in Evernote etc.

Enter this little life saver of an app. Cloudmagic connects to a whole bunch of cloud based storage services and will search across them for you helping you quickly find the file in question. I probably use it once a week but I reckon it saves about 15 minutes each time I do. Give it a crack and let me know what you reckon.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Music to help you concentrate

I have a long train trip to and from work. Just under an hour each way. Each morning I get my inbox to zero and then make a significant start on my to do list.

On the way home, I move all my notes into respective emails or tasks to get stuff done.

One of the biggest hindrances in being productive on the train is intrusive noise. I have found that listening to music that has no lyrics (or lyrics in a language other than English) with a slightly mellow feel with a small degree of tension helps me concentrate well and get stuff done.

I have been slowly compiling this playlist on Spotify and I share it with you here for your listening (and productive) pleasure! Playlist - Train Trance

Monday, January 7, 2013

Manage labels in Gmail Android app to keep you focused.

If you take a close look at my notification area down the bottom right hand corner of my ASUS Transformer Infinity, you will see two GMail icons. This is a little trick that I picked up a while ago.

If you are involved in several areas of work, or if you like to split your work and personal email, you can actually create separate notifications for GMail labels.

I have a general inbox. In addition there is a mailing list that I am part of and I need to be on top of that one as well. So I set the label (from within the GMail app itself) so that when GMail sorts my inbox and transfers incoming mail from my inbox to the folder containing email from this mailing list, I get a separate notification.

Helps me focus. Hope you find this little tip helpful.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Boost productivity on Android. Use a mouse! (Oh, and I'm done transferring my Tumblr posts to Blogger!)

Done! I have transferred all my posts manually from Tumblr to Blogger.

Remember how I said that I was tempted to use my PC? Well I remembered at the last minute (before I gave way to temptation) that you can plug just about any kind of USB mouse into the Transformer series and off you go.

I did so with my Transformer Infinity and the copy/paste process was speeded up by about a factor of three! Keep this in mind if you have a Transformer and you want to be that little bit more productive.

Best office app on Android? My vote goes to Polaris Office.

When I bought my ASUS Transformer TF101, it came with an unassuming app called Polaris Office. I have not realised just how much I have come to appreciate this elegant, well designed and very sturdy piece of software.
I upgraded my TF101 to the Prime (TF201) and it also came with Polarise Office as a part of the stock software.
I recently upgraded phones and was looking through the app store for Polaris. I found it but I was not able to install it on any of my devices. Got the old “not valid in your country” rubbish! I guess I will have to wait before the company feels confident enough to go public on Android with it.
Better go write my letter to Santa!

The new beastie! Motorola RAZR HD

It’s been a while since I posted last. It’s been a very busy time of year. In addition I’ve been promoted to a new role which includes some management responsibilities.
This means I need to be even more productive.
All of this activity coincides with my old mobile phone contract reaching its conclusion. And you know what that means!
That’s right! New phone!
After doing some little research, I decided on the new Nexus 4. Problem was ever since it’s release, the Australian site had constantly been sold out.
So I researched both the Samsung S3 and the Motorola RAZR HD.
In the end I decided on the Motorola. The deciding factors in the end were (a) exceptional battery life of almost 2 days in standby mode, (b) kevlar chassis (I bang and drop stuff) and most importantly, ever since Google bought Motorola, (c) the Android updates are becoming more and more vanilla like, with less an less bloatware.
I’m about a week in with the new phone and am really liking the simple things like Smart Actions. The improvement in Google voice actions is also pretty impressive. My experience is that Google Voice Actions is simpler, faster and more effective for productivity than Siri on my partners new iPhone 5 (we got new phones at the same time).
Hopefully with my transition to my new role almost complete and with a new phone, regular updates will be the norm.

My GTD App of choice - Nirvana HQ

When it comes to GTD, after a year and a half of finding the ultimate solution on Android/Windows, I have settled for Nirvana HQ. Nirvana meets the following criteria which in my mind, are critical in order for a solution to qualify as a GTD solution.
  • Firstly, it achieves that Holy Grail facility of “auto next action”. When you create multiple projects (I believe you need to be a subscribing customer in order to be able to create more than five projects) the various “next” views that you utilise (by context, area etc) will only be populated by the top tasks in your various projects. When you mark a tasks completed in that view, Nirvana will then automatically refresh your current “next” task list by selecting the next sequential task from the project in question.
  • Nirvana HQ is platform agnostic. The main interface is web based. The features are amazing in such a cheap solution. (Free or $39US per year). They have a mobile site for use on tablets and mobile phones.
  • There is offline access too. Currently there is an iPhone app (which you can also use on the iPad) and the Android client is in beta. I have been part of the alpha and now beta program.
  • They allow tagging tasks with multiple contexts. Some GTD solutions only allow you to tag a task with one context. This is a good discipline but sometimes it can be a little inflexible.
In addition, the developers and community are incredibly helpful and active.
If you are looking for the ultimate solution, check them out. Seriously, after one and a half years, I don’t think it gets any better than this.
If you reckon there is something better, I’d love to hear from you!

Do I still need a Windows laptop?

These days I use my Transformer Prime more than I do my Dell laptop. I probably use my laptop once or twice week and that is primarily to create content (word processing documents that require a bit of image manipulation, presentation file creation etc) but 7 days a week I use the Prime.
I got away with using the Prime. I wasn’t super confident as Android 4.0 whilst being reasonably stable and visually pleasing, was a little unstable. I would get an app crash once every 2 days or so and perhaps twice a week I would have to reboot the device.
That all changed when Asus upgraded the Prime to 4.1 (Jelly Bean). If you have been holding off getting an Android tablet, I think that if you can get one running version 4.1, now is the time to take the plunge. Solid, reliable and very productive.

How MLO *almost* worked for me as a GTD solution on Android.

When I hit the limitation of Due Today, I did some research and found what I thought was going to be the Holy Grail of GTD goodness on the Android (and Windows) platform.
My Life Organized (In Australia, we spell organised with an “s” instead of a “z”. Still a bit strange to type it with a Z.) is a brilliant solution.
The Android app is small, reasonably simple to install (you have to purchase a code and then insert it into the app. I believe it is a little more seamless through the app store these days) and after an hour or two, reasonably easy to use.
There are two main reasons that I used it extensively for almost a year. Firstly, the Windows app. The Windows app, whilst looking decidedly 1990’s, is pretty powerful. In terms of functionality, it seems to be the equivalent of Omnifocus on the Mac. Ugly as a mangy dog, BUT powerful.
I would do the bulk of my work on the Windows app and use the Android app during the day on the road.
This leads me to the second reason I used MLO for a while. Cloudsync. They use their own servers and you need to pay a subscription fee per year. It felt a little cheeky to pay for the Android app, the Windows app and then subscription for a cloud based service, but it is a pretty powerful solution.
The last time I used MLO (about 3 months ago now) you had to manually get the Android app (and the Windows app now that I think about it) to sync, but I never had a problem with syncing.
Once again, you can smell the big hairy but can’t you?
I was beginning a meeting with a colleague of mine. I got my Android phone out, selected all tasks assigned to the context @Agenda-Chris and only one was listed. I was pretty sure there were at least 4 things in my system to talk to Chris about but for the life of me I couldn’t find them. I fiddled around, whilst apologising profusely to Chris whilst we tried to manage the agenda for the meeting and finally found a “tasks by context” view on the Android app.
The tree view showed that I indeed had 4 items assigned to this context. I hit the line item on the tree view and no cigar. It told me how may I had but would only allow me to view the “Next” task. This is great GTD methodology but the system totally failed me when it came to giving me all tasks by context.
The frustration was quite profound! That particular approach is is totally doable on the Windows client. The only way that I could get a list is to either use my laptop computer in meetings (which often happen in cafe’s) or to print a list in advance from my Windows machine and take it with me to a meeting (or take a quick screen shot with my phone).
I asked the guys at MLO (who are incredibly friendly and responsive by the way!) if it was possible and if I was just missing something but they said that this was in fact how they had designed the Android app. This is an abject fail as far as I am concerned as the majority of my work is meeting with people and discussing lists of issues. Over half my contexts are either individual people or meetings that I attend.
I continued to try and make it work but in the end I had to admit that the mucking around to make it work was taking me longer than actually getting things done.
At that point, I had to reluctantly say goodbye to MLO, as much as I really enjoyed using it, and began my search for the solution that I am using now. More on that in my next post.
I would be interested to hear if anyone hit the same limitation with MLO, if they have discovered a work around, or indeed if it is now possible to get a view of tasks by context?

A question from Klintron

You wrote: "There is only 1 app (currently, there is one more in the works due at the end of October) in the Google Play store that actually does this." Are you referring to MyLifeOrganized? It does this and it's what I use but I'd be interested in hearing about another solution if one exists. What's coming at the end of October? I know Nirvana does auto next and has an Android app in beta...

Hey Klintron, thanks for the question. Whilst MLO does auto next action, its fundamental inability to allow you to view all tasks tagged with a specific context powerfully shoots itself in the foot. (In case you don’t know what I am talking about, on the Android app you can’t pull out all tasks assigned to say “@Agenda-Meeting”, you can only see the next action tagged with the context. Useless for setting meeting agendas unless you pull out your laptop and fire up the Windows client.)
So when I refer to the one client, I am talking about Shuffle. The last time I used Shuffle, the online sync function was problematic at best.
And yes, the “end of October” app is Nirvana.
Does that answer all your questions?

Due Today - Another almost GTD solution for Android

The next GTD solution I tried for my combined Android tablet, phone and Windows PC solution was Due Today.
Due Today is a nice piece of software. It synch’s with Toodledo, it is smooth, clean, beautiful and the developer is incredibly friendly and responsive to questions, comments and requests.
I purchased the app and used the Windows desktop client as well for about a year.
(You can hear the “but” coming can’t you!)
However, eventually I abandoned Due Today for the simple reason that it doesn’t do the one critical thing that I need in a GTD system, essentially that is Auto Next Action.
I spend a few times a week reviewing my projects and tasks, placing then in order and then when I am out and about, I want to view my next actions and then bang through them without having to think and prioritise on the go. With Due Today, as you complete your current actions, you list of things to do slowly disappears until you have nothing left. What you then need to do is go back into review mode and manually promote the next actions from each of your projects (actually setting the status of each task as “Next”) in order for you populate your Next Actions list.
I asked the developer if he was intending on implementing this feature. He did say that this would make the app so much more powerful however it was not a priority in the foreseeable future.
This is tragic for 2 reasons:
  1. Auto Next Action in an app is classic GTD and what an app that is seeking to really help the user to be productive rather than having to enter into review mode at various times during the week and…
  2. There is only 1 app (currently, there is one more in the works due at the end of October) in the Google Play store that actually does this.
The first person to develop a GTD app that does this is pretty much going to rule the roost, once people cotton on to the power of Auto Next Action.

A helpful look at the "fragmentation" argument, and no, I am not talking Android but iOS

One of the arguments critics of Android make against getting an Android device is that of “fragmentation”, essentially different versions of Android OS and the frustration developers have with creating software that can work across multiple versions of the OS across multiple devices.
This thoughtful piece looks at the same phenomenon across Apple’s range of devices. Worth a read, particularly if you are about to take the plunge into the Apple ecosystem.

GTD Apps

So, probably the first app I ever tried to manage tasks on Android was GTasks by Dato. It synched with Google Tasks and worked a treat. Problem was, Google Tasks requires some work if you want to use it as a GTD system.
I found that whilst the app was a great slick simple to do system, I spent way too much time shuffling tasks from one folder to another and/or from project folder to project folder.
The lack of Auto Next action has been the bane of my Android GTD quest and ultimately this is what broke the bank for me.
If someone comes up with an app that synch’s with Google Tasks AND allows you to tag your tasks (with more,than one tag at a time) that would be a significant move towards GTD.
Anyone successfully using Google Tasks as a basis for your GTD system?
Next: Due Today

What is GTD?

What's a GTD?
GTD is an acronym for “Get things done”. The way I often describe it to others is a “to do” system for people with short attention spans who are easily distracted. Like me.
I was introduced to GTD by friends of mine, Tim Jeffries and Phil McCredden. Both of them love me, and wanted to help me get more productive.
Enter GTD.
It’s basically a method or procedure developed by a fellow called David Allen and described in his book “Getting things done”.
Basically, GTD helps you get everything out of your head into various lists. You then “action” your lists based on a handy little concept called “the context”.
A context is a tool, person or thing that you need in order to complete the task or action.
So if I have a task “email Tim”, I need to be at either my phone, my tablet or my computer in order to complete the action.
So there I am, sitting on a chair with my tablet. I go to my list find the items tagged with the context @Tablet. Bingo bango shmango. A list of things I can do with my tablet in hand.
I will go into more detail about GTD in future posts, however I wanted to flag GTD with you so that when I start to describe Android GTD apps, you know what it is that I am talking about.

How do you take a screen shot on a Jelly Bean device?

It took me a couple of seconds on Google to figure this one out. You press and hold your power button and your volume down button at the same time, AND hold then for at least two seconds until you hear the click.

Tumblr Productive Droid Import III -Second Problem, restricted Tumblr Android App

So I head over to the Google Play store to find the Tumblr app. I installed it on my phone and wanted to get it onto the Transformer Prime. No cigar! I get the dreaded “Incompatible” message. Apparently it is only available on phone devices and not wifi only devices.
That is a little dumb I have to say.
Anyone use an alternative Tumblr app on a wifi droid? I’d love to hear your experiences.

UPDATE: As of today, Tumblr now make their app available for wifi only devices. On my Transformer Infinity, the app still forces you to use it in portrait mode which is a little silly, but I still think that it is slightly more elegant than the Blogger app.

Tumblr Productive Droid Import II - First Problem, Blogger

First problem I had was setting up a blog. I was going to use because I tend to be faithful to things. So…
I checked out, new interface. (It’s been a few years)…
I started deleting some old blogs and now I am locked out of the interface.
KNOWN BUG: Apparently after some research, I discovered that this is a known bug. Some people have been locked out of Blogger for over 6 months with nary a “gee that’s sad” from a Google tech! So be careful if you are a blogger user.

Tumblr Productive Droid Import 1 - Hello World

This is the first of the imported posts from my Tumblr Blog.

Years ago I kept a tech blog. It really was a place where I noted down answers to technical problems I faced and solved and might want to reference again in the future. A few people found it, left comments, recommended their friends and behold, a technology blog was born!

I haven’t updated it for quite a few years now.

The last few days I have been geeking away quite a bit (I used to geek for a living, now I do other stuff and geek for fun, and productivity) and I needed to record some things somewhere so I am revisiting the tech blog concept.

So here it goes! As you can see from the title, it will largely be about being productive on the Android platform. I got a little inspiration from a friend who was following a blog about a guy who did everything with an iPad.

So, the blog will be about:
  • Productivity (with a GTD focus).
  • Android (Specifically my Samsung Galaxy Nexus Motorola RAZR HD phone - stock JB and my Asus Prime ASUS Transformer Infinity- stock ICS).
  • Various apps I use to be productive.
  • Various adventures I have in trying to be productive.

Hope you like it.

Tumblr Import - Fail

When I first set out to set up this blog, Blogger was not working for me (see posts below). So I set it up initially on Tumblr. Now that Blogger is up and running I looked for a way to export Tumblr posts in such a way that I could import them into Blogger. 

The only option was a script that someone wrote that allowed you to export Tumblr posts in .xml format (for Wordpress import) but the Blogger import function failed with a generic error code that doesn't explain a whole lot. That is something that frustrates me with some Google products. Generic error codes that don't help much!

So, I am stuck with the old fashioned approach, cut and paste. I have to confess, at this point, I am really tempted to turn on the PC as alt+tab,  ctl+c and ctl+v look really tempting! Let's see what I can do on the Transformer Infinity!

Friday, January 4, 2013

So, got my response from Adsense. Apparently I will be able to merge my two accounts. Let me know if you want any information regarding this. Happy to post some more.

I tried to import all my Tumblr posts but I hit a snag. I might need to jump onto a PC to do that. I will give it another few goes and see what happens. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


So I have decided to create a new Adsense account as the old one was associated with a business I used to run.

I have submitted by application (on the Transformer) and will have to wait until I hear back from Google on that. Hopefully there won't be too much hassle regarding two accounts. I will see how it goes.

The next few things I want to do are:
  1. Play around with the template and see if I can find a nice one!
  2. Look at importing posts from Tumblr. (When I could not get Blogger going, I opened a Tumble account. If I can import the posts, then I can let all my Tumblr followers know that I will be blogging at this site instead.
Here I go!

This one from the Blogger Android App

So this post is coming to you from the Blogger Android App. Very nice. First time I have used it. It is light, quick and elegant. The next step is to see how easily I can add Adsense to the account. Here I go.

Hello World!

Finally I am here! I tried this a few months ago but I was stymied, so here I am again giving it a crack.

What am I having a crack at? Well, basically, I want to see if it is possible to do all of my normal jobs (I am Engagement Manager at a Christian NGO called Urban Seed, an organisation that works in the most disadvantaged suburbs of Australia's second most populous state, as well as being a Senior Minister of a Church in Melbourne's north eastern suburbs, you can learn more about that at using only Android.

In addition, I wanted to monetise this site to make a little extra cash on the side so I can indulge one of my passions which is technology.

I tried setting up Blogger (I used it many years ago and moved to different platforms for all sorts of reasons) but struck a few snags.

The snags were:

  1. The set up for Adsense was all messed up. I couldn't get back into Adsense. A fault logged with Google got a response within two weeks so here I am.
  2. In addition, Blogger was all messed up too. I deleted a whole bunch of Blogger blogs that I had not used for some time and the Blogger interface locked me out. Again, a fault logged with Blogger. That took about 2 months to be resolved.
I did all of that using the first Nesux (Samsung Galaxy) and a ASUS Transformer Prime.

Today (and from here on in) all activity on this site will be done only with my new Motorola RAZR HD (Running Android 4.1.2) and my 3 day old ASUS Transformer Infinity 4.1.1. Let's see if I can be productive!

Google News Redux