Joe Ganley

I make software and sometimes other things.


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Due to the nature of my work, I keep a calendar on my desk at work that is separate from my various personal calendar and note-taking machinery.

Initially I used a standard month-at-a-glance calendar, but I found it a nuisance writing things inside of little boxes. Then I switched to a linear perpetual calendar (similar to this) - basically just a lined, numbered list - but found that in locating today on the page, I often don't know the date exactly, but rely on the day of the week as an indexing cue.

So what I came up with was a list format, but with the day numbers offset according to the day of the week. Here is this month's in PDF form: weekdays only, which is what I use, or with the full week. One of these days I may automate the generation of these, but in the meantime I'll try to post each month's as I generate it for myself.

No sooner had I posted this than I ran across a similar (but prettier) design from Amy Marcella (via Oh So Beautiful Paper).

Update: Here's December, weekdays only and full week. If anyone uses these, please make a comment to that effect, as otherwise I won't bother posting subsequent months.

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My search for a means of tracking tasks continues. In the cloud, I tried out Remember the Milk, Ta-da List, Todoist, and Toodledo. Of these, Toodledo is my favorite, but ultimately I wasn't happy with it either, and in any event I really wanted a local app rather than a web-based solution, because I want my data kept locally and I want to be able to use it when I'm offline.

In the app world, I tried the Jira bug-tracking system, which is free for personal use, but it is far heavier-weight than I need for this purpose. I tried AxoSoft OnTime and FruitfulTime TaskManager, but didn't really care for either of those. Things looks really nice, but it's Mac-only. My current favorite is Tudumo. It's simple and well-designed, and while it isn't quite perfect, I have few complaints. I like that it is designed with simplicity as a primary goal, it is GTD-friendly, it is reasonably priced (though not free), it has a generous 60-day trial period, and it gives me full control over my data (it will export CSV). If I end up sticking with it, I'll make a later post about how I think it could be improved.

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I've been looking for an electronic way to track my to-do lists, tasks, and projects. None of the online services I've tried does quite what I want, and anyway I prefer to keep the data locally. This morning I had the revelation that what I wanted was almost identical to the functionality of a bug-tracking system. I could use Bugzilla! I've used it as a client for years, but never tried to install it myself. Here is how the installation instructions begin:

  • Install Perl.
  • Install a Database Engine.
  • Install a Webserver.
And anyway, it isn't clear whether it works on Windows. Fail.

It seemed that a smart business model for commercial bug-tracking software would be to give away single-user licenses for personal use. And indeed, AxoSoft does this. However, I installed it, and it is incredibly complicated. I didn't look at it long enough to determine whether it just has way more functionality than I need, or is poorly engineered, but certainly its interface is overwhelmingly complex for the simple things I need to do.

I'd love to try FogBugz for this purpose, but even a single-user license is $200. I wouldn't mind paying, but that's far too much for what I need.

So, I keep looking. I might have to write something myself.

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