Getting it done!

Tasks has been a fantastic application for me. It’s a php/myql hierarchical Task Manager and about the best I have used. What this means is you can easily keep track of complex multi-step tasks or simply organize things into groups. I initially blogged this about the release of Tasks Pro about a month ago and have been using Tasks (the “lite” version) since. I’ve got it installed on a remote server, but you can easily install it locally as well.

Everything happens in the browser though once you have things running you can easily view your tasks in iCal which is excellent as they then sync over to your Palm. This is a one-way sync, you can’t write back to the Tasks system, but that has actually not bothered me like I initially thought it might.

I get a daily email reminder with all my tasks thanks to a nightly cron job that was easy to configure, your mileage here might vary depending on your skill level, though if you installed PHP and MySQL, you can probably figure out cron.

Tonight I upgraded my installation to the Tasks 2.0 beta and it is most impressive.

On the surface – literally – are themes so you can change the way the app looks from serious to more fun. The next main difference is that all the configuration now occurs from within the app itself, rather than in a config file via text editor over ftp. You now can configure authentication within the application instead of having to rely on an .htaccess file which is very user friendly. A new sort option called Magic Sort and seems to be a good way to go for now… have to actually learn what that one really does. It was the default, so far so good.

You can also control how Tasks publishes to phpiCalendar (included) which then allows iCal (and other aware apps) to subscribe to the published file. In the original version, you could just subscribe, but now you can choose to publish as a Task instead of Event as it used to be. This is a great change for me, since on my Palm things are now in the ToDo app rather than in my Calendar as a float for what is due that day. I noticed that in order to get this to work in iCal, you have to actually un-check the remove todo option in the calendar which was initially selected blocking the Tasks from showing up. There is a button now within Tasks that lets you instantly subscribe to the Calendar – again a very nice user friendly touch that changes the discover the url in the docs procedure from 1.x.

You can publish to a B2, Moveable Type or WordPress blog if you have one, which could be cool to do on occasion. The addition of Notes to Tasks might cause me to do this more this time around. I find myself using Tasks all the time for various things so keeping Notes is very logical to me.

At the heart of it all is a very simple, yet powerful task management system. Thanks to the MySQL database you can include all kinds of helpful information with the task beyond just when you might want to have things completed. Version 1 allowed for priority, percent, some notes and the addition of URLs which might be relevant. Tasks 2.0 includes some more tricks. You can now add files to tasks which is great for project work – say a creative brief, the photoshop file you have etc. This is then accessible anywhere you have a browser. The Pro version (something I won’t be covering in any detail here) offers a group mode so you can send tasks, notes and files around between the users of your installation.

You can now select tasks to be billable and also keep track of time spent on things. I have yet to try this as, well I did just get it up and running tonight but expect to for a variety of things.

Tasks 2.0 beta seems to be a fantastic upgrade to what was already a great tool for everyday organization. I am looking forward to using it much more and would recommend this to anyone juggling more than a few things. The version out now – 1.8x is free to try and donation-ware with a suggested offer of $25. I think you would be hard pressed to find an application that is anywhere as powerful for anywhere close to this price. The Pro Version is currently $125 for a 5 user license – again a great price.


Love the name and I consider myself a newsjunkie as it is… so a product that can make life easier… oh wait that’s NetNewsWire. Seriously though if the filtering works as rumored it will be very cool to use the site regularly.

Microsoft is readying its own entry in the news search game, according to this Mercury News piece on “Newsjunkie,” the latest purposeful leak out of Microsoft’s research labs. Features sound cool, and certainly point to some common themes I’ve heard cropping up in discussions of next generation search engines.

Using principles of artificial intelligence and information retrieval, NewsJunkie keeps track of what a reader has already seen. It reorganizes news stories to rank those with the most new information at the top and push those with repetitive information to the bottom, or filter them out entirely.

NewsJunkie can help improve news alerts beyond key words to offer only new information, the researchers said. Dumais is working on a similar project to make search happen behind… [John Battelle’s Searchblog]

New layout…

If you read this by RSS, you are missing a redesign in (serious) progress… Nothing too crazy but pretty good for my skillz. I honestly started working through the stylesheet and ideas I found within GigaOm so if if looks in anyway familiar that might be the case. My design is inspired by but in no way as elegant or complex as what is going on there… but I am working on it.

I’ve got a lot to learn in CSS land… just scratching the surface.


If you like your SliMp3 or Sqeezebox and have wanted to be able to sync the music with your computer’s MP3 player, now you can…

SoftSqueeze is a software implementation of the Squeezebox allowing your PC to stream the same music as your Squeezebox. SoftSqueeze has been implemented in Java, allowing it to work on Windows, Linux and Macs. This project has only just started, but already an alpha version has been released… [SoftSqueeze]

Sonys Electronic Ink Book

Looks like a very cool ebook reader. 500 Books!

Sony says that next month they’re going to come out with an e-book reader that uses Philips™ new electronic ink technology. The LIBRIe will have a resolution of 170 pixels per inch (more than twice that of most computer monitors), enough memory to hold up to 500 e-books, and its four AAA batteries provide enough juice to flip through more than 10,000 pages. [Engadget ]

The Eudaemonic Pie

I recall it being quite good as well. I was fortunate enough to have a class in college taught by the author as well as an extra bonus.

After reading my review of Bringing Down the House, Madpro pal Stefan Jones reminded me about a similar book called The Eudaemonic Pie, by Thomas A. Bass, describing it as “Chaos theory wonks build shoes with computers hidden in them to predict roulette wheel results. Highly recommended.” I agree. It’s been a while since I read it, but I remember it being deeper and more thought-provoking than Bringing Down the House. Buy from Amazon [Mad Professor]

AOL Takes Down Spammers’ Offer Pages

Amazing no one thought to do this earlier…

Taking a page from the Chinese government’s playbook, AOL proved the first U.S. Internet provider to attack spam by taking down the websites of spammers. By denying access to the pages to which spam emails link, spammers have no commercial motive to keep sending the messages to annoyed AOL subscribers.

The move, started quietly early this year, is sure to bring protest by companies whose affiliate marketers manage – through ham-handed email marketing – to put the brand websites in hot AOL web water. eCommerce Times reports. [marketingvox]

iLife 84

Tired of your screaming 2.4 Gigahertz Windows XP monstrosity? Take a chill pill with “iLife ’84,” a 8Mhz, monochromatic adventure in “aaahhh” land. [The Daily Blog]

RSS Everywhere

So many blogs, so little time. If you want to stay at the top of the information food chain, you gotta read ’em – lots of ’em. And you have to do it every day. But as that list of must-read blogs grows, hunting and gathering the latest posts becomes a daily drain. You could hire an assistant to read them for you. Or tap into RSS. [Wired News

Guru Red Manifesto

Good and thought provoking material…

Mike Smock and Curt Sahakian now offer the Guru Red Manifesto online, proposing a 52-point plan to improve organizational agility, assertiveness, cohesiveness, and subtlety. [Fast Company Now]

TiVo looks to tune in to advertisers

The company hopes advertisers will warm to its latest experiment, due out in the next few months. Known as Video-to-Video, the idea is to let viewers click a button on their remote control to immediately watch a 3-minute video describing products and services that might appeal to them. The marketing clips are promoted through small icons that appear on the TV screen as viewers fast-forward past regular ads.

Video-to-video is similar to a service TiVo has previously sold without much demand. But the company hopes the new promotions will better lure marquee advertisers. Many issues have yet to be worked out. But for advertisers, TiVo’s new feature could help usher in changes to TV advertising that ad executives say is sorely in need of an overhaul. [CNET]

Dave Grohl on Paris Hilton

PARIS HILTON Her forthcoming singing debut: sign of the apocalypse or inevitable career move? Perhaps both. Either way, this baby’s going to get some serious play on this D.J.’s deck — right alongside Divine’s cover of “Name Game” and Steve Martin’s “King Tut.” Granted, I haven’t heard it yet, but I’m looking forward to this like I look forward to the next Christopher Guest movie. And she’s already made the video! [NYT Playlist]