Rogue Imagineer
元:Cory Doctorow

Here's a timely piece by way of Cory Doctorow which every software designer should read. I think it is much more important than what the "interface gurus" have to say. I say timely, because I just updated one of my master todo lists, all of which are stored in plain text files. Not included in his notes, but just as important is what I call 'data file format rot', which is something like link rot. Consider these other types of todo management list software which I have tried (with various levels of success) to employ:

1. Track Record which was a defect tracking system developed by the makers of 'Brief', one of my favorite text editors of all time. I still have a Win16 version of TrackRecord with a bunch of files stored in the object-oriented database. However, to access it, I need to keep a copy of VirtualPC handy.
2. Task-management software for my Palm-enabled Samsung phone. I'm sure there are some todo lists on that phone which have items I have forgotten. The phone is around somewhere. Let's see, to retrieve, find a PC with a 9-pin serial port, install the Palm desktop, sync, and export.
3. Word. I have some word documents around that have todo lists from pre-1995. Microsoft has been pretty good about including backwards-compatible file readers in Office. However, I ran into a situation recently where a Word for Windows 2.0 file wouldn't open. I got a message about this, and had to, let's see, run Word 6.0 (also a Windows 3.1 application) and save the file as RTF. Speaking of RTF, great format invented by Microsoft.
4. Nokia phone. I use the ToDo list function in my phone in lieu of paper notes. It works great, and I almost always have my phone with me. A lot of times I will see a product that I want to research later on the internet. The phone allows me to type in the product information without bothering the sales clerk, who probably thinks you are going to buy in the store without checking the price online....

It is definitely the case that Text files have served me well in keeping track of what things to do.

Danny O'Brien's Life Hacks.
Here are my running notes from Danny O'Brien's NotCon recapulation of his "Life Hacks" talk. Danny interviewed a bunch of prolific geeks and asked them how they do it: this is his distillation of the habits of the geeks who spew the most code, words and such. Wish he'd turn this into a book already!
People use todo.txt (Ford's is 27,000 lines long).

By : Cory Doctorow



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