Getting Things Done (and getting your data out of Cultured Code’s Things.app)

I’m a big fan of David Allen’s book Getting Things Done. When it comes to effective organization you could probably read this book and be done, it really is that good.

One issue I have with the book though is that it’s very paper centric. As a Yard-O-Led fountain pen and Rhodia notebook loving scribbler I have to say I can dig that. I really can.

But the thing that irks me with a paper based workflow is that eventually, at some point, I know I’m going to have to type my paper notes up!

To that end I need some good software to organize my TODO lists.

For years I’ve turned to Cultured Code’s Things. It’s a beautifully designed application but has not been without its problems. In the early days of productivity software Things was relatively alone in the marketplace. Today things are very different with Asana, Todoist, Wunderlist, TaskPaper and a whole myriad of other entrants crowding up the productivity suite market.

Things hasn’t kept up and it’s high time I switched. Unfortunately Cultured Code hasn’t seen fit to put any sort of decent export functionality into Things. Thankfully however they do offer AppleScript functionality so an evening of hacking led me to produce a script which pulls the data out of their database and sticks it into a nice CSV.

From there you can copy and paste it into the task app of your choice or alternatively import it using your own script-fu.

The background to our lives

John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, John Lennon, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln and that legendary queen of Queen; Freddie Mercury – so many showmen have graced the stage of life. They have enlivened our worlds and broadened our horizons. They have pushed us from complacency and made us look at the world with new eyes. They have enriched us and inspired us and they have left us before their time.

It was with heavy heart that I heard of Steven P. Jobs’ passing. He was one of the greats. A man who pushed us and his peers, a man who showed us that there was a better way of doing things. Whilst his passage from this life was expected; his health visibly failing at every public appearance – his loss still came as a blow. Felt keenly around the world, it was a loss for which many of us felt wholly unprepared.

Jobs’ legacy, from the Apple II to the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad have been part of the background of our lives. Those few who haven’t used his products have certainly used those of his competitors – products which borrowed and benefitted from his great designs. He might not have been the sole creator but his influence was evident in the high standards of each.

My heroes in this world have been those lofty individuals who almost canonised have passed into legend – JFK, RFK, Lennon, MLK, Lincoln, Freddie Mercury. These men however are obvious choices. What surprised me about Steve Jobs’ death was not how acutely his passing was felt, but that I hadn’t realised he’d been a hero all along.

Below are a selection of family images from over the years. From a little girl’s first e-mail to cousins communicating across continents Apple have been a valuable part of our lives:

From viewfinder to wall

From the moment you press the shutter a picture takes on a life which goes from your camera, to your darkroom (be it digital or chemical) where after being burnt and dodged (and in some cases bodged) it goes for printing. You do print your pictures don’t you? I have a hunch that with the advent of digital photography the vast majority of us leave our digital treasures gathering dust on our computer hard drives – I know I certainly do.

With the advent of photo management software, organising this digital soup has become a shedload easier and thanks to the power of programs like Lightroom and Aperture, the digital darkroom has finally come of age (it actually came of age a year or two ago, but I digress…). We are now able to push and tweak our photos so that they go from this:

to this:

The former, whilst nice hardly represents what I saw and felt when I took the picture – the latter however does, and certainly has the pizazz I need to justify printing the picture and hanging it on my wall. Which neatly segues to my topic – printing. Rather than go through the pain (and it is a pain) of keeping and maintaining a desk hogging, top notch inkjet, that requires the expense of cartridges and special photo-paper I prefer to let someone else deal with all that hassle.

Quite simply – taking pictures is what I like – picture printing – meh, I’ll let someone else do that for me.

Unfortunately being an anally-retentive perfectionist I needed someone truly high calibre to handle my printing (not that my pictures are that high calibre to be honest, but as the saying goes ‘if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right’). The big internet printers like Photobox I found to be good on price but not so good on quality so I was rather pleased when I discovered that one of the better printers, theprintspace can be found right here in London, and specialize in a particular type of printing called C-Type (or Type-C), which involves projecting the digital image onto light sensitive photographic paper rather than printing ink on paper. This apparently results in a higher quality, longer lasting print.

I chose to print the above macro image of a daisy as well as the following three pictures:

Flower Anther Macro


Erin Black and White

 

Leon Black and White

 

How did they turn out? Good – pretty damn good. (One thing I discovered, and no doubt my lack of experience is showing; the image needs to be sharpened more for printing than they do for on screen viewing – and not just a little but a fair amount). Now not only do theprintspace offer printing, they provide color calibrated workstations for you to prepare your print so that you can be sure that what you see on screen is what you get. And if that wasn’t enough they can mount the print onto card, mdf, plastic, aluminium and a bunch of other materials, with prices which aren’t too unreasonable. Now I’m not going to be sending hundreds of holiday snaps through them sure, but for the pictures I’ve taken which I feel are worth hanging up – only theprintspace will do.

 

 

Hello world!

After months of procrastinating (and after waving a tearful goodbye to my old site), I have decided upon WordPress for my new photo journal. Combining my irreverent wit and technical prowess I shall be writing about camera tech and hopefully pausing to take a picture or two. No doubt I’ll spend more time fetishizing camera gear than actually showing what it’s capable of, but putting this blog up I feel is accomplishment enough that I can allow myself some bad habits 😉