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Pilch

Year-in-Review 2016, or The Last Thing Anyone Wants To Read Right Now

3 min read

What a year it has been. Personally, 2016 was pretty good. Our child is now walking and talking constantly, mostly about Thomas the Tank Engine1. Some of my brothers got married (one literal, two figurative). I developed a fairly consistent note-taking habit, first with Workflowy and then with some Field Notes. Probably worth its own post at a later date.

Having a toddler means I don’t get out as much as I used to, so my Official Dad Best-Of–2016 awards go to Deadpool, the new Ghostbusters, and the newest season of The Venture Brothers. Rogue One was also pretty good.

The Rest Of The World

Professionally, and for the world in general, it has been a goddamn nightmare.

Here’s my list of (mostly terrible) things that happened, month by month, with some good tweets for flavor. I’ll try to avoid the elephant in the room.2

And I’m pretty sure nothing else happened. May we all take these lessons into the next year, lest history repeats.


  1. There is no fairer tyrannical ruler than Sir Topham Hatt. Also, how is the Man In The Yellow Hat not broke? Ten seasons and 4 movies later, Curious George should have put him in the poor house.  ↩

  2. via GIPHY

     ↩

Pilch

Bullet Journaling

2 min read

Flip-flopping yet again, I found another organization method to try out called the Bullet Journal. This one is decidedly analog, and the only major commitment is carrying around a notebook.

The idea is to record everything as a bullet point. Tasks get checkboxes, events get circles, and everything is gets a standard bullet. It seems simple enough, but there are some benefits over digital.

  • The act of writing something down makes you more likely to remember it.
  • It forces you to be constantly reviewing1 your notes, which keeps them fresh in your mind.
  • It keeps you mindful about what you record. I still type faster than I write, so I am not going to take the time to record something in the journal that will have little value.
  • You have to stick with it. With the digital services, I could jump back and forth between them while testing them out. I am in this Bullet Journal thing until I run out of pages in my notebook, which could take several months.

So far it is working well. I did need to upgrade to a larger notebook; I thought the 3.5 x 5.5 inch one would do, but it is hard to fit everything in. is already suited for this, with its own notebooks and OCR capability, so my technology geek cred is still relatively intact I think. (And I fist tried it with Workflowy, which worked briefly but became a little unwieldy). If you are a habitual note taker, I recommend giving this method a shot.


  1. No matter how many times I yelled "CONTROL F CHECKBOX" at my Moleskine, it would not highlight unfinished tasks for me. 

Pilch

Productivity in the Age of Angry Flapping Birds

3 min read

I am a flip-flopper. The newest thing is always best; the grass perpetually greener. It is why I just got a new phone, and why my employer using Windows XP (!!!) on all employee laptops until late last year drove me crazy.

In addition, my favorite form of procrastination is reading about new ways to do work. All the bases are covered - the illusion of work, thinking about work, theoretically improving future work - to feel productive without actually being productive. Lifehacker is the ESPN1 of feeling productive, my main source of finding new ways to work (especially the How I Work series).

This is most likely the reason that I cannot choose a to-do/note-taking/organizer program. There are so many, but I think I finally have it narrowed down to about 4.

My previous favorite was Workflowy, basically an infinite nested list. Todo.txt is the open-source nerd tool, which just uses a .txt file. Trello makes everything into a bulletin board with cards pinned on it, and Evernote does all the things, everywhere.

Services2WorkflowyTodo.txtTrelloEvernote
Cost $49/yr Free Free for personal $45/yr
Photos No No Yes Yes
Tagging Yes Yes Limited to 6 Yes
GTD-oriented3 Kind of Yes Maybe Definitely
API Working on it... Unnecessary Yes Yes

They all work great, but at slightly different things. Evernote would be the best option, with its ability to store photos. but most of its function comes from storage, not helping me to process that storage. I am still figuring that bit out, and will probably use one of the other tools to do it.4

My favorite right now is Trello. I tried it a year or so ago, and it seemed better suited for group projects. Now, they have a better mobile client, and the documentation is easier to find. Also, the keyboard shortcuts5 are great and make using it fun. I would highly recommend using one to sort out daily life. None of them will meet all your needs6, but you can make them work together to hit all your bases.


  1. Come to think of it, ESPN : sports :: Lifehacker : working. What percentage of ESPN's programming is actually showing a sporting event? 
  2. OK, you got me, those are all referral links. Throw me a bone :) 
  3. I'm only about a quarter of the way into the book. But from all the lifehacking articles I've read over the past few years, I know the concepts. When my wife tried reading it, and stopped in roughly the same place to go do something else, I told her she clearly learned all she needed. 
  4. There are ways to connect all these services to Evernote on the backend - forwarding Workflowy logs to Evernote, syncing with Trello boards, and todo.txt
  5. Keyboard shortcuts are the stickshift of the internet. Not always necessary, but makes things a lot smoother, and people who always use them swear by them. 
  6. That is more of an existential problem than a productivity problem. 

Pilch

The Master List

1 min read

This is the list of apps that have yet to come to Android, for any number of reasons.

And now we have the Hall of Fame for apps that did finally make it to Android, and did fantastically well there.

Last update: 10/23 - moved Vine

2/20 - added Mailbox