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News: Sciral Consistency for iPhone version 1.0.3 is now in the App Store, with support for iTunes File Sharing!
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91  Sciral / General Discussion / Alain De Botton In Defense Of High Ideals on: December 28, 2004, 11:52:56 PM
RealAudio stream here.

It seems that having high ideals may play an important part in making the most of ourselves.
92  Sciral / General Discussion / Alain De Botton On New Year's Resolutions on: December 28, 2004, 11:47:13 PM
First in a three-part series running up to the start of 2005. RealAudio stream here.

"Trying to lead a moral and a good life must mean regularly daring ourselves to be good."
93  Personal Effectiveness / Personal Effectiveness Tools / What's In Your Toolkit? on: December 11, 2004, 11:26:55 PM
Can you say more about this? I am in the midst of using OmniOutliner for the same thing.
Although I have a number of OO documents for various subjects, my master "To Do" document contains a large number of lists, and I use two columns, where the meaning of the second column varies depending on the section.

I start of with a "Principles" section, where I keep a number of important ideas that I want to remind myself of frequently. I don't use the second column in this section.

Then I have my "Someday Maybe" list, where I catch all of the project ideas (computer and non) that occur to me-- primarily so I can stop trying to remember them, as Allen suggests. Once an idea is in this section, I review it periodically, but I don't have to worry about remembering it or feel stressed that I'm not doing it right now. I use the second column here for category keywords.

Next is the "Projects" section where, again following Allen, that I list the projects that essentially all of my tasks fit into.

I then have a "Shopping List" section which is a sort of "Someday Maybe" list for things I'd like to buy. I often keep URLs in the notes for each item about where I've discovered a particular item for sale.

Then I have my "Waiting For" section, where I list all the things I am waiting on others to complete, and I keep "tickler dates" in the second column so I have a reminder of when to review that particular item. Items I'm waiting for include things like books others have borrowed from me, tasks delegated to others, etc. (In Eudora I also have a "waiting for" folder where I put e-mail messages to which I'm expecting a reply. I periodically review this folder as well.)

Last but not least comes my "Next Actions" section, where I list all the next actions I'm considering, and I use the second column to state the project to which each action belongs. It is from this list that I draw up my daily priorities.

I'd be interested to hear how you've gone about adapting OO for your own Getting Things Done process.

To understand more of what this is all about, definitely read Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen.

BTW, version 3 of OO, especially the Pro version is A M A Z I N G.
It does look very cool. I'll give it a spin soon.
94  Sciral / Sciral Consistency Q&A / Upgrade Price? on: December 11, 2004, 08:44:36 PM
Good question. First I must re-iterate that I don't plan on putting all of the "Frequently Requested Features" in in the next version. But I do plan on adding at least the features that aren't very involved and that I expect many people will appreciate. In addition, I'm much more interested in seeing the Sciral Consistency user base expand than I am in dinging the existing users for more money. So for the next release or two I don't plan on charging any upgrade fee.
95  Personal Effectiveness / Personal Effectiveness Tools / What's In Your Toolkit? on: December 08, 2004, 02:32:35 PM
So, I'd love to see lists of the personal effectiveness tools and techniques that everyone relies on-- what are the few best tools you use to make sure your life stays together? Here are mine, in no particular order:
  • E-mail: Qualcomm Eudora: Not the slickest interface, but Eudora handles tons of archival e-mail very well.
  • Calendar: Apple iCal: Lacks a few small features, but very respectable, and I used the publish and subscribe calendars feature with family and colleagues.
  • Contacts and General Recordkeeping: Filemaker Inc. FileMaker Pro: I've developed numerous custom databases to handle everything from personal contacts to my paper filing system.
  • Fuzzy To-Dos: Sciral Consistency: Well, of course!
  • List Keeping: OmniGroup OmniOutliner: A very slick and useful outliner, I keep my implementation of David Allen's Getting Things Done methods and tons of other lists I use in an OmniOutliner document.
  • Timekeeping: Microsoft Excel: Of course I use it for the usual number crunching, but I also keep track of my professional time using an Excel workbook and some macros I developed. Some things just seem to need an outline format, and I used OmniOutliner for those, while others seem to need a tabular format, and I used Excel for those. In fact, Sciral Consistency started its life as a mockup I did in Excel!
  • Backups: Dantz Retrospect: Backups are a critical, and sadly often overlooked, aspect of personal information management. Retrospect and I have been together a long time, and I can't recommend it highly enough.
  • Finances: Intuit Quicken: Pretty much does it all for the individual or small business.
  • Images: Apple iPhoto: Handles tons of photos easily, and provides the features most non-professionals need.
  • Music: Apple iTunes: Yes, tons of music files need organization too, and iTunes does a fantastic job.
96  Sciral / General Discussion / Introduce Yourself! on: December 08, 2004, 02:03:02 PM
I sent out the announcement that the forums are open a few hours ago, and I already see a trickle of member registrations coming in... welcome! I'd like to encourage all new members to post a brief introduction to this thread, and I'll start the ball rolling right now.

I am 39 years old, and have been developing computer software professionally since I was 15. Much of my early work was in the computer games industry, and I still try to bring a sense of approachability and fun to all my projects. I've worked on all sorts of computer platforms, but my first love is the Mac. I am joined in my efforts by major talent on other platforms, including Joe Pearce, the author of the Windows version of Consistency.

Other interests of mine include exercise, juggling, music, friends, and of course my family including two sons aged 4 years and 1 month!

I strive to bring quality and effectiveness to all my endeavors, and I really enjoy the company of like-minded individuals.

Sciral Consistency is just the beginning-- I've got tons of ideas for innovative software that will help keep order amid the chaos we all have in our lives.
97  Sciral / General Discussion / Welcome To General Discussion on: December 07, 2004, 07:20:35 PM
What innovative "Computer-Aided Life Management" products would you like to see developed?

What movie or book did you read recently that really made you think?

What kind of questions would you like answered by an intelligent and achievement-oriented audience?

What are your wild ideas for changing the world?

What's off-topic anywhere else here but interesting nonetheless?

Start a topic in this forum and tell us about it!

All I ask is that you keep the conversation civil, and have fun! Smiley
98  Sciral / Sciral Consistency Stories / How I Use Consistency on: December 07, 2004, 06:49:36 PM
I don't know whether this will surprise anyone or not, but the main reason I created Sciral Consistency is to keep track of my workouts. For years I've lifted weights, and I got very tired of traditional "split" routines where I would work one set of muscles M/W/F and another set T/Th/S. This struck me as quite rigid and didn't always allow for my body to recover properly between workouts, much less allow for the chaotic nature of my life in general.

I wanted a way where I could set a "recovery range" for each muscle group, to avoid either overtraining or undertraining. I realized this general idea extended to many other sorts of tasks. Thus was born Sciral Consistency.

So my "Workout" document has each major muscle group listed as a separate task, and my target ranges reflect my experience of how long each group takes to recover. I plan my workouts based on which muscles are recovered on the given day I go to the gym. Doing things this way keeps things fresh and interesting, and avoids a lot of the dull monotony of the having the exact same workouts week after week.
99  Sciral / Sciral Consistency Feature Requests / Frequently Requested Features on: December 07, 2004, 06:36:18 PM
Your feedback will helping us plan the next update of Sciral Consistency. The following is a list of frequently requested features (not included in Sciral Consistency 1.1), so if you see it listed here, you don't need to post it again (unless you really want to, of course.)  Smiley Just create a new topic in this forum and describe what you'd like to see.

BTW, some have wondered why they can't reply directly to this message-- it's just because I want new feature requests to be in their own threads-- not as part of this message's thread. Just click "New Topic," above.
  • Notes: Attach free-form text notes to tasks, dates, or completion cells.
  • Palm Version: A version for PalmOS, with the ability to sync to the Mac and Windows versions.
  • Categories: Tasks can be arranged in a hierarchical fashion.
  • To Do Manager: Make Consistency more fit for management of traditional one-shot to-do items.
  • iCal integration: Integrate Consistency with Apple's iCal.
  • Printing: Print out charts and worksheets.
  • Disable Weekdays: For each task, allow certain days (such as weekends) to be "disabled" so they don't count against the overdue-ness of the task.
  • Intent markers: Allow a symbol to be put on future dates that only changes the coloring while it's in the future, but not after it's date passes.
  • Reset markers: Allow a symbol that resets the coloring without indicating an actual completion.
  • Skip markers: Allow a symbol that indicates non-completion with a valid reason (e.g., vacation.)
  • Choice of time granularities: Documents that operate not just on a daily basis, but hourly, weekly, or monthly.
  • AppleScript support: Allow Consistency to interact with other applications.
Remember, I'm not promising these will get done in any particular order, or even that they will get done at all! But your feedback is extremely important in deciding which will get done, and in what order.
100  Sciral / News and Announcements / Welcome To Sciral Forums! on: December 07, 2004, 05:02:28 PM
Hello, and welcome to the new Sciral forums!

I'm Robert McNally, Sciral President and your host. I intend these forums to be much more than "corporate Q&A", so I hope you'll find a home here whether or not you use my products. Personal effectiveness has long been a passion of mine, and Sciral is part of that passion-- to apply my software development and entrepreneurial skills to the realm of human achievement.

Sciral as a company will continue to grow-- we've been gratified by the success of Sciral Consistency and are planning new products and enhancements of existing products.

So ask questions, share stories, or recommend books or web sites. I'm looking forward to the conversation, and I hope you'll join me.
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