Category Archives: General

Kinkless Getting Things Done

I’ve been working with the Kinkless Getting Things Done (GTD) system. For more info about GTD, see my GTD Tag and/or read David Allen’s book, “Getting Things Done…”
Kinkless Getting Things Done (kGTD) is a system for organizing and trapping tasks using Applescripts and Omni Outliner Professional 3.6 (or better).  You create a project and add tasks for the project.  I’m using the term “project” very loosely.  In the sense of this article and kGTD, a project is a collection of tasks.  Tasks are activities that you can complete in one session.  For me, that means less than 20 minutes.   You assign a context for each task.  A context is a realm of completing work (like email, posting, errand, home, phone, etc).

The kGTD system then syncs the projects and gathers all of the tasks by context.  It also sorts tasks by due date and archives tasks.  This is the best task management / efficiency tool I’ve ever used and I have tried several (dozen) I would guess.

To really get a sense of the system, watch the Kinkless GTD Video.

I have knitted this together with Subversion to give me a more ubiquitous task management system.  I sync my file to a Subversion repository on my dreamhost account.  Subversion is a code management tool.  You check out files, edit then and check them back in.  I check out my kGTD file edit it and check it back in.  I can check it out at home or work.  This lets me keep a log of tasks that I can edit from any of my computers.

Check out the links below, watch the movie, read Merlin Mann’s 43 Folders entries and see if this will work for you.

Links that relate to this post…

Getting Things Done

I just listened to Mimi Yin and Merlin Mann’s talks on Getting Things Done at Mimi Yin is working on interaction designs for the OSAF’s Chandler project. Merlin Mann is father of and the Hipster PDA among other things.

Both of the talks are wonderful and well worth listening too. Mimi’s talk aligns with (no surprise, I’ve heard her talk before and I swallowed the cool-aid) my writings on Collaboration Channels – I don’t want to think about protocols Merlin’s talk got me thinking about a framework for getting stuff done.

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Corporate Site Visits – How to do it right

I’m on my second Corporate Site Visit (CVS) in recent months. Corporate Site Visits (or from the companies viewpoint Customer Site Visits) are when a bunch of people from a customer’s shop come to visit the company usually to talk deeper technical talk than they can get from the sales reps.

These visits cost us something on the order $20K to 25K (for 7 people to miss 3 days of work, fly, hotel etc). Corporations: You need to work to make sure that our visit is worth $20K.

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Collaboration Channels – I don’t want to think about protocols

Burton Group talks about the distinction between Channels and Workspaces in Collaboration. Channels are routes where information flows. Workspaces are areas where collaborators gather. Examples of Workspaces are Wikis, shared document repositories, group calendar software.

Channels are things like email, chat, VoIP, video conferencing and telephony. The problem with Channels is that we have to be protocol centric. We have to think – I want to communicate with Keith. Let see if the Chat protocol will work (e.g. is he on-line in chat?) if not I’ll send an email but maybe I’ll call too. I want to be person centric: I want to communicate with Keith.

In my ideal scenario, I would select Keith as a contact and I would then see communication options TEXT, VOICE, VIDEO. I could then select that I want to do VOICE. I would pick up my headset and my computer would establish a connection. On Keith’s end, he would choose to have VOICE channeled to Skype or iChatAV or to his cell phone or home phone number. He might even have a priority list (if Skype is running, use Skype otherwise send to Cell Phone). He might send VOICE directly to an MP3 (to voicemail) that he can listen to later.

On the TEXT side, I would select TEXT and either be connected to IM or asked to form an email depending on KEITH’s availability setting in IM.

The IM logs should flow into a repository that is similar to my (if not the same as my) email repository.

There are times when I would like to pick the protocol, when I would send and email even though Keith is on IM.

On the receiver end, I would need better presence management. I would need a unified presence control – a central place where I could manage the flow of information into my channels. I would have to swap managing protocols for managing presence.

Upcoming Presentations

I have a suite of upcoming presentations that are now on my calendar. Below is a list with dates, topics and times where I know them.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006 9AM Pacific Standard Time

Service Oriented Architecture on Campus. You can Oracle webinar – register here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 Some time between 9AM and 12:30PM Central Standard Time

Service Oriented Artchitecture – What is it and how do we get one. Presenting for the UW E-Business Consortium

March 13 – 15, 2006 EDUCAUSE Midwest Regional Conference

* Service Oriented Architecture – What is it and how doe we get one (yet again) Monday, March 13, 2006 from 2:15 PM to 3:00 PM Central
* Folksonomies and Web2.0 – Power to the people (Poster Session) Tuesday, March 14, from 1:30 – 2:30 PM.

May 10 – 12, 2006

Folksonomies and Web2.0 – Social Bookmarking and Social Discovery. The role of tags in the enterprise ) Common Solutions Group

June 27 – 28, 2006

CIC Identity Management Workshop, Indianapolis, Indiana

August 4 – 9, 2006

SOA – What is it and how are we getting one (updated) EDUCAUSE – Seminars on Academic Computings

PowerPoint Presentation Tips

At Particletree there is a good list of articles on PowerPoint Presentation Tips. The Gates, Jobs and the zen aesthetic article is very good and very interesting. I always enjoy watching Steve Jobs give a presentation. His presentations often go on for a couple of hours but they are very clean and informative. The slides are minimalist and simple but very functional – very much like Apple products.

On I.T. Architecture

On IT Architecture:

We don’t have a concise “Contact the Architects when…” document but here is some stuff that has coalesced over the years.

From Jan 2003 retreat – we defined IT Architecture this way:

1. Pattern recognition (we look for patterns that evolve out of various projects and activities).
2. “Good stewards to the ecosystem, midwives to positive evolutionary advanceâ€?
3. Topic sorting (Policy from Technology)
4. “We don’t draw the boxes, we draw the lines between themâ€?.
** We don’t pick the objects but we help define the interfaces (integration patterns).
** We don’t pick the projects but we look at the larger way the projects connect.
5. Conduit of communication. (We try to make sure the correct people are in the room)
6. Breadth of planning. (We get the team’s head up out of the trench)
7. Feelers to the big world. (We pay attention to other things like I2)

I get involved in a project when one or more of the following are true:

1. The system will be enterprise data or business processes source. Then I see working on those enterprise data definitions and standard interfaces for exposing the system.
1. The system will be a consumer of enterprise data. I try to work for a common way of consuming the data – creating a more generic interface rather than another specialized interface for just this system.
1. We will need new enterprise definitions (like new role definitions, or new ways of representing course data).
1. The project sounds like something that someone else is working on. If so, get involved until you see how the two pieces fit/align/collide.
1. The system represents a new piece of the over-all infrastructure. I get involved until you see how it fits, to check if there is duplication with another system, to make sure that the requirements for the system are holistic and well formed.
1. There is an opportunity affect change (on the infrastructure or processes). If so, is it a place you want to apply force (to change a practice or try out a new method or develop a policy).
1. The group that is running the project know for past bad behavior. If so, try to get involved just to keep track of them.
1. There a high risk of confusing campus or stake-holders. Make sure that there is good communication, appropriate requirements, etc. (An example of this was a recent pair of projects: The Registrar was starting up a self-service electronic grade submission project at the same time our learning technologies people were working on integrating Desire2Learn with the Student Information System. Both were calling their projects eGrading).
1. The project needs a neutral facilitator who can capture requirements, next steps, etc. I get involved in some of these as a facilitator.
1. The project needs a creative way of representing flows, doing analysis of the issues, etc. I get involved in some of these to bring in my tricks and techniques for documenting and doing analysis of the issues.

Finally, here is a piece on our IT Architecture Realms of Work