March 02, 2005
Productivity and Plain Text Files
Well, they've done it again the smashers. Mike Harris' review of remind prompted me to download a copy and try it out. And it's brilliant. To call it a calendar and reminder program isn't doing it justice. Take a look at the tips and discussion that have accompanied Mike's article in the comments, and then take a look at the extensive man page if you don't believe me.
A nice useful feature is the ability to output your calendar as a postscript file. With this I can print out a month's calendar and pin it up next to my desk. Because I'm running remind on my Mac I can take this one step further. By opening the postscript file in Preview it gets converted into a PDF, which not only has a smaller file size but aids portability to boot. It's possible to do this at the command line as well - with ps2pdf, but I haven't found the right combination of options to make the output look as good as Preview does.
It's allowed me to ditch my Palm Pilot and fully embrace the geek credo (see http://www.lifehacks.com/) of storing all of my information in plain text files. My old PDA hadn't been pulling it's weight recently. I'd replaced the address book with an XML file and a simple Python script so it's only remaining use was as a diary. Remind, even in the few short hours I've been using it, has easily supplanted that function.
My to-do list is currently stored in Omni Outliner but I suspect that it will be making it's way to a plain text file any day now.
As a trap for young players, by slavishly following Mike's advice I discovered that GeekTool doesn't play well with Desktop Manager. It's the first time I've managed to seriously mangle my Mac just by running some simple software. You have been warned.
Posted by Andy Todd at March 02, 2005 02:16 PM