Getting Things Done and Outlook

Confession: I am a lapsed Franklin Covey user, a former Palm user, and otherwise the former user of more productivity methodologies than I can count. So I have read Merlin Mann’s 43 Folders, a blog on implementing productivity workflows on a Mac using the Getting Things Done methodology, with healthy skepticism for the last year or so. One big knock is that for some reason Merlin’s preferred tool, Quicksilver, has always run like a dog on my system. But I finally started reading the actual Getting Things Done book and am convinced that I ought at least to give it a whirl. The idea of ruthlessly keeping the mailbox and other sources of angst clean, immediately dealing with, deleting, incubating, or delegating incoming “stuff,” and totally outsourcing your worry center, all sounds really good to me.

Except, of course, the one really good source of tips I have for GTD, 43 Folders, is all about Mac based solutions. And in spite of my long standing Mac userdom, my work environment is still a Windows XP PC running Outlook.

So I’m going to give some Outlook based solutions a whirl and talk about how they work over the next few days. First off, a few pointers to existing resources, since I’d rather not reinvent the wheel:

  1. The 43 Folders wiki has a page on GTD in Outlook
  2. A great, if old, summary page on setting up GTD in Outlook
  3. The official ($10) resource from David Allen Company on GTD and Outlook
  4. Managing GTD projects in Outlook
  5. Tips, tricks, and other hints in Outlook
  6. An actual GTD add-in

Yet more new music: Black Angels live on KEXP podcast

Yes, there’s quite a backlog of music posts here today, but this one is a twofer. I hadn’t subscribed to KEXP’s Live In Studio podcast before this week, but the first show I downloaded, an instudio by Black Angels, makes me wish I had subscribed a long time ago. The music is raw, fierce, and urgent in all the right ways. (I previously wrote about Black Angels in January.)

The best indie radio station ever also has a podcast of individual song downloads from emerging artists, the Song of the Day podcast.

Buy a single, win the artist

The above is the logic behind a new contest sponsored on iTunes by Universal/Motown, who are distributing Prince’s forthcoming 3121. Everyone who buys Prince’s new single “Black Sweat” or its b-side “Beautiful, Loved, and Blessed” from iTunes—as I did yesterday—is entered in a sweepstakes. The winner gets an exclusive private concert by Prince at His Royal Badness’s home (“or other location selected by Sponsor”). Pretty badass prize, especially if Prince is as far atop his game as “Black Sweat” suggests. It’s funky without the self-consciousness that marred Musicology for me. (via Blogcritics)

State of the weblog tools market

A recent post on shows some interesting market share information about different blogging tools. The post shows that SixApart, between TypePad and LiveJournal, owns the market right now, though, each of those tools has a smaller market share individually than Blogger. Of interest to me as a longtime Manila user is the market map of Google Share vs. 6 mo growth rate, which shows that the number of pages on Manila appears to be shrinking (probably due to the shutdown of, while the number of pages on Radio blogs is growing at about a third the rate of speed of the overall growth of the blogosphere.

An interesting contender that emerges from that market map is b2evolution, which had the fastest growth rate but the smallest Google share.

Of course the usual quibbles about methodology apply, including the fact that many sites run by standalone software installations or using custom templates don’t point to their blog tool on their template. Like this one, for example, though I’m about to fix that.

Remote configure your Tiger Mac through the command line

I was trying to configure my Mac’s built in Remote Desktop sharing last night through the command line. The RDC client, which is built into every Tiger Mac, was prompting me for a password when I attempted to connect using an open source VNC (screen sharing) client from my PC. So I did some research and found some very interesting information about configuring Mac OS X’s Remote Desktop (ARD) client from the command line. The kickstart command line tool referenced in the Apple KB article is included in the Remote Desktop Client and is therefore in every 10.4 Mac as well as some earlier systems.

The cool thing about it is that kickstart enables you to remotely activate and deactivate ARD connections. So as long as you leave SSH enabled and you have administrative privileges, you can tunnel into an SSH command line session on your Mac, sudo kickstart with the appropriate settings, and turn ARD on, then get the screen of your Mac and do your thing. As the discussion thread points out, this works even for Macs that have no physical screen attached, like a PowerBook with a broken LCD or a headless Mac Mini.

You can do even more with two more command line utilities included in ARD, networksetup and systemsetup, which allow you to do things like configuring the network settings and other “control panel” level settings.

I like this so much that, in combination with a dynamic DNS solution, I might throw out the rapidly aging Timbuktu client we bought to help my mother in law troubleshoot her system.

Postscript on Las Vegas

Las Vegas is the negative shadow of Wall Street; gambling is the negative shadow of market capitalism. If the market is a benevolent “invisible hand” that levels prices and matches supply and demand, Vegas is a bejeweled invisible fist that flies out and punches you or stuffs chips in your pocket with a predictably unfair distribution.

Vegas today shows this shadow even more strongly. Going up and down Las Vegas Blvd, at right angles to the Strip, you pass through downscaled, totemic versions of western world capitals, as though invoking the ghosts of the place that rationally deal with money to encourage you to spend it. And the real shadow economy of Vegas—the immigrant service workers, the enormous flow of underreported cash tips, the dancers, the exotic entertainers—is everywhere just out of sight, like the escort service fliers and business cards that turn up everywhere, even on the bollards surrounding the lake at the Bellagio.

If capitalism is our collective western religion, a demanding protestant religion that preaches a cult of abstemious rational consumption, Vegas is the Carnival, the Festival of the Flesh—not just in its general party atmosphere but in the explicitly irrational exuberance toward money that is encouraged in the visitors. For once, one is supposed to think, I can cast off the shackles of predictable income and loss and take a chance. I can get lucky.

Of course, the odds are in favor of the house. Even in this most exuberant place, there is cold business at the bottom.