The Ruby Freelancers Show 026 – Workflow and Tools

Download MP3

Panel Charles Max Wood (twitter github Teach Me To Code Rails Summer Camp) Eric Davis (twitter github blog) Evan Light (twitter github blog) Discussion Accountants QuickBooks Online GnuCash Outright DNS Simple 1&1 Namecheap Hover WHOIS (command) DNS Made Easy Harvest Freshbooks SlimTimer BubbleTimer chiliproject_clocking Pivotal Tracker Trello JIRA "Use what works best for you." ZTD Omnifocus Sparrow Thunderbird Mac Mail iCal Facebook App Hootsuite Tweetdeck lowers your heating bill Buffer Tweetbot Command Line Tweet Picks Byword (Eric) Keydown (Eric) LG Tone (Evan) Fujitsu ScanSnap Mobile Scanner (Chuck) The Strangest Secret Audio, Text (Chuck) Quality Sleep - Sleep Study, CPAP if recommended (Evan)


EVAN: And you know, I hear he had kind of a lot of weird ideas, so that would explain he’s using Emacs. CHUCK: All righty then. EVAN: [Laughs] [This episode is sponsored by Harvest. I use them to track time, track subcontractor’s time, and invoice clients. Their time tracking is really simple and easy to use. Invoicing includes a pay now function by credit card or PayPal. You can sign up at Use the code ‘RF’ to get 50% off your first month.]**[Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at] **CHUCK: Hey everybody, and welcome to episode of The Ruby Freelancers Show. This week on our panel, we have Eric Davis. ERIC: Hello. CHUCK: We also have Evan Light. EVAN: Hey, I'm back from the dead. CHUCK: And I'm Charles Max Wood from And this week, we are going to be talking about Workflow and Tools -- mostly tools. So before the podcast, we were talking about going into talking about business tools, tools we use to run our business, software, that kind of stuff. Let’s start with kind of the financial end; what do you guys use to do your bookkeeping and stuff? EVAN: An accountant. [Chuckles] CHUCK: [Chuckles] ERIC: Is that a tool joke? CHUCK: [Laughs] EVAN: I really haven’t thought about it that way. That’s not very nice. Then we're saying accountants are fungible people, then we're saying software developers are fungible and that we're just tools. Let’s not go there. CHUCK: [Chuckles] I use QuickBooks online. It works well, I can access it from wherever. I can have my bookkeeper get in and work her magic, and I don’t have to worry about it. And it plays nicely with my accountant’s tax software. ERIC: And then I use GnuCash. It's a new open source, Unix accounting system, pretty much because it's the one that sucks the least out of everything I've tried. CHUCK: That doesn’t surprise me. The open source version wins. EVAN: Eric uses lots of open source. For me, I use my local bank’s online services for just tracking the money just a little. And then I use a web app called Outright, that I've been on the fence about lately because while I like it, it was bought by Go Daddy lately, which makes me a bit uncomfortable. And apparently, I'm not the only one who feels that way. CHUCK: I have a lot of domains through Go Daddy. I am actually switching to Hover, so as they expire, I just renew them over or just transfer them over tow the other service. EVAN: I've been using DNS Simple for that. We're talking about tools, I use DNS Simple for my domain registrations because they have done the job of providing, well frankly, a fairly simple user interface for managing a lot of things DNS. He has a lot of settings that are already just a button click away, like if you wanna set up Google apps, button click, done. And so it's been pretty handy for me that way. Plus it's fairly cheap, and you can get you registrations off of Go Daddy pretty easily too. CHUCK: What do you use, Eric? ERIC: I use 1&1, mostly because I've been using them for years. I started to move domains off of it because their control panel has bugs. And then they upgraded their control panel as I was halfway done, and so I'm kind of using 1&1 for half the stuff, and I'm using Name Cheap for the other half, both of them really good. I recommend them for a lot of stuff. CHUCK: It's funny that there's so many out there and that they all kind of work all right. I really like Hover just because it's simple. Go Daddy is such a mess. EVAN: Totally. DNS Simple’s site is pretty. Site design says a lot, but right, you said Go Daddy is a mess, you go to Go Daddy’s site and you might as well be looking at… well, they have Danica Patrick’s face, which is ironic, because GO daddy’s site looks like a race car in terms of amount of crap they have plastered on it. CHUCK: Yeah. The other thing is they changed the interface on the website. I don’t know when they did it, but I had to go back in a couple of weeks ago, and so I signed in and then I sat there for 5 minutes trying to figure out how to get to my domain, so that I could do  stuff with them. EVAN: Been there. CHUCK: [Chuckles] EVAN: And all of their user interface designs are fairly horrid. ERIC: And in the meantime, while you are sitting there, you probably bought about $100 worth of stuff you don’t need. CHUCK: Exactly. “You need this, don’t you?” EVAN: The other one, and I'll caveat this -- I'm not sure this is factual. I’ve heard this anecdotally -- that if you use Go Daddy for domain name search, at least one or two people I've heard say that Go Daddy will go out and squat on the domain if you don’t  go buy it. CHUCK: I've heard that. I think it probably depends on whether or not they think it's a domain worth squatting. EVAN: Which is just pure evil. CHUCK: I agree. ERIC: I haven’t heard them  do that. I've heard other ones. I actually just use the WHOIS command line tool and just look it up directly. CHUCK: That’s what I do. EVAN: That’s a pain in the butt though when you wanna search across all the various domains, unless you go write a script to go do a whole bunch of WHOIS’ and parse it. CHUCK: Yeah. EVAN: You wanna check .com, .net, .org,. io, .oi, etcetera. CHUCK: That’s true. I generally am just looking for .com though or something. EVAN: Yeah. ERIC: Same here. CHUCK: What other tools are you using? ERIC: For DNS, I use Name Cheap when I want register, but for my primary domains I actually use DNS Made Easy to do actual name serving. It's kind of pricey, but I don’t think I've had any downtime in like 7-8 years that I've been with them. They're really great, and you can do a lot of high volume stuff and low TTL, so I separated a long time ago, so if I fought with a bad registrar like Go Daddy who used to have control over my DNS. CHUCK: I can see that. EVAN: My clients tend to do a lot of domain purchases, so I don’t have a lot of transparency into what they use if they were to ask, I’d recommend DNS simple. A few of them unfortunately go through Go Daddy, you know, what are you going to do? CHUCK: So some of the other business stuff that  we do some of is time tracking. What do you guys use for that? EVAN: We talked about that one before, Harvest is a sponsor, or at least they were a sponsor. I don’t know if they are still sponsoring. Are still they sponsoring? CHUCK: I need to take the sponsorship message off. They haven’t paid me for a while. EVAN: Oh! I hope it's not my fault because I'm the one that says, “I'm sorry, I like Fresh Books more.” [Chuckles] We should get Fresh Books to sponsor. Actually that would be pretty easy. Let me send them something about that. [Chuckles] CHUCK: I would be happy to do that. EVAN: Okay. I'll put that on my to-do list. I love Fresh Books. I say that passionately. I tweeted about it before. It's made my life much, much easier. It plays very nicely with sub-contractors that also use fresh books. While that might sound like a little bit of a I don’t know, a pyramid scheme. I don’t see it so much that way because Fresh Books, you can actually get a lot of value out of it without paying them any money. I think you get  your first 3-5, maybe 5 plans for free. So if you have a subcontractor who doesn’t normally use Fresh Books, but you want them to interact with you, he can use it totally for free. And when they invoice you, that just gets passed right through the client, and you are going to have their rate to you, the subcontractors rate to you, and your rate to the client, for instance. Their invoices look pretty professional. There are a bunch of different reports that will generate for you, they are really pretty darn easy to use. I won’t pretend it's perfect, but it has almost every feature I want, and I think I've asked for one or two, and I’ve seen some of them come along. Their customer support, their online presence is really great. I've had no complaints about them. They are one of the few web services that I'll say I honestly felt good when it got to the point when I have to pay the money. CHUCK: Nice. So I'm still using Harvest. I'm pretty happy with them. They have a Mac app that runs on your… it's a native app for Mac. And so I can just pull it up, pick whatever project I'm working on, just click on the little play button. And it starts the timer, and then when I'm done, I just click ‘stop’ and it stops the timer. So it's pretty nice that way, and it's made it really easy for me to like break things down, especially since we had our chat about the time tracking experiment that we're doing. So I've added a whole bunch more tasks in there for different things that I do that are related to the business, and so then I can just click on those. I really like it, it's really a nice interface. The invoicing is easy. I think Fresh Books have these features too where they can go and click on the invoice and it pulls it up on the web, and then they can click a link pay it through PayPal or pay with a credit card or whatever. EVAN: Fresh Books started doing that a few months ago. CHUCK: Yeah, that's all really nice. And then the invoicing, the thing that you mentioned about subcontracting invoicing you and having that pass through to the client, that really appeals to me EVAN: Harvest didn’t have that. I was using Harvest in the beginning when I started freelancing. And I actually had, they are not freelancers now, but they turned me on to Fresh Books just because they mentioned the subcontracting support. And then I just got sucked in after that. I've found so many other features that were just great. Harvest, I'm surprised they don’t have it all yet, but they didn’t have them back then. CHUCK : Yeah. It seems like they are playing catch up in some ways with Fresh Books. But at the same time, I mean the interface is really clean, it's easy to figure out what I need to do and set things up. So you know, I'm a fan. But like I said, I didn’t really shop around. I needed something  and I'd seen other people using Harvest, so that’s the one I trade out. And it works well for me. I'm pretty happy with them. And again, I’ve reached out to them through support and stuff and they are pretty good; they get back to you in a timely manner and stuff like that. I think Fresh Books might be a little bit ahead. I don’t know what their pricing looks like as opposed to Harvest. EVAN: The thing I remember as I said about Fresh Books that jumped out of me, I remember paying them from Day 1. Fresh Books, I used them because I tend to have, relatively speaking, longer term clients. I think I may have used them for almost a year before I paid the money. And at that point, frankly, I felt almost guilty because of how much value I got out of them. CHUCK : Right, I might have to go check them out. EVAN: Obviously, I strongly recommend it. And I haven’t wavered in that recommendation. CHUCK: One other thing that we don’t usually talk about with tools is the cost of switching. So even if I look at Fresh Books, it's got to be a major value ad before I'm going to switch, because it's just… EVAN: One thing made me feel safe switching from Harvest is that you can archive your clients. And when you leave Harvest, they don’t delete your account. It benefits them  to hold on to that information because it makes it easier for your to come back. To that extent though, it also makes it a little bit easier if you need to go back for some historical purposes. So it's not too scary. I don’t know that either of them provide export capabilities. I’ve never really looked closely for that. CHUCK: The way I used to do it when I was kind of moonlighting, I just do a little bit of side work after work. I actually use Slim Timer, and they have a little widget  that pops up when you click on it. And I would just make my invoices out of an excel sheet, or numbers or whatever, but that’s effectively what I did. And I print it to PDF, and them send them the PDF. And that works fine too. It's just these systems have such nice features like ‘click to pay’, so it makes me happy when they click and pay. EVAN: And Fresh Books, I think Harvest has this too, but FreshBooks apparently have a full blown API that I've only… I’ve looked at it a little bit. I've occasionally tinkered with the idea various apps for it, then I’ve found that usually someone else have already beat me to the punch. There's few times where we were talking about things I would be passionate about turning into a product. I get the idea and, “Oh, oh!” And then somebody’s done it. [Chuckles] Different topic. But there are a lot of apps supported by Fresh Books. Outright, again being an example. Outright provides even better reports on top of Fresh Books. CHUCK: Eric, are there tools that plug directly into RedMine or Chili Project? I'm assuming you use something that plays nicely with it. ERIC: I use 3 different tools. First one is called Bubble Timer. I can’t remember who created it, but there's a piece of paper that you would just fill out, that’s like dead tree paper, you fill it out every day. And it's like a Scantron style of like what you are doing at any given time. I've been using the paper one for 5, 6, 7 years maybe. I was even using it when I was working as an employee. And Bubble Timer is basically a web version of it, so I use that to kind of like record what I'm working on. And then every day, I enter all my time to Chili Project, and so I actually wrote a plugin called Chili Project Clocking, which is like a little HTML JavaScript widget thing to basically add a bunch of time. And so I use that tool transfer the data from Bubble Timer into Chili Project itself. Once it's in Chili Project, all my invoice is from that, so I don’t need to take it anywhere else but I know there's a Harvest plugin for Chili Project.  I don’t know if there's one for Fresh Books, but it basically will sync time from Chili Project out to Harvest, and Harvest will bring it back in so you can kind of reconcile billing, or if you have sub-contractors or an agency. But most of my stuff is done in Chili Project with the exception of Bubble Timer, which is just a one off clocking thing. After I clock in and put in Chili Project, I don’t need that data anymore. EVAN: Were you talking about Bubble Timer last week on the show I missed? The time tracking one? ERIC: I don’t know. I think I might have mentioned it once or twice. EVAN: [unintelligible] very relevant because on their web page, they talk a lot about tracking all kinds of stuff. CHUCK: And I think we've talked about the invoicing being… you know, you talked about invoicing being built into Chili Project, and obviously Evan and I are using Fresh Books and Harvest for that stuff. EVAN: Fresh Books can get a little confusing about invoicing, but only because in odd way, they provide so many different ways to generate invoice. And it's not a bad thing; it's actually kind of nice. You can get from one screen to another. You can almost always find a way to transition from something remotely relevant to what you're doing, to being able to invoice for it if you need to or report on it. It just needs a little bit of getting used to. The UI is kind of rich that way. It doesn’t adhere to the Python’s “There's only one way to do everything” approach. There's a lot of different ways to get there from here, essentially. CHUCK: That makes sense. So what other types of tools have we not talked about yet? ERIC: Have we talked about bug tracking or issue tracking stuff yet? EVAN: We might have talked about it a little in the past, but not in this episode. ERIC: I know you guys talked about Pivotal a lot. EVAN: I've actually started fiddling to Trello. My biggest client and I were talking about what to use, and I talked about how often I use tracker and I have some… [Chuckles] oh come on Eric, you should  say it. Eric types: “Trello? Eh!” in the chat instead of saying it in the Skype. CHUCK: [Chuckles] EVAN: I actually like that it's visually card based, and it looks a bit like a Scrum board, as opposed it tries to be something like a physical [unintelligible]. And it user interface to me seems more obvious than Pivotal Tracker in a lot of ways. ERIC: Yeah, I can see that. I don’t like Trello. I've tried using it for a bunch of different things, and it never stuck, but I also don’t like Pivotal Tracker, so it could just be my work that just doesn’t work in that kind of way. I have a physical paper Kanban board that looks identical to Pivotal Tracker and Trello on my wall that I use. Digital versions, I just can’t get into. EVAN: It's interesting you mentioned that because Trello, looks a lot like digital Kanban board. Pivotal Tracker doesn’t really have a physical real world representation. It doesn’t try to be analogous to any physical thing. CHUCK: And the thing is I've been using Pivotal Tracker for a long time, and I've really liked it, but for one of my client projects, it's kind of gotten a little bit messy. And part of it is the way that this particular client has used it, because he has to make everything at zero points and I didn’t argue with him, so I was just like, “Well, it's going to take what it takes. Hours, right?” If you have to estimate it, that’s fine, but just realize that that estimate  doesn’t reflect how long it's going to take us. EVAN: That’s why I had to say it, if everything is zero points, you are saying that not only are you already done, you were already done. [Chuckles] CHUCK: But anyway, it pulls everything over into current, it would be nice if the current was just rest off that you're actually working on, and then maybe there was another one that represented maybe what you can get done this month this week or something. EVAN: So let me talk about Trello a little, because that’s a little bit why I like it. Trello doesn’t automate the transition of features from one column to another column, from one state to another state, you do it explicitly. So you can mark things as done, maybe in that case it gets moved. I'm not even sure that’s true. But you can make as many different piles as you want, so you can customize it to fit your process. The down side perhaps is you can customize it to fit you process. CHUCK: [Chuckles] EVAN: Seriously, I say that because I felt that spending this much time in a conversation with my client about it, but I think it's going to be at least half an hour talking about how I felt their names for their Trello columns or mischaracterizing their work that they wanted to get done and how they wanted to get done. And he agreed with me in a lot of stuff, but they really felt bad and I spent that much of their money on a discussion like that. And in Pivotal Tracker, there is no discussion because you could say in a Rails like way, they have a convention, you stick to it or you do something else.  So in that case, maybe it's easier to say, “Trello is nice if you have a well-defined process already, and it doesn’t fit tracker, but it fits something like Kanban or Scrum,” but if you don’t know what your process is yet, then I think Trello is a time pit -- not a money pit. ERIC: The other thing I'm afraid of is they are not charging. So yeah, they are backed by Fog Creek, and so they are going to keep the servers on, but when Pivotal went to making people pay, there's a huge uproar. EVAN: You're very right. CHUCK: That just made me laugh. EVAN: It's inevitable. You have to go on knowing that if it's free for now, it can... There's no such thing as a free launch, it’ll come around to get you eventually. CHUCK: I think it's funny with the whole Pivotal thing that people got so upset that they made it a paid service. But I'm just sitting there going, “Look, unless it's a revenue center of some kind. There's no guarantee that they are going to keep it available for everybody to use it.” EVAN : Well I guess it kind of makes sense that they had to at some point because Pivotal Labs is a consultancy.  This seems to be a thing that if you are a Rails consultancy of non-trivial size, you come up with project management tool. There seems to be an unwritten rule. It seems like almost all of them do it at some point. That said, it only works up to a point. You do it as demonstration of capabilities. You do it in the Seth Godin’s sense of giving something away for free to demonstrate what you are good for, but also getting value. But at some point, it's going to cost you more than you get out of it in terms of the marketing value, or the good will. And if you are not charging money for it, then it becomes a significant lost. So it seems like it was inevitable. Who knows, Fog Creek has been around for a while, so I don’t understand why it's free. That’s a whole different discussion. CHUCK: I think I'm going to write my own and call it TrackMine. EVAN: TrackMind? CHUCK: TrackMine, like RedMine. EVAN: Oh, yeah. [Chuckles] CHUCK: So I'm considering moving away from Pivotal Tracker for some of the reasons I just outlined and also just the fact that I'm paying reasonable amount of money to use it with my clients, and I'm not sure that it's worth it. And so , I'm probably going to be looking at some of the options out there like RedMine or Chili Project, and some of the others, and just see what's there, and see what I like, and see if I think it will work, and give it a shot. EVAN: So one we haven’t talked about that I have a little bit of a soft spot for and is maybe a little RedMine like is JIRA. I'm curious how you feel about that one, Eric, because I think of it as a little more in common with RedMine than something like Trello or Pivotal. ERIC: It's definitely more management in the think more larger organizations, larger process. I think JIRA is a scale about of RedMine and Chili Project, but at the same time, there's things that like RedMine or Chili Project does better, and there's things that JIRA does better. I mean, it's the contrast between Tello and Pivotal Tracker. I mean, Trello, you have like a set of Legos you can do whatever you want, but you can also do whatever you want. That’s the downside at the same time. That’s kind of how RedMine and Chili Project versus JIRA. JIRA has this really, really strict workflow, and really, really strict way of operating because it's built for large enterprises versus Chili Project, it's really flexible. I've talked about that a lot in how you can customize Chili Project to work from like a one person company like mine, all the way up to like different apartments, dozen people each department type thing. As far as software wise though, I've used JIRA a couple of years back, I think. I evaluated it for a company I was working with, it was hard for them. And they are I think 40-50% company, maybe half a dozen developer. It was just way too much. Like you would spend 6 hours out of your day messing with JIRA, and two hours doing work. CHUCK: [Chuckles] EVAN: Honestly, to some extent, that’s my perspective on JIRA. I first encountered it, I wanna say maybe 2005 or so, back in the government sector when I was working for a three letter agency. And back them, it was almost a breath of fresh air compared to all the crap that we had before. One of the features that I liked, and that I think I remember you telling me RedMine does this too is anytime you reference a ticket id anywhere, and any kind of issue ticket or whatever you wanna call it, anytime you reference one, it automatically links to that ticket. So you end up with this wiki like effect that whenever you are in the comment section or description and reference anything else, you can very easily navigate between them. One thing that JIRA had that I very much liked, I think RedMine might also do, is it allowed you to specify dependencies between issues. The downtime is at that point, that once you have such a complex mapping of your tickets, your issues, your features, it does get very difficult to manage them, which is why I prefer something more like a Kanban board, because you tend to do these things more visually than via some other artificial construct like a linkage. ERIC: I did most of the work for sub task stuff in at the time, RedMine. We were trying to copy how JIRA works with some things, but the implementation, I don’t think it got actually finished correctly, and there's a bunch of weird bugs with it, but I found especially for myself and almost every one of my clients, all the way up to a large government, when you really start messing with like sub task and dependencies, it's a ball of mud. I mean, you need to hire full time task manager person that that’s all they do. EVAN: That’s what we had on a government project. In my entire run, they would call that person, the configuration management person.  I had no idea what that had to do with configuration management, but.. [Chuckles] CHUCK: [Chuckles] EVAN: That was the tittle that they used for that job position is always “configuration management.” CHUCK: I would call them the “sub task master.” EVAN: [Chuckles] Sub task. I thought of two different things impolite, and I did actually censor myself this time. CHUCK: [Chuckles] Thank you, we appreciate that. EVAN: The audience might not, but you do. CHUCK: So Eric, why should we consider switching over to RedMine or Chili Project? And this is something that I am interested in. ERIC: Any tool, even RedMine, Chili Project, Emacs, Vim, whatever -- use what works best for you. Try it out. I hate telling people why they should switch to something, because that’s just my opinion. Way back in the day when I got started, I picked RedMine because, I do this with pivotal because you could use something like Mantis or Bugzilla to track your bugs, but then you are going to use Harvest to track your time, and then maybe QuickBooks to do your invoices, you have all these 7 or 8 tools. And what attracted me to RedMine at the time was that most of that was in one system. And what also attracted me was that open source and in Ruby on Rails, so I can change it. And in fact, I think four months into it, they added a decent plugin system, and I started writing plugins and  tweaked it and that’s how I got my invoicing, that’s how I got the HTML5 clocking tool I was talking about earlier. And so now, the stock RedMine and Chili Project, and it might not be best for you, but with all the plugins, you can customize it and do that and stuff, you can really like, “This is what my workflow process is.” And so, for me, I've done an extensive amount of work, and I've got maybe 100 or so plugins that I've written for clients to tweak it for their process. And that’s my I can say like it works for one person company, or maybe a five person agency all the way up to the government sized organizations. And it's pretty flexible. It has rough edges ,but it's open source and almost all software is going to have rough edges. So that’s why I use it. Give it a try. There's demos with both RedMine and Chili Project. And there's several public ones you can actually play with to see like, “Okay, what's real data actually look in this?” CHUCK: That makes sense. And you could put a lipstick on it, build a plugin that gives you kind of the Kanban view of things. ERIC: I've written one kind of Kanban… I think this was even before Kanban got into software. I've written one plugin for that that’s very, very simple. It's actually like two lists of one, what you're working on, what you have available. And then I've written two other Kanban plugins. One for one that's simple, and one for a school, like a university. And it's actually like, it's massive, like it loads every single model that it can, but you can drag and drop and do inline editing and a whole bunch of other stuff. So that’s the thing, I've even considered writing even a really simple for me. Take maybe like 2-3 days, and then my entire process can be changed or tweaked and improve that way. EVAN: The only downside is that if you're writing a plugin, then it's more code and you have to maintain it, so it is also a liability. You can say that about any external dependency, but if it's your code, then it's very much your liability. CHUCK: Right. Then you go, “Who’s the idiot that wrote this?” [Chuckles] I do that all the time. ERIC: I've had that before, like on invoicing day, I was doing my invoices, run into a bug, had to stop, fix the bug, do a deployment and then get back to the invoicing.  And any time you use open source software, that’s a problem. But also, if that happens in Harvest or whatever and Harvest has a bug, you're stuck. EVAN: It's a little bit of a tangent, but this is why I often talk to people about gems that I use, that in a lot of cases, I will actually go look in /lib and go look in /test and see what it's like because I accept that when I use gem, I effectively take some degree of ownership. A lot of people don’t think about that. ERIC: Other than the top, well-known plugins and stuff, I actually do a code review of almost all gems and libraries I use, especially the older ones, just to make sure about security or like did this guy abandon it halfway through and all that. And in fact, I do that with every WordPress plugin I use, just because of that’s a very highly targeted system. EVAN: And then abandoned is actually perhaps the worst problem. You see a lot of abandoned gems in Ruby, but Rails especially. CHUCK: Yeah, and some of that is due to the movement that Rails has where they increment the version, they have major changes. And some of that is just due to the fact that people are busy. EVAN: Yeah, that’s why I mentioned it though. It is a real problem. I just wanted to emphasize because Eric has a really good point there. ERIC: I guess I've written 100, it could be more than that, but about 100 plugins for RedMine. But half of them, I'm considering abandoned. I don’t use anymore or client finished the project, and it's kind of like, if it works for you, great. If it doesn’t, you are either going to need to fix it yourself, or hire someone to fix it for you, type thing. But the thing is, since it's open source, they can atleast look at it, and say it's just like minor fix or whatever. CHUCK: So let’s move on to another class of tools that is kind of related to project management, except it's more for life in general. It's so funny to me because I remember when I first needed a to-do list, my first inclination was since Pivotal Tracker was free was to just put all the things I have to get done into Pivotal Tracker. And guess what, it didn’t work. It's made for completely different context. And I still don’t entirely understand why it didn’t work, but it didn’t work. So what do you guys use for to-do lists? ERIC: I don’t follow it as heavily as I used to, but I do GTD and ZTD (Zen to Done), it's like a lighter version of GTD. But I've gone back and forth and I've stuck with basically just a text file. I have a special Emacs mode, so it colors it but it's basically tasks like priority, what a to-do item is, and then I use tags for contacts or like I just [unintelligible] style tags, just throw a bunch on at the end. CHUCK: So is it not org mode? ERIC: No, I actually hate the org mode to-do list. I’ve used it for a while. It's too many restrictions. EVAN: What the heck is org mode? ERIC: It's an Emacs mode where since I think organization, you can make outlines and it's really good for writing, and it also has like plugins like crazy. EVAN: You have to remember like most of us, we don’t use this crazy Emacs things. ERIC: Yeah, but I've heard of many, many Vim people talking about org mode. EVAN: I've heard org mode mentioned. I just didn’t remember anything about it, so I thought it might also be good for the listeners too. ERIC: Yeah. So like I said, it's still a text file, and I'm actually copying the format of a system called todo.txt, very basic. And actually, the nice thing is people have written iOS clients for it. There's web clients and all that. There's a command line client, but I don’t use it. So it's a pretty simple, standard format. You can read, but there's also ways to access it natively, and put in a nice pretty face on it. EVAN: I used a variety of things. I've gotten to GTD about 7-8 years ago, and I've tried everything from I think back then, it was a palm pilot, and all kinds of things in between. Most recently, I guess over the past year, I've been fluctuating between Omnifocus by the Omni group and Things by Cultured Code. I like Things because it is simpler, it is more focused. It actually cuts out a lot of features that Omnifocus has, so it's less of a power user app. To me, Things is Apple to Omnifocus is Microsoft in a way. But in this case, the Microsoft wins for one very ironic reason, and that's that Omnifocus plays really nice with Siri. So the Omnifocus I'm comparing to Microsoft plays really nicely with the Apple 4s’ Siri feature, because you can have Omnifocus sync or collect tasks from your reminder’s list in iCloud, as long as you just name the list of particular thing you inform Omnifocus what the name of that list is. And any reminder you put on that list will get synced to your Omnifocus. So to me, that’s very useful because one reason I've always wanted a mobile reminder app, and that’s why I can type things in, is that I always remember things when I'm in a hands free mode when I can’t type. I remember things when I'm biking, I remember things when I'm driving, I remember things when I'm on the toilet for example. And okay, I have typed on the toilet, I admit it. CHUCK: [Laughs] EVAN: [Chuckles] I have a bad feeling that might be the intro right there. CHUCK: Oh well, I worked with David Brady, and… EVAN: I know. I was going to replace “on the toiled” with another word, but I did not. CHUCK: I have to say though that I've heard him doing all kinds of things with his phone on the toilet at work. EVAN: Let’s interject it. David’s a Mormon, so there's some things he won’t do with his toilet.. or his phone in the toilet. CHUCK: [Chuckles] Fair enough. EVAN: Not his toilet when he's on the phone, which is what I almost said. ERIC: But Evan, have you paired on your toilet? CHUCK: [Laughs] Oh, geez. EVAN: There are two ways to interpret this. I believe at every case that's a no. That’s a little bit of a TMI, but I believe the answer is no. I will leave it at that. But going back to trying to be topical once again, I'll attempt. To me, that’s the killer feature that I can record tasks by voice, and they will get to Omnifocus. I can’t do that with Things. If it weren’t for that, I would be very inclined to use Things because it's simpler -- I like simpler. Omnifocus has tons of features. It allows you to parameterize your tasks in so many different ways. In some ways, it gets to be too much. I think Eric actually inspired me with something he said maybe about a year ago that I use Omnifocus in a very simplistic way. I intentionally try to ignore a bunch of features. And I basically use it in a pared down fashion. I would rather use Things. But if you think of things a lot in when you are hands free, you would be better off with Omnifocus, if you are on iOS. If you are not on iOS, I'm so sorry. CHUCK: So you guys have heard me on the show say that I use Things. That is no longer the case. I switched to Omnifocus. EVAN: When did you do that? CHUCK: Couple of weeks ago. I decided to try it out. It was only like $30 on the AppStore, so I thought I’d give it a shot. EVAN: I'll mentioned something that you asked earlier. You can export from Omnifocus. You can’t export from Things, as far as I can tell. CHUCK: Yeah. I looked for about 5 minutes and then just gave up with Things, as far as exporting went. But the thing that really sold me was the sync to iPhone and iPad. And the funny thing is Things 2 came out, and it has the sync in it. EVAN: But Omnifocus have that via web dev for ages. The Omnigroup added a service for it recently which has been nice. CHUCK: Yeah, it's been really, really nice. But the other thing is for me that really sold me is once I started using it, it just organized my to-dos more in line with the way that I think about them. So I can group them by projects, I can nest the folders if I want to, of course, I only have two layers from nesting. And I can set different contexts on it in different ways, so I can say these are the things I have to get done today, or these should have these tags on them, that kind of span across different folders and things. EVAN: But it's not Things, it's Omnifocus. CHUCK: Yeah. The whole interface, it just kind of flowed better with my workflow in... EVAN: I find the Omnifocus interface a little cluttered. Okay, it's not. But compared to Things, because Things is minimalist, but Omnifocus’ UI can be a little busy. CHUCK: That’s true, but the place I use it probably half the time is on my iPad, and it's much better on the iPad. EVAN: The iPad UI is actually wonderful. CHUCK : I love it. So if I'm blowing through to-dos, or if I'm working my list. Like if I have to put a new one in, I will do it on a computer so I can just type it in with the keyboard. EVAN: So I think it's worth mentioning at that point, there's an iPad client, there's an iPhone client, and there's a Mac OS X client. They all have very distinct user interfaces. In the iPad client, I think we both agree, it's by far the friendliest while maintaining a lot of the richness. CHUCK: So I'll just set that up, and I'll just have my iPad sitting on my desk, and I'll just, “Okay, what do I need to do now?” I'll go look at my to-dos and you know. EVAN: So we're talking about tools again, granted we're getting a little bit hardwarey, but that’s always been a goal of mine when I've written my one iOS app, I was trying to rate it as a heads up displays essentially, to run an iPad next to my computer. In auxiliary display, but displaying one type of information. So, Omnifocus can be really good that way. I need to try that. I like that idea. CHUCK: Are there any other tools that we've left of? Any tools or types of tools? EVAN: Can I mention one other detail of Omnifocus if anyone is going to try using it for real? What I've done that helped me, might help other folks, is you can make what they call ‘perspective’ in Omnifocus. And this allows you to have… it's a lot like a stored procedure I guess for a database. It allows you to have a custom filter that displays only the tasks that you want, given various conditions. So like with mine, I only display the ones that are due in the next few days, and the ones that I flag. And so like my flags are my GTD equivalent of what I need to do today, or are super-duper important and I really need to be reminded on of them. And anything with a date obviously is pretty important because it has a date on it. Just for any hardcore GTDers out there. Well, okay fine, Eric. Semantics... CHUCK: [Chuckles] EVAN: He's typing this. He's not saying it. He could be saying it. Just to mock me in writing. ERIC: I just don’t interrupt you. EVAN: Oh, come on. CHUCK: Yeah, you're on a roll, Evan. EVAN: Wait, when are you allowed to get a sense of humor, Eric? I need to know this. When were you allowed to? Who said you can get one? CHUCK: He has a kid now. It's a requisite. If you don’t have a sense of humor, you'll go insane. ERIC: It’s called “sleep deprivation”, not a sense of humor. EVAN: Chuck, I think you nailed it. You know those remarks I was making a couple of weeks ago about Eric seeming different? That might be it. CHUCK: [Chuckles] EVAN: Sleep deprivation and insanity. Got it. CHUCK: [Chuckles] Yeah, he grew himself a sense of humor. EVAN: [Chuckles] That too. Sorry. I tangent to this back from the next topic. I don’t know where you were going next. CHUCK: No, that’s fine. ERIC: I was thinking, if it was just business stuff, so other stuff I can think about is communications. That’s email client and Skype pretty much. CHUCK: Yeah, that’s where I was going to go next. I was going to ask what you guys use for your email. EVAN: I'm not happy with any of them. I used to use Sparrow, until it basically got disowned because of Google buying them. Now, I'm back to Apple Mail and I'm kind of sad. CHUCK: It got disowned, meaning you disowned it? EVAN: Well, meaning that Google bought Sparrow and I don’t know if it was talent buy or a software buy. I really hope it was both, but Sparrow was only getting a little bit of maintenance now, and they are not getting any more new features. CHUCK: Oh. EVAN: You didn’t know that. Okay. I don’t know if you are a Sparrow user, but once I heard about that, I decided, maybe it's time to move on again. So I'm trying to find a decent solution. I don’t really like Apple Mail still. Even in Mountain Lion, it's is still a mess. CHUCK: It's funny because whenever I heard about these products that are discontinued or whatever, I always try to think of some kind of like ironic or funny name for something that could be like the next generation of it. And for some reason, what I came up with was Chicken. So your next email client would be Chicken. [Chuckles] I don’t know. EVAN: Tastes like chicken? CHUCK: Yeah. Anyway, I use Google Apps for my email. EVAN: Well, I use Google apps too. It's just I used to use Sparrow’s front end. CHUCK: Yeah. I really liked the Gmail interface and I'm happy to do it over the web, so that’s what I do. ERIC: I have Rackspace email because I didn’t want everything in my life in Google. And Rackspace just seems to be up more than Gmail was when I was looking around. And it was an IMAP account, so I use Thunderbird right now. Seems to be the best. I've used a couple other like esoteric Linux email clients. Big thing for me is the automation. Like I can just hit one key and do a bunch of things without actually using the mouse. EVAN: Has there been a new release of that in the past year or two? I used to like Thunderbird, but it seemed to have gone idle for a while. ERIC: It's pretty active. I think it's kind of like where Firefox like Firefox took forever to release, and now they are like up to like version 1,624. Thunderbird is pretty active. I've been seeing some updates. This is on Linux, so this is pretty much their core operating system, but I don’t know how it is on Mac. EVAN:   I remember it might have been one of the mail clients that [unintelligible] to threading pretty well. ERIC: Yeah, it's nice. Like I said, I had to go for Rackspace and I also use it for my calendar, which pulls from Google Calendar and a couple of other like web calendar thingies. CHUCK: I use Google Calendar as well. My whole life is on Google. EVAN: I'm a Mac user fan boy. CHUCK: [Chuckles] EVAN: I'm lazy, and that’s actually it. I'll use what's given to me as long as it works moderately well. Apple Mail though was always letting me down. ERIC: “It's like what email client do you use?” “A Mac.” “What [unintelligible] do you use?” “A Mac.” EVAN: [Chuckles] Well, you hear me grumbling a bit about Apple Mail, and actually, I use Chrome. I don’t use Safari. I don’t like Apple mail. It's still bad. CHUCK: Chrome for the win. EVAN: Yeah, Chrome is a wonderful. Love Chrome. CHUCK: Developer tools, awesome. EVAN: Chrome on iOS is actually pretty good too. CHUCK: Really? I haven’t tried it. EVAN: So this is actually worth mentioning because Chrome had voice search on the android for changes. It has voice search on iOS. CHUCK: No way. EVAN: Yes. It has voice search. It is not only it's light-years faster than Siri, it's light-years more accurate than Siri. It's amazingly good. Number of things it gets right, where I tell myself, “Siri would just trip all over this,” it interprets it spot on. This actually is the one feature that makes me a little sad that I'm on iOS instead of Android, because Google voice recognition is so good. It must be all the years of writing 411 when they were probably training up some neural net or something like that. Or of course, it's Google -- data mining. Any who, it's wicked fast and very accurate. And you can use it on iOS. Give it a try. It will blow you away. ERIC: Yeah, and you can get an accessory, they actually implant a chip on your brain and… CHUCK: [Chuckles] EVAN: As soon as he said “accessory,” I had a feeling I knew where this was going. CHUCK: Nice. EVAN: Come on, Eric. First they're going for your brow. Next, they're going for your eyeball; then they'll go for your brain. CHUCK: Yeah. So what do you guys use for your social network or social media management? ERIC: EVAN: [Chuckles] Wasn’t ready for that. [Chuckles] ERIC: Realistically though, on my phone I use Facebook app or whatever. And for Twitter, I used HootSuite, both actually native apps on iOS and then the web version of whatever on the desktop. It's the best. And it's not like an Adobe Air app, so I can actually have free RAM on my system. CHUCK: [Chuckles] I love that. I use HootSuite, and I really like it. TweetDeck, I hate that thing. EVAN: TweetDeck is great in the winter time, because you don’t have to pay for heating. CHUCK: [Chuckles] EVAN: [Chuckles] God, listen to this guy. Where did this sense of humor come from? CHUCK: I already told you. EVAN: Yeah, I guess you just need some good ventilation around your computer and then we'll just plug it in the same dock port, and you are good to go, right? CHUCK: Yeah. But they’ve been adding features to HootSuite pretty frequently. And so, I almost don’t need Buffer anymore, because all the features are in there. EVAN: Are you guys both on iOS for mobile? CHUCK: No, I have an Android phone. EVAN: Okay, so this one apply to you then, Chuck. Well actually, in OS X, it does. I've tried HootSuite, okay so I understand what HootSuite is because I use to tweet some before, and I've used HootSuite a little. HootSuite just feels like overkill for me. What I discovered on iOS and they’ve released an OS X alpha for it. I mentioned this a few eps ago, Jeff was excited about it, it was Tweetbot. Tweetbot on iOS is really simple, it's really slick. It's the best user interface for any Twitter client I've seen. ERIC: The reason I like HootSuite is it's like TweetDeck, you can have columns. I set it up on the web, and it gets synced to my phone. EVAN: I understand. I guess I've been getting worse about reading my Twitter. I go through phases of reading everything and then not being able to read very much. And even having it mark what I've read wouldn’t help me very much. But HootSuite is one of those things where for me it's a little like Omnifocus versus Things, where Tweetbot fell more than Things, and HootSuite is Omnifocus, is my feeling. There's also an OS X alpha of Tweetbot that’s currently free. And the alpha is already in pretty darn good. And the other nice thing is if you use Mountain Lion, it plugs in to the notification system, which I dig. So personally, I recommend that. Now, I know this is a total rat hole, but everyone hold on to your Twitter clients very closely because who knows how long it will actually be working anywhere near as nicely as they are now? ERIC: Yeah, and to be honest, the Twitter website I've left it open, that kills Chrome just as bad as Adobe Air is to kill my system. It's pretty bad now. EVAN: Yeah, it's pretty heavy. So brief rat hole, for those of you who don’t know Twitter is trying to very tightly control their API, to the extent that they are trying to have an almost uniform user experience across most clients, which frankly defeats a lot of purpose of even having multiple clients. And it seems like, you guys can correct me if I'm wrong, but a lot of the reason for this is because they want to force the clients display advertisements… advertise tweets from Twitter than you won’t be able to mute tweets by any particular user for example. I guess you probably couldn’t block a sponsored tweet for instance. ERIC: I think so. I think it's also they want a consistent UI. And I can understand that. I've seen a couple of other apps where they don’t, and it's like crazy. But it seems like the business reason is that so they can actually say like, “Yes, everyone will see this ad,” and all that. I mean, it's their business; they have the right to do it. It kind of just suck. EVAN: So where I was going to go with it when Chuck asked, “What do you use for social networks?” I was about to say, “Well I'm starting to use” I signed on to the I have fifty dollars .com website. That’s the joke website for, because right now when you create an account, you have to spend $50 for a whole year. And it's still very early, but I wanted to get my name and I'm just not annoyed enough with Twitter that I wanna throw my money behind the  competition. CHUCK: [Chuckles] ERIC: In all honesty, not to get on a tangent, but that seems to me the same thing that Diaspora or whatever that thing that try to do that… EVAN: I don’t think that’s wholly true, if not for any reason, because is charging money upfront. Diaspora, it was a lot less clear how they were going to make money, so I don’t think will have that problem. I think the problem they'll have is getting traction, getting market. ERIC: Yeah. But I mean, still, that’s a problem with any kind of network effect software. EVAN: Yeah, but  at the same time, just remember Twitter, I guess it was maybe 6 years ago or so, when Twitter was mostly a lot of Rubyists and web developers because Twitter was created by a bunch of Rails developers. And then it started to grow in a lot more. seems like it's starting very similar where it's a lot of web professionals who were pissed off with Twitter’s locking down the API. ERIC: Yeah, the adoption curve or whatever? To me, it seems like, “Hey, this seems like a repeat of what 18 months ago,” or something. EVAN: I kind of thought the same thing.  I feel like it has a better shot. I admit I'm skeptical on [unintelligible] overall, that Twitter might pull and “Apple”… by metaphor it's a little when Apple decided to lock down how you would write their apps. You would have to do it in XCode, it would have to be in Objective-C. And for all intents and purposes, this  would have screwed a vast majority of the iOS developers and so many of us screamed, that maybe a month later Apple back pedaled really hard, and basically said almost anything goes. ERIC: Since then, Apple’s stocks went down the tubes. EVAN: Yeah, it's been really terrible. CHUCK: [Chuckles] EVAN: Again, Apple back pedaled though because there was a really strong dev pushback. In Twitter seeing the same pushback, maybe they’ll respond or if they won’t, maybe it will cost them. CHUCK: Yeah, well it's interesting because the openness of their API, and the way that the ecosystem kind of grew around it is really what took Twitter to where they were. EVAN: Right. It feels very bait and switch-y. It would be a lot like if Google all of  a sudden said that you had to pay to use the Google Maps API or something like that, if there are some things that… it's a lot like saying, “Here’s air, breathe it. Oh, by the way, we are going to charge you by the liter.” CHUCK: [Chuckles] “So long, and thanks for all the fish.” EVAN: Yeah, really. CHUCK: All right, I think we need to get into the picks. ERIC: One thing I wanna say before Twitter changes their API, another tool which I forget about is I have a 21-line Ruby script that I use, so I can use just on the command line type tweet and type a Twitter thing, I’ve found that’s extremely fun, especially when I'm venting about bad code, because I can pop up the console, type it out, send it off, and I don’t get sucked on Twitter reading everything. So, that’s another tip. EVAN: Can you just link to it in the show notes. I want that. [Chuckles] EVAN: It's literally required Twitter appears on my OAuth consumer stuff. And Twitter update  and then whatever I type in. You could probably get it from the rdoc readme the Twitter gem. CHUCK: Let’s go ahead and jump into the picks. Eric, why don’t you go first. ERIC: I've been sick for six days, so my pick is something that I've just been playing with. I try to think a while back, I try to do more stuff on my iPad to be more of the get out of the house, work remotely type stuff. And I still can’t quite do code and all that on it, because Emacs over an SSH on the iPad is not quite right. But as far as writing goes, I'm actually really able to sit down and write on the iPad. And I found for like free writing or just doing a draft blog post, I'm actually more productive on the iPad now than I was on my computer, mostly because I don’t have 40 things popping in front of me. And recently, I got a recommendation for it and I went out and bought it, and I got Byword. It's a really, really nice, simple, markdown editor. I use it for my iPhone and on my iPad. The nice thing is that it syncs with the either the iCloud thing or Dropbox. And what I'm actually doing now is I have a large file of like the blog post of different things I'm writing in Dropbox, and then I just start writing there, and once I feel like, “Oh this chunk looks like it's complete.” I actually pull it out and then put it to a post. So I have this big, long file of content. EVAN: I read all my presentation slides in key down, which is mark down, so you had me at markdown, iOS, OS X and Dropbox. [Chuckles] ERIC: That’s actually my second pick is I was playing with it today. Keydown. It's I guess HTML5 JavaScripty presentation. EVAN: I haven’t done that one before? Damn it. ERIC: I don’t know. In the past few days, I probably spent 3-4 hours, and created presentation template,  created 4, maybe 5 presentations and recorded screencast with the script of them. Nice thing about key down is like you said, Evan, it's mark down, that turns into HTML and JavaScript, so I actually can use it on Linux, I can use it on the Mac, I think it works on iPad. I saw the JavaScript code respond to touch events. So,  it's pretty nice, it's kind of what I always wanted in a presentation tool. And I've heard some inklings of other tools where you can actually set it up, so you are presenting and other people can actually watch it on their computer, and you can actually, they are using web socks and actually advancing the slides on all the client computers at the same time. So it's a nice thing about HTML stuff, and I don’t know if key down is ever going to get that, but the idea that my stuff is just in markdown and HTML, I can transition to another tool really easily. EVAN: I have tried to run Keydown presentations in iOS just kind of for last, and it will blow up Safari under some circumstances, if you haven’t been… really, I think it depends on size. ERIC: Because the DeckJS stuff I think was a lot newer and a lot better. EVAN: I'm using Keydown 0.9.2. How recent is that? ERIC: Yeah, I think 0.9 is when they switched to DeckJS. They used a different one before. Keydown itself needs… EVAN: They haven’t updated it in a while. Yeah, I've been using 0.9 for a while, I guess. I have to completely agree, Keydown is great. I'll go a step further in here because I was telling a friend who was working on a presentation about this last night. I didn’t quite bother with custom style JavaScript code or anything. Keydown out of the box, to me, in a lot of respect, it's even better than keynote because in that Rails like way, it has conventions and it has a lot of limitations. But the limitations to me, they were actually best practices. Limitations steer you towards writing a presentation that is very presentation Zen the book, presentation Zen-like. Where if you have an image, you have very little text, and that text will usually be on the edge of on image; it's a little flow into or out of the image. It has a lot of nice little things like that built in, that you just get for free. So you don’t even have to augment it unless you really feel an urge to make the style completely your own. ERIC: That’s really all I did. It was like branding my business screencast, blue and green. And I did stuff for Chirk that is blue bar on top of my logo, and the style of colors and it's just CSS. I think I did some JavaScript hacking, like added some to-do countdowns and some animation stuff, but that was like bonus for a specific one. EVAN: Oh, cool. I hope you get that patched in. That would be nice to share with folks. I’d probably use it if it was there. But at the same time, I say that and then I ask myself, “Shoot, do I really wanna do that?” Because Keydown really is beautiful in its simplicity. ERIC: Yeah, I'm actually trying it right now on my iPad, and it's working good. You have to swipe; it's not a tap. It looks perfect. It's a nice one, especially if you're on Linux, because obviously you don’t have PowerPoint or whatever the Mac thing is called. EVAN: So another “best practice” I’ve found with Keydown, I wrote up a very simple guard file to use with it, so every single time I change my markdown, it automatically compiles to Keydown. So I get the new slides right away every single time. ERIC: I have a watcher file that does the same thing, and also watches the CSS, so if I change the CSS, it recompiles it and boom. EVAN: The only thing that I didn’t do that would be really awesome is if I also forced it to have the web browser refresh. That would be just super slick. I really should do that one of these days, but I don’t spend enough time in Key down for it to be quite worth it, but almost. ERIC: Yeah, if you're doing screencast presentation stuff, once you have the template, like I said, I did four screencasts and full from the start, write script, record, done; you can just bang out your topics quickly because it's just markdown. CHUCK: All right, Evan what are your picks? EVAN: I guess I've had this pick a couple of weeks now, but I've been various degrees of self-immolation, actually that would be burning self-torture, I guess. So back on topic, I had these headphones called the LG Tone that I bought recently. I've been forever searching for what I consider to be the perfect Bluetooth headset. It's not quite, but it's very, very close. The reason I love it is that it's fairly unintrusive, it's actually a color of some that you wear, it doesn’t close. But it has two pods; one on your right side, one on your left, with a very thick connecting, almost solid wire in between. And it has ear buds; the ear buds are connected by a short wire at each pod, so that's to say that you can put these ear buds in your ear, and you only have very short wire from your shoulder up to your ear on each side, or you can just unplug them and let them dangle. They don’t dangle far. They are always easy to find. Or the nifty thing, one of many little nifty features, is each ear bud has a magnet inside of it,and  the other magnet, the opposite polarity is on the front of each pod, so the  ear buds just pop right into the pod. It's very easy to get them in and out. So it's very good at getting out of my way. I wore it pretty much my entire trip to Austin, Texas for Lonestar. And other nifty features like the whole thing vibrates when you get a phone call, it's very obvious because you're getting a little neck massage. CHUCK: [Chuckles] EVAN: Not really, but it sounds funny, right? And the audio quality is pretty good. The controls are fairly simple. It just takes a little bit of getting used to, because it's a little Star Trek like, you're not reaching up to your chest, you're reaching up to just above your pectoral to tap on buttons on either side, which is nifty in a very nerdy kind of way, if you like Star Trek too much like way. And the only problem I have is the microphone, like so many that claims to be noise canceling, does not do very well in noisy environments. I tried it when riding my bicycle and Siri would misinterpret everything that I would say in that wonderful fashion that Siri loves to do, but worse than normal. And also in the lounge outside of a conference room where there are a lot of people hanging around, it couldn’t understand a damn thing I was saying either. That's really fairly typical of most, except for the very, very, best Bluetooth headsets with excellent noise cancelation, And those ones always got other limitations too. So just for day to day use, I love this thing. It's great. I use it around the house even too. It's just that convenient. Chuck is going to link to that. The other nice thing is really, it's pretty cheap too. I talked to one fellow because he broke it while working out at a gym, but for the price, I think it's between $40-$45 depending on where you buy it. You can get it a little bit cheaper in Amazon, but if you are in Amazon Prime, where I bought it. If you happen to break it at $40, if you can get a year out of it, you’ve got an awesome deal, I think. CHUCK: So my picks, my first pick is something that is actually on its way, according to Amazon. I got a text during the podcast. It is Fujitsu ScanSnap Mobile Scanner. It's a mobile scanner. I'm trying to see the dimensions here. It looks like it's a couple inches by a couple inches by 9-10 inches, so it can scan a full sheet of paper. Anyway, I'll put a link in, so you guys can see it, but the thing that I really like about it, this is something that was recommended to me through the podcast mastermind that I'm a part of. And the cool thing is that this one will actually scan in, and it will put the documents into drop box or into Evernote or into any number of other cloud services, so that you can sync them across to wherever. And the thing that really appeals to me about that is just the fact that whenever I travel, I always wind up coming home with this big bag full of receipts, and I would love to just be able to scan them in, have it go and put it into drop box, and then not worry about it and just throw it away. EVAN: Let me give you a suggestion that’s very closely related. I've had a non-mobile scan snap for a while. I didn’t know they had a mobile. That looks really awesome. I've been using ‎DEVONthink Pro Office for a few years now, because I hate getting paper. I still have paper clutter everywhere. Anything that matters to me, it goes into the scan snap, it's OCRed by ‎DEVONthink Pro Office, and then it goes to my database and then I can just search for it easily. But the Scan Snap, it works out of the box with ‎DEVONthink Pro Office. It's a beautiful thing. They work together very nicely for years. I think it's just one of the options in the scan snap software, if you have ‎DEVONthink Pro Office installed. And you just scan the document, it goes right into ‎DEVONthink Pro Office. And it just asks you want you wanna call it, and then it does everything else. And the other thing that I was going to mention, I haven’t tried this yet, but I think you kind of hit it there. I think the sweet spot between that would be that your device plus ‎DEVONthink Pro Office with ‎DEVONthink Pro Office database, and all the documents stored in Dropbox would be perfect. Because then if you share that Dropbox across multiple computers, you could share that ‎DEVONthink Pro Office Database across multiple computers. And the reason I mentioned that is because drop box is your medium of communication, but it's stored locally on your devices, you're not using Evernote, you're not relying as much on a software as a service is what I'm saying. That's why Evernote always made me uncomfortable, and I really preferred ‎DEVONthink Pro Office instead. ERIC: I have a desktop version or whatever. The big scanner. And I actually sync it into the Dropbox folder, so I can be on a different computer on my iPad and actually edit and sort them all. Because when you scan a lot of things, you get like 100 PDFs. EVAN: I haven’t done this yet, and I'm realizing this just now in this conversation. I have to move my ‎DEVONthink Pro Office library and put it all into Dropbox. That would be really sweet. CHUCK: Yeah, I'll have to look at ‎DEVONthink Pro Office and see what the deal is. But one way or the other, then I can just organize it by date or by event or whoever, and just have it inn drop box. I can share it over to my bookkeeper if she needs copies of the receipts for anything. If I get audited or whatever, I just pull it up. Anyway, the other pick is something that I discovered, again through the Podcast Mastermind, it was our required reading or listening for the last meeting that we had. And it was The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale. And he kind of got the self-help movement started with this. It's a 35-minute audio. I think it costs like 89 cents off of Amazon. And it was just awesome. Basically, he talks about how like 5% of the people out there will become successful or become wealthy, will become financially independent, whatever it is, however you are going to measure that level of success. And he talks about what the strangest secret is, what it is that makes these people succeed. Anyway, it's a terrific thing. It really kind of changed the way that I think about a lot of things. So I highly recommend it. I'm going to put a link in for both the MP3 and the text version. The text version is really short too. It's just a transcription of the talk, but anyway, the deal is that basically he recorded this for some of the people who were working in his organization, and had it cut to vinyl records, and then these folks took it home and listened to it and then they came back and said, “Well, I need this for these family members and these other people,” and it just spread, and spread, and spread. And so, anyway, like I said, it's something that just really has changed my outlook on things and helped me realize what's important to me, and how I'm going to be a success myself. So anyway, go check it out. Like I said, it's only a 30 or 40 minute listen, so definitely worth that amount of time. EVAN: I remember my other pick. This one should be obvious. We’ve talked about this sort of thing before. We talked about getting goodnight sleep. That's huge. For me, I've been a chronic snorer very much in most of my life and unfortunately, the more weight I put on, the worse the snore gets. I had a friend who pushed me pretty hard to get a sleep study. Took me about 2 years to get it done. They said I had sleep apnea. Then they gave this thing called CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). What it does is it increases the pressure of the air that you are breathing, so that way you keep your airways entirely open, when you are inhaling and exhaling during sleep. That's the problem with sleep apnea is that they tend to collapse when you are asleep, because the muscles just relax. The result is that the air content, the oxygen content, your blood goes up significantly when you're sleeping, which means you sleep a lot better, you get more energy, you heal better, you lose weight faster by the way, I finally found. Thank goodness. So if your significant other tells you that you snore a lot, and if you have semi frequent days where you wake up feeling pretty groggy, I strongly recommend you get yourself a sleep study. And after that sleep study which will be kind of weird thing for you, I assure you. They say that you have sleep apnea, ask them for a CPAP. They'll probably recommend you get one. It will change your life. Everyone told me that before, and they were totally right. So if you snore, get a sleep study, get a CPAP – be happy. CHUCK: Yeah. It's all about quality of life. And this was what it's all about anyway, right? EVAN: Right. We talk about quality of life things, and sleep to me is always been one of the hugest elements of quality of life, because it affects mood, it affects thinking, it affects your energy. And so that in turn affects almost everything else. CHUCK: All right, with that, I think we're going to go ahead and wrap up. Thanks for coming, guys. We'll pick it up next week. Next week, we are going to talk about Educational Products. We'll have Avdi join us. All right, so we'll catch you all next week. Thanks!

Sign up for the Newsletter

Join our newsletter and get updates in your inbox. We won’t spam you and we respect your privacy.