os x timeful replacement option!

Oh, this post needs some serious editing, but this is EXCITING! (for me! and maybe for you. πŸ™‚

I have been searching for a timeful replacement ever since they were purchased (aka swallowed) by google, since that’s never good news. The hunt got more intense last month since they finally admitted that there was no plan to support the servers and are shutting down… (ugh!)

I tried them all – sunrise + wunderlist, handle, an old version of omnifocus, using trello only and pretty much settling on using iCloud reminders only. For habits, I had balanced, way of life, you name it… but there were just too many apps and none of them were close to what timeful provided – most importantly, an integrated view of what I needed / wanted to do in my day.

enter…the just released Fantastical 2.1 for os X! here’s a screenshot!


See how useful it is to see tasks and calendar events in the same view? (and yes, it’s totally a joke that I need to “write blog post”!)

One key thing about Timeful was the ability to estimate the duration of a task and then schedule/reschedule tasks while looking at a visual calendar. It’s easy to see if you’re over scheduled, or move things around as needed. Fantastical for iOS does ok, but the new OS X version is what won me over (it’s so new that there aren’t any screenshots on the web, and i didn’t even know they had the ability to complete reminders inline until i downloaded it on a whim!). There’s nothing like dragging and dropping to reschedule a task, and feeling like the day is organized and accomplish-able πŸ™‚

The second thing Timeful did was to have use flexible end dates for tasks and to slot tasks with defined lengths around fixed events. For example, as a user, I need to complete “x”, which is a 1 hour task, by Friday in the hours after work. With lots of intelligence/backend server processing, they had algorithms set up to identify the “best” time for me to complete the tasks.

This was awesome in that I didn’t feel like I was micromanaging myself and that if I skipped out on doing the task, Timeful would re-schedule the task appropriately and then gently remind me to do it again. They were able to do this by using a calendar for tasks to maintain start/end times. But there’s definitely benefits to using iCloud reminders (like the ability to use Siri)…

Fantastical doesn’t have task durations though. While I miss defining the length of the task, most tasks should have a short enough length so that I don’t get distracted and I can live with manually re-scheduling for now. It’s probably better to have the guilt of overdue tasks that I need to reschedule as well as use that time to decide to cull if they’re not actually important. Better that then have a backend server constantly process items that I’ll never complete!

But here’s hoping that my purchase of Fantastical keeps them going in that direction πŸ™‚

So…I have a timeful alternative for my mac now! And apparently the developers are releasing Fantastical 2.5 for iOS 9 soon – can’t wait to see the features it brings in from the OS X version πŸ™‚

no one notices those filters on the left!

so…let’s tell users they exist!

shown on expedia results, page 1

shown on expedia results, page 1

Shown on page 2 of kayak results

Shown on page 2 of kayak results

(and btw, who tells users to “refine their search”?…filters the word! maybe. gotta test it ALLLLLLLLLL!)

on the sticky header

The only site that I have seen do the sticky header well is t-mobile.com. If you’re scrolling down the page, no sticky header! This makes sense as one would *rightly* assume that I’m trying to read the content on the page. But… if I scroll slightly up, the sticky header appears, giving me access to all header navigation. Perfect, just when I need it!

Their footer animation is quite schnazzy, though not as useful, since it feels like it would need to be loaded with most important content last… (actually, playing the video, not sure if it’s there anymore…)

But anyway, I do know that the header makes me feel like someone cared *every time* I use it. The details make me happy, and makes me more likely to suggest that the people who get to craft these experiences are also happy, etc, etc, etc πŸ™‚

disabling logs in mac parental controls

Mac OS X’s Parental Controls are fabulous, but by default they store logs for all application and website access. If you’d like to set Parental Controls to just impose time limits without all of the application and website logging, you can do so with an admin account using the following steps:

  1. log out of all users but the admin account
  2. open Terminal & type in the following, but replace {username} with the actual username of the account you’re modifying. Type in your admin account password when prompted.
    cdΒ /Library/Application Support/Apple/ParentalControls/Users/{username}
    sudo rm event.data*
    sudo ln -s /dev/null event.data

Close Terminal and you’re done.

Basically, you’re sending all log writing to a black hole, but preserving the usage data in the date folders needed for the time limits to function (yyyy/mm/dd).

Just FYI, the following things don’t work:

  • Modifying /Library/Managed Preferences/{username}/com.apple.familycontrols.logging.plist – this file looks like it is rewritten every time the user logs in
  • Just pointing all of “/Library/Application Support/Apple/ParentalControls/Users/{username}” to /dev/null – this doesn’t preserve the usage data