The One with the Case of Bag-Fever

About how one thing led to another and all of a sudden I found myself in the search of a backpack. As if I wouldn’t have enough of those.

I want a new bag but I don’t necessarily need one. The storage room in the cellar is filled with bags that I don’t use anymore, because my needs have changes (I’m looking in this case at oversized camera-bags), or which are flawed in one way or the other.

The bags that I considered my favourites on the other hand, those which I used a lot, all broke. Most of the time it were the zippers, and in one case even the shoulder strap cut in half while throwing the bag over my shoulder.

I currently use the Anvanda bag, which fits all my stuff, but I’m kind of missing a few more organisational features. Also I would like to keep the laptop/tablet away from other stuff in the bag, like, say my lunch, should I ever remember to pack it, or a water bottle. But, despite that I like that bag and it’s quite different from what I usually used.

But, a few weeks ago, I, per accident, noticed a nice bag in a store: the Arc’teryx Blade 20. I looks good and has nice features. I was intrigued, interested even, but didn’t spent much time exploring it and forgot about it. Shortly thereafter, a slew of bag-reviews (related to-bags at least) entered my feed. First Matt Mullenweg’s “What’s In My Bag“, then Gabe Weatherhead’s, followed by Tim Nahumuck’s. All featuring different bags, talking about temptation.

One thing led to another and I found myself checking bags, reading reviews, watching bag-porn, ie. video-reviews on You Tube (I especially enjoyed this channel), and now I’m badly in-the-want for a new bag.

After somewhat thorough evaluation I boiled it down to these bags:

At the moment the Evergoods CPL 24 is by far my favourite from the above. The Synapse has a lot of things to organize stuff in, what I like, but is missing dedicated laptop department, which kind of can be built-in, but costs extra. The Black Ember is nice, but maybe a bit too Batman for me.

What I’m especially looking for is a bag that I can use for a looong time, can have multiple use-cases, is weather resistant (driving bike a lot), and is most likely to not fall apart.

I’m routinely hovering over the “Add To Cart” button, but will try to think about that a bit and look at some more bags possibly. That can’t hurt, though I have a hunch that I might have ordered one, minutes after the post goes live.

Related: this classic XCKD – Backpack Decisions

About a Key and Headphones That Reach up to the Elevator

So, the post I had planned to publish today, didn’t come out, instead you get this one.

Today I intended to write something clever, or at least mildly informative, about a case of bag-fever that I am apparently suffering from, or finish my already-started-and-still-half-finished yearly stats, or maybe post and update on my reading list. And, you guessed it already, all you get is this:

Today I learned that my bluetooth headphones have a reach up to the elevator. Somewhere in the ballpark of 10 metres and a closed door in between.

I figured that out, when the audiobook I was listening to suddenly stopped mid-sentence when I entered the elevator. This shall also be known as the moment, I realized my phone was still inside the apartment, right next to the keys of the latter.

It goes without saying, that also no one but me was at home at that time, except for the cat and the dog perhaps. The latter was right next time on his way out, with me.

Short rest of this: we waited until my wife returned and during that time I came up with the idea for this post. Blame the headphones if you will, with a cabled headphone, this wouldn’t have happened. Just sayin’, but I wouldn’t want to go back to headphones with cables either.

And yes, you also get this: a picture I took during the only time of this day, when I was out and in daylight at the same time:

Surely no masterpiece, but it wasn’t intended to be either

My Todoist Report 2018

Despite my constant, annoying and rather un-productive back and forth with task-managers I seemed to have done rather fine.

It’s that time of the year again, STATS! The fine folks over at Todoist had done again an amazing job and produced, as in the previous years, a wonderful infographic with the users statistics. My complete overview you can find here. I just enjoy these.

Since I mostly stuck with Todoist this year I guess the data is more accurate than last year. Note: I had one short stint in spring, and a much shorter in autumn using my iPhone and in the process Things/OF again, needless to say, it didn’t stick. Additionally I also worked, and still do, with Microsoft ToDo.

That being said, I checked off 124 more tasks last year than in 2017, which, according to the stats, puts me in the top 5% of users. I guess that’s good 👍. My karma-level though hasn’t changed, thanks for asking, and am by the time I write this still 19550 points away from becoming enlightend.

Aside the increased checked-off tasks, my usage, or productivity, hasn’t much changed since last year. Merely turned.

My most productive time during 2018 was at 22:00 followed by 9 in the morning. I’m not surprised about that (currently writing this at 23:49) because those peak times coincide with my “free” time before and after being at work. During work, or better, while being physically there, I usually get less done. Also no real surprise. Last year my peak times were at 9 o’clock in the morning.

Related to the latter, are the months I get most done, or rather, have to get more done. Autumn and Spring are the beginnings of a new teaching season, and my Todoist is full of things to prepare for upcoming projects such as writing arrangements and what not. Summer is historically empty.

The gap during October most likely means a period I used/tried another task-manager. I remember using my iPhone for about a month and using both Things and OmniFocus, because I obviously can’t have enough task-managers.

Last year this graph looked a bit different, but not dramatically, with a peak in January, from there it went slowly down.

I have fun looking at these stats, since I can now see how the year went a bit. As usual, I’m looking forward to next year, but considered that these stats already show some trends I guess there will be no surprises. Then again, you never know.

Some things I liked

The first week at work after vacation was as busy as one might expect and I found myself “starring” a lot of articles in my feed-reader, but never came really around reading them, not even talking about even sharing them.

Jazz Wax posted again a great interview, this time with none other than Miles Davis from 1984. The questions are indeed hilarious. Having it running right now.

I finally came around watching Doctor Who’s Resolutions, the new year’s episode. I like it a lot, and the day after watched it a second time. And talking about the Doctor… Via IO9 I learned that the BBC offers downloads of the original scripts on it’s Writers Rooms site. I, to be honest doubt that I will find the time to read them, but it’s nice in any way.

After finishing the Stephen King’s “The Stand” in the beginning of the week, I the other day started V.A.Schwab’s Vengeful: Villians, Book 2. I enjoyed the first book and am looking forward now how the story continues 📚.

I have started to do some work in Musescore 3 now. Turns out some tasks are much faster and better solved here, but others on the other hand feel more cumbersome. I will have to give it a bit more try. Overall, I do have though managed to get already some very good looking and easy to read sheets out of it.

I haven’t had yet much chance to check out what is actually new in Android Pie. The most obvious difference is of course, the better notifications. I still have to dig in deeper.

Despite my indecisiveness whether to use Microsoft ToDo or stick to Todoist, I like that Todoist has put out the yearly statistics again. I’m currently putting a little post together with some excerpts from it. Interesting to know that I’m in the top 5%. Which I guess is cool.

I’m now hoping that the yearly WordPress review comes out soon as well. I’m not going to be in the top 5% there, that is for sure.

Apps that I relied on the most in 2018 part 1 – Stuff on the Phone

My app-usage is as fluctuating as ever and I tend to experiment a lot to find just the right apps and setup for me. One thing that I avoid as much as possible is to have too many options for more or less the same thing. Sadly this can not always be avoided (see note-taking).

When it come to services and apps I generally try to be as cross-platform as possible for the sake of consistency and to make sure I have access to my stuff everywhere I work, or do stuff. Also this approach makes things a lot easier, since I don’t have to spent time thinking where I left off.

But start off, here’s now my current homescreen:

The first app would be the Microsoft Launcher. I once tried it out of curiosity and since then stuck with it. It has just the right mix between features and simplicity. As a bonus, the app works as a link between phone and my laptop, synching history and as of the latest version, Microsoft To-Do’s and Sticky Notes.

It’s a constant back and forth but at the moment I’m using Microsoft ToDo Todoist for my task management. I’m not sure if it will stick but in case not, I will go back to Todoist (which probably by the time I manage to press publish (edit: and did it, no surprise here… screenshot updated accordingly)). I have elaborated recently on this. I guess though this might be only a temporarily switch back to Todoist, since there was this moment in which getting this one email into ToDo turned out a bit cumbersome and I was annoyed. Outlook integration is coming soon to ToDo but I don’t have it yet. Also not making it easier: I very much enjoy Todoist’s yearly review, this is surely something that I would miss.

At this moment the only “social” media I use is either anything that comes in my RSS reader or Mastodon. I currently use Feedbin and in it I have not only my common dose of blogs, but also my Micro.Blog timeline and several Twitter feeds. It’s almost my one-stop shop for anything social which is quite a time saver. On my phone I use Readably to access my Feedbin. It doesn’t that have many features, but most of what I need (I wish I could use it to subscribe to feeds as well), has good typography options and is overall a very beautiful app.

For Mastodon (I’m here) I use Tusky. I like this app a lot and it does things the way I like them. Nice.

And another Microsoft product: At some point during the last year I switched over to Outlook, both the service and the app, and haven’t much looked back (I had one stint back with Gmail as my main app for a month or so). I much prefer it over Gmail (both app and service).

It might be a bit surprise, but I’m currently rather satisfied with Edge on Android. I has great gestures for navigation (back-/forwards), supports hyphenation, has a built-in ad-blocker and more. Been using it for a while and like it a lot.

Not visible in the top row, but I get my reading done in Kindle and especially Audible. I have joined Audible during the Spring of 2018 and have listened to many books, more than in any year before. I’m almost addicted to it. Talking about listening. Pocket Casts is still my go-to podcast app, and after it’s recent update it has gotten even better than before. I like to use it on the desktop as well, and the sync between the instances phone/desktop is very fast.

My note-taking is mostly a mix of Keep for some things, Sticky Notes for other and OneNote for yet another set of, but most things. It’s a bit of a mess, but so far it works just fine. Or at least… it works.

In another app-category I have been jumping back and forth in, ie. journaling, I have now settled with Journey. It as cross-platform as it can be (also on the desktop) and has a good design.

Messaging is mostly settled, but not necessarily for the best. Everyone and his neighbor is using WhatsApp here and it’s useless even trying something other than SMS. Would love to use something else, but that seems like a lost case at this moment.

There might be some more, like iReal Pro for chords and quick backing tracks, and Google Photos. The latter is the defacto photo solution and I feel this app would be a given at this time. At some point I will post my “desktop” software, which to be fair, is not going to be that much different.

An accidental blog-post about my Task-Manager situation

All I wanted was to write a little post with all the apps that I am currently using on the phone. As I reached the section with the task-managers, my writing got out of hand turned into this: a full blog-post.

During the last year I have been going back and forth again between task-managers and found myself switching between Todoist and Microsoft ToDo (currently mainly using Microsoft ToDo (a beta-version). To make sure, I have spent many, many hours in Todoist, am paying for it and like it because it’s everywhere, it’s flexible and works mostly the way I like.

Well mostly…

What is its strength also is one of its distracting aspects for me: it invites me to tinker with setups, filters, i.e. build perspectives and so on. The other day I built a filter showing me only entries for a certain month. That’s great and would make for a great blog-post, but had been also a huge time sink. At the moment it has become, what OmniFocus used to be for me: a place to optimize my setup, that is, to tinker.

The problem here is not the app of course, but me, I realized that way too many times (think: themes, writing apps, blogging-platforms… I could go on for a while).

Todoist does many things very well, and one thing that I would like to see in Todoist, and one feature that Microsoft ToDo already has, is that when I open a task, I can actually see the task as well as all of it’s related info such as due date, reminders, notes or steps without extra opening those. Sounds like a small thing, but it makes all the difference to me. From my experience with task managers, I can only recall Things for iOS/Mac OS to present tasks in a similar way.

Microsoft ToDo, the successor to Wunderlist, on the other hand is
(by the time of this writing) a much simpler application and not nearly as integrated into anything else as Todoist. The overall design is more calm and, to me, more pleasant to the eye. It is a merely list-manager with some tricks upon its sleeve, most notably the My Day view.

What I like about the My Day view is that it starts like a blank slate every day. No big red letters or buttons reminding of me what I didn’t do yesterday, that comes in just a little later.

I like how the app suggest tasks, based on due dates or other criteria to do just this day, think like forcing a daily review. It doesn’t make me feel bad for not-finishing a task, something that I’m increasingly good at. Not the the feeling bad part, but the not-doing part. In fact, the more I think about it, it does feel a bit, like using a paper book as a task manager.

That brings me to the next task-manager-system I have been recently interested in: the Bullet Journal.

I can’t say that I have spent a lot time learning about it, or using it for that matter, but I can say that I like the tactile aspect, that I can turn pages and look at stuff, that I can literally dribble in it. Writing by hand, has a surprising soothing effect. But, of course there’s a but, it just feels like too much work for me. Also it is very, very bad, abysmally so, with emails, bookmarks or anything that I come around on any of my devices. I could though imagine using a similar system complementary to a digital one.

So, for the time being I will rather stick ToDo for the aforementioned reasons, even if that means that I will lose, OMG, Karma-Points in Todoist (holiday mode to the rescue). At the moment Microsoft ToDo it is missing only a few things to lure me cover completely. But looking at the upcoming features, I guess that might be not taking long.

And if that doesn’t work out, I can go back to Todoist, the BJ, or the…

Things I learned this weekend

Instead of posting a bunch of microblogs over the weekend I chose to ‘save’ up and post them all in a bunch.

Here you go:

  • Chord-cutting still involves a lot of cables
  • The one thing that annoys the hell out of me in Sibelius, works just fine in Musescore 3. Which meant that I gave it try for one lead-sheet that I was working on and the result is just great. There will be a lot of charts to write within the next few weeks, so enough time to give it a spin. If it holds up, I guess I might be switching back again.
  • Edge is a great browser on Android, it is basically Chrome plus swipe-gestures, supports hyphenation, has an ad-blocker and more. Plus it syncs with my desktop
  • my handwriting sucks
  • Jell-O is fun:
a somewhat hysteric Darth Vader Jell-O

31 day streak achieved

Even though I didn’t really plan for it, I managed a 31 day streak, at least one post a day for a month! This is also the longest streak I had on this blog, since its inception ten years ago. Great!

A look at the posting stats for 2018: July wasn’t really a busy month. But that was also a time I moved the blog over to Blot.im. For a while..

Early in the month I realized that I had a little streak already and then challenged myself to continue. Most of the time it was rather easy, and the more I published the easier it got. To be fair, not all of them were posts that I spent a long time writing, some were of course status updates.

So there is hope that I might, *might* be able to continue for a while. At least a little while. Let’s see.

FYI: I wrote every single post in post Gutenberg, which I enjoy a lot and I’m not getting the negative-responses to it. It is simple, intuitive and most importantly, so minimal. It has only what I need for writing for this blog.

Update: I already forgot about the one time I almost didn’t manage. Guess it wasn’t always that easy.