The Task Manager of my Dreams (and how I get tasks done)

I’ve got a task management problem. It might be a bit different from most people’s, which may be why I’ve looked at everything from OmniFocus to Things to TaskPaper and I can’t find something that meets my needs.

What I need — and what I can’t figure out to do in any of these other applications in a reasonable fashion — is a daily log of what I’ve accomplished, from which I can cherry-pick and summarize into monthly reports, and then again into annual reports.

I can do this in my current system, which has worked pretty well for three years now. I rely on VoodooPad to keep my to-do list. Every day I assemble tomorrow’s to-do list on a page named with the next day’s date. This consists of both uncompleted items from that day’s to-do list, as well as scheduled calendar appointments.

Mac Syslog GUI

I know that is a decent if not stellar tool to view syslog entries on a Mac, but recently I wanted to send remote syslog entries to a Mac.

While I’ve found instructions for enabling remote syslog on a Mac, they’re out of date. I can figure it out from these instructions, but it occurred to me this wasn’t really what I wanted to do anyway.

What I really want is a database-backed syslog (a la syslog-ng) configured to accept syslog entries from remote servers. But I really want this with a powerful GUI to filter, colorize, and sort syslog messages by timestamp, host, facility, priority, and regular expression.

Now, this is a very un-Mac-like thing I want, at root. But it sure would turn my Mac into a powerful syslog processing machine.

Bento: Close enough to taste it…

Continuing to research my wish-list software from my previous post, I gave Filemaker’s Bento a try.

Listing my fields and putting together my form was a snap. Adding data is easy. Printed output is attractive. The Neutrals theme pack is mandatory. But I’ve still got a couple of problems:

  • Text fields appear to be limited to plaintext. Maybe I’m missing something here, but I’d really,r eally like rich text fields: bold, underline, italics, numbered lists, bullet points… I feel like this almost <em>must</em> exist, but the more I look, the less I believe it does.
  • I can’t seem to enable the Mac OS X built-in spellcheck on the text boxes, either. This means I’ll need to review the content in another software package…
  • …but the export options kind of stink. It’s limited to CSV and CSV-like options (e.g., tab-delimited output), with no structured markup choice. This limits my ability to massage the output using third-party tools. I really want XML output, at least as an export option.

I could output to Excel via CSV, if I had some way to pretty-print Excel tables using some sort of form software. But if I had that, I probably wouldn’t need Bento in the first place.

Does anyone know if Filemaker Pro addresses any of these issues, or if there’s something even closer to what I want?

Back in the saddle…

Last week I returned from Hawaii, and into a whole lot of catch-up at work. I also had to clean up the blog site: although I’d upgraded to WordPress 2.5 already (2.5.1 now), before I’d done so, some nasty stuff had been inserted into one of my blog posts, getting my site branded as an attack site.

Now, that was probably the correct action to take, inasmuch as my site was an attack site during that period of time. But would have been too much to ask to send me mail identifying the problem — or, at least, when I submitted a review request on the site to identify the problem in advance, to avoid a back-and-forth where I fix one problem only to have another one identified before my site status can be returned?

Also, I discovered that my metablog had become stuck, due probably to a prior disk-full condition, and wasn’t posting all of my stuff. Further, changed the RSS feed address, and either I missed it or they didn’t bother to tell me, so that wasn’t showing up, either.

Now that it’s fixed, you can see that I’ve been identifying all of the Mac dive log software. I’ve become interested in getting an air-integrated computer (with hose and console, probably, rather than wireless, due to the substantial cost difference) and tracking my air consumption at depth. I figure that Laura wants to get Nitrox-certified, and as long as I’ll need a new dive computer for that (yes, I will, that’s how old my dive computer is), I might as well track air consumption too and upload log data.

Unfortunately, the list of air-integrated dive consoles that play well with Macs is fairly limited. Suunto and Uwatec would be my only choices. I like what I’ve read about Suunto (though it sounds like the original Cobra, otherwise my best choice, is perhaps overly conservative), but know next to nothing about the Uwatec Smart COM. Reviews and opinions welcome.