Todoist: My Favorite List Manager

I keep a list for just about everything. Some of my lists include:

  • Bills I have to pay every month
  • Bills I have to pay every year
  • Books I want to read
  • Movies I want to watch
  • Projects I want to do when I get time
  • Templates for setting up servers

A few months ago, I discovered that my then favorite to-do list app, Wunderlist, was acquired by Microsoft and that they were killing it off in favor of their own app. So I started the hunt for a new list manager. I finally came across Todoist. Hands down a worthy replacement!

Not only just it keep in sync between all my devices, including a web interface, it has a remarkably simplistic design. Probably my favorite feature of Todoist is how quick it takes to add something to a list. For example, instead of having to fumble through a calendar to select a date, then fumbling through and picking a time, all I have to do is write “call insurance Monday at 8am” and it will parse out the date, time and the task.

Another thing that I really like is it has an IFTTT channel so I can integrate it with some of my other services.

Todoist is completely free even though they do have a Premium subscription for $28.99/year but quite honestly, the free version is probably sufficient enough for most people. Go check it out!

iPads and Chromebooks: A Glimpse into the future of Small Business IT

I remember the day that Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad. I remember watching the keynote saying that this is going to change things, just like the iPhone changed the mobile phone industry.
I bought one right out the gate. In fact, I think that year I bought my dad one as well as both of my siblings. However, I found myself “looking for a reason to use it” and eventually just put it into a drawer and forgotten about it. Throughout the years, I kept trying to fall in love with it, but every time I’d buy a new one, I’d end up not using it again and giving it away. I kept saying, I don’t use it because whether at home or at work I’d be less than ten feet away from a desktop so the need wasn’t there.

Seven years later, late last year, I decided to try again and purchased a 9.7” iPad Pro. I was doubtful that I’d actually use it other than when I was sitting on the couch watching TV. I was pleasantly surprised. The reverse had happened. Instead of not using the iPad in favor of my computers, I was using the iPad instead of my computers. In fact, at home for all of this year, that 9.7” iPad Pro, now a 10.5” iPad
Pro is the device that I’m on from the time that I wake up until the time that I go to bed. I even hardly touch my iPhone while I’m at home since everything also goes to my iPad.

I think there are several reasons for this but if I had to narrow it down to two: it’s the maturity of professional, desktop class apps and the fact that the cloud has become more prevalent in our lives, allowing us to access our data from whichever device we have in front of us.

Here’s the thing though, if you put my use case aside. I see the trend of iPad-like devices on the rise in the consumer technology market. In addition to Apple with their iPads, Google has their Chromebooks and now earlier this year, Microsoft came out with their Windows 10 S laptops. Despite these three giants having their own approaches to their own versions of next generation devices, I see a lot more in common with the three than you might think.

All three of these platforms restrict what you can install on them. In the case of iOS, you can only install apps from the App Store, in the case of Windows 10 S, the Windows Store and the Chromebooks you can’t install anything, you just have the Chrome browser. These restrictions make it almost impossible to install anything malicious on the devices. On top of that, they all update automatically and aside from Windows 10 S, Chromebooks and iOS backup automatically to the cloud. Can you see the trend, yet? The three biggest tech giants in the industry are creating manage-less devices. What happens when you physically break or lose one of these devices? You go and buy a new device, enter your login credentials, everything restores from the backup and you’re back to square one.

The reason that I’m so fascinated with these new era of devices is because I can see them impacting small businesses in a large way. Think about this, say a small business with 5-10 employees, instead of buying their employees traditional desktop computers, they bought them one of these devices instead with an LTE connection? And if you add to that a cloud based phone system such as Grasshopper or RingCentral, you would eliminate the need for an office network all together. No more ISPs, routers, firewalls, servers, switches, etc. Plus, since these devices are secure by default, you have a lot less reliance on IT people.

I’m the first one to admit that all the pieces aren’t quite in place yet. For instance, there will still be a need for printers and copiers to have some type of network connection. And the wireless providers need to be a lot less restrictive on data caps and data throttling. I do see the pieces falling into place sooner rather than later. If you look at the typical small business productivity software such as Office, Quickbooks, communication and file sharing and collaboration, all the biggest software providers have cloud and/or app equivalents of their products.

Something to think about.

Day One

A few months ago, I decided that I wanted to start journaling, not just for myself but for future family, after all I’m a firm believer that we all have a story to tell. I’ve always heard that the Day One app for iOS and Mac was the way to go so I decided to give it a try. It didn’t disappoint!
Day One automatically keeps all of my iOS devices in sync with my journal and automatically captures the locations where I’m writing from, the music I’m listening to while I’m writing and if I’m writing on my iPhone (which typically I write on my iPad) my activity for the day such as how many steps that I have taken that particular day. Day One makes it ridiculously easy to attach photos to entries as well.

The app also has support for IFTTT recipes so you can automate entries. For instance, I have recipes setup to add all of my Facebook and Twitter posts as journal entries.

The feature that I’m most excited about however, is one that I have yet to use, Book Printing. You can either have your whole journal printed professionally or select specific entries that you would like printed up to 400 pages. I think my strategy is going to be that every time I reach 400 pages, have a physical copy printed and tuck it away somewhere.

When I first started with Day One, it costed $4.99 for the mobile version and $49.99 for the Mac version. Since then, they controversially switched to the subscription pricing model with it being priced at $34.99 per year for new users and $24.99 per year for existing users. They aren’t forcing people to switch to the subscription but I immediately signed up and paid the $25 to support future development.

Check it out here:

iOS 10.3.3: Patch for Wi-Fi Vulnerability 

When I woke up this morning I saw that iOS 10.3.3 is out. This security update fixes a vulnerability in the wi-fi chipset in all the latest iPhones and iPads that allows attackers to perform code execution when they are in close proximity to your device.
To update, go to Settings on your device, tap on General, tap on Software Update and then Download and Install