Bloganueva

Todoist: My Task Manager

1 week ago

I’m an extremely small-scale influencer (not really)! My brother recently asked me about task managers. I suggested the one I’ve been using for a couple of years now, Todoist, and a few other apps. My argument for Todoist put him over the $36 yearly subscription edge. He’s been using it for 2 months now, and he loves it! He says it’s been a lifesaver. It really is a great way to help you organize your life and accomplish tasks. I’ve tried several task managers and notes apps to help me get things done, but I’ve always come back to Todoist.

DISCLAIMER: I will only be talking about my experience with the fully paid version of Todoist.

My Productive History

I’ve tried writing this article a few times over the past 2 years. My first attempt was in January 2017 when I first started using Todoist. Then I tried again last summer. I had just stopped using Todoist, and I replaced it with Things 3CARROT, and MinimaList. My idea for having 3 apps was to split up certain kinds of tasks into each app. Things 3 was for larger projects that had hierarchies. CARROT was for quick tasks. MinimaList was for recurring tasks. Trying to keep up this conscious compartmentalization got old real quick. After that brief stint with other Things (lol), I returned to Todoist and have been using it ever since.

Features

Todoist is incredibly flexible. It’s as robust as you want it to be. You can have so many projects. You can create filters based on project(s), time(s), or label(s). It can also be as simple as possible. If you really wanted, you could just input all your tasks into the Inbox. However, I’ve found out this approach doesn’t work for me. My Inbox would be so full that I would feel overwhelmed with things I have to do that I would just do nothing. Now upon task entry I give everything at least a project and more often than not a time. Using this approach means I don’t need to go in later and sort everything in my Inbox into their appropriate projects.

Natural Language & Symbol Recognition

This combination of features is almost the sole reason Todoist is my favorite task manager. I love only needing to type in what I’m thinking in my head and not needing to go through configuration steps when creating each task. All I have to do is type Update website tomorrow at 10am #Work_Tasks, and the task will be entered with a due time at 10 a.m. tomorrow and will be added to my Work_Tasks project. It is so convenient and intuitive to do it this way. I canNOT use task managers that don’t do this, which is basically all of them (I haven’t found another one that does this). I do not like needing to click extra buttons to enter times or choose projects or labels. It’s so much quicker to input everything in the same field. I like this feature so much that I use Fantastical 2, a calendar app, because it also offers this feature.

Organization

Like I stated above, I immediately put a task into a project. This is just scratching the surface of organizing everything. Todoist lets you do so much more to help keep your ideas, thoughts, and reminders neat and tidy.

Nesting

You can nest projects under each other. This enables me to categorize my tasks more granularly and keep my projects list from getting too long. A project with subprojects becomes a dropdown on the left sidebar. This collapsibility helps me with information saturation on the screen and keeps my anxiety at bay.

Headers

When you create a task within a project, you can turn it into a header by ending the name with a colon. You can then create subtasks to nest under this header task. The header, like projects when nested, functions as a dropdown to help keep your list nice and clean. It helps you organize your tasks even more without needing to create another project.

Labels

Labels are yet another way to categorize your tasks. It’s not a project; it’s more of a tag. You can attach different labels to tasks in the same project if you’d like. It provides more granularity.

Filters

Filters are queries you can put together to get certain tasks based on projects, labels, due dates, etc. It enables you to see a more specific task feed, if you will. For example, I have a filter that displays literally all of my tasks. I have another one that displays tasks that don’t have due dates. Filters are very powerful.

Tracking

Todoist offers great tracking of tasks via Karma and Activity. Both have great looking graphics to see how you trend over time. It’s a nice touch if you like being able to visualize progress.

Karma

Karma is a great way to gain personal recognition that you’re accomplishing your tasks. You gain Karma points when you complete tasks or add tasks. You lose points if you have tasks that are overdue 4 days. You can set a daily and weekly task quotas (mine are 5 and 25), and if you reach it you get bonus Karma. Gaining Karna doesn’t matter to me that much, but it is nice to see my points increase over time.

Activity

Todoist keeps track of everything you do. Ever. It’s really nice to see how many tasks you’ve completed or added. It also helps to see when you complete something if needed. Activity is filterable by pretty much anything you want–project or action. It’s really powerful way to dive deeper in to everything you have ever done.

Formatting & Customization

If you like your text to look different sometimes, Todoist has your back. You can bold and italicize projects and tasks. You can add links as well. I personally don’t add too many links, but I do bold some items just to help them stand out more.

I’ve picked certain colors for projects based on what they’re associated with or how I feel about them. For example, I work at The National WWII Museum. Blue is in the logo, so my work tasks are blue. I don’t like chores that much, so they’re gray because they make me kind of sad (eh, not really). I also have underscores instead of spaces to enable better reliability when choosing tasks upon keyboard shortcut entry.

Cross-platform

Todoist is available on iOS, MacOS, Android, Chrome, and the internet; basically almost anywhere. Syncing between all platforms is quick and painless. If you think something is missing, you can force a sync; but automatic syncing works really well. On iOS you can create tasks using Siri. I’d use this feature more if my phone weren’t so slow. On MacOS you can create tasks from anywhere on the computer, no matter what app you’re in, by using a keyboard shortcut. I love this feature so much. I use it all the time. It’s probably my favorite way to create tasks. This feature mixed with the keyboard shortcuts and natural language recognition make creating tasks on MacOS incredibly fast. I don’t have Android devices anymore, but if I did Todoist would be available. It’s also available on Google Chrome in the browser or as a web app. I used to not care about cross-platform capability, but that has become one of the most important features to me in a task manager. I want my tasks to be available to me anywhere, not just stuck on a singular device.

Design

I only have one qualm about Todoist–the design. It’s definitely a web-based design since it needs to be cross-platform. There are other apps with better designs such as the very popular Things 3. I believe that since Things 3 is only available on Apple devices, they’re able to think more natively in terms of design than Todoist. They only have to worry about making their app look good and work well on Apple devices and only need to consider Apple software design. However, as I’ve stated above this section, design isn’t everything.

Todoist does offer themes to help make it look better. You can choose to sync your theme across devices which is nice. I like that they give you that option in case you don’t want it to look the same everywhere.

Conclusion

Overall, Todoist has helped me accomplish and remember so many things I know I would’ve forgotten about. It’s helped me stay focused and achieve high levels of productivity. I really cannot recommend it enough to anyone looking for something to help them organize their mental clutter. It truly is a tool that helps me stay in control of my life.


My 27th Birthday!

1 week ago

I had the most wonderful 27th birthday! Sarah surprised me the Thursday before with dinner at this restaurant Cavan. I had the "general Lu’s crispy chicken with crab fat fried rice." Sarah had the "spiced jerk fish with sweet potato hash." It was absolutely delicious! We really enjoyed ourselves. It's a nice, cozy local spot, and that helped make it special. Then we grilled birthday steaks and mushrooms for dinner at home Saturday night. Birthday morning Laila gave me a cute birthday card! Sarah got me the cutest succulent potter (Bulbasaur!) and a new succulent! After presents we picked up a cake from Whole Foods. Then Sarah surprised me at brunch with her family and her friend Emily! That was so nice! I was truly at a loss for words. After a fire brunch we all went back to our place, ate cake, and hung out. It really was a great day. Sarah and Laila, thank you for making this an amazing birthday! I love you so much!


I made colored logos!

1 week ago

I decided to make 3 variants of my logo since sometimes the white gets washed out by certain things on the web. Their backgrounds are (obviously) the colors on my site. I'm surprised I haven't thought of this before, but I'm glad I now have this resource! I should make t-shirts or something.


Dear Maria, Count Me In (Cover)

1 month ago

I've finally posted another cover since last May (wooow)! That is WAY too long of a gap. I'm so happy that I uploaded yesterday. I really feels good. I'm also going to be uploading my first vlog since October! That's too long too. I need to move on and stop thinking about how I haven't been posting and focus on what I want to do in the future. Anyway, I hope you enjoy!


What I Want My 2019 to Be About

1 month ago

We've been in 2019 for a month now, and it's time for me to buck up and do what I say I'm going to do. I want to try harder. I want to be more inspired. I want to have creative drive. I love thinking about doing all of these things, but I don't—at least last year I didn't. Last year I went in to the year having the same intentions, but I fulfilled none of them. I want to take advantage more of my creative outlets like I did in 2016. That was a very creative year for me in terms of quantity. I want my blog to have more tech articles on it. I love tech. Why don't I write about it? I want to just put out more articles in general. I want to make more videos. I've been practicing a song for a cover I plan on doing soon. I just wish someone didn't live above us. I feel like I'm disturbing them when I sing since it's a little loud. I just need to move past that though. If I don't I won't record anything ever.

I just make so many excuses for myself and end up doing nothing. This mindset extends to my life in general. I need to be more accountable and responsible. I need to be a better person and have more discipline. This year is going to be good. One reason for that is I'm getting married this year! I'm so excited! Anyway, enough making excuses. Time to do.


I have an Apple Watch!

1 week ago

The Apple Watch isn't something I've desired since it came out. However, I've always kept up with the upgrades it's been given. My brother was recently given the Series 4 version for Christmas by his girlfriend. He offered me his old Series 0. I tried giving it to Sarah, but she wanted me to have it! She's so sweet! Thanks, babe! NOW IT'S MINE!

Note: the former owner of the watch needs to remove it from their iCloud devices before you can use it.

After resetting it and syncing all my possible apps that had Watch apps, I was finally ready to go! I was really excited! At first, I noticed how much I liked the aesthetic of this accessory. The last time I wore a watch, I was in 7th grade, 13 years ago. I feel cool and hip now. I have another watch band other than the included one, and it's upped my style possibilities. I'm about to get another set tomorrow, and I'll be ready to be fashionable as heck. The customizability of this watch really enable you to complete your look if you so choose, and I really like that Apple did that.

The Series 0 is a good device. It's old in terms of tech, but I'm getting great use out of it. I wish it were faster and had a longer lasting battery, but I can really understand it's doing exactly as well as it can. I got this thing for free too, so I can't complain. I really like notifications being on my wrist and checking them there instead of on my phone. It's a lot quicker to turn my wrist than to pick up and unlock my phone. I really like this new way of interacting with notifications.

I enjoyed choosing which watch face I wanted. I went with the modular watch face. I made the colors all white to keep it minimalist (throws up). The complications I chose were Date, CARROT5, Fantastical, Drafts, and Battery. I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything by not having chosen other complications. If I do start to feel like that, I'll definitely make some changes; but I'm good for right now.

I've been using Drafts 5's dictation functionality to take notes. Many podcasters I listen to would rave about this feature, and I was jealous. Now I can do use it too! It's really great. So far it hasn't gotten any of the words wrong either which is very impressive because Siri does all the time. I've also been absolutely loving seeing the weather on my wrist instead of needing to check an app on my phone. I plan on using Siri more on the Watch even though I just said it doesn't listen very well. I want to start adding things to Todoist, my main to-do list app, using voice commands. I really hope this becomes my new way of doing it, because that would be so much faster, and it syncs everywhere.

This watch has offered so many conveniences I didn't know I wanted, but I'm really glad I have them now. I'm looking forward to getting more used to this device and everything it can do for me.

Watch Bands:


Stack and SSH Issues

3 months ago

I recently had an incredibly frustrating time with my MacBook Pro. There were 2 things giving me trouble: I couldn’t run local websites with a database; I couldn’t ssh into my Linode for Bloganueva. I’ve been able to resolve these issues, but it was a horrible time. This post is meant to chronicle what happened leading to these problems and how I fixed them. This is not only for myself, but for those who may also run into these issues. I want this to be a one stop shop because there are so many answers out there, I figured it would be nice to have everything in one place. I hope you find this helpful!

Last week I tried running a local version of my work’s website using Valet to make an update, but I got an error I’ve never seen before. I tried a little troubleshooting, but nothing was working. Then I tried opening the local version of Bloganueva, but that didn’t work either. I opened up Sequel Pro to try some more troubleshooting, but I got this:

ERROR 2002 (HY000): Can't connect to local mySQL server through socket '/var/run/mySQLd/mySQLd.sock' (2).

My boss told me he just ran into this same exact problem. His solution was to wipe his whole computer and start from scratch. I really didn’t want to do that though. I researched a whole bunch of possible solutions, but none of them seemed to be working. I started to realize that I accidentally updated Homebrew without paying attention to what it was doing, and everything broke. My version of mySQL was super old. Homebrew updated it to version 8. I was on some version of 5, I’m not sure which revision it was. There is a huge compatibility issue between version 5 and 8. I tried looking for answers concerning this, but I didn’t find anything. Before wiping my whole computer, updating to MacOS Mojave, and starting over, I followed steps to uninstall Valet, PHP, and mySQL and reinstall everything. I wanted to give it everything I had before I took this extreme step. After using your computer for a while, it’s setup exactly how you want it. Software updates often break things, so you’re afraid to upgrade. That’s why I waited so long to upgrade from Sierra to Mojave. I tried nearly everything to no avail, so I decided to obliterate everything and upgrade. My boss reminded me to make sure I have all my files and folders, even my hidden ones. I did think about them, but ultimately I forgot to back those up. Those included my isa_pub files. Yay! That caused my second problem which I’ll talk about later in this post.

After setting a few things up, I was ready to start installing. I installed Valet and PHP 7.1, and I confirmed I could run local sites that didn’t have databases. I installed mySQL 8, and database websites still weren’t working. At this point I was feeling incredibly frustrated. I was getting an error similar to

#1062 - Duplicate entry '1' for key 'PRIMARY'.

It was one of the same errors I was getting before I wiped everything. I couldn’t really find a satisfiable answer for this problem that didn’t involve messing with my databases. I thought to myself, I wonder if I had a previous version of mySQL installed before. I LISH’d onto my Linode server (because I couldn’t login: details below), and I had mySQL 5 on it. So I knew it must’ve been some version of 5 installed on my machine. I uninstalled mySQL 8, and installed mySQL 5.7. I was FINALLY able to import and use databases in Sequel Pro. However, my websites still weren’t working. I was almost at my whit’s end. Then my boss reminded me that since mySQL requires you to setup a password now, I needed to ad that to my database config files, wherever they were. After this, all of my local websites, databases and all, were working. I was so relieved. Until… I remembered I couldn’t SSH into my Linode server. This was the next problem I had to solve.

When it rains it pours, am I right? I looked all over for solutions again. Tried them. Nothing worked. I tried so, so many things. Nothing was working. I couldn’t believe I came this far, and still not everything on my computer was where I wanted it to be. It wasn’t going to feel the same until I could do this. I FINALLY found the solution that was right for me. I word it like this because there are so many out there that work for others, but not others, you know? I had to change my sshd_config on my Linode server to allow root and password login. After this, I was able to scp the local keys I generated. THEN IT WAS FINISHED. I felt so damn good after this. This was the last step that mattered to me to make my laptop feel like home again. Sheesh.

I wanted to put this post together to have as a one-stop-shop for an issue like this. Answers are all over. It would have been nice if I only had to go to one page. I hope this helps anyone out there!

Order of events:

  • I tried running local versions of my work’s website, but I got an error I’ve never seen before.
  • I tried using Sequel pro and got this: ERROR 2002 (HY000): Can't connect to local mySQL server through socket '/var/run/mySQLd/mySQLd.sock' (2).
  • I realized I must have accidentally updated Homebrew, and it updated Valet, mySQL, and maybe PHP.
  • I researched multiple solutions and tried them.
  • I wiped and upgraded to macOS Mojave.
  • I tried installing Valet, PHP, and mySQL.
  • Valet and PHP worked.
  • I installed mySQL 8. It still wasn’t working.
  • I installed mySQL 5.7 and was FINALLY able to import and use databases in Sequel Pro.
  • I realized I needed to change the code in my websites to include the password mySQL’s installation now required.
  • I realized I couldn’t ssh into my Linode for my website.
  • I reset my root password using the Linode dashboard and LISH'd into my server.
  • I researched multiple solutions and tried them.
  • I finally changed /etc/ssh/sshd_config to allow root login and password login.
  • I was then able to follow steps to get my ssh key working again.

Links:


I finished a knitting project!

4 months ago

I finished my cowl! I've been working on it for who knows how long (months). It was supposed to be a hat, but I didn't gauge (ALWAYS GAUGE); and it became too wide. I kept going because I had hope that it could just be a super floppy hat, but it seemed grim as I kept knitting. The Tipsy Knitters, the knitting group Sarah and I go to, suggested I make it into a cowl. At first I was apprehensive just because I really wanted it to be what I originally intended, but I eventually gave in. I'm really glad I finally finished a knitting project. My cowl has quite a few mistakes, but it didn't matter to me because I wasn't giving it to anyone. It was good enough for me to finish.

I'm proud of myself for finishing it. It was a good learning experience. I made the mistake of purling a whole row, and Sarah showed me how to fix it without pulling it out! I'm better at recognizing what stitches are supposed to look like. I learned how to bind off and cast off. I'm just better at knitting now, albeit I'm still a rookie. I've been knitting for a whole year pretty much, but I've never finished anything. Now I have!

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Weekly Artifacts | The ENIGMA Machine

5 months ago

I remember when The D-Day Invasion of Normandy exhibit reopened last year, one of my coworkers told me to go check out this particular artifact. I remember walking up to it and thinking how cool it looked and how special it must be that it gets its own case. I don’t mean special in a good way either. The Germans used it to transmit encrypted information to each other. This machine was an incredibly integral part of their operations. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t know the Allies had cracked the code; the Allies just let them think they didn’t know anything. The Allies would play along with what the Germans thought they knew so the Germans remained clueless to the fact they had cracked the ENIGMA Machine’s code so to speak. It looks similar to a typewriter, but its functionality was so much more complicated than a typewriter’s.

This artifact makes me think about what it must have been like to think you were tricking your enemies, but they knew the whole time. I wonder what soldiers cracking these codes thought. Like, wow you are really dumb. I also think about what would have happened if we never had the Polish help we received to figure out this machine. Would things have ended up the same way? We’ll never know, and I’m glad.

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Encryption has been around for a very long time, at least simpler versions of it. It’s very easy to think about today’s technology and how much of it relies on encryption. The Germans were relying on it heavily back then, but it failed. Nowadays, we rely on it to secure our privacy, but even then it may not work; the same way it didn’t back then. It doesn’t feel good when something as supposedly “strong” as encryption doesn’t work anymore. I wonder, what’s the next step for this technology?

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Make Twitter.app Better

7 months ago

Since Twitter did weird things with its API, third-party Twitter clients haven’t been the same. They’ve lost some key features that helped make them better than Twitter. I didn’t like the Twitter app because it wasn’t chronological and had a bunch of promoted tweets (ads). That's also the #1 complaint I've heard from anyone else using it. Now for me, the game has changed.

I was listening to the TechMeme Ride Home the other day, and one of the stories was about someone finding out how to put Twitter back to chronological order. This is amazing! Now I’m totally fine with using the Twitter app and Twitter in the browser. I was inspired by this to look into disabling the ads, and I've done that as well! If you've been missing how Twitter used to be, just follow the steps in these links!


We're engaged!

7 months ago

I made a video to remember and commemorate what happened! Thinking about when I did it and how happy I felt made my smile not leave while I edited this. I'm so, so happy right now!


I proposed!

7 months ago

I proposed to Sarah on Saturday, August 28, 2018! This weekend we took a little vacation in New Orleans (that I planned as a surprise). On Friday we went to Herbsaint for some dinner. After that I surprised Sarah with the hotel! We stayed at the Intercontinental New Orleans. Saturday morning we ate breakfast at Pete’s on the first floor. We went back to the room before we went out for the day to rest and watched some SVU. Sarah was washing her hands, and rounded the corner. SVU was still on because I didn’t want her to be suspicious of my turning off the TV. She was in the middle of asking me something, but I was down on my knee. I caught her completely off guard. That’s when I asked her. She said yes! After all of our happiness we called and texted all our family and friends. We walked around the city and visited a few places. We went to the rooftop pool to cool off when we got back. Then we took pictures!

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We finished the night seeing Crazy Rich Asians at Canal Place (it was good!). Sunday morning we ate at Pete’s again. Before we checked out we relaxed just a little bit more on our balcony. It was the perfect weekend! I couldn’t be happier! I’m going to marry the love of my life!

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