...

Menu Close

Category: Apple (page 2 of 33)

OmniFocus vs. Things: Why I Switched

If you’ve visited 40Tech lately you’ve seen several posts on Things, which is now my task management app of choice. My switch to Things surprised me. For a few years, I was an OmniFocus snob. I fancied myself a power user, and thought other task management apps were somehow inferior because they didn’t have the level of power offered by OmniFocus.

Read more


TIL (Things 3) – Filter list by multiple tags →

Bryan Villarin writing for All Narfed Up:

When viewing a list on all platforms (Mac, iPad, or iPhone), you can filter by more than one tag.

Hit the link for details on how to filter on macOS and iOS. Things 3 is beautiful and can be simple, but there’s power for those willing to look for it. iOS itself is similar – it is simple for those who want an easy experience, with power features optional and out of sight unless you want them.


Automatically Save Mail Attachments Using Automator and Keyboard Maestro

I have set up my firm’s case management system to email me three reports every Sunday evening. These reports arrive as attachments to email. For several months, I’ve been coming in on Monday morning and dragging those reports out of Mail and into Unclutter, which I keep in my Mac menu bar so I have easy access to certain files. I recently decided I would automate this process.

Looking around online, I found several AppleScripts purporting to accomplish this, but I wanted to see if I could accomplish this with Keyboard Maestro. I ended up doing it with Keyboard Maestro and Automator.

My Automator workflow, as depicted below, is pretty simple. It finds any email in my inbox that meets two conditions:

  1. The subject of the email must begin with words that are specific to the report emails; and

  2. The emails must have been sent in the last two days.

If those conditions are met, Automator gets the attachments from those messages and saves those attachments into the same Dropbox folder used by Unclutter to hold files. (I don’t know if I actually need the second step in the workflow).

Automator Mail Attachmentn Workflow

Then it was simply a matter of setting up a Keyboard Maestro macro that would launch the Automator workflow every Monday before I arrived at the office.

Keyboard Maestro trigger for Automator

The final step for me was to create a rule in Hazel to monitor Unclutter, and clean out old reports every week.

Hazel rule to clean out reports

Caveat: I just set up this system yesterday, and forced it to run out of its normal schedule. It worked fine. I’ll see this Sunday evening whether it runs on the schedule I designated.

Here are links to the Automator workflow and Keyboard Maestro macro:

Automator workflow

Keyboard Maestro macro


DEVONthink Tuesday Tip: Use Workspaces →

Jim Neumann writing for Devontech’s Devonian Times blog:

Workspaces save the content and positions of all open windows so that you can restore them later. This is ideal if you are working with the same set of windows over and over again. Save these windows as a workspace and recall them whenever you need them again.

DEVONthink is one of those apps where you really could discover a new feature almost every day, if you wanted to. I’ve been using DEVONthink for a few years now, and was completely unaware of the workspaces feature. Although I mostly use the widescreen four pane view (with my PDF or file displayed in the far right pane), workspaces could be handy for different workflows. One that comes to mind is when you need several items on the screen at once.


Using DEVONthink and Things →

Eric Böhnisch-Volkmann writing for Devon Technologies’ Devonian Times blog:

DEVONthink and DEVONthink To Go can be comfortably used with OmniFocus by using item links. Many other applications support URLs, too, and can so link back to documents stored in DEVONthink. For example Things from Cultured Code which works with DEVONthink very similar to OmniFocus:

As a couple of the commenters to the linked story point out, you can use the Things quick entry hotkey on your Mac from within DEVONthink (assuming you’ve set up the Things helper app) to automatically create a task in Things with a link back to the item in DEVONthink. Setting up your task in this manner will create a link that works on both Mac and iOS. On iOS, you can use the share sheet from within DEVONthink To Go, and get a task with a link back to the item in DEVONthink.

This is important, because Things doesn’t support attachments. Since DEVONthink links work cross-platform, DEVONthink is a great candidate to use as your Things file system.

Why go to this trouble, instead of using an app like OmniFocus, which does support attachments? After a few years of using Omnifocus, I’ve been putting Things 3 through its paces. It doesn’t have quite the power and flexibility of OmniFocus, but I’ve been surprised to find it actually might fit my workflow better. I have many, many one-off tasks, as opposed to projects, and Things seems better suited to that. The visual representation of Today and Upcoming, as seen in Things, can be done in OmniFocus with some customization, but the visual representation of this in Things works with my brain a bit better.

As David Sparks, aka MacSparky, has mentioned, there is value to using a tool that gives “delight.” Right now, I’m finding that Things gives me delight in ways that OmniFocus doesn’t. It keeps me working toward getting my tasks done. We’ll see if that lasts after the newness of the app wears off.