I recently decided that the tried and trusted  personal information management tool I had been using, a G5 pen and a Levenger Circa, wasn’t doing much to manage the information on my computer. In actuality I had the paper notebook, Entourage, iPhoto, folder structures, del.icio.us, etc to manage all my information. For awhile I thought this system rocked. Then I thought it was missing something. Then I thought it sucked. Then I knew it sucked. Then I thought about how all this information was like disconnected graphs. Then I wanted to kill my discrete math professor. It was time to do something about this mess. Someone had to be connecting the disparate information centers in life. The exploration of personal information management started anew.
I hate Entourage  so that was out, kGTD was great but a little to “hacky”, so after looking over the options I settled on the combo of Omnifocus (aka the kGTD on crack) and Yojimbo. I can capture notes, passwords, serials, web page archives, bookmarks blah blah blah in Yojimbo. A few scripts helped any bookmarking I do get sent to del.icio.us, Pukka, and Yojimbo as both a bookmark and a web archive. Omnifocus handles organization of everything that doesn’t already reside on a computer mainly my GTD lists. I’ve been using this combination for personal information management for about a week and it is pretty solid. I have nothing but praise for both applications.
During these phases where I’m restructuring my personal information and tasks I won’t become attached for at least a month or so. This is something that really has to grow on you. Spending a few weeks with a tool that impacts so much in your day-to-day life is the least you can do… during this period you also have to continue exploring your options. You should be open to supporting multiple systems and even moving management systems during this period. Yes using multiple systems or switching systems sucks. Just be happy you have more than one fucking system to choose from and quit your bitchin. Seriously, stop.
OK so I bitched a little inside and bottled up the frustration to let out at a later, yet to be announced date. Now today I read about this new Chandler application. Completely open source, runs on Linux, OS X (including Leopard), and Windows. It also has a standalone Tomcat app that can be used for synchronization and provides a bad-ass AJAX  web interface.
Some may have heard of this project before. It is a rare breed in that seems to have followed some type of development process. Haven’t read the book…. yet.
[![Chandlerâ€™s IMAP Folders]]
Finally, it has a bit of integration with ordinary IMAP servers; it creates special folders that you can move content into from any other email application.
You can then operate on this content using the normal management techniques supported by Chandler (GTD). For example, I sent myself an email with the simple subject line “meeting on january 2nd at 10am with ken”. When it popped up in my Entourage inbox I simply moved it to the “Chandler Events” folder. Back in the Hall of Justice (Chandler) I forced a sync. This grabbed my email and immediately realized I wanted to create a meeting on January 2nd. It leaves the item in your Inbox for processing later, a GTD concept, but the appt is already there.
But apps and other scripts can do all this. The part that I’m really looking forward to, the collaborative information management possibilities. Chandler can run stand-alone, it can connect to your iMap servers, and it can connect to Chandler servers. The people at OSAF (the group behind Chandler) have kindly provided us with Chandler hub. Until I get some friends on I can’t really test out the features but two things come to mind: porn and chicken. First, the server is a Tomcat app that provides an ajaxy gooey sweet interface even if you’re not sharing information with other people. You sync from your desktop, then you can access the information remotely from anything with a browser. Mobile browser support is not provided but you might have some luck. I expect this will be remedied quickly.
But if you are someone who interacts with other people in any way, perhaps you can take advantage of Chandlers collaborative features. PIM has just gotten personal… erh um… collaborative .
I’ll post a follow-up shortly. I’m going to continue using Yojimbo/Omnifocus but will experiment with Chandler and possibly other collaborative tools for the next few weeks. Like I said, sometimes information management sucks but the benefits are amazing.
some would say archaic
I have it on good authority that Entourage was created by Satan himself.
I’m talking Web 4.0 here people. As the site name indicates, I think a little ahead of you “normies”.
Pure Easy CheeseSpencer Shimko 21 December 2007