I haven’t installed any web browser other than Safari since my OS upgrade. I had forgotten, though, that when I post in WordPress from Safari, all of my paragraph breaks disappear. I’m too tired to install Camino or Firefox and clean up the previous two posts tonight, though. Guess I’ll put those things on my To Do list…
I did my upgrade to Mac OS X Leopard (10.5) this week. It went pretty smoothly, and so far (knock wood) my suspend/resume problems and other instabilities seem to have vanished. I haven’t installed all of my apps yet, but I’ve installed just about everything that I use daily up and running. I have pared back my apps considerably, though, dropping those that I deemed possible sources of instability. (I’m looking at you, Path Finder and iClip.)
So far, I am happy with Leopard. The only problem that I had was that when I first tried to install, the dialog box that asks where you want to install the OS couldn’t find my laptop’s internal hard drive. That was a bit alarming. But it found it on the second try, after I futzed around a bit. I like Spaces, as predicted. I haven’t turned on Time Machine yet, but I have a new 500 GB external drive in Blacksburg waiting for me when I get home.
I have come up with a plan with regards to “productivity” software needs. (Actually, most of what I do in Microsoft Office and similar software isn’t very productive. But anyway.) For everyday use, I’m planning to use either the Apple iWork bundle or OpenOffice. I’m currently in my 30 day trial of iWork and so far, I am impressed. It can open Word Documents reasonably well even with changes tracked, which is especially nice, as Track Changes is one of the only features of Word that I really like. If for some reason iWork doesn’t work out, then I will try OpenOffice. Last time I tried it, the look-and-feel didn’t fit very well on the Mac, but it might be tolerable for my purposes. For specialized work, like those Excel reports that contain VBA, I will be installing the latest version of Microsoft Office on my Parallels Virtual Machine. That should provide full compatibility when required.
So, I’ve tried a number of things to maintain my To Do list. All computer-based solutions (and I’ve tried many) have been utter failures for me. I simply never look at the list of tasks. I have tried one paper-based solution, and it was moderately successful. It was based on Mark Foster’s “Do It Tomorrow” recommendations and was (supposedly) a list of actions to accomplish on a single day. This mostly worked okay, but I still tended to construct these lists in a very ad hoc fashion. Things might get left off of the list because of a project that I had forgotten and/or something that needed to be done but needed to be pushed into the future due to other pressing commitments.
A colleague and friend of mine, though, has the world’s simplest system, and I think I’m going to copy it. Clipped to the front of his paper calendar is one of those little pads of paper from a hotel room. He writes down his tasks on the pad, filling up page after page. When he finishes a task, he crosses it out. He works on the tasks in an order of his choosing, dictated by his priorities, his energy level, his context, etc. But he never, never, never recopies tasks. So, a page cannot be removed from the front of the pad until all of its tasks are complete (except for the occasional task that he decides not to do at all). Over time, the front pages — which often only have one or two remaining tasks — become tattered. Plus, flipping through the pages to access the current page and the recently added tasks becomes a pain. Eventually, his obsessive compulsive nature takes over and he finishes the remaining task(s) on the front pages in order to remove them.
So, I’ll keep my electronic calendar, thank you very much. It works great for me. And I think I’ll use index cards carried in my pocket rather than hotel notepads. But, otherwise, I think I’ll give this a go. I’ll let you know how it works out.