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Mac iCal, palm, Life Balance, Argh!

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  • Mac iCal, palm, Life Balance, Argh!

    Hi all --

    Big fan and long-time user of GTD here. Trying to get it to work with my Mac/palm setup and running into some difficulties. Need some suggestions, please -- before I tear out what's left of my hair!

    I'm using a desktop Mac, an iBook, and a Palm Tungsten E.

    For Calendar, I am using iCal because I like the ability to input from either mac and keep it in sync.

    Unfortunately, this means I need some other way to manage Tasks, because the iCal Tasks for GTD are useless (for me).

    Tried LifeBalance, but too complex and far too expensive for two machines/two licenses (for my taste and budget). Tried CircusPonies NoteBook and Aquaminds NoteTaker but neither really does Tasks with Palm too well.

    Is there a nice plain vanilla replacement for Palm Desktop ToDos that will sync easily between two Macs and the Palm? (BTW, I rely on .mac/iDisk to keep things in sync)

    While I am at it, I also am using StickyBrain for Memos although I don't love its folder structure (stays in alphabetical order rather than manual). Any other good clipping services/notebooks that will work with Mac and Palm (and sync easily)?

    That's it! Sorry for the long email, but I'm going crazy here and I always find such helpful GTD users on this board. Many thanks!

  • #2
    iCal worth another look

    Hello RobbC2:

    I just switched to all Apple stuff: Safari, iCal, Address Book, and Mail.
    I'm trying this system to make it more GTD useful:
    In iCal, I clicked "New Calendar" and named it "Lists" and chose a color.
    Then, I add new To-Dos and named each with list titles, ie: "Projects", "Waiting For", "Someday"...etc. I name each "List Project", etc. and then in the little priority button I can put them in order. This way all the lists are lined up.And if I keep my To-Do drawer open, they are all right there. Then, time based tasks just live on the calendar as an "Event" and do not fill up the To-Do drawer.

    I also already had lists made in "Text Edit" so I copy-pasted them in
    the "Note" section of each To-Do (List).
    I love that iCal has the alarm feature, so I'm going to give it a try....(I know this sounds complicated, but it's a lot simpler than it sounds).

    Also, I like that you can 'invite' someone to an event from Address book...so this could be used as a 'waiting for' reminder to check in on how tasks are going (and to help remind the person if they've forgotten)

    Sorry this is so long...I'm really trying to make the best possible use of the iSync feature, (after having lost everything a couple of times!) let me know if you have found any .mac tricks!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Mac iCal, palm, Life Balance, Argh!

      Originally posted by RobbC2
      Hi all --
      Trying to get (GTD) to work with my Mac/palm setup and running into some difficulties.

      I'm using a desktop Mac, an iBook, and a Palm Tungsten E.

      For Calendar, I am using iCal because I like the ability to input from either mac and keep it in sync.

      Unfortunately, this means I need some other way to manage Tasks, because the iCal Tasks for GTD are useless (for me).

      Is there a nice plain vanilla replacement for Palm Desktop ToDos that will sync easily between two Macs and the Palm? (BTW, I rely on .mac/iDisk to keep things in sync)
      I have recently started using a PowerBook (in addition to a Palm and desktop PC's at work and home) and have found some issues too. You don't really say what your problems are or how you want things to work. Fortunately, I have an answer for you, because the possibilities are limited. As far as I know, there are really only five possibilities for reliable, multi-machine synching for GTD:

      1) Palm Desktop: couldn't get it to work with my Cllie TH-55, and the mac is not being supported anymore.

      2) Entourage (Outlook equivalent on the Mac). Syncs fine. I find it less speedy than Outlook to use, and I don't like Outlook all that much. Very pricy if you don't get the student/teacher version of Mac Office; educational version not bad for what you get.

      3) Lifebalance. You tried it and didn't like it. Not for everybody.

      4) iCal. Doesn't play well with Palm (categories don't sync). Apple does not recomment sync'ing palm with more than one machine.

      5) ShadowPlan. An outline program developed for the Palm with both Mac and PC desktops. Not for everybody. Personally, I don't think the desktops are good enough yet to even try to run my lists from them.

      If you dig deep enough in the documentation, most of the other Mac PIM's that sync with the Palm say EXPLICITLY that sync'ing with more than one machine is not recommended and will probably lead to duplicate entries, hairy palms , and worse. I would worry that you are very like to have problems in any case if you sync your PIM data via .mac/iDisk AND via your palm. You could sync the palm with only one mac, or only sync your PIM data via the palm.

      On the other hand, I cheerfully admit that I am a beginner with macs, so maybe I am completely off base.

      Good Luck,
      Mike

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Mike:
        I have a treo 600 (pda/phone combo) that runs palm os and am exclusively on macs..(powerbook and g4).
        Palm syncs just fine when you download a little guy named the
        "iSync Conduit"...worked like a charm for me AND....I use the Palm calendar, and it synced with the iCal very well. Also loaded my palm address book into my Mac address book very well. It took awhile to get it all set up, but it's working great.

        Since you are on PC, you should check out getting a .Mac account, just for the iDisk feature. I used that all the time for about a year before I started taking advantage of all the packages (iSyn, iCal, etc.).
        To use it on PCs, I found the following info: (a similar feature is
        also needed for people still running OS9)


        Q: Is .Mac available to Microsoft Windows users?

        Customers cannot sign up for a .Mac trial account using a Windows machine, but they can sign up for a full .Mac membership. iDisk, .Mac Mail, Address Book, HomePage, Bookmarks, iCards, and Support can be used on a Windows machine.

        NOTE: The stand-alone applications, such as Virex and Backup, are not available to Microsoft Windows machines.



        Hope this helps, as I feel that it's worth the work to avail yourself of all
        the .Mac stuf...even if you just use iDisk to transfer you files from home to work or vice-verse, or 'backing up' stuff when if you don't have another failsafe backup system.
        btw: Welcome to mac world!

        Cheers,
        Jill

        Comment


        • #5
          I am new to this board and I know that this "problem" may have been resolved. But, for other new posters who are Palm/Mac users I would like to throw in my 2 cents.

          I tried using Lifebalance, but I found it time consuming to learn. I eventually switched to ShadowPlan (which I initially purchased so that I could sync my OmniOutliner, which I love, with my Palm but it was just easier to use one program). It's very easy for project management as well as managing my "master to do list".

          As for my calendar/tasks/contacts I started using Chronos Organizer on the "desktop" . I like it. It has a lot of great features. It is better than ical & address book for linking, notes, memos, letter templates etc.

          I also tried Now-Up-To-Date, which was also nice and a little flashier but I couldn't import my contacts from Filemaker.

          On my Palm (Zire72) I am trying out Datebk 5 (as a replacement for the palm calendar). It has a lot of features that I like, syncs great. I haven't decided if I am ready to invest the $$, but I probably will.

          I hope this helps any Mac user looking for some ideas.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks for suggestions

            thanks for all the software suggestions...I'm checking out omni outliner and
            chronos...
            -jill

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by shan150
              I tried using Lifebalance, but I found it time consuming to learn. I eventually switched to ShadowPlan (which I initially purchased so that I could sync my OmniOutliner, which I love, with my Palm but it was just easier to use one program). It's very easy for project management as well as managing my "master to do list".
              Speaking as someone who's recently started using Shadow Plan (both the handheld and Mac OS X desktop versions), I think it's important to note that support for Shadow Plan seems to be sparse at best. I've posted a few questions now to the shadowplan-discuss mailing list, and even followed up with e-mail directly to Codejedi's support e-mail address, with zero response. And yes, I'm a paid-up customer.

              I like Shadow Plan, and want to be able to use it as part of my GTD "implementation", but the (as yet unresolved) problems I've run into so far are making it clear that I'm not going to be able to rely on Shadow Plan as a part of that process.

              Comment


              • #8
                I agree that Shadowplan for the desktop has its shortcomings. I was disappointed that the files only sync in one direction. But, I use my Powerbook to manage all of my info and my Palm to take that info on the road with me so it works out okay. Until Omni creates Palm sync capability (which I hope comes sooner rather than later) it works for managing all of my lists as well as my projects.

                Comment


                • #9
                  iCal and GTD

                  Originally posted by RobbC2
                  Hi all --

                  I'm using a desktop Mac, an iBook, and a Palm Tungsten E.

                  For Calendar, I am using iCal because I like the ability to input from either mac and keep it in sync.

                  Unfortunately, this means I need some other way to manage Tasks, because the iCal Tasks for GTD are useless (for me).
                  Hi there.

                  I, like you, am using iCal to attempt GTD. Like several other posters, I have separate calendars for GTD categories and it seems to run OK.

                  I don't have a PDA and rely on my mobile/cell phone and iSync to synchronise my calendars to my phone. I have a problem with iCal tasks though, in that the alarms don't sync to the phone. I have a head like a seive and need something to squeak at me when I don't have my Mac with me.

                  What's this got to do with iCal and your problem? Well, I want to use vanilla Mac apps as much as possible (DA's advice to keep things simple) but I need to trust the system. To this end, I've submitted an enhancement request to Apple to modify the task alarms in iCal to make synch'ing with mobile devices (phones in my case) better. You may want to consider doing the same. Apple may respond if there are enough Mac users wanting this feature, and these fora suggest that there are a sizeable number of users that do.

                  HTH, and thanks for letting me waffle on.
                  Mike.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    As a Mac user, I find ShadowPlan works great for the Palm, and I also use the desktop version when I need to do a lot of typing. The desktop version works fine. It's limited sure, but it's cheap and beta.

                    For OmniOutliner Pro users there is a plug-in that enables OOP 3 to open ShadowPlan pdb files edit them, and sets them back up for hotsync. It's not perfect, but it works. If you are an OOP3 user, you may want to look at this. Make sure to read the ReadMe file in totality before using it though, to make sure it will fit your needs. Currently ShadowPlan tags do not transfer.

                    Here's where you can get it:

                    http://homepage.mac.com/james_sorenson/omnishadow.html

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Mac Ibook running OSX; Entourage X syncing to Palm Zire 71

                      Hello,

                      In January 2005 I bought an IBook after I grew tired of viruses and screen freezing in Windows. I can honestly say I will never use an IBM Windows based machine again.
                      I had some teething troubles adjusting my GTD setup. I was using the Outlook Add-In and syncing to a Palm M515.
                      I liked the formats of Outlook and was used to them so decided to buy Microsoft Office X for Mac. This includes Entourage (similar to Outlook), which I prefer to the Palm Desktop.
                      I also downloaded the syncing Entourage with Palm update from the Office for Mac website.

                      I found that Entourage synced to my Palm with no problem once I disabled the Palm Desktop conduits.
                      Everything worked beautifully and I set up Entourage with the various lists and @Action categories as recommended by David Allen. I then used the Task/ Note Views feature and added my newly created categories as views (won't go into details now but it is easy to do.).

                      I used this system until about early August when my palm suddenly developed a hotsync error. I have spent the last two and a half weeks trying to get to the bottom of the problem - downloading new desktop software; resetting my palm and hunting through the palm website for help.
                      I also downloaded the Go Between Add-In from Pocket Mac - this syncs Entourage with ICal - but beware, if you want Entourage to be the final word be sure to check the restore all button otherwise Ical will delete stuff out of Entourage - luckily my old Palm M515 had the info on it to retype into Entourage.
                      I finally discovered the sync function had been permanently damaged by an ESD (Eloctro Static Discharge). I am now testing a Palm Zire 71 that I may buy from a friend.

                      I am encountering some sync problems and wonder if anyone out there has been down a similar road and could offer advice.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Esd?

                        I need a "Technical Stuff for Dummies" book. Explain how an ESD damaged your Palm. I know about ESDs and CPUs, but not ESDs and Palms.

                        I went through weeks of my Zire 71 refusing to hot-synch, and none of the Knowledge Base articles helped me. I tried a variety of things to no avail, then one day, the little bugger hot-synched just fine, and has been doing so ever since. I have absolutely no idea what caused the problem, or why it suddenly worked after I had given up all attempts to fix it. I just randomly pushed the hot synch button one day in what I thought would be one more futile attempt.

                        By the way, I still like my Zire 71 just fine - nowhere ready to consider a replacement. I don't remember how long I've had it, but it was shortly after they came out. All of my games and some of my memory-hungry apps are on a card. I rarely use the camera, but I'm glad it's there, as it has come in handy a time or two.

                        Carolyn

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Plain Vanilla, the Treo650 and mind like water

                          I have a computer at home, a computer at work and a Treo650 that I cart around with me.

                          I have used Lifebalance, Entourage 2004, Tasks, Shadowplan and other outliner/tasks combos over the years for extended periods of time, but finally got fed up with the extra work that each of them required.

                          My job and projects are often quite complex and the need to constantly align tasks and projects under the outliner/tasks computer programs I found to be too much work and not really neccessary.

                          Finally I just resorted to using Palm Desktop (4.2.1 for Mac) and the palm aps. I find the simplicity elegant and easy and it is the most consistent way to make sure things are in sync on my computers and palm. Its not perfect, but it is pretty darn good and it works equally well on Mac or PC.

                          I put my projects and focus areas on standard palm memos. Simple projects have just a title, complex projects have an uncomplicated outline detailing the plan, purpose, desired outcome. (I use the datebk5 program on my palm, my one departure from plain vanilla, which extends the 4K limit for memos to 32K on the Treo650). Action items go on standard palm todos. I have something very close to the standard @action item and memo categories that David Allen recommends. During the week, I use my Treo to work with my categoried action lists and calendar and to tweak the more dynamic projects. Datebk5 does do a nice job of orchestrating the palm applications for easy access, I have address on button1, datebook button 2, todos button 3, and memos button 4.

                          On Friday at mid day, I use the Palm Desktop on my computer at work where I make the more detailed connections between focus areas, projects and todos during my standard GTD weekly review. I look at focus areas, think about new projects reassess old ones, look at what is completed and what needs to be done. I look at projects, think about new next actions, see what has been done for the week and what is coming ahead. Its simple and it works great. Black belt GTD, mind like water, I am finally getting there after a long road.

                          I have discarded my 43 folder tickler file and instead I use untimed calendar events as ticklers that I can enter anytime I think of one on my Treo (if you use Datebk5, you can use floating events for this purpose, these have the advantage that once they come up, they will keep rolling over to the next day just in case you miss them the first day - and they can be converted into undated todos with a couple clicks - really handy) Anyway, the tickler/event is then out of my mind until the day it comes up on my calendar, and if the event requires me to look at a piece of paper, I trust I can find it in a single folder called tickler in my office.

                          Input into my system usually consists of just entering a new memo or task on my treo using the keyboard. If I am driving or I am in an environment where I don't want to look like a cyber-geek hunched over my Treo keyboard, I simply use palm voice memo and type it on my computer later. Voicememo is not standard on the Treo, but the Lifedrive version works great on the Treo and can be obtained below. To my knowledge it is the only voicememo application that syncs to the Mac desktop, and its free to boot!

                          http://discussion.treocentral.com/sh...ight=voicememo

                          So my advice to those out there trying to find some time new computer program that ties in your big project plans sub project plans, focus areas and todos in intricate detail, think twice, consider simple.

                          If you have a complex job, sometimes it is better that you spend your brain power on thinking about your projects and doing your tasks, rather than on maintaining the complexities of how the items are arranged on some computer program.

                          David Allen knew what he was doing when he chose plain vanilla.
                          Last edited by cellmatrix; 08-15-2005, 06:52 PM.

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