Sunday, March 30, 2008

A good selection of GTD and productivity books

GnuCash (Portable)

If you need a reliable program to track your expenses, income and other personal finance management, GnuCash Portable, available PortableApps is an excellent, and free, choice.

GnuCash Portable is the open source financial management. It has all the same great features as most commercial money management programs (see some links on the sidebar of this blog) and more.

Some of its features include:

  • Double-Entry Accounting
  • Bank/Liability/Expense Accounts
  • Stock/Bond/Mutual Fund Accounts
  • Small-Business Accounting (Customers, Vendors, Jobs, Invoices, Accounts Payable/Receivable)
  • QIF/OFX/HBCI Import, Transaction Matching
  • Reports, Graphs
  • Scheduled Transactions
  • Financial Calculations
The version available from Portable Apps is a piece of software packaged as a portable app, so you can take your financial data with you. Plus, it leaves no personal information behind on the machine you run it on, so you can take your finances along with you wherever you go.

You can also visit the Project page for GNUCash (gnucash.org), with a good Documentation section and a tour of the program through screenshots / features.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

GanttProject and other project management software

Recently I have been organizing a series of complex projects and I have used a program called GanttProject as a helper. Ganttproject is a free project scheduling program, by means of Gantt charts and resource load charts.

This kind of chart is an invaluable tool when you have to plan complex projects that must be developed in specific time spans and with clear dependences. You can break down your project into a tree of tasks and assign human resources that have to work on each task, identifying which are the dependencies between tasks, and the time frames for each, deciding which tasks can't start until some other taks is finished.

Quoting from a Project management article,
The project schedule is the core of the project plan. It is used by the project manager to commit people to the project and show the organization how the work will be performed. Schedules are used to communicate final deadlines and, in some cases, to determine resource needs. They are also used as a kind of checklist to make sure that every task necessary is performed. If a task is on the schedule, the team is committed to doing it. In other words, the project schedule is the means by which the project manager brings the team and the project under control.
GanttProject renders your project using two charts: Gantt chart for tasks and resource load chart for resources. You may print your charts, generate PDF and HTML reports, exchange data with Microsoft(R) Project(TM) and spreadsheet applications...

This screenshot of the program, lifted from their website, gives an idea of what GanttProject is about —this specific example is a building project:

There is a similar program called Open Workbench, with an impressive feature list. SmartDraw also has a nice feature set for Gantt charts. And you might want to check out other Gantt chart tools for Mac or PC.

If you are a Linux Ubuntu (with KDE desktop, or Kubuntu) you can use KPlato, which is opensource and completely free to use. Its features include: This is a screenshot of this application:
See more details and download the program at the KOffice project page. As you know, there are several ways to install programs in Ubuntu, and it is getting more and more trouble-free every day. Choose what is best for you.

Then there are several online, or web-based, applications for Project Management. Dotproject
is a PHP + MySQL opensource solution, with excellent documentation and online courseware. If you have a Dreamhost hosting account you can install it with their one-click install utility. Super-easy!

More information about Gantt Charts in the Wikipedia article. Also in the Wikipedia, a list of Project management software.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Web-based mind mapping software


My favourite mind-mapping software is the open source Freemind, but I also use some online tools such as Mindomo and Bubbl.us.

Mindomo is a versatile Web-based mind mapping tool, delivering the capabilities of desktop mind mapping software in a Web browser, and it gives you complete freedom to access your maps in your Web browser from home, school or work.

Bubbl.us is probably the simplest way to brainstorm online: it's extremely easy to use and has almost no learning curve. The intuitive user interface lets anyone brainstorm and organize ideas without getting in the way. The mind maps created with Bubbl.us can be shared and edited collaboratively.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Total text container

Total Text Container is a freeware multi-purpose personal information manager that lets you to store all kinds of different content within a single encrypted XML database.
You can type simple or rich text, alone or mixed in any way you want with images. The entries may also include information such as tabular data (spreadsheets), URLs, passwords, contacts, calendar events, catalogs, files... like in this example taken from the developer's page:A good tool for organizing your digital life! What's better, this application is portable (ckeck out the Portable Freeware collection entry.)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Some digital alarms

AM-Notebook (pro and lite versions available) is a multi-featured tabbed note-taking program that provides an easy and reliable way to save notes and formula supported spreadsheets in a light weight tray icon tool. Lots of text formatting features allows you to create clear and well designed notes which can be stored at different locations and also be shared in a network. Other nice features are the integrated alarm clock and address book.

Sveglia is a simple alarm clock. With Sveglia is possible to activate an alarm, run a program, shutdown or restart the Pc at certain time. The alarm can pop up a sound file in mp3 and other formats.

Citrus alarm clock also has this nice touch of playing the music you choose. Set as many different alarms as you'd like; MP3, WMA, and any other media types are for which you have the right media player installed; fade in alarm audio for relaxed awakening; mute audio overnight until alarm time; easy to use and free

A great place to find similar utilities is the Productivity section in Portable Freeware, where the applications discussed can be run in portable form, that is, without installation. Just place them in a folder, either in your computer or in a USB stick, and go.

There are dozens of related utilities in Softpedia, searching the term "alarm".

Friday, March 14, 2008

Task Coach

Task Coach is a simple open source todo manager to manage personal tasks and todo lists. Often, tasks and other things todo consist of several activities. Task Coach is designed to deal with composite tasks. The application is also available as a portable application (see the Portable Apps page), so you can run it anywhere from your usb drive.

1000 Heads: the book

1000 heads, my illustration book

My artwork at Flickr

Inspiring books for the creative type

My GTD (Getting things done) illustrations

I conceived this blog basically to share my visual side notes of the Getting things done process. My most recent posts about GTD software and related topics have “masked” the original posts.

You can access most GTDrawings in the archive of december 2005 and january 2006.

Here's a miniature with most of my sketches: this is what you will find, commented and in larger sizes, in those previous posts.

See also the article about GTD drawings.

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