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iPod Touch + OmniFocus is all that and a bag of chips

WHERE HAVE I BEEN?

First and foremost, my apologies for being vacant for so long. At some point in time I was getting so wrapped up in the toys I researched that I became captive to them. They took me to a hidden island where I finally escaped but not without permanent damage to the right side of my body. Plus I’ll never eat another coconut in my life. Ever.
I’ll have to tell you about it some day.

iPod Touch Home Screen

iPod Touch Home Screen

Discovering the iPod Touch

As I sit here recovering, typing with one hand I might add, I must tell you about my latest discovery. Actually two. Let’s start with the iPod Touch.  I know, I know.  I’m a Johnny Come Lately on this technology – guilty as charged.  But I have to get this off my chest, OK?  At work the Blackberry is still commonly used, particularly in my area where the iPhone and 3G are not available. So, what’s a loyal Apple guy like me to do? After some research I uncovered the dubious plot of purchasing my iPod Touch and with the proliferation of WiFi in every nook and cranny, I determined I would save millions from data costs that the Blackberry requires. So I picked up the 32GB iPod Touch for about $399, later purchasing a car mount/charger (which my kids love) and a travel charger.

Let me confirm all the reports – the iPod Touch (or iPhone in those markets) is truly a wondrous item. Using the App Store, I have nearly 80 apps (with plenty of room to add more, I might add). Ranging from recipes to games to productivity apps, I cannot say enough about the Touch.  Whether you use a treadmill or armband, the Touch is also a great workout companion.  The Nike+ app for the Touch allows you to run to a designated playlist, keeps track of your pace, mileage and will also alert you to new personal bests with celebrity voiceovers like Lance Armstrong.  The Safari allows up to 8 different screens to access and the integration of contacts to mail to Google Maps is incredible.  I recommend the Google Mobile app as well since you can access your RSS feeds through Google Reader fairly seamlessly.  And, did I mention you can combine your various email accounts into the Touch.  I can actually rifle through emails much faster on the Touch than on my desktop.

OmniFocus

There are so many great free apps for the Touch, but when it came to productivity, I wanted to shell out a little bit of money and eventually decided upon OmniFocus. Incorporating Getting Things Done mentality, OmniFocus has a simple interface but allows you to enter projects and tasks – and you can place the projects within Folders of like kind.

OmniFocus app

OmniFocus app

In my organization, we set annual goals and 90 day plans, similar to most of you. Using OmniFocus, I put my annual goals as Folder titles and then my 90 day plans fall into my projects within those folders. Next action steps are attached to the projects and now each week I can easily look at my projects. If there is no action item in that project, then I know I must add some tasks to keep it on track. Not only can you attach timeframes to your tasks, you can also assign them to your overall project.  OmniFocus alerts you to items that are due soon (based on your preferenes) and also shows items that are overdue as well as those you have flagged for a higher priority, etc.
OmniFocus for the iPhone/Touch syncs with the desktop version of OmniFocus for an add’l $79, but I have not gone that route just yet. Using the Touch has been more than adequate for my needs – but I could be tempted to go the desktop route some time in the future.

Saves Money

I could probably start a whole series of other things I’ve discovered for the Touch.  As you can see, you can actually take screenshots with no app or download needed.  It has its own internal speaker but I highly recommend headphones.  Apple recently released a headphones/microphone combo that is nice.  The mic is OK, but it can allow you to use your wifi and convert your Touch into a phone using an app called TruPhone.  Seriously!
I would close on this simple fact – when you combine the costs of data packages you’ll spend annually, the affordability and flexibility of the Touch just can’t be beat.  My 32GB model has allowed me to download the apps I’ve mentioned, close to 2,500 songs, at least 8 movies and many podcasts.  And I still have 13 GB left, if not more.  For my money, the iPod Touch is a great value in today’s market and will save you money over the long haul using wifi versus cell phone networks.

iPod Touch – Valentine’s Day is over, but I confess – I love you.  Let’s go grab a cup of coffee.

Revenge of the Mayer

hb3193-thumb.jpgApple just can’t catch a break.  Despite a record breaking February showing a 60% increase in computer sales over last year, they took it in the shorts from an old friend.

John Mayer, formerly the music darling of Steve Jobs during Apple keynotes, posted on his blog a screen capture or two about some problems he recently had on iTunes.  Is this a disgruntled celebrity now that Jobs has been asking Randy Newman to play at his keynotes of late?  Or is it an attempt by Apple to merchandise their well known ability to ignore the consumer and do things their way?    

Perhaps they will finally respond if this is indeed a ploy on their part to show they really are responsive….um…OK….my bad….        

 On his personal blog, Mayer outlines the entire event.  Even celebs can play the evil blogger card apparently.  At least he was able to send this message in to Apple.  Had Mayer been using a PC he’d be referred to a Vista call center located 28 miles south of Bombay…

The AppleTV update is here!

ishot-2.jpg

Finally!  

 

The Take Two Apple TV update has been released! 

 

Wahoo!

 

 Uh…got carried away there…I love my Mac products… 

Reflections on Success, Creativity and Innovation

MacBook Air

Mr. Jobs, how do you do it?

Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve probably heard about Apple’s latest product introductions during one of Job’s now famous keynote presentations.  Updated software for the iPhone and iTouch, updated software for the AppleTV to address high definition demands from consumers, a wireless backup drive for laptops called Time Capsule and then the introduction of the thinnest notebook in the world, the MacBook Air.

The numbers that Jobs mentioned equally matched the luster of these new introductions.  iTunes has sold more than 4 billion songs with its best day being Christmas of 2007 with over 20 million downloads that day alone.  The iPhone has 20% of the smart phone market within the first 90 days of its introduction in the face of pricing challenges.  

Congratulations to Apple for leading the best of innovation today.  AppleTV was a flop of an intro, but you brought it around to where we can now download RENTED movies onto our TVs WITHOUT A COMPUTER.  The new software for the iPhone can determine where you are without GPS but by using triangulated positioning from WIFI hot-spots – GENIUS.  And the MacBook Air challenged Intel to produce the smallest and powerful processor – and Intel answered the challenge.  And, to top it off, the world meets the new king of thin with a unique solution to installing hardware by borrowing other computers’ optical drives and wirelessly connecting that drive to the MacBook Air.

Whether you love’em or hate’em (and I happen to love’em), you have to respect the pure creativity and initiative of Cupertino’s finest.  

A Salute to the Fine Folks at Apple

iMac I love my Mac.  I can’t say it enough.  Until a month or so ago, my history of issues with the Mac were minimal.  They still are, but converting to Leopard did produce a few challenges as would be expected converting to a new operating system.  But that’s not the purpose for this entry.  Let’s talk marketing… The marketing strategy behind Apple the past few years has been nothing short of sheer genius.  Whether intentional or not, although I suspect it was, here is what transpired in my home.  Loving music in general, I wanted to get an iPod, but was nervous about being an early adopter.  I bought my Shuffle 2 years ago and at the same time purchased my daughters some MP3 players with similar memory.  Their players had the screen to show the music list, but I had the simplicity of the Shuffle and I loved it when working in tandem with iTunes.  Six months later and I had to have a video iPod.  My “experience” with the Shuffle was great and when I did get my 30 GB iPod I was equally pleased.  No, I was more than pleased.  I was hooked.  Six months later I began dropping hints to my wife about an iMac.  If the iPod and its engineering were from the Apple folks, the iMac had to overshadow it all.  And when I finally began playing on my iMac, I was never dis-satisfied with my purchase. The iMac is also credited with introducing me to Getting Things Done.  And 43folders.com.  And Marketing over Coffee, the M Show, and a ton of other great podcasts.  If you’ve never heard of Christopher Penn and John Walls, you’re missing a treat.  With the sounds of Dunkin’ Donuts in the background, these 2 gentleman keep you up to date in marketing, podcasting and other internet apps.  Speaking of applications, there are far too many to list, but iGTD is one I use daily to implement Getting Things Done at work or at home.  It is a must to download. To continue keeping current with my iMac (and my new MacBook Pro that I now use for work), I subscribed to MacWorld Magazine.  There are plenty of great features and often times free software to try or use.  The community behind Macs is one I heartily embrace.  I feel like a member of an elite group and I invite anyone to join.   To Steve Jobs, I salute you and your team. Now with that intro oozing with gratitude, I must pass on a great bloopers clip.  Regardless of how great you are, a few blunders always come your way and Apple is no exception.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I.