Now using (ugly) Toodledo … Good riddance, (pretty) Remember the Milk

It was not easy to say goodbye to Remember the Milk. I’ve shelled out $25 for a Pro account (& I’m cheap when it comes to these things).

I also got a ton of tasks already up & running in RTM. Since they conveniently didn’t put an export feature, this has increased my reluctance to transfer to another task management system.

Another reason for my hesitation is that Toodledo, my best alternative, has an ugly website. I love my websites pretty. And RTM is pretty.

Unfortunately, it seems like pretty is all they have going. Continue reading Now using (ugly) Toodledo … Good riddance, (pretty) Remember the Milk

The shrinking road to cross platform computing

They say that once you start using a Mac, you will never go back to Windows again. And I was a big enough of an idiot to believe it. So I prepared myself in the eventuality that I would become a fan boy, and converted all my data to work seamlessly with Apple’s OS X.

A Big Mistake

But then it hit me that there are a lot of things that Apple just can’t or wouldn’t do, and I had to start using Windows once again — at least for almost half of my computing tasks. Vmware Fusion or dual-booting just won’t cut it. I need these two platforms on their own separate machines for my productivity’s sake.

I also realized that the only things which makes me hang on to my Mac is its hardware, iWork Keynote, and how it renders fonts on the screen. The lack of keyboard shortcuts in the Mac is already becoming a big source of frustration, and I crave to once again be able to hit Alt-F to access the File menu.

These practically scream that I am on the brink of another big shift, especially with the looming launch of Windows 7.

I also discovered that I am not, and probably never will be, loyal to a single operating system … and that I would continuously make the change as I see fit.

Shake the fervents

There are probably other users like me who has gone past the Mac is the Greatest brouhaha.

There will probably be more, as we get additional information about Steve Job’s health, and we are reminded of the eventuality of life, and that it’s time to embrace technology & its changes without being hindered by fanaticism.

There are already applications & services who have started to make that shift: Dropbox, Evernote, Live Sync, Plaxo, and Remember the Milk, to name a few.

Others, such as Things, who had been more preoccupied with releasing their iPhone app than fixing the bugs that their users have submitted, and have not included in their roadmap a version for Windows, or even a web-based service to store data, would probably be left being used by their Mac zealots. Or whatever will be left of them in the next 10 years.

The road to cross platform computing is surprisingly not as long as it is perceived it to be. It is right here, right now.

Evernote – Ever not pretty

Despite being one of the first users of the application, I still don’t know if Evernote is an app that I could ever fall in love with.

Evernote has everything I know I should be enthused about – it is cross platform, maximizes cloud technology, features automated syncing of notes across computers, etc.

However, even after numerous user interface revamps, there is still something I find horribly wrong & ugly with Evernote. True, there there have been improvements over the years, such as the removal of that horrible ribbon scrollbar. But still, Evernote has a long way to go in this new era of interface & usability design. Mock me if you will, but I need certain apps to be real pretty.

I’m also not comfortable with its roadmap for the premier version. $45/year seems like a steep price for a single feature which I found attractive, and which Google Docs gives for free: sending notes via email from my iPhone.

Sadly, however, this is the best we could get as of the moment.

Give Live Sync a break

We live in a world where it is not very fashionable to love a Microsoft product … but I need to give credit where due: Microsoft Live Sync kicks ass, and wins over Dropbox by a landslide.

Live Sync and Drop Box are free file sharing & syncing applications. You do this by creating a folder within your computer, putting files in it, and then inviting people would like to have a copy of that folder in their own computers. And it gets better: Any changes made in that folder (by you or by those people you have invited) are automatically replicated on all computers.

But wait — there’s more!

Imagine if you’re using multiple computers with different platforms (Windows, OSX, etc.) in different locations. You can actually sync your files, bookmarks, and emails. In all your machines. In real time.

Dropbox is a newbie on the block, but quickly gained fanfare from those who’ve never heard of an older but silent contender, FolderShare (the precursor of Live Sync). Or maybe FolderShare/Live Sync was consciously ignored. After all, we live in a world where Steve Jobs can do no wrong, where Linux is uber cool, and everything else in Microsoft.

When Microsoft re-christened FolderShare as Live Sync last December 2008, it defied all expectations and launched an even superior product: It increased syncing of up to 20 main folders, with each folder having a maximum limit of 20,000 files. There are no file size limit on an account. However, a single file cannot be greater than 2GB, so forget using it to back up your DVDs.

Dropbox, on the other hand, only allows 2GB of space per account. And in my book, that sucks. Big time.

The search for the perfect digital filing cabinet

It was a choice among DevonThink, Yojimbo, Together, & EagleFiler. There are supposed to be a handful more in that list, but they were immediately junked either because they were primarily note-taking apps or lacked serious organization.

These apps, unfortunately, have yet to be christened with a short & sweet category such as “text editor” or “graphic viewer.” No one really knows what to call it — file managers, archival system, bloated explorer/finder?

Software vendors go the easy route and just refer to them as apps meant to “keep your files together in one place.”

And so the name digital filing cabinets. After all, these apps are meant to organize your folders & files, much like your favorite GTD steel cabinet, you David Allen fanboy you.

What you’ll get

The standard feature set of digital filing cabinets include:

  • Two ways of organization: folders & tags.
  • Files or information about the files are stored in some database to facilitate searching
  • Previews
  • On-the-fly creation of notes (& instantly tagging them thereto)
  • Web archiving

And then there were two

The list aforementioned was further cut down to two: EagleFiler and Together. The rest were ditched either because they store files in a proprietary database system, or their interface is something I can really not work with. (I’m a girl. I need something pretty.)

I found myself using EagleFiler more. Sure, I love Together’s shelf, it’s portrait view, and sleeker interface; but it finally boiled down to speed. Together could not handle the amount of files I had, even when I separated them into different libraries.

Two other things I can’t stand with Together: inability to work simultaneously with more than 1 library, and the default .trnote extension for newly created notes. Really now.

After 2 weeks, I uninstalled EagleFiler and ended up with Path Finder.

“But that’s not in the list!” you exclaim.

Care ko.

Disabling autoplay in Windows XP (without editing the registry)

Whenever you hook up your USB thumb drive to your PC, you usually see a load of crap asking you how you want Windows to open your files. This is called autoplay.

In all my work with computers, I have only seen one person who actually used this, er, feature; which makes you wonder why Microsoft even enabled this by default in Windows XP installations.

Aside from relieving yourself from further annoyances, there is another reason why you would want to disable autoplay: leaving it enabled is actually a security risk. You probably have not been infected with the rootkit that lovingly came with some Sony CDs last year, but that is not a reason to wait. Disable it — right about now.

  1. Go to Start > Run
  2. Type gpedit.msc & press Enter. The Group Policy window should appear.
  3. On the tree menu on the left, navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > System.
  4. On the right, look for Turn off Autoplay, & double click it.
  5. The Turn Off Autoplay Properties window should appear. From the dropdown in Turn off Autoplay on:, select which drives you want to disable it from (I would personally recommend you select All drives).
  6. Click OK.

Windows Vista: Where to buy, whether to upgrade, & volume activation

There are enough articles on Windows Vista, and by more credible people at that. However, mail continues to pour in, & this is my humble attempt to answer some of them:

Windows Vista is so expensive. Where is the cheapest place to buy it?

– Thelma A.

If you’re planning on buying a new PC, now is the best time to do it. New PCs usually come with an OEM version of Windows Vista. An OEM version is exactly the same as the boxed version — minus the nice bounded user manuals (which you probably won’t read anyway).

I work for a large organization. My boss is asking me if we should upgrade our computers to Vista. What should I tell him? Is it true that it has to be activated on the internet? Some of our PCs are not allowed to access the internet for security reasons.

– G. Toronto

Windows Vista has something called Key Management Service (KMS) to handle volume activation. You just need to install this in a PC within your network. Your computers simply need to activate thru this PC (the KMS host), without the need to connect to the internet.

The bad:

  • Complicated setup
  • Limited to Business & Enterprise editions (no support for Ultimate)
  • Minimum of 25 computers
  • All PCs need to be reactivated every 6 months

Should I upgrade to Windows Vista? Or should I wait?

Allow me, instead, to tell you my personal reasons why I am not upgrading to Windows Vista (yet).

My main machine is on Windows XP Professional. I’ll be purchasing a new notebook in a few weeks, & I plan on having it preinstalled with XP, too (even if it could come with Vista at the same price).

But, I’m a special case. Changing operating systems are not as simple for people with my line of work. I use custom-made programs, and my computer interconnects with a lot of systems. Additionally, I have an insane work schedule. I do not have the time yet to test a new operating system & how my other applications will react to it.

How long do I think I can wait until I finally give in? Maybe 2 to 3 years. The novelty of constantly upgrading my hardware has finally worn off. It was a sad waste of my time, energy, and money.

Software & hardware are merely tools, after all. In the end, it’s my output & how I make use of my machine that will count.

The same graphic designer who made a fantastic sketch in Adobe Illustrator could easily be outdone by another artist who merely used Microsoft Paint. And believe me, I have actually met & worked with these kinds of people.

Firefox search bar tips & tricks

Show of hands: Who here uses Firefox’s search bar almost exclusively?

The search bar is that little search textbox on the upper right hand of the Firefox window. Just choose the search engine, type your search terms, hit enter, and the results will be displayed on your browser.

Firefox comes preloaded with Google, Yahoo, Amazon, eBay,, Creative Commons, and I’m guessing, Wikipedia.

Add search engines. You can add items in your search bar. You’ll probably want Wikipedia &, but more can be found here.

Keyboard shortcut. A handy keyboard shortcut is Ctrl+K. This will automatically place the cursor on the search bar.

Removing search engines. If you want to remove some of the preloaded search engines, click on the dropdown button of the search bar, and select Manage Search Engines. Then select the search engines that you want to remove, and click the Remove button.

Open search results in a new tab. And let’s not forget Firefox’s about:config which allows your search results to open in a new tab. First, enter about:config in your address bar. Scroll down to Then double click it to change the value to true.

Removing nags from Yahoo Messenger

My yahoo messenger kept on nagging me to download an update, so I did. But I had the presence of mind not to install it. However, it now nags me all the time to install the update. It’s getting really annoying. How do I revert back to the old version AND not receive any update notices in the future?

— Paulo

Yahoo Messenger can be quite a pain, huh? They want to give you their ads, their “Skype-killer” voice call feature, and a gazillion of other Yahoo-related “content-tabs” in an app that you simply minimize on your system tray. I never knew the day would come when I would actually favor Windows Live Messenger over it.

Anyway, for your first question, you can download a previous version of Yahoo Messenger in sites such as and

Now for the tricky part: Disabling software update notices.

  1. Uninstall your Yahoo Messenger. Yahoo’s uninstall doesn’t usually touch your profiles (where your archived messages are stored), but back it up just the same. Your profiles are typically located at C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Messenger\Profiles
  2. Make sure that you are not connected to the internet when you install Yahoo Messenger. If you’re dialup, just don’t dial in to your ISP.

    If you’re on a network, you need to disconnect yourself from your network. You can do this by simply unplugging your network cable. You can also do this by going to Start > Settings > Network Connections. Under LAN, right click your network connection, and select disable.

  3. Install Yahoo Messenger (the old version)
  4. Go to the directory where you installed it (typically at C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Messenger).
  5. Look for a file called yupdater.exe, & rename it (any new filename will do).
  6. Connect to your internet (undo the actions you did in step #1).
  7. Run Yahoo Messenger.

Hope this helps.

Managing your Firefox profiles for easy backup – bookmarks, passwords, and settings

In Mozilla Firefox, your bookmarks, passwords, and settings are saved in something called a profile. This is stored in your hard drive.

Your profile is typically located at C:\Documents and Settings\[User Name]\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\xxxxxxxx.default

Whenever you need to reinstall Windows, this might create problems, as most of us don’t usually back up our Application Data folder. You probably would want to save your profile instead in your data directory (or folder that you back up frequently)

To move your profile:

  1. Exit Firefox.
  2. Move your profile folder to your desired directory. For example, at E:\Settings\Firefox
  3. Locate profiles.ini. This is typically located at C:\Documents and Settings\[User Name]\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\
  4. Open profiles.ini in your favorite text editor. You should see the following:


    Note: xxxxxxxx is an eight-character random value that is automatically assigned by Firefox upon installation.

  5. Change this to:



    IsRelative is changed from 1 to 0 because absolute paths (not relative) are used.

    The Path value is changed to reflect the new path of the profile. Simply replace this with your new path, then replace xxxxxxxx.default with the name of your profile directory.

  6. Save profiles.ini
  7. Restart Firefox.