Faster & Faster
I've had a 8MB connection for a couple of years now, and it's been maxing out at around 800kbps on downloads throughout this time, now however downloads are maxing out at slightly over 1000kbps, IOW a full MB! Wow, what a feeling, it's like I'm overstepping the boundaries of reality I am. :)
The Recent Downtime
Sorry for the recent downtime people!
It seems like my blog suddenly became too much for WP to handle. I tried filtering through plugins, optimizing the database and performed all kinds of creative countermeasures, but nothing worked. It worked for a while, but then everything turned crazy again, and again, and again... so I did a clean install and imported the old database.
Some things are still missing in the move and others not yet working properly, but overall I'd say even with things missing it's looking a lot better than it did before the move. ;) I'll be revising posts and pages and files all weekend and probably a while through next week to get this sorted out. In the meantime, apologies for all content that can't be reached, I'm working on it.
3 Great Services To Time My Tasks
I started studying this week, and read through some announcement that claimed the course would really take 200 hours to complete, so if you didn't have the time, you shouldn't take the course. I suddenly had this urge to once and for all find myself a good timer, something I've been looking for a while now, to see if the course really takes that much time.
Being the efficient being I am, I am sure that I can cut down at least slightly on that time not by producing worse results, but by being more efficient. I also believe that with a timer I'll be able to focus on the task at hand and not go skimming through some unrelated websites whilst on the computer, because then the time wouldn't be exact any longer. Of course any good timer has a pause button, but still, when running all tasks on time I think I'd be better at focusing on them. I'd be using this program not only for studies, but for any design clients as well, and many other jobs like finishing websites for sale, or writing a book, etc etc. It's useful.
After a little Googling I found a great blog post on Freelancer Switch, and what was even better were the comments. There were hundreds of them, with just as many links, and through them I found what seemed to be the perfect program, Lumina. YES!
It was for Mac only.
There must be hundreds of time-task programs only for Windows, so why did this one program have to be for the MAC? Because all good programs are made for MAC, you say? Bullshit me not. I had no choice, I have no plans to buy an ultra-expensive MAC, or to refurnish the 15 year old I have in a closet, so I kept searching.
Most of the timers listed were web-based, with great interfaces that allowed timing, multitasking, collaborating & even invoicing clients directly. What was also very great was the price. You could get a free account on most of these, with a limit on about 5 clients, and this I didn't want. First of all, I didn't need a client interface at all, I just wanted to list my projects and time then. Lumina was as simple as it could get. You had projects, in these projects you had tasks, and all these tasks you could time. Easily, through the click of a button. That was it. Perfect program.
On the web-based clients I kept finding a 'Pricing and Signup' link, which without reason annoyed me a lot. Can't they skip the Copy/Paste? Why not type in something a bit more creative like 'Buy Now!' or 'View Our Prices', why always 'Pricing and Signup'??? Makes me feel like it's all a giant conspiracy and that the same company is really behind at least a hundred of these simple time-taskers. I just want a project timer, skip the invoices please, I can take care of that myself as long as you give me something that is
- Ehh... simple
Really, I'm not asking for much. Yet all the programs I've stumbled upon are too cluttered, they have too many features that aren't needed. Either that or they don't work on Windows 7, I did find one other promising program that had this one ginormous flaw. As for web-based clients, I managed to find a couple that I really liked.
- Time Chunk, The Failing First Choice
- E-Tim, One I Have An Eye On
- Mr Tick Tock, The Final Candidate
- Also, Slim Timer
One was TimeChunk. It's really simple, you type in categories, tasks, and then you time then. You can add clients and projects too, in a separate column, and you log in using an existing Google account. So there is no need to register, yet the site stores all the information you enter. Great! Nice and easy, just how it should be! The only problem is that it doesn't work, punching the clock (their words not mine) produce an error, and there is no way to get ahold of the site owner to see if it will ever get fixed. I even tried the domain whois to find some contact info, but it's registered through proxy domains (anonymously, they don't give out owner information). Well that sucks.
Next up is E-Tim, another simple web app you don't need to register for. You just enter a few tasks and start timing, that's it, when you're done for a day or need to switch computers you can export the tasks and import them upon your next visit. Everything s saved in a a text file. The site also has an "Eye" feature which reminds you kindly every 15 minutes or so to give your eyes a rest, look around the room a bit, and this is another great feature. I've actually been looking for a program that does this very same thing, without the tasks, and with both programs in one it's nothing but a one hit wonder for me. It's a shame the information isn't saved automatically, they say they want something easy, something you don't need to register for, but I think I'd rather register and keep track of my tasks universally without needing to keep track of a text file to export and import all the time. Otherwise, this is probably my favorite so far.
Finally, there's Mr Tick Tock, a service like the above in which you do sign up for an account, receive confirmation via email, and then get going. The interface is simple and you can add categories, clients & tasks. Not the perfect combo, but a very good one, and the timer is easy to get a hang of. Unlike the above there are no text files, so despite the lack of Eye feature, this might be the decisive pick. I'll be trying out all three (if they get the first one working) and probably settling for one of them.
Did I mention all of the three above are completely FREE? Well, they are. Some people like me, in need of something simple like the above, probably started all three of these services for personal use and decided to share them with the world, something I'm very thankful for! Btw, a runner up I won't be using but should still mention is SlimTimer, another online interface that works wonders, yet is a bit too much for me.
So did I find the program I was looking for? No, not really. The perfect program would not only be simple but also be offline. I doubt my Internet will be going down any time soon, but if it does, I'd like to be able to keep timing tasks just the same, and with these web-based applications, I can't. It can also be useful having programs separate from the browser, in situations where the browser is better left shut down, or when you're browsing around a lot and don't like that one open window you can't close down. For now the three above will have to do though, they're not perfect, but they're much better than all the others I've seen so far.
UPD: E-Tim has disappeared. Link removed.