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johncclayton

gtd Evernote + GTD - new product: Informant

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Hi Everyone, 

 

If you use TSW (or similar) for GTD, and you've been wishing you had an automatically generated list of "next action" notes that made using Evernote for GTD on the mobile platform a whole lot easier - look no further.  

 

Informant creates task lists grouped by GTD context, and provides task completion - these two features achieve my first goal of being able to pick out the "next action" for any given context very very quickly - and when I tick off an action as completed, the web service automatically moves the task to a "Completed" folder.

 
Informant is now in official public BETA.  If you'd like to try it out - you can sign up for free at https://informant.coderage-software.com - I would greatly appreciate your feedback as to how Informant fits your GTD workflow, and what can be done to make it better - with your feedback I can reach my goal of making Informant the best GTD integration possible.
 
If you want to browse the "quick start" guide; please take a look at the public notebook that contains Informant Documentation
 
Thanks!
--
John Clayton

 

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There were a number of people that tried Informant out - thank you!  That's great!  

 

For those of you who tried Informant and encountered a server 500 error directly after the login process - it turns out that unicode chars in tag names caused some templating code to fail.  This problem is now fixed!

 

Please give it another shot and let me now if you have problems. 

 

Thanks!

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Hi!

I´ve got a question.

If I´m having a "To-do" in my Inbox in Evernote, is suposed to stay in the Inbox notebook al the time to pop-up in the next action list?

What about "Inbox Zero"?

 

/Mattilacken

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Hi Mattilacken,

 

Sorry if I missed your post here - I don't check the forum daily.  As stated on the website - I can be reached via email and Facebook - please give me a yell via informant@coderage-software.com if you are still interested. 

 

With regards to your question; by "todo" you mean a note with a todo item within it?  if so, Informant won't do anything special with the note - it doesn't parse task notes to work out inherent meaning.  The only thing Informant is looking for on a note are it's tags - if it's tagged with a context (there child tags of the Where tag) then the note in question is listed in the next action lists. 

 

Could you clarify what you mean by "Inbox Zero" specifically? 

 

Thanks

--

John Clayton

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Zero inbox can be achieved in our app - SmartGTD - yes, I'm professionally involved with the SmartGTD. 

 

Zero Inbox is (was from the beginning) one of our main area of focus. 

 

For those of you, who want to take part of the beta tests of our web version, just let me know. We will start in 1 - 2 weeks. 

 

iPhone beta tests will start in 3 weeks. Want to help us build a nice app? Join in

 

For those of you, who are waiting for the iPad version I've got a good news - it will be uploaded to iTunes this Friday. And should be available next week. Further, we also take part in the Evernote DevCup 2013. If you find our app nice - vote for us on the DevCup. We will have also some discounts during the DevCup.

 

Main features?

 

a) Smart Inbox Processing,

B) iCal, Google Cal, Microsoft Exchange synchronization (bi - directional - change something in SmartGTD, it goes to your calendar. Change something in your calendar, it changes in SmartGTD),

c) Smart Weekly Review.

d) easy to use, nice GUI, very nice User Experience ;-)

 

If you want to see our first public Google+ Hangout and how the app really works - Youtube

 

Hope you will like SmartGTD :-) I started to love it :-)

 

Cheers,

 

Karol

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You mean that you commented on this guy's thread to blatantly promote your own app? That's pretty lame. Not at all sure I want to support that kind of behaviour...

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Getting back to the original subject of this topic, i.e. Informant for EN...

 

I've started dabbling with this service, and I quite like it.

The generation of "Next Action Lists" from the tags you add to your notes seems quite slick.

I especially like the fact that the generated note listing the Next Actions has a check box against each actio - it's always quite an incentive to be able to check off a completed task - very positive feeling - and then Informant automatically moves the completed task from the list to your designated "Completed" notebook.

 

What appeals to me is that this is a solution that works "behind the scenes" with EN, most other EN+GTD solutions seem to major on using another app to manage your EN notes, with Informant, you continue to use EN as is and you're not also using another app for the GTD element.

 

I would like to see some more flexible options with Informant, though...

as I understand it, Informant generates one Next Action List ENote containing all the tasks you've tagged as next actions across all your active projects within each context (1 context : 1 note for all next actions with that context). I'd prefer it if we could also get Informant to generate a next action list for each of my active projects. Having one note across all projects can be somewhat like tryimg to look at all your ENotes at once. And if I've got a ton of "Someday/Maybe" tasks, I don't want to see them merged in with  the next actions.

 

I Guess I'm wondering if it would be possible for users to configure Informant to their individual needs - providing some sort of control panel that would allow a user to specify what sort of master list notes they wanted Informant to generate?

 

Informant has plenty of potential; hope it can be harnessed.

 

regards,

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Shame it's just an iPhone/iPad app. There are Evernote users on other platforms.

 

That seems to be a plus point for Informant - it's platform independent.

 

And as GoGordo indicated above,this topic is about Informant; perhaps someone needs to start a separate topic for SmartGTD so things don't get confused?

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It strikes me as poor form for a rep from another company to post items like you've posted here, Karol.  Let this thread be dedicated to Informant; you've already started a number of threads on your product elsewhere on the board.

 

This is, of course, just my opinion.  Your mileage may vary.

 

george g.

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You mean that you commented on this guy's thread to blatantly promote your own app? That's pretty lame. Not at all sure I want to support that kind of behaviour...

GoGordo, Mattialcken was asking about Zero Inbox... My answer was about this. And it did not start like "wow, look what I found, a great app". From the beginning I stated that I'm not independant from this app. So... don't see my fault here. 

 

But sorry for the post from yesterday. I was to happy because we won the category in DevCup and posted this. My mistake, will not happen again. 

 

BR,

 

Karol

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Karol_1978, Honestly, when you spam the board about your app (like you've been doing), it's a real turn off/offputting/offensive for many users including myself. There are other users who do not overpromote their apps. They mention it once & then participate in the threads if other users have questions. Baumgarr (Nixnote), Roschler (BitQwik), Phil Seeman (TuskTools) to name a few. If your app is really all that good, word will get around the board by other users.

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Hey

 

Like I've said - sorry. I acted like a kid that received a candy (the winning of the category) and wants to cry out loud - LOOK WHAT I'VE GOT. 

 

Sorry for that once again. 

 

Thanks,

 

Karol

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Hi AdmiralP, 

 

It would be childs play to get Informant to generate "next action" lists that used a different parent tag as the pivot, e.g. lets get overview notes created on a "per project" basis, sorting their actions by context / priority for example.   

 

Or maybe we just leave out context altogether from the sorting?  If you read this - please let me know what you think. 

 

By the way - re: your comment about Informant trying hard to work behind the scenes - you are spot on.  I wanted this whole experience to be driven by Evernote - my vision is: one app for GTD, period.  Evernote's already my GTD go-to for resources, so why not have it list all my tasks too!

 

I've recently updated the production system with a new service back end that copes with the upcoming November 1st planned release of "rate limiting" (search the forums if you want more info), the result is that note generation seems faster too.  We'll see if the new services hold up come 1st of November!

 

I'm also near finishing integration of the 10.9/Mavericks Safari Push Notifications (it works beautifully here), and it's nice to have a notification on your desktop about Informant having generated new overviews.

 

If there's any other ideas - keep 'em coming, I'm all ears as they say!

 

Thanks for the feedback,

--

John Clayton

 

 

Getting back to the original subject of this topic, i.e. Informant for EN...

 

I've started dabbling with this service, and I quite like it.

The generation of "Next Action Lists" from the tags you add to your notes seems quite slick.

I especially like the fact that the generated note listing the Next Actions has a check box against each actio - it's always quite an incentive to be able to check off a completed task - very positive feeling - and then Informant automatically moves the completed task from the list to your designated "Completed" notebook.

 

What appeals to me is that this is a solution that works "behind the scenes" with EN, most other EN+GTD solutions seem to major on using another app to manage your EN notes, with Informant, you continue to use EN as is and you're not also using another app for the GTD element.

 

I would like to see some more flexible options with Informant, though...

as I understand it, Informant generates one Next Action List ENote containing all the tasks you've tagged as next actions across all your active projects within each context (1 context : 1 note for all next actions with that context). I'd prefer it if we could also get Informant to generate a next action list for each of my active projects. Having one note across all projects can be somewhat like tryimg to look at all your ENotes at once. And if I've got a ton of "Someday/Maybe" tasks, I don't want to see them merged in with  the next actions.

 

I Guess I'm wondering if it would be possible for users to configure Informant to their individual needs - providing some sort of control panel that would allow a user to specify what sort of master list notes they wanted Informant to generate?

 

Informant has plenty of potential; hope it can be harnessed.

 

regards,

 

 

 

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Hi John –

 

Thanks for the response.

Yes – I do like your approach to keeping just EN as the GTD app and providing a service to organise  it behind the sceners rather than juggling with more apps and EN.

 

Let me explain how I use Evernote in a pseudo-GTD way at present.

I have a maximum of 9 Key Areas (or Areas of Focus or Project Areas), so I have tags for  
#1 – Key Area 1
#2 – Key Area 2

#9 = Key Area 

So each task note I create in EN gets tagged with one of those key areas

 

To prioritise the tasks I have the following tags
!Next  ….to do now/today/within the next 24 hours
!Soon ….tasks that need to be done in the next 7 days – I’ve usually scheduyled a date for them;
               (I also use this tag for tasks which are further in the future, but have a defined date
                 scheduled for them)
!Unplanned … essentially my “Someday/maybe” category – unscheduled tasks
!Waiting …. Tasks where I’m waiting a response from someone else;  might be a response to an
                     email, or a delivery of something I’ve ordered, etc.

 

I make use of  the ability in EN’s Windows desktop  to adjust the creation date of tasks so it get sets to the scheduled date of the !Next/!Soon task, or to my expected response date if it’s a !Waiting task. This means that when I see a list of tasks in EN desktop view, they can be sorted by the creation date, i.e. effectively the action date .

 

As I complete a task, I shift the note from my main “Key Areas” notebook to my “Reference” notebook.

 

On a daily basis I review which !Next tasks didn’t get completed and re-schedule them, as well as looking at my !Soon  tasks and changing the tag to !Next if the task is due today. (I also review the !Waiting tasks to see if there’s any I’m expecting today, or if any have missed their date).

 

So, I’d like Informant to be flexible/configurable to generate

 

A list note which shows all the !Next task notes across all Key Areas (sorted by date/time within Key Area);

 

A list note which shows all the !Soon tasks (sorted by Key area within date/time – i.e. the major sort if by date, then within each date, sorted by Key area);

 

A list note which shows all the !Unplanned tasks sorted by Key area;

 

A list s note which shows all the !Waiting tasks sorted by date/tine

 

Obviously the terms/tags I’ve used are the ones I’m working with, but Informant looks like it might be flexible enough to handle any similar construct, and I’m prepared to adapt as appropriate.

Is any of that possible?

 

regards,

 

 

Hi AdmiralP, 

 

It would be childs play to get Informant to generate "next action" lists that used a different parent tag as the pivot, e.g. lets get overview notes created on a "per project" basis, sorting their actions by context / priority for example.   

 

Or maybe we just leave out context altogether from the sorting?  If you read this - please let me know what you think. 

 

By the way - re: your comment about Informant trying hard to work behind the scenes - you are spot on.  I wanted this whole experience to be driven by Evernote - my vision is: one app for GTD, period.  Evernote's already my GTD go-to for resources, so why not have it list all my tasks too!

 

I've recently updated the production system with a new service back end that copes with the upcoming November 1st planned release of "rate limiting" (search the forums if you want more info), the result is that note generation seems faster too.  We'll see if the new services hold up come 1st of November!

 

I'm also near finishing integration of the 10.9/Mavericks Safari Push Notifications (it works beautifully here), and it's nice to have a notification on your desktop about Informant having generated new overviews.

 

If there's any other ideas - keep 'em coming, I'm all ears as they say!

 

Thanks for the feedback,

--

John Clayton

 

 

Getting back to the original subject of this topic, i.e. Informant for EN...

 

I've started dabbling with this service, and I quite like it.

The generation of "Next Action Lists" from the tags you add to your notes seems quite slick.

I especially like the fact that the generated note listing the Next Actions has a check box against each actio - it's always quite an incentive to be able to check off a completed task - very positive feeling - and then Informant automatically moves the completed task from the list to your designated "Completed" notebook.

 

What appeals to me is that this is a solution that works "behind the scenes" with EN, most other EN+GTD solutions seem to major on using another app to manage your EN notes, with Informant, you continue to use EN as is and you're not also using another app for the GTD element.

 

I would like to see some more flexible options with Informant, though...

as I understand it, Informant generates one Next Action List ENote containing all the tasks you've tagged as next actions across all your active projects within each context (1 context : 1 note for all next actions with that context). I'd prefer it if we could also get Informant to generate a next action list for each of my active projects. Having one note across all projects can be somewhat like tryimg to look at all your ENotes at once. And if I've got a ton of "Someday/Maybe" tasks, I don't want to see them merged in with  the next actions.

 

I Guess I'm wondering if it would be possible for users to configure Informant to their individual needs - providing some sort of control panel that would allow a user to specify what sort of master list notes they wanted Informant to generate?

 

Informant has plenty of potential; hope it can be harnessed.

 

regards,

 

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Hi Everyone, 

 

I was just wondering what your experiences of using Informant have been to date?  Any feedback is appreciated. 

 

I've worked out the payment/business model and am spending time getting a payment provider in place - go live for this is Q1 2014 :-).

 

Currently there's about 300 users on the system, and it's growing every day.

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Hi John, 

 

Saw this thread and hopped in to your system today. 

 

So -- I'm sure I'm missing something obvious, but things don't really seem to be working right. It would be *great* if you had some simple examples on the site. 

 

E.g., from the moment I push "New Note", what steps do I need to take to make sure that the note ends up sorted properly? I'm using the standard tagging format for TSW (which appears to be your preferred method) but things aren't quite working exactly as I imagined. More specifically, they're not working at all.

 

Just wanted to give you some feedback in the spirit of true beta testing.  

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Hi Ben 

 

Where would you like to see the samples?  I've got documentation in a shared notebook that shows the steps required to use the system, as well as a simpler "overview" page that you can view on the website.  I'll be the first to admit that because of it's unique "there is no UI - just use Evernote" approach that this is probably the biggest stumbling block. 

 

I wondered, what if I created a single note in your evernote account instead of the 4 tutorial notes - and include an example of "this is what you should be seeing", "this is how to create a task to appear in @Work with 1-Now priority" - maybe that's better. 

 

In any case - great feedback - what is your Evernote username please, I'll go and have a look to see what's up with your account. 

 

To get a task into a master note, you do this:

  1. create a new note, the minimum you need is the title
  2. tag it with @Work and 1-Now; you *must* use one context tag, the 'project' and 'when' tags are optional
  3. sync with Evernote
  4. wait - while waiting, read about Notifications from Informant (either Push notifications for iOS/Android or Safari Browser).
  5. after about 30 seconds, which will feel like an eternity, sync with Evernote again

That's it - there's nothing more to it.  At this point, go and find the next actions note for the @Work context, if the system is doing it's job right (and this is 99% the case since it went into use in May last year), you'll have the new note listed there, along with a link.

 

Let me know how you get on, and please fire me your Evernote username so I can have a look to ensure it's all running smoothly. 

 

Cheers,

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Hi John,

 

Well, as I mentioned earlier, I love the *idea* here, but something is clearly not working. This is going to sound really dumb, but I want you to have full information of what *precisely* I did. So here's a step-by-step of what I did.

 

1 .Using Firefox v 26.0, I navigated to evernote.com and signed in to my evernote page.

2. I clicked "New Note" - this defaults to a notebook called "Bucket" which I have set as my default notebook for Informant.

3. I titled the note "New Informant Test".

4. In the body of the note, I wrote "This is a quick test of Informant."

5. I tagged the note with "1-Now" and "@Work"

6. I waited a bit.

7. I refreshed the browser... why not.

8. I waited some more.

9. [You get the idea]

10. I went to Informant, logged in, checked the Evernote sync status.

11. [More waiting]

...

 

Still no dice. Under 1-Now: Next Actions, it says "Your GTD overview/next-actions list will appear here soon, please wait about a minute then sync your Evernote client to pull in the latest notes from Informant."

 

So... does this not work in a browser? That's a dealbreaker.

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Excellent info that you posted - and no, it was not really dumb at all - several things we're then clearer to me, among them:

 - your process is perfect

 - you are using a web browser only (very important, the note content is every so slightly different when the browser saves it)

 - you had no feedback (it'd be great to have some kind of processing feedback on a users account)

 

I can confirm that the lack of overview notes is a definite bug - you should be seeing these notes get created.  I forced Informant to re-create the notes on your account and I could see in the logs that the routines that pick out the potential notes to include returned zero.  I test the system in a web browser attached to the Evernote sandbox - so this is a surprise to me.  

 

I believe I have enough info to fix this - and will look at it over the weekend.

 

Thanks Ben, I'll keep in touch. 

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Ben

 

One thing you can try - after I looked at this for 5 minutes.  Please create any kind of tag under the .Active Projects tag.  Once you've done that - wait a bit, Informant should then produce the overview notes!  It's still a bug - but I think that's a workaround for now.  I will continue to look at this on the weekend.  

 

So, create a "project" tag, it can be anything - but it MUST be a child of the .Active Projects tag. 

 

Thanks.

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Hi John, 

 

This didn't work either. I've now tried various approaches on PC, OS X, web browser, and iPhone. 

 

...so, thinking this doesn't really work. 

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John, I really like the Informant way of doing things... enhancing EN and keeping my GTD work in one app.

 

Some thoughts:

 

#1) Rather than move my completed tasks to another notebook via the completion checkbox, I want Informant to retag them by removing the action tag and applying a "completed" tag. This is important because a good number of my task notes are really actions tied to a particular item note. For example, I may have a note that is documentation of a phone call, and the task may be to compose a presentation document from its text. At the completion of the task, I want to keep the note in its with its new text in the same notebook with all of the other notes pertaining to the active project (many of which are not tasks). My current workflow using Informant to complete a task is to not use the checkboxes, but to use the task's link in the specific action note generated by Informant to open the note, then to retag the note, removing the action tag and adding the completed tag. On complete 2-way sync, the note drops off the Next Actions lists.

 

 

 

#2) I want an Informant-generated note for each of the When tags, not just 1-Now. This is important because, in real life, regardless of how I may have When-tagged, I may want to quickly see if I can knock off some 2-Next or 3-Soon tasks. This would also help me if I have failed to perform a daily overview and need to just open a note listing all tasks for each When tag.

 

#3) I want an Informant-generated note for each Active Project. 

 

Taken together, #2 and #3 would put all of my most often used task filtering options in one notebook (without using saved searches), as a de facto GTD interface. 

 

Ideally, all three of these items would be implemented as configurable options offered to make Informant more customized to  the user's preferred workflows.

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Hi - just a quick note to say that the Informant service has now shut down.   I still firmly believe in the idea but lack the time required to bring it to it's full potential.  It's been great - thanks to everyone that participated, and good luck finding a great GTD solution in the future. 

 

--

John Clayton

Founder of Informant.

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