Personal information management - Desktop Customization & Workflow

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Laserswald
Members
Of all the things I want to know about you guys, I want to know how you keep up with the inevitable stuff that clutters your digital lives.

How do you guys manage things like:

To-do lists
Contacts
Calendars (and notifications)
Note taking and storage
Email setups (this should be fun!)
Device synchronization

I've seen some cool stuff, but let me hear it from you all. I'll chime in with a reply.

To-do lists

I use Gina Trapani's veritable todo.txt, a shell script that manages a standardized, human readable todo list. Since it's just shell, it's fairly easily hackable and very light. There's a paid Android app that is also part of the project, but it is bound to Dropbox so I use the sync-agnostic Simpletask Cloudless.

A killer feature of todo.txt is that you can integrate it with nixer-y goodness and still get a powerful system with contexts, projects, and priorities with a clean cli interface.

Contacts
Google Contacts, mostly. I SHOULD use that program that syncs your GContacts address book to your Mutt aliases, but it's on the back burner once I get back into email.

Calendars (and notifications)
Right now, Google Calendar. I'm looking for another system that integrates as well as todo.txt, with no luck. I may have to write this myself. Humph.

Note taking and storage
I have a synced folder of markdown notes in it that syncs with all my computers and my phone. That and pandoc creates browsable notes. It's still difficult to integrate with my phone, but it's not impossible. There are plenty of text editors for Android, and just one will work, but it would be nice to find one that just allows a shortcut to my inbox.txt file. C'est la vie.

Email setups (this should be fun!)
I just finished my Mutt setup, which I sync with Gmail with isync. There are sneaky duplicates all over my 'All Mail' folder, but you can ignore those. If I need to look up something fast, I also installed Notmuch, an ultra fast email index searcher.

Device synchronization
My synchronizer of choice right now is Syncthing, a near clone of BitTorrent Sync that is open source, fully encrypted and has torrent-style distributed data storage. No limits to be reached, no clouds to be hacked.

And that's mine. Of course, there's always room for improvement. I'm still fiddling with Mutt, and I am considering adding some more shortcuts to make short work of any more junk email I get.
venam
Administrators
To-do lists
I use 2 simple text documents that I keep open with vim on my first workspace.
One of the document is arranged into multiple sections such as:
Learning - Projects - Daily - Goals - Notes
The second one is my schedule and mini things that needs to be done fast.

Contacts

I keep my contact list in hnb

Calendar

I just do:
Code:
cal -m -3
Then I know the day and I can manage stuff with my schedule.

Note taking and storage

I also take notes with hnb

Email setups
On my phone I use gmail (Android). It's pretty well made and has a slick interface.
On my laptop I use sylpheed.

Device synchronization

I backup things with rsync and I also sync my vps using rsync.

For the rest I tend to use any mean of storage. I put files on my phones, transfer them to my laptop. Send messages to myself on telegram with files I need. Upload them to ioup (pastebin) service. etc..
bsdkeith
Long time nixers
To-do lists - if any, they will be a text file; echo, vi, grep
Contacts - are stored in my email programs
Calendars (and notifications) - cal (at)
Note taking and storage - (paper) notebook
Email setups (this should be fun!) - I just use Gmail, Yahoo, & Hotmail.
Device synchronization - via external HDD, pendrive, or occassionally cat5 crossover cable.
z3bra
Grey Hair Nixers
Todo-list - I use a plain text file ~/.todo with one task per line, and use "nl < ~/.todo" in my shell startup script. I don't sync them between computers as every machine has a different purpose (work, home, server, etc..). I wrote a small script to manage it all (http://git.z3bra.org/cgit.cgi/scripts/tree/todo). It's pretty simple:
Code:
$ todo
    1 explain what todo(1) is
$ todo post on nixers about the workflow thingy
$ todo
    1 explain what todo(1) is
    2 post on nixers about the workflow thingy
$ todo -d 1
$ todo
    1 post on nixers about the workflow thingy
$ todo -d /nixers/
$ todo
$
the -d flag just pass the argument as "sed ${2}d", so you can use regex and all that :)

Contacts - I'm not well organized... In fact, all I have is my ~/.mutt/aliases, which is not sync either between my computers. I only have a few contacts anyway. Otherwise, all contacts are stored on my phone. I hope I'll not loose it again!

Calendar - I use markers to write all my appointments on my bay window, as I use it everyday to enter/leave my appartment. This way I don't forget them!

Note taking & storage - I use my gopher server to have my notes available everywhere. It's just a "write everywhere and publish" workflow (I have vi, git and cgo on my phone, so I can work with it too).

e-mail setups - I have two accounts: my personnal box, and my spam box. Both are setup on my phone using imaps so I can read them anywhere. Then I use mutt with imap on my desktop, for easy management (I use different folders: dev, help, friends, commands, others). I also fetch all my mails via POP3 on my server, for archiving.

Device synchronization - I don't have any good solution yet.. I wish I had one though. I need something secure, fast and scalable so I can sync my medias, but also password managers and others. The best setup for me would an automatic rsync between my server and all the devices I connect on LAN (using some passphrase or something). I don't want to use some tier service for this. I don't trust other people regarding my personnal data. I want to do it all myself.

P.S. Thanks for this post, I love this kind of content where people share actual tips abouttheir day-to-day workflow! It makes me want to do another "workflow compilation!"
vain
Long time nixers
Topics like this are great, there is so much interesting software to discover!


To-do lists, Calendars, and notifications

https://github.com/vain/gitodo which also includes highcal: Basically just a colored "cal" that can highlight deadlines of TODO items. A cronjob can create e-mails as reminders (these mails don't leave my system, they just end up in my user's ~/Mail).

For those little reminders ("in 15 minutes, your pizza is ready!"), there are wrappers around at(1): https://github.com/vain/bin-pub/blob/master/alarm and https://github.com/vain/bin-pub/blob/master/listalarms

Contacts

I store contacts in a JSON file + some tools to read that file:

"contacts_mutt_query" can also query an ldap server. I need that at work.

Note taking and storage

Just a git repo containing text and markdown files.

Email setups

exim/dovecot on my server, mpop/msmtp + procmail + mu on my workstations. mutt as MUA. When I mark mails as "read", they get committed to a git repo and thus get synced amongst my machines. Yes, this sounds a little weird (why not just imap?), but it works quite well and makes it hard to accidentally lose mails.

On each workstation, there's a local exim with a minimal configuration which allows me to use /usr/bin/sendmail. It just permits local mail from one unix user to another.

Device synchronization

I don't have a smartphone, so it's just git and unison.
thetornainbow
Members
Nice thread!

To-do lists

Since I really don't have time to pull out my laptop or sit down at the desktop just to look at a to do when I'm on the go, I just use Google Keep on my phone for quick to-dos. It's super simple.

Contacts
I make a habit of purging contact information if I haven't spoken to someone in six months. I only have about 8 contacts in my phone atm. I figure I don't really _need_ to keep their stuff around, and if we run into each other after six months I can just get it again from them.

Calendars (and notifications)
I use the calendar offered by Fastmail (my email provider). It's synced with CalDav to my home computers and phone.

Note taking and storage
alias note='vim ~/notes' <--- notes is kept in git, synced around to all machines

Email setups (this should be fun!)
I use mutt with msmtp and mbsync for syncing over IMAP. It handles several different accounts for me, plus a dozen or so mailing lists. I can't recommend mbsync highly enough, it's much faster and more reliable (in my experience) than offlineimap. I have a cron job that runs every 5 minutes to sync up all the mails.

Device synchronization
Just recently I setup a VPS running Seafile for syncing school assignments or pictures and government secrets. It's fairly new so I don't have a good flow around it, but I'm really liking it a lot, it handles syncing better and less overhead than Owncloud for me. I also use git+stow to manage all my dotfiles. I have a quick script that runs on new setups to git clone and stow all the things - 30 seconds and I'm ready to go anywhere.
Laserswald
Members
(25-07-2015, 08:59 AM)z3bra Wrote: I don't want to use some tier service for this. I don't trust other people regarding my personnal data. I want to do it all myself.

Try Syncthing. It's exactly what you are looking for. It detects if the nodes are on your LAN and uses that to sync with blinding speed.

Also, thanks everyone! I didn't think you guys would like this so much. But now that I think about it, I'm not exactly surprised.
z3bra
Grey Hair Nixers
I'll take a look, thanks for the hint!

edit: after reading a bit about it, it looks.nice indeed. There is.even an f-droid app so.I can use it from my jolla!

quick question though.. Is the web ui mandatory? or you can just edit config files by hand?
Laserswald
Members
Z3bra: I'm fairly certain that it can also be configured via file.
io86
Members
Nice thread and interesting solutions, I'm more like bsdkeith myself:)

To-do-lists:
I use alias todo='vim ~/todo'. I also have note and todo functions from https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Bash/Functions, but I tend to forget about them.

Contacts:
No managmet. In my email programs.

Calendars:
Mainly cal. I installed calendar.vim, but I lack the discipline to use it.

Note taking and storage:
Used to be paper notebooks and chaotic files on computers, lately I'm trying to write as much as I can in my vimwiki.

Email setups:
Mainly mutt. For one account I use Mailpile, because I wanted to try it out. For some accounts I just use the webmail interfaces.

Device synchronization:
Similar to bsdkeith. I use an external HDD, and put files I need on a USB flash drive o.O I have pydio on a server, which I rarely use.
vypr
Long time nixers
To-do:
404 not found.

Contacts:
Nothing, besides my phone contacts (which I don't use besides calls/texts)

Calendars:
If I even do, Google Calendar or the Reminder app on OS X. It's a rare occasion, though.

Note taking:
Either a physical journal or the Notes app on OS X.

Email:
Thunderbird (on OSX), mutt (on Linux, probably will switch to Thunderbird), Webmail (on Windows)

Device syncing:
Mehhh, Notes and Reminders are synced to my phone. I did have Google Chrome on my phone for syncing of bookmarks 'n shit, but I ended up removing it in favor of Safari.
Code:
-----BEGIN GEEK CODE BLOCK-----
Version: 3.1
G d s+:++ a--- C++ UB P+ L+ !E !W+++ !N !o K--? w++ !O M++ !V PS+++ PE-- Y++ PGP+ !t !5 !X !R tv b+ DI D++ G e- h r y--
------END GEEK CODE BLOCK------

buddhist ~ esperantisto ~ communist
venam
Administrators
Linking back to a related thread.
ninjacharlie
Members
*To-do lists*
Vim

*Contacts*
Vim

*Calendars (and notifications)*
When (with Vim)

*Note taking and storage*
Vim

*Email setups (this should be fun!)*
Mutt (with Vim)

*Device synchronization*
Git (dotfiles)
z3bra
Grey Hair Nixers
man you should take a look at this awesome tool which let you do a tons of things: emacs.
ninjacharlie
Members
(11-11-2015, 05:15 PM)z3bra Wrote: man you should take a look at this awesome tool which let you do a tons of things: emacs.
Ooh, looks interesting, but I don't need a full fledged operating system. Thanks tho :)
z3bra
Grey Hair Nixers
Beware not turning vim into one then ;)
ninjacharlie
Members
(12-11-2015, 08:17 AM)z3bra Wrote: Beware not turning vim into one then ;)

Lol, don't worry. I always pipe out whenever I can (the '!' keybinding is a life saver). Vim's monolithic-ness has always been something I dislike. I'd use this: http://kakoune.org/, if it weren't written in C++. I've been slowly making a personal fork of suckless's sandy, but it's not ready for prime-time yet (https://github.com/charles-l/ched).
z3bra
Grey Hair Nixers
(12-11-2015, 10:14 AM)ninjacharlie Wrote:
(12-11-2015, 08:17 AM)z3bra Wrote: Beware not turning vim into one then ;)

Lol, don't worry. I always pipe out whenever I can (the '!' keybinding is a life saver). Vim's monolithic-ness has always been something I dislike. I'd use this: http://kakoune.org/, if it weren't written in C++. I've been slowly making a personal fork of suckless's sandy, but it's not ready for prime-time yet (https://github.com/charles-l/ched).

Both links are dead sadly ;) I'm using vis (https://github.com/martanne/vis) which works wonderfully for now. It lacks runtime configuration though. Not sure if the author plans to add it. 'cause the config.h is getting bigger and bigger after each commit. As for sandy, I love the way it works, but I'm say that vi's grammar is too much cool for me to throw it away.