For over a year, or more like over 2, I’ve been thinking about and creating small bits of a ‘friendly’ guide through my daily work flow. I used to have all kinds of check lists, and processes, and throw them in front of myself like an angry teacher: here do this. Of course being that strict with myself doesn’t get me anywhere. So a few years ago I’ve relaxed that stance and that feels and is much better. Since then I’ve been looking for a friendly way to nudge myself at certain points during the day. Like a personal assistant giving me gentle reminders. My notes, feeds, lists, documentation etc. are all parts of an outboard brain. But that outboard brain currently only responds if I ask it something. I want to more often have that outboard brain approach me, nudge me, and ask me things. Things that ‘past me’ thought were good and useful to ask ‘future me’. Things like asking me every now and then to write down what was important about my day. Or greeting me when I open my laptop in the morning, taking me through the items I previously thought I should do today. Keeping me informed about my previously formulated goals. All kinds of reminders really, but not calendar or task related.
One of the barriers in doing this has been technology choice. Do I use Applescript, or terminal commands? Do I glue together tools like Things, Tinderbox and Evernote even more? I find I hesitated doing that, simply because it makes me more dependent on specific tools, or specific operating systems and hardware. I feel a need for it to be much more agnostic, as well as be ‘boring technology’. That way it has chance of being replicable in a different setting, of me being able to migrate it someplace else.
So in the past days I came to the conclusion I need to use old and tested technology: Html, php and mysql. It is easy to run on my machine as a web server, and will be easy to run on any other. It can talk to various things already on my laptop (such as my mysql based e-mail archive). It is technology I am relatively well versed in, so it will be easier for me to create the functionality that I want. It carries echoes of when I wrote and created the first intranet for my then employer, which was able to communicate with back-office systems (in Perl and Visual Basic). It also carries echoes of when I ran a wiki on my laptop as a personal note taking and intranet tool. Although I also want to make something more ‘shiny’ I think that is a pitfall, as it distracts me from achieving something through the fun of exploring a new (to me) technology choice.