This week's Friday Five is a collection of half-baked blog posts I have written over the past few years (literally, some of these half-baked posts go back to November 9, 2012)

1. The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande

Amazon link
Chapters link

pg. 177

... The fear people have about the idea of adherence to protocol is rigidity. They imagine mindless automatons, heads down in a checklist, incapable of looking out their windshield and coping with the real world in front of them. But > what you find, when a checklist is well made, is exactly the opposite. The checklist gets the dumb stuff out of the way, the routines your brain shouldn't have to ooccupy itself with (Are the elvator controls set? Did the patient get her antibiotics on time? Did the managers sell all their shares? Is everyone on the same page here?), and lets it rise above to focus on teh hard stuff (Where should we land?)..."

2. Favourite Internet People

Merlin Mann
Marco Arment
John Siracusa
David Sparks
Gabe Weatherhead
Kevin Rose

3. How To Develop Strong Time-Management Habits, Even If You've Failed In The Past | Fast Company

How To Develop Strong Time-Management Habits, Even If You've Failed In The Past | Fast Company

A thought provoking piece that may help explain why the send/receive button is clicked so many times a day

Things become a bit clearer when we replace “be productive” with another very popular resolution: losing weight.

While there are debates within that community about which is the best diet strategy, I don’t know of many health coaches or diet writers who recommend sodas, candy, cookies, donuts, bagels, and greasy burgers on white buns.

And yet most dieters, who certainly “know better,” keep cheating and sneaking and rationalizing food choices that conflict with their big goal. Just like Felix, their minute-by-minute decisions undermine their desired outcome.


4. Mac Apps that I want to Explore and Integrate into my Workflow

OmniFocus 2

5. Are you using the same password over and over?

How elite security ninjas choose and safeguard their passwords | Ars Technica

If you have not heard of
1. 1Password
2. LastPass

I would highly recommend exploring their websites. I'm happy to answer any questions regarding 1Password on the Mac and iOS.

AuthorBryan Sippel

A friend sent this to me with the question "Can these guys be the next electric vehicle success story?"  Will be interesting to follow the company and find out.

The video also made me think of a recent robotics video I saw on Mashable.  No idea if it is real or not but entertaining nonetheless.

AuthorBryan Sippel

The first of what I plan to try to make a weekly occurrence - the Friday Five. Each post will be of varying lengths, highlighting a list of five items that hopefully you or someone you know finds useful.

Web Apps

The time I spend in front of a computer is fairly evenly split between a Mac (home) and PC (work).

As a result, I rely heavily on web apps to access my data and keep everything in sync. In this week’s Friday Five I will highlight my five most used web services and a few related tips and tricks.

  1. Gmail
  2. Google Calendar
  3. Workflowy
  4. Simplenote
  5. Squarespace

Honourable mentions:


In my opinion, easily the best feature of Gmail is the ability to leverage Google’s search functionality. With time, I have become very efficient at searching for messages and as a result do not have to file or apply labels to messages. The incredible amount of storage space provided with a Gmail account allows you to archive all your message without having to delete them. In fact, I have my first Gmail message from March 20, 2007 in my Archive folder, 51 281 message in total totalling 5.16 GB.

Note: There are many aspects of Google services, both good and bad, that you should be aware of before using them. I’m not going to go into them in detail here but please make yourself aware. There is no shortage of information, again both good and bad, online about Google. Here are a couple sources:
Our Products and Services | Google
Google Evil or Not, Your Best Arguments | Lifehacker

Google Calendar

After my email I’m looking at my calendar. Google Calendar’s ability to integrate with Gmail and other services (e.g. iPhone apps) makes it my favourite calendar service. You can continue to leverage the search functionality in Gmail and I rely heavily on the reminder features (e.g. remind me in 2 days via email of this event). Now if I could just remember to take action on those reminders, maybe my family would get a birthday card on time this year. Better create a calendar reminder for that :-)


Exploring Getting Things Done has been a hobby of mine for the past few years. I have tried MANY task managers and have now been using Workflowy exclusively for the past few months. Workflowy’s biggest asset is its simplicity. One of my weaknesses when it comes to exploring task managers is getting caught up in the details, playing around with the settings and features when I should be actually doing the work related to the tasks in my task manager. As Merlin Mann Mann says “…the next time you think about changing task managers, stop, and go and do three things on your list” [paraphrasing]

Workflowy’s simplicity is rooted in its format: a front-end interface to navigate a hierarchical plain text file. You can use keyboard shortcut to create, expand/collapse and navigate the hierarchical levels. You can move up and down the hierarchy with your arrow keys, Ctrl + Space to expand/collapse a level, and tab to create a new level. At any time you can export to plain text which make backup and sharing a breeze.

Here is a list of other task managers I have used, all with the own set of advantages and disadvantages: Toodledo, OmniFocus, Excel, Checkvist, Remember the Milk, Asana, Nirvana HQ, Clear


Over the past couple years, as result of the influence of many of the podcasts I listen (e.g. MacPower Users and Back to Work) to I have moved almost exclusively to plain text for my personal notes. Simplenote is a text sync service that also offers a web app for accessing and editing your notes.

The key feature of Simplenote for me is the search functionality. It is fast and if your search string does not return any results, simply hit the plus icon to create a new note with the search string as your title. On the Mac, I would highly recommend using nvALT with Simplenote as the back end sync service. More on Nvalt in a later post.


I have hosted on [Squarespace] [Squarespace] for a few years now. My website is a work in progress, but keep checking back as I have some big plans for 2014.

Squarespace offers a wide range of features, allowing you to create a simple website in a few minutes right through to offering you the ability to customize the CSS or embed your own code. If you enjoy tech podcasts, I would highly recommend listening to those on the 5by5 and TWiT networks both for their quality, but also because they regularly offer Squarespace discount codes.

AuthorBryan Sippel
Autofocus: Autofocus is a linear, list based system that simplifies everything you need to do into steps. It's great for people who like a simple system that keeps them on track with minimal management.

I see AutoFocus it as a useful method for "memory dumps" but not as an actual "system".

Lifehacker (@lifehacker)
2013-02-01 1:11 PM
Productivity methods are great, but deciding if you really need to implement one is tough. Here's where to get started:

AuthorBryan Sippel

Reading more about OmniFocus 2 is making me wish even more that I worked in a
Mac environment during the day.  See SimplicityBliss post for additional details

In particular, I can see the Forecast view being incredibly useful in estimating timelines, an area that can always use improvements in accuracy.


AuthorBryan Sippel

How The Official Getting Things Done App Will Free Your Mind And Empty Your Inboxes | Fast Company (via Instapaper)

I am very interested to see how this evolves. Some of the things I will be looking for:

- Cross Platform Sync: Using a PC at work and iPad / Mac this is very important to me

- Nested Hierarchies: Nested hierarchies is a feature that has kept me from using  services in the past such as Wunderlist and has recently found me loving Workflowy

- Quick Entry: Easily one of the most missed features of Omnifocus when I'm working on my PC is Quick Entry. For the non-mobile versions of whatever is developed, the ability to press a key combination from within any program and have a Quick Entry window appear to enter text into your 'inbox' would be very useful. 

AuthorBryan Sippel

I've been reading The Magazine by Macro Arment for a few weeks now and below are some thoughts:

- Enjoy the clean and simple interface
- Have found the articles to be both informative and entertaining
- Low fee subscription model ($1.99 / month) keeps the articles ad free

I read the Foreword and the first four articles on a flight a few weeks ago.  After i was done, found myself wishing there were more articles and looking forward to the next issue.

Here's hoping this turns out to be profitable for Marco and his team and it lives past the first couple of months.  Either way, will be some great reading ahead.  

AuthorBryan Sippel

Some very useful new tips in this article

Already setup the Gmail Labs feature for the Preview Pane with a vertical split.
Also refreshed my memory on the following keyboards shortcuts:
- j and k to move the "selector" up and down and then x to select a message

AuthorBryan Sippel

After recently subscribing to a new podcast by 5by5 - The Crossover decided to take a few minutes and think of my current Top 5 Podcasts.  Some things I considered putting together the list:  

- How much I look forward to new shows
- How useful and applicable I find the information presented
- How likely I would be to recommend the show to friends and colleagues

1. Foundation
2. Back to Work
3. You Look Nice Today
4. Mac Power Users
5. Build and Analyze

Honourable Mention

- The Crossover (based on first show)
- Hypercritical
- The Rich Eisen Podcast
- This Week in Google
- This American Life

*links above to iTunes Store

AuthorBryan Sippel