Productivity timer & activity tracking

Garmin Fenix 3 & Pomodoro Timer

The Garmin ‘move’ bar & the pomodoro timer

My latest piece of bling, a Garmin Fenix 3 watch, comes with an inbuilt activity tracker. One feature of this activity tracker is the so-called Move bar.

The basic idea is that if you are inactive for one hour, the bar turns red and shows an alert asking you to move around for 2-5 mins. The longer you’ve been inactive, the longer you have to walk to dismiss the bar.

On the non-fitness side of things, a.k.a. work, I use a pomodoro timer app to split my work into manageable bits. For the last year and a half that I’ve used it, I’ve stuck with the default 20 mins work, 5 mins break pattern 1. After every 4 sets, is a slightly longer 15 min break to stretch legs, and pamper Chewie.

Today was my first full day with the new watch, and I’ve already settled on a modified pattern – 25 on (working), 5 off (twitter). Every 2 sets, i.e. every one hour, take additional 10 mins off to walk around to clear the bar, chat with family, and then back again.

Worked well for the half day that I’ve worked today. If this works on Monday too, it’ll be a fun combination of work & walk :)

  1. Most of those 5 mins breaks are used for catching up, or posting, on Twitter :) 

How I read and respond to user feedback

After writing the previous post, I thought I’d share another script I use, this time to respond to user feedback for my Chrome apps.

All the feedback links in the apps, and the link on page that opens when they are uninstalled, direct to this form.

Chrome apps' feedback form
Chrome apps’ feedback form

The problem

On submission, the form adds a row to a spreadsheet with each of those input fields in a separate column. Google provides a notification option for whenever the form is submitted. However, the default email sent by Google is quite useless:

Default notification emails
Default notification emails

The default notification email requires a click-through to see the changes. This is sad enough on the desktop. On mobile, it’s completely useless – requiring me to open a big spreadsheet to see just one new row of data!

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New idea: minimalist blog editor app

Yet another Chrome1 app idea:

A minimal, no-frills blogging app with markdown editing2, inline tagging support3, and draft auto-sync4 to WordPress and Medium

I find WordPress‘ editor too cluttered (despite the distraction-free mode), and Medium‘s too fiddly-gimmicky. In fact, I write most of my posts these days in another Automattic product – Simplenote, and then copy it to my WordPress blogs, or Medium for final editing, formatting, etc.

My WordCounter Chrome app already supports Markdown Extra. Reusing that code, adding Medium & WordPress API support, and adding a #tag parser shouldn’t take long. The only question is do I care about it enough to prioritise it over all the other stuff that’s on the backlog?

For the last couple of months that I’ve had this idea, the answer has been no.

Continue reading New idea: minimalist blog editor app