Cheap (Free) Project Management applications and tips on finding them.

This is another email I put together for a family member and thought I’d share with my blog since it may come in handy for some folks out there…

One trick I’ve learned is using certain substitutions in google when searching for things, for instance using “Open Source” instead of “Free” will generally turn up higher quality results in regards to applications. (one exception to this rule is anti virus software, there being several good free solutions and only one or two open source applications)

Another source I like for things like this is the website www.lifehacker.com, which is a general productivity/self improvement type site. I searched that site for “project management” and got this. You can read through the summaries quickly and see which ones are tips and which ones are actual downloadable programs. I trust this site not to link to spyware/viruses/questionable-stuff, so you could download and install one of the apps they link with confidence.

One last thing, often I find the comments in the lifehacker.com posts to be as informational as the actual post itself, usually finding several more good suggestions above and beyond what the lifehacker writers have suggested. A quick glance at the comments will also tell you if the application in the main post is any good. For example on this post, there are 3 links to project management programs in the post itself, and the first two comments link to 2 others.

Something called GantProject keeps coming up in all the lifehacker posts as a very good and easy to use project manager that functions very much like Microsoft Project. It may be worth checking out.

New PB guns weighed

Added a FS7 Naughty Dog and a PEV’s Ego7 to the list of guns I’ve weighed. The Ego7 is so ridiculous light I thought the scale might finally need new batteries. This makes me really curious about the SL edition Egos. Here is the post with the guns.

Cool things you can do with Twitter

Twitter is blowing up right now, and it’s easy to see why.  It’s extremely addictive, and very easy to update assuming you have unlimited texting on your phone.  Not being tied to a computer is, I believe, one of Twitters biggest advantages over similar offerings like Pownce.

But did you know you can do lots of other stuff with Twitter besides keep in touch with friends?  Here’s a short list I’ve put together…

You can:

1. track your gas mileage
2. Read “headlines” in a newspaper-like layout
3. Track packages from UPS, FedEx, USPS, and DHL (thanks John C. Dvorak for twittering this)
4. Use an RSS feed to keep track of high priority websites.  (it doesn’t have to be your website, got something you wish had a twitter feed but doesn’t, like a surf report or local news headlines?  Put their RSS feed into this website and follow them)
5. You can see what people love, hate, wish for or several other options.
6. With a little elbow grease you can know when to water your plants.

Okay, the last one is a stretch, but the first three are genuine useful applications that have surfaced using the Twitter interface.  I love it!

xxx@mycingular.blackberry.net “address rejected” explained

One of the execs at work suddenly stopped receiving emails on his blackberry today.  After some testing it was determined that his blackberry account was being returned with a 550 Address Rejected error.  Thanks to this blog entry I was able to get him going again.

Basically what has happened, if you don’t feel like following the above link, is that AT&T has stopped forwarding mail to mycingular.blackberry.net.  All you need to do to correct this is replace mycingular with att.  Like so, xxx@att.blackberry.net instead of xxx@mycingular.blackberry.net.   Ta-da, email is working again.  Thank you Ken Hanscom for blogging about this, as I’m not a blackberry user and never got the email explaining the cut off date for the mycingular server.

Still happy with T-Mobile customer support

Pretty much every experience I’ve had in the last year with T-Mobile has been wonderful. Each time I’ve spoken to a rep over the phone or gone into the local store with a question I’ve come out of the experience pleasantly surprised. After hearing horror story after horror story about every other telephone company it’s a pleasure to deal with the polite people who are willing and able to help with my questions and changes to my service plan.

I’m going to stop now before this turns into some sort of strange viral commercial. Which it basically is… I don’t have anything important to say or any tips or tricks for this post. I just had a nice experience at a retailer in an industry that is famous for its rude service reps and thought I’d let everyone know.

I want a Chumby

I tend to agree with the proponents of technology free bedrooms. But this Chumby thing looks really neat, and the most useful place for me to have one would be the bedroom, since I have a laptop in the living room along with a handful of gaming consoles.

I really just want this thing for wantings’ sake, but it would be an excellent gift for someone who isn’t all that tech savvy. Imagine a digital picture frame that you could send little e-cards and messages to. The downside is that the perfect recipient of the Chumby as a gift would most likely not have a computer, or be very computer illiterate and unlikely to check email regularly. Which would also mean that they likely wouldn’t have a wifi network in place. Which kills the usefullness of the Chumby.

So it’s a bit of a niche piece of hardware. Not as useful as a small laptop, but infinitely better than many single use piece of hardware such as a digital photo frame or an internet radio player like the Grace Digital box.

I’ve got a few questions as to its usability. First, can it use services like Orb or TVersity to stream my personal music collection? Second, how does it go about displaying Flickr photos, does it just use a persons RSS feed, missing anything marked private, or does it log into the service and actually display private/friends/family marked images?

If I do get one or figure out answers to these questions through a forum or faq I’ll be sure to post up.

*update – The Flickr widget for the Chumby does allow you to “approve” the chumby via Flickr and allow it to display personal photos.  Unfortunately some people are reporting that the Flickr widget also tends to freeze up.  Nothing so far on whether it works with tversity and/or orb