Git Workflow Explained Simply

Git is a Code Versioning System (aka CVS) .

It lets multiple developers, programers and project managers all work on the source code for a project with minimal stepping on each others toes. The workflow we use is as follows.

We keep the a Git repository in the cloud, typically in Bitbucket.

Each developer then keeps a local copy of the repository. The developer can then create a new feature branch to work on an issue. More than one developer can work on a project at a time, and multiple branches can co-exist at the same time. This allows for more concurrent effort to be deployed.

Show git master branch, feature branch and merge
Show git master branch, feature branch and merge

(This image from the git-guide linked below)

Typically then the QA will pull that feature branch to a test server and test the new feature/issue for completeness/quality.

If they are happy with the quality of work, they can then merge that feature/issue branch into the master branch.

Then on the production server we can pull the master branch and deploy it in production.

We link the bitbucket repository with JIRA and Confluence so that features, issues and bugs can be more easily tracked and discussed.

For more information on how to use git, see the git-guide.

Export Evernote Notes to Apple Notes

Larry Salibra has a post on how to move notes from Evernote to Apple iCloud Notes.

His Applescript does a fantastic job of this, the only issue I had was that my iCloud account was named differently to ‘iCloud’, all I did to resolve that was to rename my account in Apple Preferences > Accounts back to iCloud while I did the export.

Found this via

Now I’m as happy as Larry :)

Get the Weather From the Command Line

On Mac OS X or Linux (in fact anywhere you get the finger command) you can quickly get the weather.
Jared, in our office here, just showed this to me, neato! :)


I particularly like the one line weather report


To get more info on how to use this, run this from your command line:


Binge Learning is Failure

Good info from Scott Young:

A great deal of psychological research shows that studying in a burst is less effective than study sessions spaced out over time. Blogs naturally embody the latter method, dripping out ideas over weeks and months instead of in a burst.

Bolding mine.

This aligns with what I was listening to on  Tim Ferris’s podcast where he talks with Luis von Ahn where Luis says that users of Duolingo get best results with 20-30 minutes per day rather than bingeing.

Hotkey for New Day One entry from selection

I use Day One to journal. There is a service that creates a new Day One entry from the selection, but it didn’t have a hotkey associated with it. So I’ve set one up.

First (optional) step is to use to make your CAPS LOCK key useful. Big thanks to Brett Terpstra for that, I use that for loads of other shortcuts.

Next step is to add a shortcut for the New Day One Entry With Selection using the instructions to create keyboard shortcuts in the Apple knowledge base.

I used CAPSLOCK D as the hotkey to send whatever I’ve got currently selected to Day One as a new entry, works a treat.

Note: this is ^⇧⌥⌘D using the optional first step, so it is the same as pressing Control, Shift, Option, Command, D all at the same time.

Faster Numbering of OmniFocus Tasks

I wrote up how I’m numbering tasks in OmniFocus, but I’ve now modified the Keyboard Maestro recipe so it’s just a touch faster.

Here’s a screenshot:

Updated, faster recipe for numbering tasks in OmniFocus
Updated, faster recipe for numbering tasks in OmniFocus

I’ve also since created a separate recipe in Keyboard Maestro for each key Project I have in OmniFocus, each with it’s own .txt file that it refers to. This lets me do


and it’ll spit out “(Admin #7)” or if I type


it’ll spit out “(CRM #15)”.

Numbering tasks in OmniFocus 2 for Mac OS X

I’m using OmniFocus 2 on my MacBook Pro and wanting to ‘number’ tasks because at the end of each week, I print a PDF of the tasks completed and outstanding for a particular client. Task numbers make it much easier for the client to reconcile the work I’ve done with the lists they use.

The problem is that OmniFocus doesn’t have a ‘task number’ function.

Keyboard Maestro and a shell script to the rescue. This allows me to get the next sequential task number. Now all I do is type


and it expands out to the next available task number.

In a nutshell I use the shell script to get a variable from a text file (which is the last task number I used), and increment it. Keyboard Maestro is wrapped around this to both trigger it and make it look pretty.

The shell script itself is quite basic, any improvements you can suggest, please do.

Here is a screenshot of the Keyboard Maestro recipe (edit: I’ve since modified this recipe to be a little faster)

Keyboard Maestro recipe to increment task number
Get last task number, increment it, save it.

This relies on you having a text file named


in your home folder.

The format of this file is just a single line of text as follows:


Activate IFTTT SMS Channel on Optus in Australia

How to activate the SMS channel on IFTTT on the Optus network in Australia.

Assuming your mobile number was 0410 123 456.

Drop the leading zero = 410 123 456.
Add the Australian country code 61 to the front = 61 410 123 456.
Add 00 to the front of the number 00 61 410 123 456.
Remove all the spaces = 0061410123456.

Use this number (0061410123456) to active the SMS channel on IFTTT.

Hat tip to @Trail_929 for the pointer.

If this works for you on other networks in Australia, please let me know.

Update 2014-05-12 : I’ve had a few people on Optus Post Paid that haven’t been able to get this to work. It’s worth noting that IFTTT also now has both iOS and Android notification channels available, they may do the trick for you.

Update 2015-04-22 : Alex Townsend says he has it working on Vodafone.

Update 2015-11-02 : Marissa Roberts has confirmed it’s still working today.

How I use Evernote on the Mac

I’m a big fan (BIG) of Evernote. I started out using the free service but couple of years ago upgraded to the paid service. How and why do I use it?

Evernote for me is basically my online and offline, on every device I own, digital filing cabinet.

Anything I want to come back to or refer to in the future goes into Evernote. Because it will OCR photo’s and PDF’s I can search and retrieve anything in a snap.

For example, my mail systems (both Gmail and MS Exchange) have rules set to auto forward all the bills I get into Evernote. When my wife calls and says “Have we paid the phone bill?” or “When did we last pay the phone bill?” I simply open Evernote on whatever device is closest to hand, and do a search. I get a list of all the PDF’s, emails, JPG’s etc that are in there. (When we pay a bill we take a screenshot and send it to Evernote, it get’s OCR’ed and index an is thus findable so so easily). The search in Evernote is great.

This makes me far more productive because it means I know I only need to look in one place to find whatever I want.

Side note: Wouldn’t it be great if I could do the same in a ‘native’ way with things like Act! or SugarCRM (both CRM packages)? (I do but it’s a workaround). Bonus, you can tightly integrate Evernote with Nozbe (Task Management package).

Previously So you bought an Apple Computer…

Disclaimer: Yes the links to Evernote and Nozbe lets them know you got there via me.

So you bought an Apple computer…

I know two people who have just bought themselves new Apple Mac computers, one a behemoth desktop, the other a 15″ MacBook Pro. Both have been immersed in “Windows World” and are essentially new to the Mac OS (one did have a Mac years ago).

So, where to start?

Here are my initial tips:

  • Be prepared for some frustration. It doesn’t work the way you’re used to. Yes, it’s change. It’s worth it, you’ll be more productive, I am.
  • The keyboard and the trackpad are your friend. More than you know. Learn the ‘gestures’. single tap on the trackpad is a left click, two finger tap on the trackpad is a right click.
  • Get in the habit of pressing the ‘Option’ key. You’ll suddenly find extra options.
  • Use COMMAND-SPACE to start Spotlight. Use Spotlight.
  • Use Google Chrome as your browser.
  • Working with words? do your drafts in ByWord. Power tip: learn Markdown.
  • Working with programming code? use TextWrangler.

That’s a start. I’m sure they’ll have more questions yet.

The five levels of delgation

I’ve been pointed to Michael Hyatt’s site which lists the five levels of delegation.

Level 1: Do exactly what I have asked you to do.
Level 2: Research the topic and report back
Level 3: Research the topic, outline the options and make a recommendation.
Level 4: Make a decision and then tell me what you did.
Level 5: Make whatever decision you think is best.

Interesting read. Now to apply it….

What I miss from iOS and how simple it was to fix it

thumbn_9080100066One of the ‘little’ things on iOS that I truly have come to love is this: when you type ‘two spaces’, it auto replaces that with a ‘period and a space’. For example ‘  ‘ becomes ‘. ‘

This is especially useful on iOS devices because to get to the period (aka full stop) you need to change which keyboard you’re viewing, and this little, helpful item means it is so much quicker to type a message or email on iOS. Love it.

But I miss it on my newly acquired Mac. I find that I’m often double tapping the space bar, expecting it to transform into ‘. ‘ – but it doesn’t.

Well, no longer, using TextExpander, I’ve created a new Group, whose snippets only expand in specified applications, at this point only in OmniOutliner as that is where I do most of my writing. My first snippet in this group is triggered by a double space and, yes, you guessed it, transforms into by beloved ‘. ‘

Already my typing feels smoother. :)

Update 2013-10-30: I’ve since expanded this ‘expansion’ to occur in a number of other apps, Outlook, Mail, Word to name the main ones.

photo credit: Robert S. Donovan via photopin cc

Too Many Targets
It is without a doubt important to have goals. Every day, without even thinking about it, we have goals. Get up at the right time. Get to work on time. Have lunch.

Then there are the bigger goals. Learn that new skill. Finish that project. Spend more time with those important to us.

Multiple goals, large and small. Important to have them. But what happens when we have more goals than we have time for?

Something has to give. We either spend less time on these goals, or we steal time from some other activity in order to give more time to what-ever we’ve prioritised.

For me, this is a constant juggle. And I don’t always get it right.