HabiticaI said I would test Habitica for a month to see what I thought because I wasn’t sure. In a month I achieved a lot but for me the game part of Habitica was superfluous to requirements. I then did not use it for a fortnight, again, to see. I signed back in yesterday and was so glad!

In terms of functionality the site works really well. It is easy to load and navigate. I don’t find the app so helpful but I have grown used to it in the time I have used it. The app conforms to progressive disclosure as most apps do these days. I prefer to see the options and choices as you do on a website and take it from there. I find the app is handy to update my lists either by adding or completing tasks , to dos and dailies. The site for me, though, is more usable. I like to see it all in a glance and then drill down to the next lot of information if I want to. I guess the app is my quick look and check place and I use the site to think and plan.

Why am I back on Habitica? Why use an app where I am not interested in half of it? The half which works for me gives me back a lot of brain real estate. I don’t have to have a head cluttered with things to do and then hold and carry them around. I can write things in my diary or make notes on my phone but then it is all over the place. Habitica has sorted out my goals from my habits and then there are the things I need and want to do. Now that I am back I am using the dates on the to do list more. I really would like a forward planning list which captures my future plans if I have the time and wherewithal to complete them. My wish list. I do have a done list now and that is so handy. I can see all I have done. It is there for if I ever think I am not doing enough. It also shows me just how much I do.

Others really do like the gaming aspect of Habitica. They love the Guilds and Quests. It is not for me. Not right now , anyway. For others the gaming aspect keeps them on their toes, they get rewards and they are encouraged to achieve their goals in a nice way. Habitica is a very friendly, positive site and a site which focuses on positive performance and encouragement. I love the pixellated pictures and it fits right in with my current game Stardew Valley.

You don’t have to pay for Habitica. You can subscribe, donate or buy parcels of gems but there is no pressure to do so and no trickery in terms of forcing you to.  I am happy to dress up my avatar, grow and feed pets and just benefit from the positive feel of the site. When I use Habitica I get my ideas planned and worked out in the morning and then I can spend the rest of the day achieving them, adding to them, changing them and I do plan ahead now using the dates. I can achieve everything more easily with Habitica but the best thing is I don’t have a head full of garbage…it’s on my lists and ready to go!

VueMinder Desktop Calendar for Windows

VueMinder Lite

Getting myself organised again!

I have tried online calendars and that is okay if you are and can stay connected. Reliability with an internet connection is a must if cloud services are to be a normal part of a daily routine. I am better with desktop calendars I have to confess and I do not always wish to be online. I have a desktop calendar for my Mac but it is nowhere near as impressive as this one. VueMinder Lite is the free version of this calendar. I do not load it at start up. I use it when I want to put things in there. I like the fact it has a mini version which you can leave on the desktop. There is also a translucent version and then there is the opaque version just like in the good old days of PIMs. Were I running Windows at school I’d load this because you can put in special calendars as well as your own. I have loaded the French calendar ,the public holidays calendar , an eclipse one and one for geeks. It then becomes a calendar eminently suitable for classroom use so I wish there were a Mac version of it. It is easy to change the view, fill in the information, export information and access it when it is running. CNET has a review here.

Improved organisation with web pages

I wrote about how I was going to use iWeb for my daily organiser at work in iWeb for best PIM but I am working on two other web pages for personal organisers too. The picture I have inserted shows the Publisher web page I am customising to run all my classroom materials. It is a work in progress and not all of the page is there. Each page features vocabulary expansion for French, so , for instance, all sorts of expression using Le week-end which I can practise with my classes. I have also included some time fillers in case there are problems with technology or something else, so my site will always have my contingency back up plans and plan B. I have sections for the main course content for the lessons which can be changed easily and I have links to sites I use regularly. My website will run from the hard drive but it will be able to be bundled for use with the LMS if I see that as helpful. That’s the plan, anyway. My other plainer website is going to be my start page at home. It has a to do list, a calendar, links to my blogs and frequently used sites and a page for my projects. I have plopped a couple of images in to make it look prettier, but basically it is my start when I get on my computer. Why three web pages? My work organisation is not my home organisation and iWeb lends itself to introducing myself quickly to new people. It’s very colourful and good to look at. My home one is simple and will get me going. My class one has to be more complex and have several pages which all interlink. I have some pictures but that is not my main aim at the moment. My aim for the one I have shown is to get something which will enable me to run e-learning competently! I’ll focus on the process and then I’ll tizzy it up!

iWeb for best PIM

I have been playing with iWeb . I don’t need it to build a website but as I was using the software it dawned on me this was the Personal Information Manager I have been looking for forever. There was a really good one , Kalendra, but it is obsolete now and has no support. iWeb can do more than Kalendra. I chose a template and started to put in my own text and pictures. I started with the welcome page and was thinking, well, if I have my laptop with me, this is a good way to quickly introduce myself to anyone because you go from the welcome page to the personal page and you have a photo album page as well. In a few minutes I can show people who I am and pictures of my life and likes. The fill in list of age and what have you struck me too much as a database file. I got rid of that and put my own things in. I considered also it would be a great home group activity for students at the beginning of the year, so they could get to know each other and see for themselves what their friends are like. I added a text page for reminders and then I have the pod cast page. I am using Garage Band to make audio files and am using them as reminders but making podcasts will come in very handy for rehearsing speeches and presentations. This will give me an opportunity to explore making podcasts properly but audio files are very quick and so can be made in an instant and they can’t get lost like written notes! You don’t have to go on the web with iWeb. Mobile Me nags you a bit but you select the publish to local folder option. I put my web page on my desk top so now I can organise my personal life, have something to show others if I want to share photos and I can update it within the iWeb programme and then publish the modifications. Easier than lugging a diary around and bits of paper. It occurred to me that it would be a good way to apply for jobs too because of its easy text and multimedia capabilities. The files can then be emailed, uploaded or burnt to disk and prospective employers would have a far better chance to get to know their applicants and applicants would have a better chance of showing who they really are. It would be more interesting than reading through reams of paper and would certainly be appropriate for short listed candidates. I have actually used Microsoft Publisher to create a website which will run my work day and have decided that local websites are the way to go for managing me and my life@…

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