Free video: “Taming Email with OmniFocus”

There’s a company called Learn OmniFocus which does lots of video training and for what I’m sure is an entirely affordable and good price if I could ever get around to looking into that. Their latest video, though, is free. Yes, it’s promoting the service as a whole but it’s not doing so by leaving you with a cliffhanger.

Take a look at this video advice on how to use the superb OmniFocus To Do software in conjuction with your email. To the advantage of all humanity.

OmniFocus videos by the tonne

I’m still poking around these seeing what I don’t know and seeing what I think of the whole thing but there is now a series of 20 or more video tutorials about OmniFocus.

They’re fairly short and to the point, which I like. If you’re on the fence about OmniFocus then get off the fence and buy it. Or try this YouTube playlist for a visual flavour of the software.

Microsoft’s vision of the future (again)

Microsoft does make a very pretty video. Here’s it’s first completely accurate movie predicting a world in which we rely on Microsoft products and services:


Okay, no, this is what they have just released as a genuine vision of the future. That’s genuine as in they really made the film, not that they really will do any of this.


Spoiler: it’s better to come in third

Now watch an hour-long video about why. This is author Malcolm Gladwell on whether it’s best to be first or, you guessed it, third. I’m not actually convinced because it feels a bit lazy to wait for other people to do things before you bother standing on their shoulders. But Gladwell is a good speaker and makes both pointed and wide-ranging points. Watch the first ten minutes or so and see what you think. Then get a biscuit for the rest.

Review: OmniFocus Video Field Guide

David Sparks writes a mean Field Guide book: I’ve read his work on going Paperless, on using Email and on giving Presentations. All good enough and interesting enough that his announcement of a video version was enough to be news. That it was a 150-minute video about OmniFocus made it a recommendation. And the fact that you could and can watch a sample segment from it on Sparks’ official site made it a certainty that I would tell you about it.

And a fair certainty that I’d buy it for myself.

Now that I’ve bought and seen it, though, there is more to say. If you do have OmniFocus then unless you’re so good that the Omni Group employs you, then it is easily obvious that you will benefit from this video and enjoy it a lot.

If you’re at the stage of looking into OmniFocus, of looking into To Do apps of any kind, that’s a trickier thing. It’s 150 minutes long but it doesn’t hang about: it gets very specific, very quickly and I enjoy that, but I don’t think it doubles as a selling tool. No reason it should, but if I were back at the point where I was trying to decide whether to buy OmniFocus, I think you need something more first.

Maybe not much more. Try the videos on the Omni Group official site: they’re adverts, of course, but they give you the flavour of the software. And if it looks good to you, try a couple of YouTube videos about it. Then buy OmniFocus and go buy David Sparks’ OmniFocus Video Field Guide for $9.99.

New: OmniFocus Video Field Guide by David Sparks

I would tell you that I am an expert OmniFocus user but it’s a lie. I am expert at the specific bits of it that I use daily. (Hourly.) (Minutely.) David Sparks knows the whole thing and now shows it to you.

He’s done this before with the original OmniFocus in a whole series of screencast videos but now he’s done it more in the form of his Field Guide books. These are all very good, very excellent books that seem to cut through complex issues and just tell you what’s what and what you need to know now. Somehow they are that relaxed and yet by the end you know everything. The books are particularly fine pieces of work and now there’s a video one for OmniFocus.

It’s about all the versions from Mac through iPhone and iPad. And it’s 2.5 hours of video: 150 minutes. You can watch a sample on Vimeo or just go buy the whole thing from Sparks’ site here.

As expert as I think I am, I know about this new video because I’m on the guy’s mailing list and it can’t have been above four minutes since I got the email, checked the sample, bought the whole thing and came here to tell you.

We should write trailers

The film trailer is a work of art. Sometimes. Maybe often. Not really always. For every trailer that is genuinely better than the movie it’s trailing, there are clunkers. I don’t want to suggest that we should write trailer moments into our scripts but I wish we could edit the footage.

I think about this a lot because I do video editing and it feels to me like writing. It’s very much the final edit and the bits of my brain that I use at Final Cut Pro X are the same ones I use when writing.

Which is partly why I just find trailers so fascinating. And this comes up today because of Star Wars. I’m not a big fan but I remember the shivery anticipation when the trailer started for The Phantom Menace. How did that work out again? It’s also interesting because originally that trailer went out online on some crappy PC-based postage stamp thing and it was Apple’s QuickTime engineers who lobbied to do it properly. When they did and it worked out so well, that was really the start for high quality trailers.

Well. That’s high as in the video quality. Have a look at this collection of the trailers for all the Star Wars movies, including the new one. I’m surprised to say I think The Phantom Menace looks the best. I’m appalled to say how ferociously bad most of these are.

Watch the lot on The Verge