How I Work: AntiRSI

One of the problems I have historically had is either keeping focus on something too long or not enough. When I acquired a standing desk, I knew I would not want to either stand or sit all day long, as there is plenty of research now that says too much of either is bad for you, rather than one or the other being necessarily better.

I had spent a lot of time looking for a good timer to help me break up my day. After a lot of searching and trying out various options, I found AntiRSI (link opens in Mac App Store).

What it does is very simple, and gets the job done. It’s designed to prevent repetitive stress injuries, so it schedules both very small (“micro”) and long (“work”) breaks based on intervals you create. When a break happens, an overlay pops up on your screen and tells you to get with the not-working:

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Because I don’t have any true RSI issues, I don’t run it with the micro breaks, just the work breaks. It’s nice because it does a few things I really needed it to:

  • Detects when you naturally stop typing/mousing and go do something else. This will either freeze the countdown internally or will actually count as a break if you are away for enough time.
  • The overlay steals focus and forces me to pay attention (if I want it to).
  • I can postpone the break if I’m really in a flow and want to just push it back 15 minutes, which both is helpful and forces me to be more responsible with my time. It’s no one’s fault but mine if I work too long in a row.
  • You can drop it in as a menu bar item, which is an unobtrusive look at how much time you have until your next break:

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I use it mostly as a long-form pomodoro timer. I will work on a single task for the whole space of a work session. When the time is up, I’ll use that as a cue to at least stand up and walk around for the eight minute break I have configured. I’ll see what my wife is up to, refresh my water, check on something with the house, or check in on the kids to get some hugs. Then, it’s back to the desk for another 50 minutes of work.

If you have any questions, drop them in the comments. In case you give it a spin and want to know what my settings are, here’s my Preferences pane.

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Things 2

Cultured Code:

When we set out to build Things Cloud, we wanted it to be fast, robust, and scalable. There’s no way to achieve that, of course, without doing extensive, real world tests. So a little over a year ago, we started inviting our users to our Things Cloud beta. We then extended the beta by making it publicly available to everyone 6 months ago. During all this time, we kept enhancing and improving both Things Cloud and our client applications. By now, more than 30,000 beta testers are using it on a daily basis, and the feedback we get is phenomenal – our users love it.

We are excited to finally drop the “beta” from Things Cloud. It has been thoroughly tested, and it’s ready for prime time.

The best task management software in existence just became completely awesome. If you haven’t yet tried Things, and you are in to task management without making it overly complicated, you should give it a shot.

I’ve been beta testing Things Cloud for a while now and it works pretty much the way you want it to: todos on all your devices are synced without hassle.

Sign Your Apps

Jeff Keacher:

Then two days ago, I was testing some changes to the web site in Internet Explorer and decided to try downloading the installer.  A big, scary, red warning box popped up […]

I think this blog post is titled incorrectly. Internet Explorer isn’t really the problem here.

So how do you fix that problem? One way is to wait for the installer to “age” a sufficient length of time, but the specifics are murky, and the problem comes back when a new installer is released.

The better solution is to get a code-signing certificate and sign the installer. StartSSL had what appeared to be the best prices, so I parted with some money and got a certificate.

The real moral of the story is that your code and/or installer needs to be signed. The last time I worked on an installable software product was pre-Windows 7 and we never would have thought about releasing an installer without signing the installer—especially after testing.

This is only going to be more prevalent with Gatekeeper coming to Mac OS and the increased security I am sure has found its way into Windows since Vista.

Back to IE: I think you should test in it—and I think the best thing Microsoft could do for IE and making sure things work with it would be to release it for Mac.

Apple’s Icon Ecosystem

Chris Sauve:

I wondered: how have Mac developers with existing apps, who had been able to let their design talents loose on the open canvas of OS X, handle these limitations on their icons? Would the beauty of their icons wilt or would the frame sharpen their loveliness?

This is a really cool look at icon design and the different approaches various developers have taken in creating them for iOS. Lots of images and examples.

MacGourmet on Sale

For its 7th anniversary, MacGourmet is currently on sale for a great price, and you can get the standard version for $9.99 or the Deluxe version (what I just bought) for $24.99 on the App Store.

That’s about half-off for the Deluxe version. A great deal.