Other Useful Programs to use with Dynalist (AirTable, FollowUpThen, PhraseExpress, Timesnapper, etc)


#1

Here’s some other useful resources on how to GTD that I like using

Dynalist doesn’t solve everything for me but I use a number of other tools that make doing things much easier.

I will briefly describe how I use them and how relative to using this with dynalist, to get a better context as a whole of what tools are available

Dynalist

This is how I map out all my project wikis and notes, as well as some of my sprint notes. I put class notes here, not a lot of “open loops” or open task management goes here at all, I mostly use sticky notes

Workflowy

I find workflowy significantly easier to write books than dynalist due to its more microsofty-word formatting nature, but other than that, I prefer dynalist for everything

PhraseExpress

This was mentioned many times in the forums. Its commonly used in the medical industry to accurately transcribe prescriptions. But it also has another program made by the same company, called MouseRecorder. I use this every now and then when I realize that I am repeating the same predictable keystrokes over and over again / mouse strokes for common tasks. I record myself doing a macro → clean it up a little bit → let it run when needed

When I write my macros based on “text commands” , I always use something end it off on the “#” letter.

Like, on thunderbird or email applications, I have my personal signature telling people what my name is, the company i work for, the address, phone, email etc. I use VT# which is short for my initials

The reason I do this is because at no point in time am I typing in a bunch of letters ending with # at any point in time. Whereas the @ sign I would with email addresses, etc. This is how I can guarantee with 100% accuracy my macros work as intended

Timesnapper.

Ruud suggested this, it runs in the background and screenshots your active application every so often. Great to reproduce issues if you come across any problems. Doesn’t require anything but a one time setup and you can reproduce any problems you mightve had

alternativeto.net

This is where I find all my alternatives to programs. All you need is a few keywords and you can find almost any software for any application you want. Text manipulation, GREP tools, screencapture software, REGEX, Grammer correctors, video recording ,etc etc etc

I keep a running log of about 300 softwares that I used or looked into organized by the order I looked at it, so I can figure out all my software setups when I reinstall my PC, etc

inoreader and reddit

I aggregate all my newsfeeds through here. There’s lots of great content on reddit and blog forums / youtube to upkeep with, and I organize all my news here. I’m a huge fan of informational discovery and blog/subreddit discovery, so I’m always constantly tweaking these things here

Airtable:

I use this to keep track of most of our FAQ and vendor data at work. I also need to keep track of part # associated with different products in sourcing items overseas, so its imperative I have a relational-database schema

I find microsoft access/ excel / sql /nosql / googlespreadsheets / bulletpoint style setups to be far too user unfriendly and complicated for user-driven entered / complex data, but airtable is amazing

I currently use it to organize books I’ve read, movies I’ve seen, TV shows I watched, food recipe shortlinks, and all of the relational database asset managements for our company

Dynalist is still where I use to track my stream-of-thought-process and all my project wikis, and my changelogs on every other project I work on

ShareX / screenpresso / techsmith snagit

this is what I use to make all my images and gifs on this forum very quickly. i use sharex. Currently I used about 7000 images+ gifs with imgur hosting, I manage all these asset links in dynalist notes / blogs wherever they are and have some workflow redundancy methods incase imgur.com breaks

FollowUpThen email system

I send out lots of purchase orders. I manage lots of email addresses/inbox. I use thunderbird as my mail client. Sometimes its a pain to keep track of all of these things

I use followUpThen email system to keep track of “forgetful receipients” all the time. FollowUpThen is a 3rd party provider that you send emails to, and it sends ti back depending on the requirements you set on it

Its free for so many emails a month

I normally try to think 10 steps of ahead of any forseeable problems in general . I might encounter when sending emails to people. Normally, a lot of problems have happened in the past, because someone forgot to followUp with my emails and then I forgot to remind them again to do it

I find that on average, I have to remind a forgetful receipient to do something again 1 in every 4 emails, so its imperative that I keep track of this. I use this to do tracking on lightweight-CRM (Customer relation management), so there’s a higher % of receipient who will flat out ignore my emails.

What I do is the following:

  1. Setup my default email to include BCC (Blind copy) to 1week@FollowUpThen.com . I choose 1 week as my standard and modify it if I need to later

  2. If an email doesn’t need following up on, I just delete the BCC Field when i send an email out. This way, I will always by sent a reminder for important emails even if I forget to specify a return mail

This is how I set it up:

and

This works really well for me since I can guarantee a project will succeed on my end even if someone is lazy and doesn’t respond to my email right away or forgets, or can’t manage their emails properly

Microsoft Visual Studio Code

this program is amazing. I really liked using sublime text in the past, but it didn’t integrate with git workflows that well except with command line interfaces, and this program practically works on any language I’m interested in

Hardware

a mechanical keyboard + gaming mouse + a good gaming PC rig are musthaves imo for getting things done fast.

i would also sugegst looking up vertical document holders, scanners, etc which are really useful too


those are my favorite programs right now,


#2

Thanks for sharing that @Vincent_Tang. I agree about AirTable. Microsoft Access was the one desktop program that resisted moving across to the browser, but AirTable is a lot easier to use. We’re just waiting to have offline access.

I try to integrate Dynalist with AirTable items by including a URL field to link it back to Dynalist, and vice-versa.

I’ve gone back to doing the same reciprocal linking with Todoist, to manage task prioritisation, but I hope Dynalist will eventually have a dashboard that can manage that from withint.


#3

I haven’t even touched into the API’s airtables have to offer, or anything further on the backend

That would be really cool if I could integrate API’s on both dynalist / airtable, but for now I use airtable for more “predictable data” and dynalist for more “unpredictable data”

Like if I know how something is going to be organized in a relational database schema with airtable, it just goes in airtable

Also, I like using airtable for personal “older documents” and dynalist for “newer documents”. Like I’m not going to exactly 100% care what my book or movie catalog files look like until I remember something and go "Doesn’t that seem like that movie XYZ I watched 5 years ago, what was it called again???" which happens every now and then. Or I might be thinking of a specfic scene in a movie and can’t remember the movie name. Or TV series

Airtable personally for me is to answer those “Deja Vu” questions I get or for really obviously organized data, but for work its a legitimate relational-database setup


#4

It’s interesting the relationship between Dynalist and another platform for storing information. I use Evernote as an archive, principally for the ease of saving information to notes and tagging. Having offline access on the desktop and mobile is also important. If Dynalist had Android widgets I might consider moving more of that information across.


#5

Yeah thanks for mention the Airtable.
I’m using this now for all my sourcing data.
Great app.


#6

Also, this is another really useful chrome plugin I use right now:

Binding shortcut keys:

I only use ALT+SHIFT+1 and ALT+SHIFT+2

in action:

other useful programs:

I use this to create all my images and gifs

When I do A/B testing for webdevelopment related things, I just need some really fast unique images links for testing.

I can create an annotated image of any pixel dimension, anywhere on my PC, from start to finish (creating the image on my PC, upload to imgur.com, reupload it back onto file server) in 10 seconds

(1) . Create image and specify size
(2). Annotate image
(3) Save and upload
(4). Put it through any file loader


#7

I was used to pulling out tabs and aligning them with the Windows-Arrow combination, but the Tab Resize extension looks to make that a lot easier, thanks. A common use is developing an article outline in Dynalist and writing the article in Google Docs.


#8

I did the Windows + arrow combination a lot too, but I found this chrome plugin to be much more useful

A lot of times I’ll run two dynalist windows next to each other, on the same screen

  1. One is my sprints area. Just general misc notes organized by day, then tags
  2. Whatever condensed project wiki I’m working on

You could opt to have other 2 dynalist setups for task management / checklists on one side, and notes on the other side

Also, if you select two tabs first, then press the hotkey ALT+SHIFT+2 I outlined, it will split those two tabs automatically so its really useful


#9

I have to thank you @Vincent_Tang for the introduction to Airtable here, it is a very interesting program which keeps popping up in my mind and seems to have many possible applications.

One nice integration I can see for it with Dynalist is for a single table which depicts all your Dynalist projects. The nice thing about this would be that it would provide a better ‘big picture’ view of the state of your projects than Dynalist allows alone.

Each project would be a row of course and, for example you could have columns for: Due date; Overall urgency; Importance; Project Size (e.g. in estimated amount of hours); Project Type; Project Difficulty; Current completion percentage (and a further column combining this with project size to show current amount of hours remaining (and another column combining THIS with time until project due time to show how you are doing)) … and more I’m sure … all of this is feasible with tags in dynalist (except the last two), but is more tricky / cumbersome …

In this case each project would have a link to Dynalist (and in fact if you had other projects outside dynalist, airtable would also provide a nice way of bringing them all together) (and a macro to copy the link, open your dynalist tab and paste the link - having to wait to ‘load’ the projects would be too annoying in my opinion!)

I am not saying I will do this, as I think it would mean giving up my Dynalist calendar which I love more than life itself, but it’s a very interesting option, possibly just for work projects in the future, so thanks!


#10

you can thank @ruud for that information :slight_smile:

I suggest learning about basic database design / existing diagrams if your going to use airtable. Since airtable is a hybrid relational database program. It already has a ton of awesome templates, but I suggest looking into older-data models found here:

http://www.databaseanswers.org/data_models/index.htm

CTRL+F the keyword your looking for. Say your looking for “Project management” just type “Project” and click through those links to see a diagram

Airtable has an API as well, when dynalist has its API open, you can have each program talk to each other down the road. As well as integrate any other 3rd party program

More programs I find useful

BLACK SCREEN

This is a currently addition to programs I am finding really useful:

Recently I got a 3rd monitor for work. My monitor configuration looks like this: (1 left vertical, 2 horizontal right)

I don’t always use my newest 3rd vertical monitor constantly, but I need it on all the time. I leave that monitor on F11 fullscreen all the timei with 2 dynalist tabs (one for sprints, one for wikis) and then this link https://www.yofla.com/black-screen/

This black screen is really awesome. That’s all it is, a website with a togglable black screen. So if I don’t need to add / see notes at the time, I keep this website on and its as if my monitor is turned off

Slant + Advanced windows explorer

I heavily rely on alternativeto.net for sourcing out software, but slant.co has some really awesome niche item recommendations for things like VPN, file explorers, etc. There’s a really good community here of windows / mac / linux / power-users who vote on their recommendations of best software. I used it to source out this program: Consequently most of them voted dynalist.io as best program

XYplorer. Its one of those softwares where you just learn to appreciate over time like phraseexpress. You start customizing it and learn more and more about that software everyday.

Its been a huge time saver whenever I saved random documents to my desktop and needed to open it quickly. Or downloaded things to my PC, etc

Another great contender is directory OPUS, the 2nd most recommended file explorer on slant

Other programs I’m looking into

  • A right-click context menu editor
  • Text manipulation / REGEX / grep tools for data processing
  • More macros
  • Bulk image downloaders (ExtremePictureFinder is awesome) with EXIF metadata remover / Excel-Image-Assistant plugins - AdvancedRenamer for renaming images with excel files

#11

I agree that Airtable works beautifully. Your method may provide a good temporary fix before Dynalist develops a dashboard function (hopefully!). But the ongoing problem with AirTable is the lack of offline capacity. Travel is usually the time when I do most of my project thinking.


#12

I want to use airtable but I dont like free versions…
and their paid version is very expensive :disappointed_relieved:

I want to give it a chance later, to see if it fits me


#13

Ah yes no offline mode is a death knell for me too. After playing with these ideas in Airtable, I have brought them back to Dynalist - they can be implemented with I think only a little loss in function …

I’ve written a post on this here:


#14

Free version has 1000 free entries per base. $24/ month isn’t too expensive for 50,000 entries /base in my opinion, for what I get out of it it pays for itself in no time

Airtable is going to have an offline mode soon, I read it was already being made / planned already

Also, I cannot live without Imagus chrome extension + Stylish so offline Dynalist wouldn’t work for me anyhow.

Mass image processing in airtable

I’m in the middle of writing a guide on how to use airtable to stage image assets
(created in house or copied) + excelVBA / functions + EXIF data remover +AdvancedRenamer + ExtremePictureFinder + Xnview → to create locally managed digital assets pushed from airtable as a source

Super useful for massively scaling image assets

  • Professional photography / Product photography → and post processing
  • Ecommerce development (Magento, prestashop, woopress, etc) for staging image assets
  • My own 7000 + image and gif library made purely from ShareX (bulk renaming files)
  • Adobe Indesign catalogs (McMasterCarr -level catalog design)
  • Anything that just needs access to huge local image libraries (Photoshop, Illustrator, Design work, etc)

I’ll probably post it on my wordpress blog and just link it on airtable later


#15

Just RE offline dynalist, I take dynalist offline (with Stylish extensions) all the time by just keeping it open in the web browser. This has an element of risk to if your computer suddenly broke but the web browser doesn’t allow me to accidentally close the page (it brings up a dialogue) and Dynalist loads your whole account so you can even go to e.g. other files completely offline and it all syncs back up perfectly when you get back into wifi. If I do a lot of work I’m worried about losing I tend to just flick my phone wifi hotspot on and sync that way - if I knew I was going to be offline for days I would of course just switch over to the desktop app.


#16

I like Airtable too, and am seeking to move more and more stuff there. I want something in the cloud rather than eg. Access. So that I can link to info posts via urls from other apps etc… And so that I can integrate via IFTTT and Zapier.
However, one big thing that I miss is the ability to make some proper forms - as in a traditional database tool - that can trigger certain changes or transactions.

For example, I am trying to make an inventory management system. Main entities being spaces, containers and objects. Containers being able to go in other containers as well. And spaces having subspaces.
When I then move some objects or containers I would like to easily point then out and do a mass change. Or at least easily change from one attribute to another.
Anyway, I keep an eager eye on their development. Having good access via Android app is also crucial for stuff like inventory changes.


#17

Wouldn’t change the fact that I use imagus with Imgur.com, which requires an internet connection unfortunately

I feel like I always have reliable information wherever I go but if all else fails I have other ways to search for my images locally too


#18

I understand where your coming from, airtable doesn’t have advanced data manipulation

this is why I pair it up with excel and do all my data manipulation there instead.

In the end, airtable is this:

  • It’s a staging environment for my data (Airtable). Great for cross-collaboration of data too. I’ll populate this data here manually, or through an existing excel spreadsheet, and with webscrapers (import.io), python scripts . think of it like a git-pull
  • It gets pushed to excel (think of it like a git-push)
  • Excel does magic (PowerQuery, PowerPivot, ASAP utilities, Excel Image Assistant plugins, ExcelVBA, python scripts, Phrase-express has some excel functions too)
  • Intermediate software is used if needed (AdvancedRenamer, ExtremePictureFinder, EXIF data remover for image assets)
  • Excel integrates into an ODBC connection into a SQL (MySQL, MS-SQL) environment with ETL functions (Panheto) if needed
  • Or excel integrates with other software (Magento, Adobe Indesign, Quickbooks, Point of Sales, Tableau, Python data visualization graphwiz, Matlab, Filemaker, Inventory management, ERP systems, blah blah blah, etc)

In the end, Airtable is just a lazy way for me to use a relational database system (also to collaborate too) → excel does all the hard lifting. Excel does all the integrations. Because what doesn’t integrate with an excel spreadsheet?

Consequently, if something doesn’t integrate with an excel spreadsheet, that’s what Autohotkey + phraseexpress + StrokePlus + MouseRecorder macros are for :slight_smile:

Let’s not forget Airtable has an open API integration with Zappier and IFTTT, and dynalist will have an API as well. Now you can automate even more things , like your phone’s GPS coordinates etc

I suggest reading into this guys post, about Minimal Viable airtables

http://sirupsen.com/minimum-viable-airtable/

it’s a great philosophy to follow IMO

Here, I made an outline that works in 100% of all cases out there for cross integrating anything in nature. I forgot to include a lot of software examples but you get the gist of it


#19

I started to use tabsnooze a lot more

I use this to manage my monthly bills every month and also when I post things on reddit / stackoverflow / other forums and am anticipiating a response to a question

super useful


#20

In case anyones looking for a better replacement for windows file explorer

I did a lot of testing on all file explorers out there over the last few months, and this is the one that is by far the best of all the ones out there (on the alternativeto.net page) for windows users.

Directory Opus

Its been a HUGE time saver for the following reasons

  • I can navigate to a folder, and open up a command prompt to that folder path. Superuseful if you do any type of development. No need to cd folderpath anymore. Example:

  • I can preview anything inside an excel, text document, etc without even opening the file up, since directoryopus has a metadata preview pane. Example:

  • It has the option for FLOATING SHORTCUTS, which acts similarly to DesktopCoral software. E.g. Example: (at top).

  • So many potential options for toolbars. An example here:

  • PDF + Image thumbnail previewers similar to AdobeBridge + XN explorer if you do digital photography

  • Batch renaming features similar to AdvancedRenamer / some regex features probably too

DirectoryOpus is by far the best file explorer I’ve ever used for windows. Its easy to pick up and use but has so many options for customization.