Friday, December 17, 2010

The New User (without) Experience – Jumping Into Salesforce - Admin Journal

Introducing a new feature: Admin Journal, where I share my thoughts and experiences as a Salesforce Administrator of an org with around 45 users. As always, the opinions that I express are my own, not that of my employer.

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dear_admin_journal

As you might know, I’m the Administrator for a Salesforce org. And I just experienced something that knocked my socks off.

Last week, I was notified to add a new user for a recent hire. We attempted to set up a time for me to train him but hadn’t yet decided on a date.

He emailed me this morning to let me know that he had created his first opportunity.

I was nervous. He hadn’t received any training with Salesforce. All my explanations of lookups and naming conventions and related lists ran through my head.

Then I viewed the opportunity he created.

I paused.

I decided to write a blog post when I realized 140 characters wasn’t enough to express my thoughts.

It was one of the most beautiful records I’ve seen. Complete. Related information added. No glaring spelling errors.

<sigh>

Perhaps it’s the enthusiasm that comes along with starting a new job. I’m hoping it’s more… perhaps an inherent love of data quality. Ah, an admin’s dream: users that love data too.

This also speaks to the ease of use of the Salesforce platform. Even someone with no prior experience can get started using it right away.

So, thanks Salesforce for being awesome.

And thanks new user for totally making my day.

dear_admin_journal_end

Jenna Baze is a rather geeky girl with average social skills and an affinity for: all things Google, Remember the Milk, Salesforce.com, Inbox Zero, Etsy, natural light photography and finding creative ways to avoid doing dishes (which includes updating a handful of blogs).
Email:
rathergeeky@gmail.com
Twitter: @Rather_Geeky
Facebook: Rather Geeky Tips

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Blogger Basics: Modifying the Post Footer

This tutorial is for those that are using Blogger to manage a blog. If you do not already have a Blogger account, you can easily create one and get started with blogging here.

I plan to share additional information on the basics of blogging, as well as tips for customizations (a little html never hurt anybody, right?) and information about the software that I use to keep my blogs up and running. Subscribe (see the right sidebar to sign up via email) if you’d like to be informed of upcoming articles! You can also follow me on Facebook for weekly tips on all sorts of geeky stuff.

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This lesson demonstrates how to modify the footer of each post on your Blogger blog.

1. Login to Blogger

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Go to www.blogger.com and log in using your username and password.

 

2. Click on the 'Design' link under the name of the blog you want to modify.

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3. Click on 'Edit' within the Blog Posts section of the layout.

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4. Configure your settings by enabling/disabling options and changing any formatting as you like.

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5. You can also arrange the location of items in the blog post under 'Arrange Items'.

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Just drag and drop to move them around.

 

6. Click on the "Save" button.

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7. Click on "Save" again within the Add and Arange Page Elements Screen

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8. Click on the "View Blog" link to ensure that your blog posts appear as you want them to.

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Return to the edit page to make changes if necessary.

This is an example of the custom voting buttons I added to the bottom of my posts on my photography blog: www.theawkwardphotographer.com.

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Additional Resources

  • I created this tutorial with ScreenSteps. It’s a handy tool if you find yourself creating step-by-step instructions or documentation.

JennaBazesml Jenna Baze is a rather geeky girl with average social skills and an affinity for: all things Google, Remember the Milk, Salesforce.com, Inbox Zero, Etsy, natural light photography and finding creative ways to avoid doing dishes (which includes updating a handful of blogs).
Email:
rathergeeky@gmail.com
Twitter: @Rather_Geeky
Facebook: Rather Geeky Tips

Monday, November 8, 2010

Salesforce Tutorial: How to Update Contact Addresses Related to an Account

This tutorial demonstrates how you can use the Mass Update Contact Address app from X-Squared On Demand to copy the Account Billing Address to any related Contact Mailing Address fields.

If you are an Administrator, you must install the app (see link above) before you can share the following instructions with your users. If you are a user, you can share this tutorial with your admin as a suggestion for system improvement.

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A custom feature allows applying account addresses to any contacts for that account that you specify. This can be helpful when updating data. For example, a company may move to a different location and the address for all (or perhaps just a few) related contacts needs to be changed as well.

Note: This is currently only available for modifying the Account Billing Address fields, which passes data to the Contact Mailing Address fields.

1. Ensure Account address has been updated correctly.

Make sure that the Account Billing Address data is correct. Otherwise, you will be passing corrupt data to related Contacts.

2. Navigate to the update screen.

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Click on the "Update Contact Addresses" link, found under the "Custom Links" subheading on the Account record.

3. Check off all Contacts that you want to update.

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Click in the checkbox to select all Contacts that you want to apply the updated Account address to.

4. Confirm the updates.

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Click on the "Update" button and confirm that you want to make the changes when prompted. You can also cancel at this point too.

5. Review your data.

You have now applied Account Billing Address information to the related Contacts that you specified.

It is always a good idea to review your data after updating to ensure that the procedure was performed correctly.

Additional Information

This tutorial was created with ScreenSteps (version 2.8.7) and uploaded directly to my blog (as a draft, which I then downloaded and tweaked). You can download the PDF version here. If you create documentation, I highly recommend checking out ScreenSteps. It has revolutionized the way I provide support to the company I work for. You can read more about my experience here.

JennaBazesml Jenna Baze is a rather geeky girl with average social skills and an affinity for: all things Google, Remember the Milk, Salesforce.com, Inbox Zero, Etsy, natural light photography and finding creative ways to avoid doing dishes (which includes updating a handful of blogs).
Email:
rathergeeky@gmail.com
Twitter: @Rather_Geeky
Facebook: Rather Geeky Tips

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

New from Google: Fusion Tables

I’m rather excited about this new (in beta) tool from Google.

Fusion Tables allow you to visualize large sets of data in a variety of ways including interactive maps, charts, etc.

Here’s an example showing ‘Cholera Cases and Deaths, 2000-2008’, focused on Africa, with data coming from this spreadsheet.

The source data looks like this:

image

Here’s how I customized the view:

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You can choose other ways to visualize the data as well.

image 

There seems to be a lot of potential for embeddable gadgets with data coming from an updateable Google doc. Very neat!

Read more about Fusion Charts on the Google Operating System (unofficial) blog here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Guest Post on Salesforce ‘Eye Candy’

My first guest blog post was published over on Mike Gerholdt’s blog this week.

If you’re a Salesforce admin (especially of the button-click variety)and are interested in new ways to display data, head on over and take a look.

Monday AM Admin- Guest Post: Everybody Loves Eye Candy

2010-10-20_115128 

JennaBazesml Jenna Baze is a rather geeky girl with average social skills and an affinity for: all things Google, Remember the Milk, Salesforce.com, Inbox Zero, Etsy, natural light photography and finding creative ways to avoid doing dishes (which includes updating a handful of blogs).
Email:
rathergeeky@gmail.com
Twitter: @Rather_Geeky
Facebook: Rather Geeky Tips

New Gmail Lab: Auto-Advance

Gmail has introduced a new and handy lab that takes you to either the next or previous message (depending on how you configure it) when you archive or delete the message you are currently viewing.

I’ve been waiting for this for quite some time! Previously, you were redirected back to your inbox. This saves you a mouse click to get to the next message when processing your inbox.

You can enable this feature under Settings > Labs (or just Labs) and customize it under Settings > General > Auto-advance.

Why not test drive it? You can always disable it later under Settings > Labs if you find you don’t like the functionality.

image

JennaBazesml Jenna Baze is a rather geeky girl with average social skills and an affinity for: all things Google, Remember the Milk, Salesforce.com, Inbox Zero, Etsy, natural light photography and finding creative ways to avoid doing dishes (which includes updating a handful of blogs).
Email:
rathergeeky@gmail.com
Twitter: @Rather_Geeky
Facebook: Rather Geeky Tips

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Google, Can You Hear Me?: Ideas to Improve User Management for Google Apps for the Enterprise

Two ideas popped into my head in response to recent requests for domain administration at my company.

If you are a Google Apps for the Enterprise developer and would like to steal my ideas, I give you full permission. You can take all the credit… just make sure to give my domain free licenses.

Idea #1: Branded Email Signatures for Domain

Now that Gmail supports html email signatures, it would be great if domain administrators could create and update branded html email signature templates for all users.

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This would prevent having to tell all users “Please update your email signature and don’t forget to make the phone number look like *** and use a state abbreviation like ** and …” and prevent branding inconsistencies.

If admins could leverage user information (including custom fields) managed by tools such as Directory Manager by SherpaTools, they could include fields such as Title, Phone, Address, etc. based on individual user information.

It would make email signatures easy to update (such as when the Company Name changes or formatting needs to be modified) and hassle-free for end users.

Idea #2: Profile Directory for Domain Users

We have gotten several requests for a profile-directory of sorts that shows a photo, brief bio and contact information for all employees. Currently, there isn’t an easy way to manage this and Google Groups profiles can be confusing for users to update (one example of this is that the picture they use in Google Groups can be different that the profile picture they specify in the Gmail Settings).

It could look something like this (although it would be great to allow filters by specific criteria in custom fields such as: “Reporting Office Location” or “City”) rather than one giant list:

2010-07-15_145419

This is a screen capture from a google site that I created to store contact information for a specific project. I manually transferred info from each user’s profile in Google Groups (which isn’t too labor intensive for a small subset, but would be wonderful to automate).

Do you have other ideas for domain management improvement with Google Apps? I’d love to hear about them. Please share them in the comments!

Additional Resources

JennaBazesml Jenna Baze is a rather geeky girl with average social skills and an affinity for: all things Google, Remember the Milk, Salesforce.com, Inbox Zero, Etsy, natural light photography and finding creative ways to avoid doing dishes (which includes updating a handful of blogs).
Email:
rathergeeky@gmail.com
Twitter: @Rather_Geeky
Facebook: Rather Geeky Tips

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Missing Google Chats?

I read about this tip on Lifehacker and immediately tested it out. Sure enough, there were three or four chats that I had never noticed!

Note that the tip below can be found here: http://lifehacker.com/5576828/from-the-tips-box-ios-4-colors-portable-launchy-and-missed-ims/gallery/3

Find Missed GTalk Requests with a Gmail Search

Ram07 shares a way to search for all those missed pings from your friends:

I leave my Gmail account open in many different computers and I would venture to guess that most lifehacker readers probably do the same too. All is well except when some friend pings you on Gmail Chat and it appears only in the window that's open on the corner computer in the office. You would probably never see it and not get back to him. And that's probably not good for your friendship either.

However you can search for all such ignored pings by just searching gmail for "is:chat -me" without quotes. You'd be surprised how many rare pings you have missed in the past.

If you're the type that gets caught in this situation a lot, you could also make a bookmark using the URL for the search results page. It would give you the up-to-date results of the search every time you clicked on it. Also note that for this tip to work, you will need to have chat logging enabled in Gmail's chat settings (Settings > Chat).

Friday, May 28, 2010

Email to Salesforce for Google Apps Needs Improving

Overview

A gap exists in how Salesforce and Google Apps (specifically Gmail) communicate. I’d like to discuss potential solutions to allow my users to more efficiently relate their emails to Salesforce records.

RG_Blog_Gmail2Salesforce

Details

The company I work for has spent a fair amount of time migrating our users to Google Apps for their email, calendar, documents, etc.

We also use Salesforce.com to track our Opportunities, Accounts and Contacts, in addition to some custom apps. I am the System Admin for our Salesforce org.

Users often ask me about the most effective way to associate an email with a particular contact or Opportunity. Previously, Outlook allowed users to associate an email with specific records, but the tool was at times confusing for users and did not show many of the fields that we use for filtering.

A tight integration for Gmail is currently nonexistent. At this time, I tell my users to print their email to a PDF from Gmail and then upload it as an attachment to a record. This process is time-consuming and frustrating.

Salesforce supports associating an email to a contact (and potentially all of the open Opportunities for that contact) by using a “BCC” email address, customized for each user. However, there is currently no way to associate an email with one specific record of any type – whether an Opportunity or a custom object.

Since many users live in their inbox, it would be helpful to have the integration point start there, rather than in Salesforce. The existing ‘Send Gmail’ button is a great start, but it would be nice to be able to include it on custom objects as well.

Here are a few ideas for improving the Gmail/Salesforce connection.

  • Create an integration leveraging the Google Apps engine to allow users to choose a type of record (list of objects) and a specific record (filtered as they typed the name) to associate an email to, before they send the message or after they send the email. This could be in the form of an “Add to Salesforce” button on an email that opens a custom page with two related picklists and then redirected back to the email, whether a draft or sent email.
  • Modify the existing ‘BCC to Salesforce’ email settings to be more customizable, such as looking for a particular unique ID that can associate the email with a record in Salesforce.

What do you think? Are there other options that I haven’t thought of? Please let me know in the comments.

If you have experience with an AppExchange partner that provides a solid Gmail/Salesforce.com integration, I would love to hear about it.

There are some existing ideas on the Salesforce.com IdeaExchange (shown below) and there is likely some overlap.

Similar Ideas on the IdeaExchange

Additional Resources

DSC01593[2]_crop Want to contact Jenna Baze, the rather geeky writer of this rather geeky post?
Email:
rathergeeky@gmail.com
Twitter: @Rather_Geeky

Thursday, May 13, 2010

22 Minutes of Mouse Activity

This graphic represents 22 minutes of mouse activity – mainly the time I spent making some changes to our Salesforce sandbox org.

I used a tool called IOGraphica to record my mouse trail and hovering. (The bigger the circle, the longer the stop.)

A rather geeky artsy thing. Go ahead - give it a try!

Note: If I left it recording for longer, I would probably end up with an even more interesting design. IOGraphica - 22.1 minutes (from 14-25 to 14-47)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Create a Bookmarklet to Remind Yourself of Yesterday's Pending Emails in Your Inbox

This lesson describes how you can create a 'bookmarklet' (a bookmark or favorite) to jump directly to a view of all your pending messages from yesterday. (To show the messages that were pending yesterday, it filters based on anything in the inbox before yesterday's date.)

This tip came from Joe via Lifehacker. I just provided some documentation to explain it to you.

Copy the Code to Use

Don't worry. You don't have to know anything about javascript in order for this to work.

Copy the text below in it's entirety:
javascript:(function(){var%20d%20%3D%20new%20Date%28%29%3Bd.setTime%28d.getTime%28%29-86400*1000%29%3Bwindow.location%20%3D%20%22https%3A//mail.google.com/mail/%3Fshva%3D1%23search/in%253Ainbox+before%253A%22+%28d.getYear%28%29+1900%29+%22%252F%22+%28d.getMonth%28%29+1%29+%22%252F%22+d.getDate%28%29%3B})();

Important: This tip works for personal gmail, not Google Apps mail. I’m sure it could be modified to work (but just changing mail.google.com to your own domain doesn’t work) but I don’t know how (I’m not that geeky).

Create a New Bookmark or Favorite

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Depending on what browser you are using, find the location where you typically create favorites or bookmarks.

Create a new bookmark.

Give It a Name

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Name it something like "Gmail Pending Script", "GmailRemaining" (or whatever makes sense to you)

Paste the Script

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Paste the script that you copied from above into the Location or url field of the bookmark.

Save the New Bookmark or Favorite

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Hit Save or OK and you are done. You can now move the bookmarklet to a different folder within your favorites, or to the toolbar if your browser supports that and you want easy access to the functionality.

Test Your Bookmarklet

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Click on the bookmark or favorite to test it out.

 

2009-10-22_105231 Want to contact Jenna Baze, the rather geeky writer of this rather geeky post?
Email:
rathergeeky@gmail.com
Twitter: @Rather_Geeky

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Group Similar Tasks From Dissimilar Programs Together with WindowTabs

In Brief

WindowTabs allows you to maximize screen real estate and group similar windows or programs together.

Overview

After a long period of geeky-block (similar to writer’s block but involving a dry spell of geeky ideas and tips), I have stumbled upon a small tool that makes grouping related information or tasks with dissimilar programs easy to do.

WindowTabs lets you group dissimilar programs/windows with a tab interface similar to Chrome or Firefox. It is easy to use – just drag and drop the tabs (which are automatically added to the top of each program/window you have open) on another tab to combine them. You can split them out again by dragging one of the combined tabs to an empty place on your screen.

When Would This be Useful?

Let’s say you’re working on a spreadsheet of raw data in Excel. The source of your data is an online report from a CRM, such as Salesforce. In addition, you want to take some notes about your remaining tasks. Plus, you have an email that relates to the spreadsheet that you’d like to check periodically to make sure you’re on track.

Rather than having these windows floating around your screen independently (and potentially losing track of what is related to your task as you click-click-click all day), you can group them using WindowTabs.

Combine Windows by Dragging and Dropping the 'Window Tab'

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Once you install WindowTabs, each window on your screen will have a tab on the top left. If the windows are maximized, you will not see this tab until the window is reduced and the top left corner is visible.

Combine several windows by dragging and dropping one tab onto another. You can do this even with programs that are dissimilar, such as Excel and Firefox.

When you click on a tab and drag it toward another tab, the tab you are dragging will appear semi-translucent. When the tabs seem to be 'magnetically' attracted to each other, it is safe to let go of your mouse button. The tabs will now be grouped.

Toggle Your Grouped Tabs

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You can toggle which tab is visible by clicking on the tab.

Grouping your tabs in this way will allow you to combine files that you have open related to a common theme or task, even if they are in different programs.

Breaking Up a Tabbed Group

If you no longer want to group certain window tabs together, click on the tab that you want to remove from the group and drag it to an empty are on your screen. This will 'pop' it out of the grouped window. It will return to its normal state.

Downloading WindowTabs

You can download WindowTabs here.

Side Note

The trial version of WindowTabs is limited to three tabs per group with no time limit or nag screens. WindowTabs works with Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7, both the 32 and 64 bit versions.

Have a Question or a Suggestion?

I'm still testing out and getting used to WindowTabs, but I have found it quite handy so far. If you have a question about it or a suggestion to boost efficiency in using it, feel free to get in touch with me.

 

2009-10-22_105231 Want to contact Jenna Baze, the rather geeky writer of this rather geeky post?
Email:
rathergeeky@gmail.com
Twitter: @Rather_Geeky

Friday, February 19, 2010

Use Smart Lists to Manage Your Tasks More Effectively with Remember the Milk

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If you are looking for a better way to manage your tasks, Remember the Milk (or “RTM”) is a great tool. I’ve posted a few tips on RTM usage, including: Why You Should 'Remember the Milk', Options for Viewing Your 'Remember the Milk' Tasks, Use "Search Options" to Filter Your 'Remember the Milk'

If you are already using RTM, you may have wished for a better way to organize your tasks. One way is to use Smart Lists, a feature of RTM. (Despite being a RTM user for a number of months, I just recently discovered Smart Lists. Now I use them every day!)

Smart Lists allow you to create task lists based on specific criteria. Your tasks still reside in your regular lists (like ‘Personal’ or ‘Inbox’).

For example, you can use create a Smart List to show:

  • Tasks with high priority AND due in the next three days
  • Tasks with high OR medium priority that are overdue
  • Tasks that have been postponed 3 times
  • Tasks that contain the word “upgrade”

Now let’s move on to how you can create your own.

How to Create Smart Lists

Start with a search.

  1. Click on “Show Search Options” in the top right corner.
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  2. Choose or type all the options that you want to select.
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    For a list of advanced search terms and options that you can type directly in the Search bar, click here.
  3. Click “Search Tasks.”
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  4. Visually confirm that the list you are seeing is what you intended.
  5. You will see your criteria in the search box in the top right corner. You will also see a tab on the right that says “Save.”
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  6. Click on the “Save” tab on the right.
  7. Type a name for your Smart List that corresponds with your criteria.image
  8. Click Save.
  9. Your Smart List has been created. You will notice a new tab on the Remember the Milk website when you are logged in that allows you to view this list.
    image 
    You will also see your Smart List when accessing RTM using the Gmail add-on.
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    Any other gadgets that you use to access RTM (ie: an iPhone) will allow you to view your Smart Lists.

    And that’s all there is to it. Have fun creating all sorts of useful Smart Lists to help you improve your task management and productivity skills!

 

Additional Resources

2009-10-22_105231[3] Want to contact Jenna Baze, the rather geeky writer of this rather geeky post?
Email:
rathergeeky@gmail.com
Twitter: @Rather_Geeky

Options for Viewing Your ‘Remember the Milk’ Tasks (Using Gmail or the RTM Website)

Remember the Milk (or RTM) is a task management tool that can help you keep your professional or personal life more organized and productive. It can sync with phones, in addition to your computer, so that you can access your task list anywhere.

If you haven’t heard of RTM before, check out my previous post on Why You Should ‘Remember the Milk’.

For those of you already using RTM, here are two ways that you can access your account: 1) via the Gmail interface and 2) via the RTM website. (Note that the following applies only if you have a RTM account. You can get one for free. Find out more here.)

Accessing RTM via the Gmail Interface

If you use Gmail for your personal or work email access, you can easily view and edit your task list from the convenience of your inbox.

The RTM add-on appears to the right of your inbox within Gmail.Hovering hover a tasks shows you more details about the task that you can edit with just a click.

Benefits:
  • Handy access to your tasks while in your Gmail inbox.
  • Supports inline editing (click and type to make changes).
  • Allows you to create a task from an email automatically, utilizing labels or stars. (This setting is customizable under Settings > Tasks within gmail.)
  • Supports ‘smart text’ (ie: type ‘two weeks’ as the due date and RTM automatically calculates the date)

You can add your RTM tasks to the sidebar by installing an add-on if you are using Firefox as your browser. (Not familiar with Firefox? It is a browser alternative to Internet Explorer. See some benefits of using it here.)

Here is the Add-on that you can install to access your RTM tasks within Gmail.

If you prefer not to use Firefox, you can still view your tasks with a Gadget for Gmail Labs, although it does not have all of the same features as the sidebar add-on. Find out how here.

Using RTM with the Web Interface

Recently, RTM and Gmail weren’t cooperating (a code bug that has now been fixed), so I switched to using the RTM website (or the ‘web interface’).

I found that I actually liked using the web interface as much, if not more, than the Gmail add-on. It is particularly handy when you want to edit a large number of tasks at once (such as deleting or postponing.)

Granted, it took some time to adjust to the different interface. I customized the look of the RTM website to appeal to my inner designer by enabling several Stylish scripts. (Stylish is an add-on for Firefox that lets you customize the appearance of websites. Find out more here.)

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Benefits:
  • Keyboard shortcuts make editing tasks quick and easy
  • It is possible to edit multiple tasks (which you can’t do when using the Gmail interface). Learn more about keyboard shortcuts here.
  • Supports ‘smart text’ (ie: type ‘two weeks’ as the due date and RTM automatically calculates the date)

Check back soon for more tips on using Remember the Milk to become a task management ninja.

Additional Resources

2009-10-22_105231 Want to contact Jenna Baze, the rather geeky writer of this rather geeky post?
Email:
rathergeeky@gmail.com
Twitter: @Rather_Geeky

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