The Giveaway Cometh...

We're planning something very special for our second birthday. Stay tuned, and you could win some fabulous (indeed, drool-worthy) prize packages from some of our favourite companies and organisations, including Levenger, Eastgate, Moleskine, Notebookism, Renaissance Art, Myndology, ConceptDraw, and more. Anybody can win, and all you have to do is answer a simple question. (Well, maybe not that simple....)

We'll have more details tomorrow. In the meantime, now would probably be a good time for those idling in the sidelines to take a minute and register. ;-)

7 Habits style weekly planner (2 page)

Usage advice: 

I put this together in about 10mins; I couldn't find anything free that was close.
This should open in Word 97 - 2003;

Paper size: 
Classic (5.5 x 8.5)
Public Domain
Applications required: 
Microsoft Word

Dynamic Templates

These templates are generated dynamically from various applications, and so can be changed or manipulated by programs as noted.

Note: "deprecated" refers to software features that are superseded and should be avoided

Our Template Contest Winner: Bill Parker!

Well, the template contest competition was very stiff, and the results very close. Of the 18 submissions we received, then winnowed down to five for voting by the community, it was Bill Parker (willhparker) and his Recipe Jotter template that finally came out on top. Knowing that templates are generally borne of necessity (woe to he who crosses magentalizarin), I asked Bill about his inspiration and process for making the template.

The seed idea was from my wife, who wanted something besides the blank pages in her planner to jot a recipe down on when someone was telling her a recipe. She travels extensively with her job and is forever in an airport or at some function where she is talking to people. She wanted prompts on the page to help her remember to ask for time, cooking temperature, etc., and wanted something that would fit into her planner. (She's been a Franklin/Covey fan for years).

I ran across your site by accident while searching for health forms for a planner setup for my own planner (for when I had to take the kids to the doctor - I have a hard time remembering what illnesses I've had, let alone the ones theirs) and was truly inspired by the great designs. It took me no time at all to get hooked on the classic core package for my own planner and that's what I based the recipe jotter on - what I hoped for was a clean design with a good balance of prompts. She loved the design from the start, although the design that I finally posted went through a couple of minor changes from her first one. I downloaded the OpenOffice files (which were very intuitive, I had no real problems with them at all) and the rest, as they say, is history!

Bill will be receiving a fantastic little package of Levenger goodies: a Card Wallet Writer and a Walletini Pen.

Thanks for all the great entries, folks! Shall we do this again sometime?

"Spam egg spam spam bacon and spam..."

Spam ManThere's little I hate more online than comment and forum spam. It takes what should be a pleasurable or informative romp through a site and turns it into a vile, seething mess contrived to hawk disreputable wares like faux-Canadian pharmaceuticals, male potency techniques, barely-legal porn, and fake-label running shoes. Worse yet, it's a hydra -- cut off one head and two more venomous ones appear to take its place. The second we figure out one way to combat the creature, our struggle seems for naught. So what, then, do we do?

First of all, I'm not convinced that turning off anonymous posting is the answer. This is for three reasons very important to me:

  • Many of these spammers actually register on the site, either manually or via a special scripts that register users automatically. Some of you may remember the notorious Chinese shoe spammers from last year who registered for several new accounts a day and posted hundreds of messages.
  • Studies show that a person typically posts three times on a site before he or she feels the interest or loyalty to actually register as a member. Plus, many people will not register as a member. (I know I hate to rack up memberships I don't know if I'm ever going to use again.) The "locking down" of anonymous postings is going to have an effect on the potentially valuable insights and information that drive-by commenters may contribute, and possibly deter them from joining.
  • Joining a site should offer perks (like being able to create profiles, or get special access permissions), and not be a forced result of one's need to express him- or herself. That limits one's freedom of expression needlessly.

So what is the solution?

Template Design Contest about to close

Just a friendly little reminder that out first template design contest is about to close tomorrow --Thursday-- about midnight(ish). Yes, we do have a lot of time zones represented here, so we'll collect the month o' submissions early the next morning.

So if you've been holding back a submission, now's the time to get it in. Remember to include a thumbnail if possible, since the final vote will go to our members, and everybody likes to see thumbnails.

The prize, as if we had to remind you, is a cool Levenger wallet writer and Walletini pen. Good luck!

Mission Accomplished?

Well, if you can read this, welcome to the new! Actually, you probably won't notice too much difference at first, aside from (hopefully) much improved speed, thanks to our new hosting provider. We'll be turning on new functions as we go along, starting this week, and fixing a few outstanding issues that occurred as a result of our recent upgrade.

Stay tuned.

Planned Maintenance: Don't Panic!

It's likely that we'll be taking down tomorrow in our move to the new host. At that time, you'll find a maintenance message on this site. Don't worry: we should be popping up again very soon: anywhere from a few hours to a day, depending on various factors. Just keep hitting "refresh." ;-)

Updates: New server, Flickr,, podcasts

Well, after that little rant of mine last week, it appears that many of our current technology-induced woes will soon be a thing of the past. Within the next week or so, we'll be moving to a dedicated server that will allow us (finally) to make the necessary changes with our setup that will --fingers crossed-- dramatically increase our speed and capabilities. Yes, I may sound a little hesitant, but in reality it's cautious optimism. When we started this site, we didn't realise how high our traffic would become, nor what our system requirements would be. Now, we're getting a box that should finally address those needs.

Sometime in the next week or two (I'll give due warning here), we'll probably disappear for a day or so as we move, and then re-appear at our new home. Once we're settled a bit, we'll turn on some of the new features we've been dying to try out.