ScreenSteps rules!

Allison from the NosillaCast mentioned ScreenSteps from Blue Mango Learning in one of her recent podcast episodes. Looked like an interesting product, and knowing that I had a project at work in which I had to build step by step instructions - I downloaded the 30 day trial.

Took me no more than an hour to get a number of lessons done, complete with annotated screenshots on the PowerMac G5 at work. These were to show novice Mac users (our company is a PC-centric organisation, like many) how to start up QuickTime Pro and extract segments of video from a .mov file. I also had a lesson to show how to connect to the NAS (Network Attached Storage) shared drives to access the original movies.

Now the trial is for the Pro version so I decided to export a manual as a PDF to see how that works as this is a Pro-only feature. Fully delighted with the results.

Finally, since ScreenSteps is a cross-platform solution, I downloaded the Windows version so I could script a couple of lessons on installing and configuring QuickTime Player for Windows XP. Worked like a charm, and ScreenSteps even had the same folder format between Windows and Mac so I could combine lessons developed on one platform with those from another.

A couple more simple lessons to script - starting up and logging in to the Mac, and putting the handwritten / PowerPoint slides for copying the video off the DTE (Direct To Edit) video drives, uploading the videos to the shared drives, and I’m done with the easy stuff. The more involved task would be to list out the steps to conglomerate four time-coded videos, from different video feeds, into one synchronised HD video for analysis.

The proof of the pudding will be when I present the document to the engineers who will be doing the video extracting and editing, probably for the first time on the Mac, and watch them take the steps next week.

I’ve since purchased the Pro version, thanks to Allison’s coupon code - listen to her podcast to get it!

And if you think ScreenSteps is only for capturing steps for computer applications - think again! I’ve used it to create lessons which list the steps I need to do laundry, complete with annotated photos of the washer and dryer taken with my iPhone (since I’m not the primary laundry person in the household, and have to do that when she’s away).

iPhone Stand

Check out the cool iPhone stand from Keynamics who make the Aviator laptop stand, which I have and love! There’s a review of the iPhone stand at ATPM (About This Particular Macintosh).

More on Things

I’m glad to say that keeping with the Getting Things Done mindset has been working beautifully. Firstly, it’s remembering to keep track of all my projects and actions using Things for the iPhone and Mac. When I can’t do that, I jot the task or action down in my Livescribe notebook or a small 3x5 flip notebook which I keep in my purse. Later when I have the iPhone or Mac, I transfer the task items into the electronic brain.

I’ve also emptied my e-mail inboxes for home and work - yes, there are NO messages in ANY of my inboxes! I triage my inbox each time mail comes in and move things to @Action, @ReadReview or @Reference mail folders, as mentioned by David Allen in his book. Then when it comes time to take action, I sweep through my @Action folder and dispatch them. Any e-mails which I need a response to, get filed into @WaitingFor - which I review regularly to keep track of the response.

It’s been almost 2 months since I started on my voyage with GTD, prompted by articles in ATPM (About This Particular Macintosh). It takes discipline to focus, organise references, gather tasks and determine next actions but the result has been worth it. My brain feels a whole lot less stressed since I’ve started putting all my project tasks and actions into Things - even home chores! I still need to sort out my filing system at home and at work - I’ve bought a Brother P-touch PT-2700 labeller (which works with Mac OS X) for home, and use the Brother labeller from my lab at work.