Jacob's nerd omnibus #1

Something completely different for the day of finishing grants.

In case you didn’t know - I’m a bit of a geek - Mac and iOS specifically. And I am always, perhaps obsessively, trying to figure out best ways of working in this world of dispersed working and laptops, tablets and phones.

We’re also trying to share this info better, so others can play along and help us improve. I sometimes get asked about the programs I'm using and so thought I’d make a catalogue post. This is cribbed from a document I’m making for collaborators. Questions and recommendations welcome.

Word processing preferences


For files with basic formatting or less, please SAVE AS RTF (rich text format.)
My favourite text editor at the moment is Byword.
We are currently in a boom of different text editors which is pretty great, if overwhelming.

For more formatted documents, ideally I’d use use Pages. It’s just lighter weight and easier to use than Word, but .RTF is fine.

Microsoft Word is the last option and only gets used when change tracking is important and not everyone involved uses Pages.

Budgets / Spread sheets


Excel is the default and I don’t fight that. Though for less complicated things, I prefer Numbers- just easier to work with and less features that I don’t need.

Graphic Design:

Adobe Creative Suite 6

Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, Dreamweaver - pricey but as a charity Small Wooden Shoe gets discounted access through Tech Soup.
Thinking about switching to cheaper solutions from App Store.

Mind mapping:


My old favourite. Easy idea dumping. Cross platform but not Mac native, and doesn’t export great. So I’ve been experimenting with: Mindnode 
More and more I’m using text files or outlining programs.


For slides.

For my longer presentations.


A light weight online team collaboration tool. It’s a bit like a working social network with posts, links and the ability to comment. We can also create events and tasks (and assign them to other team members) Best of all we can largely use it out of your normal email inbox if you want. best for: - Posting links you find that the group should know about - Works well on smart phones - New program, developers are responsive to feedback. We’re still in progress of developing the systems for this.

Google Docs

  • Files (documents and spreadsheets) under heavy collaborative revision.
  • Once a more stable version is arrived at, an RTF or XLS file should be made in Dropbox
  • Also used for running or quick reference documents:
    • cashflow
    • contact sheets


  • sharing files that are pretty stable
  • Great for reference material and things everyone needs access to.
  • Please inform via Minigroup if there is a change in a dropbox file you need responses to.

Google Calendar and Doodle
Used for scheduling.

Small Wooden Shoe web stuff:

The Small Wooden Shoe website and blog are both Word Press builds with modified templates.

Small Wooden Shoe has a channel and use it to upload videos.

For Small Wooden Shoe email list.

For online ticketing. Right now nothing seems to compete. HINT: Charities can get reduced fees.

For meetings from afar. For meetings of more than 2 people, I prefer instant message chat to voice or video when possible. I just get frustrated easily. 

Skype works best if your computer is wired into the internet. But when does that happen. It also works better with just voice.

Other instant messaging
I like IM, using Adium. I wish there were easy ways to set up an affordable customized messaging with a team that didn’t mean people were also online for chat or Facebook. 37signals has stuff that does that, but are too expensive for us. If anyone has a good solution, I’d love to hear about it.

Other specific things

A great writing tool created by a novelist. Especially for big projects that involve research or reference. Right now I’m finding it an amazing tool for doing script breakdowns as a director. Can export and can import .RTF.

Outlining software. Imports and exports RTF and to Scrivener.

I use this as my task manager. Sadly it doesn’t do my tasks and I’m not perfect at using it, but I’m trying.

A very light weight task / list app. Great for quick lists and crossing things off. I also use it as an outliner.

Desktop blog editor, so I don’t need to be online or in-browser while working on a post.

I’m trying out writing in Markdown these days it's a keyboard focused way of formatting plain text documents (again avoiding Word.) A fair number of applications support Markdown, especially those aimed at people who write on the internet. For easy reference: 1 Asterix = italic 2 Asterix = bold
# = Header ##= Header level two etc…

ok - that’s it for now. Again, questions and recommendations welcome.