Mr Reader to Omnifocus using URL Scheme & other RSS news consumption tips.

Mr Reader is my RSS reader of choice. Having dramatically reduced my consumption of social media and sworn off the 24 hour news fix, RSS is my go to place for most information. Instead of  reading the latest depressing disaster, I read long form considered comment by subscribing to The New Yorker, instead of wading through board game review sites I subscribe to Board Game Geek News.

Looking at an article in Mr Reader leaves me with a choice of:

  1. Ignore it
  2. Read it now
  3. Send it to my wife
  4. Send it to Pocket to read later
  5. Send it to Omnifocus to action later

1,2 & 4 are covered using the impressively vast list of built in services, for 3&5 I've created some bespoke services to fit my needs.

Emailing my wife is easy, I added an extra optional recipient inside the email service window, now when I hit the share button, I can select my wife with one click, she gets the title of the article in the title of the email and the link to the article in the body of the email.

For sending to Omnifocus, something not built into the system, I built a small URL Scheme template that adds the article to omnifocus with a task title of the article title and a link to the article in the notes section of the task. This is perfect for me as it's enough to jog my memory during an inbox review session.

To do something similar, open Mr Reader, hit the options cog, select services, scroll down to Add, choose "Other App", then  "Add Other App", type in Omnifocus for the app name (or anything you like) "omnifocus:" for the protocol and:


For the URL scheme template.

You can fiddle around with this if you like, there are way more things you can effect inside OF using URLSchemes, this one suits me - hope it suits you.

I love talking to users

Because they always surprise you.

Whenever I start a new job, I speak to whoever has hired me, normally higher management who give me an idea of the project, why they need me and where they think the project will go. Then, after a little settling down I'll get to speak to some real users, either external customers or internal system users and generally hear things completely opposed to what management have had in mind.

If it's an existing product, the users will already have a stack of work arounds and ideas they have to use or would like to see in any improvements. Often, these are work arounds to continue doing something which has been specifically forbidden by processes or higher ups.

For new systems, users will have a different idea of what "task complete" looks like than the original plan, they'll always want more information, or less, or have it phrased in a different way.

Essentially I'm saying the best part of my job is talking to people and really listening, the knowledge to build the right solution is already there, it just needs extracting.

Leaving social media - 7 weeks later.

Whilst aimlessly musing yesterday I realised that social media had totally fallen out of my consciousness. I no longer thought about either FB or TW, I no longer think in status updates, I don't see something and immediately note it as an interesting thing to add to my stream.

Concrete changes to my life:
* I spend more time in direct meaningful communication with my real friends. Letters, 500 word emails, texts. One to one, not the broadcasts of social media.
* I take less pictures.
* I have more time for everything but more tellingly -
* I can concentrate on things for much longer periods. We're still only talking 20 minutes but that's better than the 30 seconds I could do before.
* I'm not conscious of any gap in my life.

All in - I can recommend it, I'm genuinely happier. And I still get invited to parties.

There's a surprise coming to interrupt you.


There is a surprise coming toward you that you can't see. If it arrives and you've dealt with all of the things pulling on your psyche, you can be present and welcoming  to the opportunity. If you have 300 unprocessed emails to deal with and a surprise shows up you'll be annoyed at the interruption to your world. 

If there's a quiet moment, tidy a draw, bring yourself as close as possible to a state of total mindfulness where you can be free to bake that cake, teach that child because these loops, they keep pulling.