For a little while now I have been using the online todo list Remember The Milk to keep track of the numerous disparate tasks and projects I’ve got going on at any one time.

Using lists, tags and smart searches I’ve managed to not only never lose track of a task. I estimate this has made me about a billion times more efficient, and has reduced stress levels a thousand fold.

Additionally, I use the new and increasingly indispensable ifttt beta to automate a bunch of tasks around the internet; e.g. to grab a copy of Facebook pictures I get tagged in, send me an SMS when the there’s a problem on my girlfriend’s route to work, etc.

Every so often something happens on the internet and, rather than undertaking a specific action, you want to be prompted to undertake some appropriate action. Wouldn’t it be sweet if when these things happened you could have a virtual PA drop a note on your daily todo list?

Twitter to the rescue!

Sadly, Ifttt doesn’t have a Remember the milk channel (yet) but, like many web apps, Remember the milk has a twitter bot. If you add this bot as a friend and associate your RTM account with your twitter account you are able to add things to your task list by sending the bot a direct message.

Ifttt has a twitter task, so all you need to do to add something to your task list when an action is triggered is begin the twitter message with “d rtm”, e.g.

d rtm Write about Latakoo’s latest blog ^today #work

You can use RTM markup in your message to control what list it goes to, set due dates etc.

My standard use case is to prompt me to write a blog post in response to a client updating their blog, or to tell me cover my car’s windscreen when it’s forecast to snow the next day. I’m sure there’s much more you can do with it!

Following on from my post yesterday, I would like to introduce something I quickly hacked together to show how the kind of thing I was talking about might work.

As discussed in yesterday’s article, I already use twitter to provide a data feed for selective traffic alerts.

Street Level URLs provides a simple wrapper around this search, providing you with a nice summary page and the option to access the data in a number of different formats.

It uses twitter for the actual data and uses mod_rewrite rules to wrap the actual search up into an addressable URL.

Have fun!

» Street Level URLs

It has been a busy week!

We started the week with the ongoing push towards Elgg 1.1, including a number of bug fixes and some translations. The biggest change this week was to move sessions over to a database store – this provides more scalability options as well as making things more secure on shared hosts.

This week also saw the development of the first version of our commercial SMS server that provides both outbound and inbound SMS channels for Elgg installs to hook into. This included a sophisticated client side library which provides simple yet powerful tools for hooking into this feed – the proof of concept was to add SMS functionality to The Wire (so you can now post your Elgg community thoughts on the road!)

More on this to come…

On Thursday, me and Ben were helping out at the OFE stand at the London Linux Expo. We got to meet some very cool people and talk about open standards (such as OpenDD), introduce Elgg, and generally big up FOSS.

I had a good look around the show. The contrast with the Linux side and the Mac side in terms of style was striking.

It depressed me somewhat that the Open Source Village (with a few exceptions like Open Street Map) was pretty much a lesson in what not to do.

It was good to see the projects there, and its great they were given this space. But most people there seemed to be more interested in staring intently at their laptops rather than talking to people or interacting with the other projects.

Contrast this with projects like Ubuntu which had people giving keynotes and wandering around chatting to people.

No prizes to see who is more likely to still be around in a years time…

But, on a positive note, while I was there I discovered that GoDaddy (one of the largest hosts and domain name resellers in the world) are now offering Elgg hosting and support!

And finally, after spending the day working on a commercial build, I spent 15 minutes building a small plugin which enables The Wire to push messages to Twitter. It is now possible to send an SMS to your wire and then out to your twitter – all through some loosely coupled drop-in plugins.

Cool eh?