Roaming todo-lists

I’ve been exploring todo lists for a while, but so far not found the ideal solution. I did however get a mighty step closer after Schack told me about a firefox plugin called Quickfox Notes.

Before introducing Quickfox notes, let me spend a second on my daily workflow in broad terms. I usually have Firefox running 8+ hours a day. Either browsing the web, doing web development or just by habit. I work on several machines – A few Linux laptops and an iMac at home. As I use several machines, I’ve been a huge fan of bookmark synchronization. I tried Mozilla Weave for a while, but their lack of PowerPC support (on an other Mac), eventually made me switch to FoxMarks – which is now called Xmarks. Xmarks has worked flawless since day one, and it’s one of the very first plugins I always install along with firefox on any machine I use.

Quickfox Notes is a way to store notes in the Bookmark-engine in firefox. It sounds odd, but it works really well. There aren’t any fancy formatting options – think notepad – but to keep a basic todo-list, code samples and other short texts, it works quite well. The killer feature of Quickfox is the combination with roaming (or syncing) bookmarks – If Quickfox Notes is installed along with Xmarks (, Weave or any other bookmark syncing dervice), it provides you with note-syncing too.

Build-in time bombs

I’ve been refactoring and refactoring some old code, and it’s kind of odd what short-cuts (or even time bombs), you’ll find in code, which apparently wasn’t supposed to live on for years.
In a now retired CMS system, we had an issue every new year, when some kind of bug would reset all “schedules” for upcoming stories and content. No-one ever got around to fix it, as the system was soon to be decommissioned – but sadly the bug did survive a few years anyway.

These days, I’m was working in the system, which came to replace the broken system from before. Here’s another odd thing – It was apparently hard coded into the editor in the backend, that stories need to have a “published date” between 1996 and 2011. As there really isn’t any documentation and the original developer has left the company, it’s hard to know why it was made so. While there probably was a reason, it’s lost by now.

 <select name="year" size="1" style="width:55px;" title="Year">
 <?php
   for ($i = 1996; $i < 2011; $i++) {
       printf("<option value=\"%1\$d\"%2\$s>%1\$d</option>",$i,($year == $i) ? " selected" : "");
   }
   ?>
</select>

We fixed it by making the latest “published date” go between 1996 and current year plus one.

While it was an odd thing, I’m surely glad that we from time to time do some sort of maintenance of old code – even while it seems to work perfectly. It’s far from the only bad thing we found, and while most people worry mainly about new code, sometimes you should also remember the old stuff.