RescueTime Orb

In 1911, E.L. Thorndike observed that “Of several responses made to the same situation, those which are accompanied or closely followed by satisfaction to the animal…will, other things being equal, be more firmly connected with the situation…; those which are accompanied or closely followed by discomfort…will have their connections with the situation weakened.”

I’ve been a fan of RescueTime for some time now.  It’s great for helping cross-check a time sheet for a client.  For an consultant who eats by making every hour worthwhile, it’s really good for squeezing out distractions.  However, I’ve often wanted a more immediate readout on how I’m doing throughout the day, both as an encouragement, and as a friendly reminder to get back to something that has a bigger payoff.

So last week, I decided to make it a small project, and learn PyObjC in the process.  The concept is simple.  A big glowing circle that smoothly changes color from green to red as your RescueTime productivity score changes.  It’s set to look at roughly the last hour, with a higher weighting on more recent data.

I call it the RescueTime Orb, and it’s available for Download (Mac only, for now)  You do need a RescueTime account, and you will need an API key for it.

To install, open the .dmg file, drag it to your applications directory, then go onto the RescueTime site.  Go to the very bottom of the dashboard page, and find the “Embeds and Data API” link.

Then, click “Setup Data API”:

Then, enter a name, and copy the API key. Take this API key, open your text editor of choice, and put just the API key into a file called .rt_api_key and save it in your home directory. For those not so Unix inclined, in Places in the Finder, the home directory is the folder with the picture of the house, and its name is your username. Make sure that the filename begins with a dot.

Now, fire up RescueTimeOrb, and get to work.

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01 2010

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  1. 1

    Great work Dave! I’ve been wanting to do something in PyObjC too.
    Thanks for playing with the API. I’ll check out the app.

  2. 2

    I emailed rescue time with a feature request for this.
    Here is what I said:
    “it would be awesome if the icon on the Menubar of OS X and on windows showed some kind of feedback as to if your current activity was productive or not productive.
    Perhaps it is tinted red when you are doing non productive activities
    and green when you are on productive activities.”

    Then sent me the link to your blog!

    Great minds think alike!

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