Mac Tip: Twitter + Quicksilver + = Easy Task List

Mac Tip: Twitter + Quicksilver + = Easy Task List

Okay, all you Mac power users out there, are you using Quicksilver yet? If not, let me just say that Quicksilver is the insanely awesome software that lets you take control of your computer and the Internet in ways you have not imagined yet. I don’t want to take the time to go into it here, but do a Google search on “What is quicksilver for the Mac?” and explore some of those links.

So here’s an awesome way I use Quicksilver along with several Internet services to make myself more productive. I use the free (donation-requested) web site Remember The Milk to keep my to-do lists. What makes RTM special is that it accepts new to-dos in English (“Meet John at Immaculate Conception Church in Salem, MA, at 6:30 pm tomorrow”) and will translate that into an appropriate task. It will even send you a reminder via email or SMS text message if want. You can even set up recurring events (e.g. every weekday or every Tuesday).

What’s especially nice is that RTM lets you create new to-dos via multiple methods such as email, SMS, and even Twitter. What’s Twitter? It’s many things, but suffice to say for this post that it’s a broadcast messaging system. You send it short posts (140 characters or less) and it sends it out to friends who are also using Twitter. For our purposes, RememberTheMilk has set up a special link between their site and Twitter to receive “tweets”, more specifically direct message tweets that only the “rtm” account will see and which remains private.

So, for example, I can send the same new to-do to my Remember The Milk to-do list by sending the following via Twitter: “d rtm Meet John at Immaculate Conception Church in Salem, MA, at 6:30 pm tomorrow”. The “d” stands for “direct message” and the “rtm” is Remember The Milk’s Twitter address. Now this wouldn’t be a very big convenience if I had to go to Twitter’s site to enter the command. I could just as easily go to Remember The Milk’s web site. Here’s where Quicksilver comes in.

Blogger and Mac user Coda Hale has written an Applescript that allows you to send “tweets” via Quicksilver. After you’ve set it up (see the instructions at the link there), you just invoke the Quicksilver summoning keystroke, type an apostrophe (to let QS know you’re doing text entry), and type your Remember the Milk tweet: “d rtm Meet John at Immaculate Conception Church in Salem, MA, at 6:30 pm tomorrow”. Type tab and then type Tweet and hit return. Off it goes. You didn’t even have to leave whatever program you were working in or open a web browser.

Incidentally, the same basic setup will work with Google Calendar. Just follow this tip at, which sets up the system like with Remember The Milk and you’re good to go.

Being productive was never so much fun.

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  • I’ve been on a productivity kick myself lately. I’ve been using for my online calendar (which has similar simplified data entry and reminders) and a GTD (Getting Things Done) webapp called

    I’ve also discovered some incredible plugins for Apple’s Mail app. One is called MailTags, which allows you to tag emails and assign them to projects and due dates. Another is Mail Act-On, a free plugin that provides Quicksilver-like functionality specifically for Mail. Finally, a huge timesaver for me is MailTemplate by MacTank. It lets you right-click to quickly reply to emails with form letters that automatically grab people’s names and such from their email messages.

  • Tim,

    I use those three Mail addons as well. Very useful. They’re probably the main reason I don’t switch back to Entourage. I do miss Entourage’ rules which are much better.

    I tried 30Boxes a while ago, but settled on GCal. And I do a modified GTD, but manually in a little Moleskine notebook.

  • For those who don’t use Quicksilver, or who ALWAYS have Firefox open, an equally easy option is Twitterbar. Twitterbar lets you use your Firefox address bar as a Twitter entry field: type any “tweet” into your Firefox address bar, click the plus sign, and voila! it’s in Twitter. A simple, easy and elegant way to add RTM tasks via Twitter.