Thursday, February 19, 2015

Why I created

When I advanced through the ranks in the military, I wanted to make sure I would “get it right”.

Upon becoming an Army Sergeant some years ago, I found the transition from worker to low-level manager to be abrupt. Although I began programming computers around the same time, I found my new management tasks challenging. I also learned that some managers further up the ranks found it amusing to load their new “buck-sergeant” squad leaders with as many tasks and conditions as possible, to see how the new junior managers would cope with it. I remember having an appointment-book in one of the “cargo-pockets” of my uniform trousers, wrapped in a sandwich-baggie to ward off sweat and rainwater, with its leaves dog-eared and interspersed with scraps of paper with additional notes on them. Sometimes things would have to be “carried over” or transposed and that was time-consuming.

Even back then, I suspected that this information management work could be automated. I experimented some with programming ideas, mostly in BASIC and Assembly Language.

Around a decade after getting those first Sergeant-stripes in the Army, I was a civilian, system-administrator in a small company in Tampa, Florida. My work included programming, data-conversions and managing a never-ending and always-changing queue of print-jobs, which I routed between a couple Unix boxes and multiple printers. To ensure that the various departments in the company were getting what they needed, and to make sure that there was clear communication between the department-heads who were requesting IT tasks, I devised a card system (3×5 cards): each card would have a particular report-request with parameters, and the stack of report-request cards would be ordered with the “hottest” task at the top. All through the day, managers would come by and shuffle the cards and consult with me regarding timeframes for particular jobs. This simple, low-tech system worked well.

Now that many of us are carrying computers around in our pockets, and often have access to other computers in multiple locations, all of which are connected to the Internet, the automated task-list and scheduling system I have envisioned for years has become a reality.

Beginning a couple of years ago, when time permitted, I began to build an on-line notes, task and schedule manager: something that wouldn’t require excessive machine horse-power or desktop-downloads or training-time or duplication of effort, but would be effective and dependable. The purpose of is to enable us to have the benefits of a task, notes and scheduling system wherever there is access to the Internet, wherby there is no dependency on any single machine or location. I made the system available to multiple concurrent users for free (supported by an ad banner) in early 2014, Having already used it individually for a few months. It continues to evolve today.

In essence, what TopTenDo provides, is a fast, simple, dependable, private, anonymous, free, web-based utility that accomplishes everything that was the intention of that dog-eared, well-worn notebook in the pocket of an Army Sergeant, all those years ago.

I know it works for me. Maybe TopTenDo will work for you too. Try it out at .

-- Mark Frankenberg

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