In this series of interviews, we speak with Alfred users who have created brilliant workflows or integrated Alfred into their everyday flow in unique ways, inspiring us to become more efficient and clever with our time.
Our first interviewee is Kitt Hodsden, hackerdojo co-founder, previously Engineer at Twitter, and the 47th laziest developer in the world.
Hi Kitt, tell us about yourself!
I embrace this virtue, give talks about automating and streamlining workflows, and take great delight in finding easier and more efficient ways of completing tasks.
How long ago did you discover Alfred? How did you find out about it?
I've been using Alfred since Chris Messina mentioned it back in 2010:
I didn't upgrade to the Powerpack until early 2012, but there's no turning back now that I have. I was a Quicksilver user for years before switching to Alfred.
I talk about Alfred in all of my "Automating Your Workflow" talks, and have installed it on every OS X installation I work on, including work, home, and family members' computers. I'm a big fan.
How Do You Use Alfred For Automation?
Any process I have done more than three times and may have to do again, becomes an Alfred workflow.
Some of my workflows require scripts to access remote servers, but even those are triggered by Alfred.
As an example, for the past year, I had been building auxilliary websites for Twitter, including https://blog.twitter.com/ and https://business.twitter.com/. During development, we would reset our development servers with production data frequently, as most Drupal developers do. My reset was five keystrokes with Alfred: ⌘ space r d enter. A notice would pop up 20 seconds later and I'd be on my way.
For my coworkers, that process involved dumping the production database, importing that database locally, reseting the web server, clearing any caches, a few other steps, then loading or reloading the site in the browser. I was much faster, and less reluctant to reset my development server as a result.
I have many of the of-course-I-use-Alfred-this-way uses also: application launcher, 1Password for my site passwords, clipboard history, and keep adding to them by watching the workflow forum. Being a Drupal developer, I also use Alfred to control drush, the Drupal shell, commands as needed.
What Are Some Other Tools That Make Your Life Easier And More Productive, Whether Digital Or Physical Things Or Habits?
My timer is by far my most useful tool. I frequently set my timer for 27 minutes, and sprint to complete whatever task I have set for that timespan. When the alarm goes off, I jot down where I was in my task, do some exercise such as 40 jumping jacks or 20 pushups, reset the timer and go again. I find the short time and the brief spurts of exercise keep me focused.
I'm currently using Timebar from my friend Mark Christian for timing because I like the subtle visual countdown it provides. My physical timer and phone both get a lot of use, too. I'll be giving Daniel Bader's Timer a try too.
I use Grunt a fair bit for automating a number of front end web work tasks. I've recently started playing with Andrew Cantino's Huginn, an open-source IFTTT. We'll see how far I can automate my work with that one.
I also find that watching how other people work exposes me to new tricks and tools. Partner programming is a great way to learn a new shortcut, workflow or script that a coworker else uses to ease development. Unsurprisingly, all the people I partner-program with have Alfred installed.
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