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Monday, October 6, 2008

Remember the Milk on your Vista Desktop!

Remember the Milk is one of the best websites out there. If you aren't familiar with it, you should definitely go check it out! One of my biggest gripes with it however is that you can't do task list management from your desktop... I'm really lazy and so forgetful that I often forget a task as I am opening the browser and navigating to rememberthemilk.com to put it in the task list! (If that sounds pathetic, just go try it yourself like 50 times...you'll get tired of it too =) )

My Solution

So I run Windows Vista...  and I wanted a sidebar gadget to interact with my task list from my desktop. What's more convienent for updating your task list than your desktop? The folks at rememberthemilk.com put together an awesome blog post detailing alternative ways to interact with your task list in a bunch of different operating systems, but none of them either: were for Vista, or did what I wanted.

So...just when I was about to give up (two months of searching, and potentially developing one on my own), I found this article that detailed how to use the 'Active Desktop' feature of Windows XP with Remember the Milk! If you check out the article you'll see its exactly the thing I was looking for...except on XP. So I searched for the 'Active Desktop' feature on Vista and soon found out that they stripped this functionality out of Vista for some reason or another... Basically all it does though is just display a webpage on your desktop.

So I have kinda made a sidebar gadget in the past and knew they're made up of HTML, javascript and XML (I think?)...so I figured it wasn't a stretch for there to be a browser gadget for the sidebar. I searched the sidebar gadget gallery at Microsoft.com and found a sweet gadget called Minibrowser!! A couple tweaks and I got RTM on my desktop, just like the active desktop feature in XP! Needless to say I'm pretty happy now, and if you'd like to do this in Vista, check out the step by step instructions below:

  1. Get the gadget
    So you're looking for a gadget called 'Minibrowser' which can be found at this link.  Click download, install..install, and you're good to go!  Add the gadget to your sidebar.
  2. Login to Remember the Milk
    Fire up Internet Explorer (this is because Minibrowser uses IE for page rendering), and go to http://www.rememberthemilk.com and login.  Make sure to check the 'remember me on this computer' checkbox!
  3. Point the gadget to the URL
    In the gadget's address bar, set the url to:  http://rememberthemilk.com/services/modules/googleig/
  4. Customize the gadget
    Assuming nothing's gone wrong, you should have your remember the milk task list on your Vista desktop now!  You'll notice that you have a somewhat ugly address bar and some buttons...and status bar, but if you click on the settings icon for the gadget, you can turn all those pesky things off.  Also, there's a tab called 'size' which enables you to resize the gadget so you can get the optimum viewing of your RTM task list.
RTM on my desktop!
That's it!  Feel free to comment/post suggestions if you have any!  Thanks!

-Mark

30 comments:

  1. I run the same version of RTM in Google Chrome, running it as an application. Seems to work well.

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  2. Your website was featured in lifehacker. This was the solution that I have been looking for. Thanks for sharing it.

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  3. Good tutorial. I will be trying this on my home computer

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  4. Excellent; thank you! Did you get JavaScript errors from the minibrowser? I get 'em a lot, but even with those it's useful.

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  5. Sometimes I'll get javascript errors too... Usually restarting the gadget (by closing/reopening) or by logging into rememberthemilk.com and ensuring that I click 'remember me on this computer' fixes the problem. If I can find a more concrete solution and reason for why this happens I'll make sure to post about it.

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  6. Wow good thinking! This is really helpful!

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  7. Any ideas about how to get rid of those annoying javascript errors?

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  8. RTM in Google Chrome doesn't work well because (1) You still have to double-click the icon to open it, and (2) Google Gears/Chrome sync sucks, and as a result, the first page that pops up in RTM is always out-of-sync and has to be refreshed to be accurate.

    Downside of Sidebar-Gadget-RTM is that you can accidentally close it (with the "x") and then you have to re-login and reset the minibrowser settings.

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  9. "RTM in Google Chrome doesn't work well because (1) You still have to double-click the icon to open it, and (2) Google Gears/Chrome sync sucks, and as a result, the first page that pops up in RTM is always out-of-sync and has to be refreshed to be accurate."

    1) just put the shortcut in your start-up folder
    2)I've never had this problem, mine doesn't require a refresh

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  10. Thanks so much for this post! I have been looking for the exact same thing but didn't know how to go about finding it! Kudos to you and to Lifehacker for featuring this post.

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  11. yes, I enjoyed this, you're very clever. However, whenever I restart my pc the thing goes back to the other url. Is there a way to permanently set it to the milk:)

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  12. Yeah, the biggest problem I have with it is that it doesn't remember the last page given when you restart. I know it's probably not too tough to hardcode in the URL, but I just haven't had time to do it yet...so for the time being I'm just copy pasting it in over and over again. When I figure it out I'll make another posting detailing how to do so, so you don't have to worry about it in the future! If someone else has a solution to that problem please post it here! Thanks!

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  13. For those annoyed that they have to re-enter the URL each restart: Press the "set as homepage" button after you have the RTM list loaded.

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  14. This would be great...if I didn't keep on getting logged out every few minutes. Doesn't matter how I set cookie permissions in IE, or how many times I check "remember me" when i log in, I am continually kicked out. I'm sure there's something funky in my settings somewhere that is doing this...but I can't find it.

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  15. This is indeed great, thanks for sharing!

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  16. You have an other solution with Adobe Air and snippage application.
    See this : http://www.spawnrider.net/blogs/2008/12/04/rtm-todolist-sur-votre-bureau-via-adobe-air/

    You can use Google translate to translate this page.

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  17. Alternate page is at http://m.rememberthemilk.com/ being the mobile view

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  18. Thanks!

    I'm using windows 7 now and installed a gadget for RMT but it didn't work, so I remember the XP's active desktop and realize that it's not in windows 7, but I found your post and complete my desktop RTM, thanks!

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  19. http://www.rememberthemilk.com/services/modules/gmail/ works even better!

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  20. As far as I'm concerned the only people for don't like the vista side bar are those darn "I'd be fine with just the bare bones" past thinking twits that still live in their moms basement and use 1980's computers.

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  21. Official website for minibrowser gadget: http://www.minibrowser.info/downloads/default.aspx

    Has the most recent version of minibrowser (Windows Live does not).

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  22. forget my last post..windows live has the latest version.

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  23. Really great solution for a great web site. Been searching for this since I moved to a Droid and have left Outlook's tasks behind. This is the final piece to the puzzle. Thanks for the great post!

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  24. Cool bananas. Excellent work around - as I have RTM on Chrome, my HTC Desire and now on the Desktop. Thanks.

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  25. RTM on my desktop... awesome! Works great! Thx!

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  26. I think RTM is way too complicated. Too many things for a simple to-do list. Its more complicated and time consuming just to organize all its features. I use Qiknr http://qiknr.com It's dead simple with no registration required. It also has a timer for each task, which is kinda cool.

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  27. RTM is also available as a Vista Sidebar widget: http://gallery.live.com/liveItemDetail.aspx?li=55ccf415-af76-4a33-bad6-5bdaa370b214

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  28. Thank you sooo much!
    :*

    Kisses from a Spanish Girl!

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  29. Thanks a lot - it looks great but I have some problems with my Windows 7. Do you have any tips?

    Cheers,

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