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November 10, 2012

Version 2.0 Released

Filed under: Work Time Studio Latest News — admin @ 9:33 PM

After two years of development, version 2 of Work Time Studio has been released on Aug 6, 2012. Version 2 includes many bug fixes, as well as some major enhancements. The major difference in version 2 is the use of the PostgreSQL database engine, which is very fast, robust and full featured. Version 2 takes advantage of some of the features of postgres in the new Database Utilities dialog. Another new feature is the addition of the WorkItem Links Pane which allows you to store and associate URL and file links to any WorkItem in your Activity Tree. The Links Pane also allows you to store links to other WorkItems, as a way to associate WorkItems in a manner different than the parent/child relationships. All types of links can be easily created simply by dragging and dropping URLs or files onto a WorkItem in the Activity_Tree, or by dropping them directly into the Links pane.

Work Time Studio is also now fully unicode compliant. You will be able to create, edit and save all your data in your own language, including WorkItems, Links, Notes, and even many of the WorkItem property values.

Another nice feature added to version 2 is the ability to view properties and notes of WorkItems by just hovering your mouse over the WorkItem. This feature can be turned on or off for the Activity Tree or the Quick Tree. The Prioritizer has also changed, to allow the selection of a WorkItem in the Activity Tree by double clicking on that WorkItem in the Prioritizer. You can also drag and drop WorkItems from the Prioritizer to the Activity Calendar.

We have also introduced a new Property for WorkItems, called the Billing Rate

We’ve decided to now offer a Lite version of Work Time Studio to users. This Lite version is absolutely free, and has limited functionality compared to the standard version. Regardless of the limited functionality, we are still certain that the Lite version provides more task and time management features than most other full featured task and time management software systems you pay for.

There’s just too many new additions and fixes in version 2 to list here, so please see the Build Log for more details, and download the latest version today. Version 2 allows you to try out the standard version for 30 days. Afterwards, it will revert to the Lite version, and keep all your data intact.

Popularity: 73% [?]

May 8, 2010

Using Work Time Studio to Track Your Time

Filed under: Work Time Studio Tips, Tricks and Best Practices — admin @ 4:54 PM

Work Time Studio offers a number of features to help you with your work and other activities. Among these, time tracking is one of the features where Work Time Studio really stands out. Whether you’re a freelancer, consultant, employee who spends much of their time doing computer related work, or someone who just wants to know how their time is being spent, Work Time Studio allows you to see exactly how you are spending your time.

There are a number of time tracking features in Work Time Studio which help you to track your time quickly and easily. We’ll discuss the main time tracking features below, to give you an overview of how time tracking works. We realize that everyone works differently, but Work Time Studio allows you to customize its settings to suit your particular time tracking needs.

WorkItem Intervals

Work Time Studio tracks the time you spend on any of your WorkItems using intervals, we call WorkItem intervals. Starting the clock on a WorkItem creates a new WorkItem interval, and stopping the clock on a WorkItem ends the interval. These intervals are stored in your database file and used for viewing, editing, and reporting purposes. Work Time Studio performs all of the interval management behind the scenes, as you perform clock operations on your WorkItems.

Multiple Ways to Perform Clock Operations

In Work Time Studio, you can start, stop, pause, and resume the clock on any project or task. Additionally, you can configure Work Time Studio to place the clock in an idle state when there has been an absence of activity on the computer for a specific amount of time. In this case, Work Time Studio would then resume the clock once activity has resumed on the computer.

You can perform the clock operations a number of ways. When starting the clock on a task or project, you should first select the task or project you wish to clock. This can be done in either the Activity Tree or the Quick Tree. You can perform any of the clock operations on the toolbar for these panes, or you can create a shortcut key assignment for any of the clock operations, and use your keyboard to perform the same operation. You can also control the clock on the current WorkItem from the status bar, using the provided clock switches on the status bar to perform any of the clock operations. These clock switches are also available on the Studio Bar, so you can control the clock on the current WorkItem in Studio Bar mode.

Viewing your time as it’s recorded

While one of your WorkItems are being clocked, you can view the time spent on that WorkItem very easily. If you have Work Time Studio’s main interface window open, you can view the time you’ve for the current interval in the Activity Tree. An easier way to see how much time you have logged on the current interval is to view that time on the status bar. The status bar, as well as studio bar, will display the elapsed time for the current interval, as well as the total time which has been allocated to the clocked WorkItem. If the clocked WorkItem has descendants, the status bar will display the total collective time for that WorkItem. Having these times displayed so clearly on the status bar and studio bar allows you to see at a glance the time you’ve spent on the current interval for the current WorkItem, as well as the total time you’ve spent on that WorkItem.

Automatically adjusting your time for breaks, interruptions, and other time not spent on current WorkItem

You can configure Work Time Studio to automatically set the clock to an idle state when there has been an absence of activity on your computer. This can be handy for taking breaks, or if you get called away from your current work unexpectedly. You can even specify the amount of time which there is not activity before the clocked WorkItem will be placed in an idle state. When activity is resumed on the computer, the clock will resume on the current WorkItem. You can also configure Work Time Studio to either keep an active interval running when the application is closed, in which case the interval will be continued when Work Time Studio is started again. Or, you can configure the application to stop the current interval when the application is closed, and start the interval when the application is started again. A variety of other options are also available regarding active intervals and closing and starting the application.

Editing WorkItem Intervals

Work Time Studio offers a variety of ways to add, edit, delete, and perform other operations on your WorkItem intervals. These actions can be performed either in the Activity Calendar or in the Interval History pane. Adding a WorkItem interval is as easy as dragging a WorkItem onto the Activity Calendar at the desired time. Intervals displayed on the calendar can also be resized by dragging the start time or end time of the interval up or down. You can even move an interval to a different time or different day. Other interval operations include the merging of intervals, having intervals filling up the time between the previous and next intervals, removing intervals, and more.

Time Allocation Reports

With a wide variety of reports generated by Work Time Studio, you can see exactly where your time was spent and allocated. The Clocked Interval Report allows you to see the exact times you worked on a specific project or task. This report gives you a timeline account of what you worked on during a specified time period. The WorkItem Allocation report shows the amount of time you have allocated to various projects and tasks. You can view this report using a pie chart or horizontal bar chart. This report is handy to see at a glance how your time is being allocated among the various tasks you worked on during a specific time period.

Conclusion

The best way to actually see how Work Time Studio allows you to track your time is to give it a try. The time tracking features alone are too many to cover in a short article. If time tracking is your primary concern, you won’t find a better solution. And along with its time tracking features, you’ll also get top notch project and task management features to help you manage your workload. Download a free 30 day trial of Work Time Studio today, to see how easily it is to track your time on all your activities.

Popularity: 65% [?]

March 13, 2010

Version 1.4.0 of Work Time Studio has just been released!

Filed under: Work Time Studio Latest News — admin @ 2:59 PM

Version 1.4.0 of Work Time Studio has just been Released!  This latest version of Work Time Studio features many enhancements, including greater compatibility with 3rd party graphics drivers.  Also, Work Time Studio now complies with the default user data path standards for Vista and Windows 7.

One of the main features added to this version is the ability to easily schedule your activities by dragging and dropping your WorkItems from any of you WorkItem hierarchies to the Activity Calendar.  You can also now drag and drop WorkItems from the Prioritizer to the Activity Calendar, making it easier than ever to schedule those important tasks and activities that are high on your list.

Another feature we’ve added is the ability to unpin any of the primary or secondary docking panes while they are floated on your desktop.  When you unpin a floated pane, the pane will collapse so only it’s title bar is displayed on the desktop.  Place your mouse over the pane’s title bar, and the pane will expand to it’s previous size.  So, you can now keep your favorite panes on the desktop in an unpinned state so they take up little room, where they will be instantly available.

Adding links to your files in the WorkItem Notes pane is now possible, with the new ‘Insert File Link’ toolbar button.  When you insert a link to a file, clicking on the link will open that file with the application which is associated to that file.

There are many more new features in this version which you can see for yourself by downloading Work Time Studio.  You’ll see why we can promise that Work Time Studio is guaranteed to increase your efficiency, and why it’s the best solution to manage your projects, tasks and time.

Check out the new features in Version 1.4.0 by downloading a free 30 day trial version today.

Popularity: 65% [?]

March 11, 2010

Review of SftTree/DLL by Softel vdm, inc

Filed under: Product Reviews — admin @ 3:31 PM

This is the first of many product reviews which I’m happy to perform as one of the purposes of this blog. I decided to choose this product as the first of my reviews, because this library plays one of the most important parts in Work Time Studio. Not only that, but it’s one of the libraries which I consider almost flawless in it’s design and implementation.

Before you start to get the feeling that this is a biased review, I want to state that I am in now way receiving any compensation for posting this review. I have actually had very little correspondence with the company who provides this product, Softel vdm, inc. I also want to mention, that although this review is for the SftTree/DLL in particular, Softel vdm, inc also offers a SftTree for other windows environments such as for dotnet and ActiveX.

The SftTree/DLL is a windows based C++ library tree component which developers can use in their visual studio products to provide a tree-like interface in their applications. If you’re a Visual Studio developer, you’re well aware that the standard tree controls available in Visual Studio are very basic and limited in functionality. The SftTree/DLL provides developers with a ’super charged’ tree control that they can use to replace the standard tree control in their applications. Actually, the SftTree/DLL provides so many features, it can also double as a list control, which I also use it for in Work Time Studio.

Features

The features provided by SftTree/DLL are too numerous to cover in this review, but I do want to cover some of the main ones which are key features needed within Work Time Studio.

Multiple Column Support

The SftTree/DLL provides multiple column support in the tree control. Most developers can attest that this is a very big deal, because it allows users to see all the values which are associated with a particular row, or node. SftTree/DLL also allows you to configure the columns in various ways, such as specifying the background/foreground colors, width/minimum width, and many other options. These options can also be specified per individual cell.

Embedded Controls Within the Cells

The ability to embed UI controls within individual cells in another feature that developers desire to have in not only tree controls, but in list controls which the SftTree/DLL doubles as. The reason this is so important, is because it allows users to edit/change values associated with a particular node or row inline, right inside of the tree control. The SftTree handles the embedding of other controls very well, as demonstrated in Work Time Studio’s Activity Tree. With SftTree/DLL’s extensive API, you can pretty much embed any kind of control in any of its cells.

Cell Text and Background Color Support

This feature is particularly useful as it allows color to be used to emphasize particular rows or nodes. The SftTree/DLL also allows color attributes to be set for the row/column headers. In addition, the SftTree/DLL now supports gradient colors and progress bar support.

Documentation

The Documentation for the SftTree/DLL is top notch. If you’re used to seeing sparse or auto-generated documentation for your library products, you’re in for a treat with the documentation for the SftTree/DLL. Each operation is completely described with examples. The documentation help file is well organized so you can find what you’re looking for quickly. Even more complicated topics, such as linking options, and messaging/event processing are discussed thoroughly and completely. A demo application is also provided which includes a configuration program which you can use to help you configure a tree for your particular application.

Support

Although I have had no real reason to contact support, I do get an occasional email to inform me of product updates, which is very handy.  Updates seem to occur two or three times a year, at least for the SftTree/DLL.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a tree component for your application, I’d highly encourage you to take a look at Softel’s SftTree.  The amount of features it provides, plus it’s stability and documentation make this a very professional product.  I would go as far to say that this component would also be very suitable for a grid component if that’s what you’re looking for, as it has all the features that a robust grid control would have.

Popularity: 4% [?]

February 28, 2010

Tucows/Comodo Code Signing Certificates

Filed under: Development Ramblings — admin @ 6:24 PM

We recently purchased a Comodo code signing certificate from Tucows, who provides Comodo certificates at a reduced price.  Some of you may be wondering what code signing certificates are and why they are needed.    I won’t cover that here, as there are some good articles which discuss these questions.  What I want to discuss here, is our own experience of purchasing a code signing certificate from Tucows/Comodo.

The Comodo code signing certificate cost 75.00 when purchasing from Tucows.   Tucows and Comodo must have an agreement which allows Tucows to offer CSC’s to software vendors at a reduced price compared to purchasing from Comodo direct.  First, some of you may be wondering why we decided to purchase a Comodo certificate when it’s possible to purchase them from other vendors for about half the price.  First of all, 75.00 is not a lot of money to begin with, considering the value of having your application properly code signed.  I figured if we were going to spend the money and go through the trouble, we might as well get a CSC from a reputable vendor like Comodo, as Comodo happens to be one of the top trusted vendors for code certificates.  Plus, I have heard stories of other software vendors who have purchased one of these ‘bargain’ certificates from a site which isn’t as reputable, who have had problems with their certificate.  So, I figured that spending a few extra bucks was worth getting the certificate from a very reputable source like Comodo.

Before purchasing a CSC at Tucows, you must have an Tucows author account.  Since most software vendors already have an account with Tucows, this isn’t really an issue.  Once logged into the Tucows author account, there is an option to purchase a code signing certificate.  The purchase procedure is pretty strait forward, but there were some choices to make regarding the CSC which are a little daunting, which I’ll mention below.

There is  a choice to purchase a one, two or three year certificate.  You can then enter an optional email address to be associated with your certificate.  Next, are the Advanced Private Key Options.  Being new to the code signing procedure, I wasn’t sure at first what to choose for these options, and quickly did some research on the web so I’d make the correct decisions.  After doing a little research, I decided to use the default options, except for the Key Storage. I’ll mention these options below.

  • CSP:  This is the cryptographic service provider, and I decided to leave this at the default value of Microsoft Enhanced Cryptographic Provider v1.0.
  • Key Storage:  You have two choices here.  The first is to store the key in the certificate itself, or in a separate *.pvk file.  After doing a little research I found that most vendors use the separate pvk file.
  • Key Size:   You have a few choices here, but the default key size is 2048.
  • Exportable: This should be checked.
  • User Protected: This should be unchecked.

Some of the values I used above are those which are mentioned on Tech-Pro, a very helpful site which explains which explains which values to use.

After making your selections for the CSC above, clicking next takes you to a page where you’ll enter your company details.   After filling in the info and clicking Agree & Continue, you’ll go through the process of paying for the certificate by using your account settings or a credit card.

After completing the process, we received some emails, some which are from Comodo’s validation team.  I was a little scared at first, when I read the email from Comodo’s validation tech, which listed the acceptable documents we would need in order to prove we are a trusted software vendor.  Being a small start up, it seemed like the acceptable documents were those which only large corporations would be able to furnished.  However, after emailing Comodo’s validation team with information about our company, we received an actual call from a member of their team.  It seems that Comodo does not take issuing CSCs lightly, and they do want to insure we are a valid software vendor before issuing a CSC.  This also makes us feel good about our decision to go with Comodo for our CSC.  The techs at Comodo went as far as calling the secretary of state of Nebraska to verify our company status with the state, and everything went pretty smoothly after that.  So, if you’re thinking about purchasing a CSC through Comodo, it may be worth your while to call one of their reps and discuss the documents you’ll need to be eligible for the CSC.

After the validation process, which took about one day, we received our CSC.  The documentation on Comodo’s site regarding the code signing process give a pretty good general idea on how to code sign your needed files.  For a more descriptive explanation, I found Tech-Pro’s site to be indispensable.

Having all of our installation and program files properly code signed is very relieving, although the process of obtaining the certificate and performing the code signing for the first time was a little unnerving.   We’re very happy with the results, however, and are glad we decided to purchase a trusted Comodo CSC, and with the price we paid by purchasing it through Tucows.

Popularity: 44% [?]

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