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Vitalist's own blog, The Net Effect. Keep up-to-date with the latest happenings around Vitalist and GTD.

Vitalist Preview #4: Priority March 20th, 2007 / 453 Comments

One major concept to take from GTD is the notion of “Next Actions.” However, these “next actions” can be tricky to denote in an online application, especially when you add the fact that many people will view “next actions” differently.

We have thought long and hard about “next actions,” and have come up with what we feel will be a nice solution: Priority. In Vitalist, priority will let you determine which actions are the most important. Priority also gives you another indication of when you should work on an action, other than due date.

Here is a screenshot of priorities in action (click to enlarge):


You can quickly change an actions’ priority by simply clicking on the star icon. This will toggle the action through all of the different priority levels: high, medium, low, and none. And what if you want to quickly see your High Priority actions? There is a filter available in the sidebar that is only one click away.

For such seemingly small addition, we feel adding priority to Vitalist will make it much more powerful. Hopefully you will agree.

If you haven’t already, make sure to check out Vitalist Preview #1: Contexts as Tags, Vitalist Preview #2: Sub Projects, and Vitalist Preview #3: Quick Add/Edit.

And again, stay tuned for more previews coming up.

Posted by Matt

  • From erwin blom on March 20th, 2007

    Can’t wait for the update!

  • From Simon on March 20th, 2007

    Good Job.

    Yea. When will be the updates come out?

  • From Kevin on March 20th, 2007

    You know you guys have us totally drooling right now… these updates look great. Can’t wait to use them.

  • From Ed on March 20th, 2007

    OK. I am excited with all of the new features. When will the next release be available?

  • From Ed on March 20th, 2007

    How about adding a Blackberry client?

  • From Ted on March 20th, 2007

    I used Vitalist for a short time, but stopped using it because it lacked some important features regarding project management (for example, marking a project as Done.) With these new features, I’ll definitely be trying it out again, and I may move my system back to Vitalist eventually.

  • From Paul on March 20th, 2007

    Will there be any way to limit the number of priorities that are available to click through? This would be useful for those of us who only want to star/un-star next actions without having to rotate through 4 states of priority. A setting to limit this would be great. Regardless, I am really impressed with all of these features and I will definitely be integrating more of my projects into vitalist when they are rolled out. I appreciate how you guys have struck a nice balance between a simple interface and allowing the flexibility for the user to make the system work for them instead of the other way around. :) Keep up the good work!

  • From MikeDidIt on March 20th, 2007

    Quit teasing us :)

    Seriously, I think priority is a fine implementation for next actions. Today I just put a list in notes, with the next action as the top item. Example:
    -Next Action
    -The one after that
    -Things after that

    Sub-projects and priorities will be a welcome alternative.

  • From The Republic of Geektronica » Blog Archive » Getting Things Done with Vitalist (woot!) and Nozbe (not so much) on March 24th, 2007

    [...] Drag-and-drop ordering for actions in each list (and, coming soon, priority stars and sub-projects) [...]

  • From Mike on March 24th, 2007

    Question about the new feature you won’t let us have yet :) I realize the filtering option will allow me to restrict to just high priorities, for example, but will we also be able to sort tasks/actions by priority or will we manually sort them like today?

  • From Matt on March 24th, 2007

    You will be able to sort by Priority, as well as Due Date. I didn’t mention this yet, but if you look closely in the picture you will be able to see the sorting options.

  • From Mike on March 25th, 2007

    You must mean the part where it says “Sort”?
    Sorry, I missed that should-have-been obvious clue :)
    Regardless, good news on the feature.

  • From erwin blom on March 25th, 2007

    When our Vitalist-friends say they will release the updated version end of march, they mean end of march right ;-) ? So this week we”l have the better version of one of our favourite web apps!

  • From Mike on March 25th, 2007

    We shall see erwin. I, like you, am eagerly awaiting the unveiling. I’m currently using 3 products and really want to start paying for one and eliminating the other two. The Vitalist people really seem to get it, have stuck a nice balance between simplicity and features, and I suspect that once the new version is unleashed, I won’t be able to resist upgrading.

  • From Matt on March 25th, 2007


    You are right. We are still planning on on releasing our update at the end of the week. Everything is still on schedule right now, so be on the look-out.


  • From Bob on March 26th, 2007

    I’m not sure that a low/med/high priority will be a good thing. Every other to-do list manager has this same concept. What makes something a low vs. a med vs. high? Each of us has to define what that is and manually prioritize and re-prioritze. Too much work on my part and not enough work being done by the application. I don’t think we generally “think” in terms of high and low. Maybe for a few specific things. For those of us with too much to do and not enough time to do it, don’t we really “think” in terms of due dates? Some things are due on a specific date but most things are due in a fuzzy “today”, “tomorrow”, “this week”, “next week”, “this month”, “soon”, etc. Yes, i could implement this by picking a corresponding due date but that would make it difficult to separate the “real” due dates from the “non-real” due dates.

  • From MikeDidIt on March 26th, 2007

    Bob, I share your “too much to do and not enough time to do it” problem. I don’t want to spend my time moving to dos or setting unnecessary attributes like priority or due date, unless it meets my need. This is one of the reasons I don’t use Outlook and many other products. Not that I couldn’t tweak them to work, but it wastes a lot of my time.

    Vitalist is a flexible as you want to be, and it will be better with the new release. Remember that you don’t have to use due dates or priorities — I like having the option thought. And, as noted above, you can sort by Due Date or Priority. Hopefully, it automatically sorts by high/med/low within due date.

    With the new tags feature, I will use these tags: TODAY, TOMORROW, THIS WEEK, NEXT WEEK, SOON, SOMEDAY.
    - During my weekly review, I will setup my THIS WEEK items, and my TODAY items.
    - The stuff I really have to get done today will be tagged as TODAY.
    - As today progresses, I will start to accumulate things for TOMORROW. If I was super-disciplined, these would never get into my TODAY list in the first place. If I insist on putting them in TODAY, I could set these want-to-dos with a priority of medium.
    - As the week progresses, I start to make my candidates for NEXT WEEK. I could use HIGH and MEDIUM to separate the must haves and want to haves. I could also just use a NEXT WEEK MUST DO tag and a NEXT WEEK WANT TO DO tag.
    - My SOON items need attention in the next 30 days. I don’t put due dates on these unless there is an explicit due date.
    - My SOMEDAY items are the things I just feel the urge to keep. I seem to keep them as actions instead of the SOMEDAY list.
    - Hopefully we will now be able to drag between tags. I’m not sure if this is in the new features or not.

    Anyway … just thought I’d share my approach to the problem. In short, I use contexts/tags to group my tasks by due date. I don’t set a due date unless I really need to for my reference. I won’t use priority unless I need to.

  • From Bob on March 26th, 2007

    Mike, good suggestion to use the new tag capability to help prioritize. Once the new version is released I’ll see about trying to apply it. The only downside to this approach, IMHO, is that it is still a far too manual process. I want the application to work for me, not me work for the application. With the tag approach, as time moves forward, the prioritization will not change automatically. I have to manually review and re-prioritize. Ideally, once I determine that something is an action and that it needs to be completed by “NEXT WEEK” , the application should be able to re-prioritze this action as time moves forward. In 7 days, its priority should change from “NEXT WEEK” to “THIS WEEK”. And a few days later, to “TOMORROW”. I can still do my weekly review and reset priorities as needed. But between reviews, the application is working for me.

    I think Vitalist is a great application and I’m doing my best to spread the word.

  • From MikeDidIt on March 26th, 2007

    Bob, if you find the application that does that holler :)

    In the mean time, I’ll be helping you spread the word about Vitalist.

    p.s. By the way, if the next cool version of Vitalist doesn’t allow us to drag actions between tags, I will stick with my approach from today which is to have a tag for each context (example: WORK) and actions that I use as separators. Example:
    =====> Must do today Must do this week Must do today

  • From Robert on March 26th, 2007

    Our goal with the new features is to simply make Vitalist as flexible as possible. We have learned from our feedback that no two people use the system in the same way.

    We hope that sub-projects, tags, and priorities will make it easier for our users to adapt the Vitalist system to their own approach.

  • From andras on March 28th, 2007

    Can’t waaaaaait!

    Actually I’m not sure I wanna use priorities. Sounds like RTM, I had to reprioritize stuff every hour, waste of time. A single star would do, and also, we don’t want to click thru all levels of priorities to remove/add a star.
    And please tell me you are adding keyboard shortcuts for this, or I’ll cry. (Nowadays we cannot allow ourselves the luxury to click on stuff, instead of hitting a key.)

  • From Charles on March 28th, 2007

    I really like Bob’s suggestions. I think this matches well with the way people really prioritize actions.

    For my way of working, think this could be easily implemented by simply setting a “due date” on all actions as a flag to indicate the approximate timeframe you want to complete the task, and having views that show the action list grouped by “today”, “tomorrow”, “this week”, “next week”, “this month”, etc – sort of like the dashboard does now but with more categories.

    Now the problem is that this confuses _real_ (hard) due dates with “I’d _like_ to complete this by” dates. So a flag to indicate if the due date is “hard” or “soft” might be added – hard dates would appear in your calendar, soft ones would not.

    You could even add shortcut buttons when creating an action to allow you to click “next week” (for example) and it would populate the “soft due date” for you with a date at the end of next week.

  • From Corey on March 28th, 2007

    I have my whole mind dump just waiting for this update!!

    I anticipate a lifehacker writeup coming soon. I installed Opera mini browser on my blackberry as my dedicated Vitalist channel (it handles the mobi page better than BB’s browser) and I also put a portable Firefox config bareboned down to be Vitalist friendly on my USB drive. Fantastic GTD suite Vitalist team!!

  • From Mark on March 29th, 2007

    Are we still on track for the update by the end of the week. I am getting carpal tunnel from checking the website for the next preview…

  • From erwin blom on March 29th, 2007

    I think they’re too busy to answer. When i wake up, there wille be a new Vitalist!

  • From Philip on March 31st, 2007

    This is getting silly. Did you use GTD to produce the new version? End of the week, end of the month, either way, where is it???

  • From Matt on March 31st, 2007

    The update will be happening this evening. So when you wake up in the morning you will have a shiny new version of Vitalist.

  • From erwin blom on March 31st, 2007

    O.K. Guys, good to hear!

  • From Sundarlal Chuddha on March 31st, 2007

    Will that be wake up GMT, EST, PST or what?

  • From Mat on March 31st, 2007

    I think these updates will make Vitalist THE “go-to” GTD app on the web.

    Nice work!

  • From Harpreet on April 1st, 2007

    Seems there are bugs in the new implementation. These are some that I have run into
    a. Priority icons do not show up on Camino browser
    b. All my items under someday have disappeared and show up else where.

  • From Harpreet on April 1st, 2007

    Seems there are bugs in the new implementation. These are some that I have run into
    a. Priority icons do not show up on Camino browser
    b. All my items under someday have disappeared and show up else where.

    PS: I am a fan of Vitalist :-)

  • From Jonaz Vaneryd on April 2nd, 2007

    The colour coding of the priorities confound me though; I usually think of High Priority as Hot. So red as hot!hot!hot! works well for the highest priority. The blue Medium Priority star feels a lot cooler than the yellow Low Priority though.

    Perhaps it’s just me, but a Low-Med-Hi colour coding scheme with Lightblue-Yellow-Hotred would feel more logical to me at least.

    Keep up the good work!

  • From MikeDidIt on April 9th, 2007

    I agree with Jonaz regarding the colors – yellow should definitely not be low. Like it or not, red, yellow, and green carry baggage. Red means urgent, yellow means caution, green means go. To mess with those will always cause confusion. Probably the best thing to do is change your yellow to green, and your blue to yellow. But since doing this will cause rework for your user base, the simplest thing to do is change yellow to green. Thus, Red, Blue, Green.

    By the way, I think it would be cool to allow premium members to pick their own colors for the priorities. Just a thought to help you entice more paying customers.

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  • From Scott McReynolds on October 13th, 2007

    Any way that you can get the Next action on a project to show up on the Dashboard? I don’t want to use dates to get them there. I would be extremely happy (and continue my subcription) if we could get this feature. It’s the one area I’m struggling with to get this system working right for me.


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Whats new at RTGC??

Posted by Spencer Halford on 6/30/2011 to Duck Calls

What's new for 2011? 

There are lots of new and exciting things going on at Rolling Thunder Game Calls and we want to tell you about them.  We hope that you’ll take a few minutes to read about the new calls we are offering as well as some of the things that we’ve got coming down the pike in the future.  



We have been working hard on expanding our line of calls and think you’ll like the things that we have come up with.  There are several new duck calls as well as a line of diaphragm turkey calls that we’ve developed.  This summer we are introducing several new duck calls to the BSOD line up.  All of our new duck calls will be available July 15th, 2011:

The “Original” Cut BSOD – (yellow/gold insert band) The “original” cut is not really a new call for us, however since we have significantly changed the production process and have made several new modifications to the tone board we wanted to tell you about it.  The original cut BSOD was produced by an injection mold that had the shape of the tone board built into it.  However, the mold for the original cut wasn’t ever able to make perfect tone boards.  This meant that we had to significantly cut and modify every call that we produced.  Our goal this spring has been to streamline this process and increase the quality and consistency of every call.  What we’ve ended up with is a very different production process, and in my opinion, an improved sound.  To get us there, I spent several days in the shop fine tuning exactly the way that I wanted the original cut to sound.  I started with several of our uncut tone boards and worked to carefully cut what I considered to be the perfect “original” cut BSOD.  After a few days in the shop, I finished a call that I thought was perfect.  It is much easier to blow than our early original cut calls but still has all of the bark that you would expect.  I am really happy with the way that we are now making the new style original cut calls and am even more pleased with the way they sound.  Once I finished the new original cut tone board we went back into the machine shop and began working on a jig.  We have now finished the jig and are really happy with it.  As of July 1st, 2011 every original cut call that you purchase will start as an uncut tone board, get rough cut on our custom jig, then finished out by hand and tuned for each reed.  Though the way we’ve changed up the process increases the amount of labor that we put into each call, what I am excited about is the consistency that we are now able to produce in every call.

The “Colt 45” Cut BSOD – (blue insert band)  This is RTGC’s version of a Louisiana style call.  The end of the tone board is more sharply cut than the rounded tone board of the original cut BSOD.  This call is relatively easy to operate as the shape of the cut pushes the air more abruptly into the reed and requiring less back pressure.  Because the tone board is pretty sharply cut off, the reed hangs off the end of the tone board a little, producing a more raspy bark than the original cut.

The “Easy Bark” Cut BSOD – (green insert band)  The Easy Bark may be the call that I am most excited about this fall.  It is a hybrid sort of call with a round exhaust hole and guts that look more like what you would expect out of a competition style call.  The tone board guts are removable from the insert and it has a polycarbonate wedge instead of a cork.  We are using a thinner reed in this call in order to make it a little easier to run.  The resulting sound is still just as loud and raspy as you would expect from a cut down style call, however the thing folks love about it is that it doesn’t take as much back pressure to blow.  The sound you get from the Easy Bark has a lot of whine in it and is pretty easy to make “squeal” if you are into the Cajun squeal.  Even though it operates with less back pressure, it won’t give out on you (crack) on the top end if you like to put a lot of air into the call.

The “Uncut” BSOD – (yellow/gold insert band)  The Uncut tone board is nearly identical in design to the way the P.S. Olt Model D-2 keyhole calls would have come right out of the package.  This is the tone board that we cut all of the original and colt 45’s out of.  The Uncut call comes with a reed and a cork and will work just fine right out of the package, however it won’t produce the same sound that our other cuts do until you’ve taken the time to cut it.  We offer the Uncut call at a cheaper price in hopes that you will be able to afford to purchase several and get your own custom cut worked out.  The Uncut call helps us achieve one of RTGC’s primary objectives…..empower folks to learn how to cut their own calls and keep the tradition of cutting calls alive.



Starting July 15th, 2011 all of our calls will include an anodized color band differentiating the cut of the call’s tone board.  Each band is laser engraved with “Rolling Thunder” on one side and the name of the cut on the other.

The colored band idea was inspired by my electric tape collection and the way that I have identified my different custom cuts over the years.  Typically when I cut a call for someone, I would wrap the insert with a 0.25” piece of colored electric tape in order to help me remember how I cut that insert different from others.  I kept notes for myself describing how I had cut the call, how the call sounded, and who that call had been cut for.  Basically, the electric tape was just a way for me to identify the differences between my cuts.  So as Wes and I discussed how to differentiate the different BSOD cuts from one another, we decided that a colored stripe would do it.  We didn’t want to copy the distinctive goose band that Lester Capps on the barrels of the P.S. Olt’s that he cut for folks, but we really liked the look of a metal band as well as the look that a little color added to our black call.  Eventually we landed on the current electric tape band as we call it. 

Many have already asked about getting one of these bands installed on their BSOD and we would be glad to do that.  The cost of machining and etching those bands is not cheap, so we’ve got to offset our cost some by charging a nominal fee for retro fitting bands on existing inserts.  We hope that you’ll understand and appreciate out continued effort to keep our prices as modest and as reasonable as possible. That said, if you would like us to install a band on your insert we are asking for $5 to cover the cost of the band, the labor to install it, and the shipping.  Just mail us your call with a $5 check and we’ll take care of the rest…..just don’t forget a return address so we can send you your call back!

Here is a list of the band color for each cut:

  • Original Cut – Yellow/Gold band
  • Colt 45 – Blue band
  • Easy Bark – Green band
  • Uncut – Silver band



In addition to the standard black we’ve offered our calls in, this year we’re introducing two new colors to the lineup:  Natural Gear Camouflage (natural) and Pink.  Each cut is offered in these colors and will still include the colored band identifying the cut.



In addition to the new calls that we have available for 2011, we have several new merchandise and accessory items that we are excited about.

·        RTGC Lanyards, duck straps, & turkey totes – Lots of folks have asked me about the lanyard that I use and I tell them that I made it.  I’m not good at making lanyards and my lanyard really isn’t all that special, however the unique thing about my lanyard is that it is made out of black #36 tarred trotline cord and it is super durable.  While many like the paracord lanyards that are popular right now, I’ve never been a big fan of them….mostly because I only carry one or at most two calls into the woods at a time and have never had a need for 3 or 4 call loops.  But so many people have asked about my homemade tarred trotline lanyard that we’ve been looking into having a custom line of lanyards made for our calls.  Well, we’ve finally gotten it all ironed out and are excited about what we’ve come up with.  We got the first batch of inventory in about a week ago and they look awesome!  They are pretty simple in their design and have 3 double loop call drops.  The two drops on the sides are easily removable if you are like me and prefer to just have 1 or 2 calls on the bottom of your lanyard.  We also have several additional drops that can be added for things like dog whistles, e-collar remotes, chap stick, etc.   So if you want something different than everybody else, check out our lanyards. 

     One last note about the lanyards…..the other reason I’ve not been a big fan of paracord is because I don’t like the way it fits on the BSOD inserts.  The size of the paracord crowds your hand in my opinion and interferes with calling.  Many have gotten around this by on putting one drop on the call and electric taping their insert into the barrel so as not to loose it.  The tarred trotline presents an even better option in my opinion.  The tar in the trotline cord gets super snug and is pretty small so you can cinch one of the drop loops on your insert just behind the colored band and hardly know that it’s there.  (Duck straps and turkey totes will also be available in the same tarred trotline set up that our lanyards have.)

·      RTGC Logo gear in Natural Gear Camouflage – We are really excited about our partnership with the folks at Natural Gear.  They have been super easy for us to work with and have helped us stay outfitted in some of the best clothing and gear on the market.  We wore their SCII pattern all spring and found that it was lethal on the turkeys, and we already know that the same will be true again this fall on the ducks.  We will be offering several RTGC logo-ed Natural Gear items and hope you’ll help us out by sporting our logo!  Here’s a list of the Natural Gear items we’ll carry (pattern in parenthesis):

  • 6 panel hat (natural)
  • Mesh back hat (SCII)
  • Bush shirt (natural)
  • Vented "fishing" style shirt (SCII)
  • Full zip fleece vest (natural)
  • Full zip fleece jacket (natural)
  • Fleece hoodie (natural)
  • Fleece beanie (natural)

·        RTGC tuning kits & tuning supplies – We now offer mylar reeds (0.01 or 0.014 thickness mylar, genuine cork wedges, poly cork wedges, or tune up kits that include reeds and corks in the same bag.




We’ve got lots of new stuff that’s still in the developmental phase right now, but we’re pretty sure you’ll be excited about them.  Here’s a little sneak peak into what we are working on:

·        Duck Calls:  I am working on one more call for the BSOD line that will include the use of acrylic.  I’m not quite finished with it, but have modeled a few prototypes and am really excited about the possibilities.  I am also working on a completely new line of production calls.  This will take some time, but what I intend to do is create an entirely new line of calls that will be much more like competition style calls than the cut down keyhole olt style calls the BSOD is modeled after.   My hope is to build this line of calls out with several various tone board variations much like the way we have expanded the BSOD line.

     Turkey Calls:  I have built several custom slate calls as well as a custom box call that we are working on putting into production.  Our hope is to have these new turkey calls ready to go by January 1, 2012.



In closing, let me say that we would not be able to continue producing and developing new calls if it weren’t for the loyal hunters that support our work by purchasing our calls and using them in the field.  We are very grateful to all of you for your feedback, your input on various parts of the design process, and for choosing to use our calls when you hunt.  There are lots of game call options on market today and we are aware that you have made a choice to use our products….for that we want to say thank you. 

Finally, if there’s anything we can do for you please don’t hesitate to call us.  I am almost always available to talk on the phone or correspond by email and my aim continues to be to help you be more effective in the field.  If your call needs to be tuned, if you want a call custom cut for you, or if you just want to ask me some questions about the way we designed our calls the way we did…..Wes and I will always do what we can to make ourselves available to you, so if you need anything please don’t hesitate to call.  Please take a moment to sign up for our newsletter, follow us on facebook, twitter, youtube and our Blog as these are the channels that we’ll use to share information on new products, festivals, shows and retail partners. 

Kill ‘em all,





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