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FireSprite: An Organic Data Visualization Widget Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes

FireSprite is an organic data visualization widget for looking at overdue and completed actions. It interfaces with the OmniFocus application. The more actions you complete in a 24 hour period in OmniFocus, the more sprites will appear. If there is time in the estimated time field when the action is completed, the widget will increase the number of sprites. If you have overdue items, a fire begins burning and chases away the sprites. When you put out the fire (by completing all overdue tasks) the widget will begin counting completed actions from the time the fire was put out.
I haven't tried it, but since I noticed you have made two widgets there, one suggestion: add screenshots of them in action.

Most people frankly won't even try something if they can't see a screenshot of it before downloading it.
I've got the widgets submitted to apple with screenshots. There is a manual for one of them with screenshots. Here is one for FireSprite:
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In case you had problems with just seeing black on this widget... I found a bug with it. Also added some email support for error handling.

This widget is much simpler than KranK... but I love watching it explode into view! Makes me feel like I am accomplishing things when I see all those firefly's swirling around from completed OmniFocus tasks.
This was posted on the KranK widget thread, but it's really talking about this widget. In case anyone else has the same questions, I wanted to post it here.
Very nice widget :) I also love your little sprite widget, but I obviously need to break my tasks down a lot more because after 4 hours of work where I feel like I did a lot, I only got one sprite (and only one task ticked off though, so I get it)! (or do I have to estimate my time to be able to get sprites?)

Today, 08:45 PM


Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 421

Thank you for the kind words! :-)

Yes... the sprites.

Here's the logic behind the widget.

The Sprites aren't a 1 to 1 to completed tasks. The widget looks back 24 hours, and finds all overdue or completed tasks. I didn't want to have too many sprites in the widget and wanted it to be more of an organic encouragment... if that makes any sense. The user is fostering a healthy environment for the sprites to thrive.

So... for every 10 minutes of work completed in the last 24 hours, one sprite will appear.

The widget gets the time from the estimated time field once a task is completed.

For tasks that don't have any time the FireSprite widget treats the task as a 1 minute item.

KranK, will time tasks as you work on them. When you complete an item using KranK, it will move the time worked on into the estimated time field for you.


Okay... so if you want to see a lot of sprites... and it's kinda fun to see them, create a test task, enter something like 500 in the estimated time field and complete it. :-)

The other fun hidden feature in the FireSprite widget, is watching the sprites change in number. The widget looks for new tasks whenever you activate or hide the dashboard. And then checks every 1 minute while the dashboard is active to see if the values have changed.

In order to see them change you'll need to use KranK. Make sure the Top Item First button is lit. Start working on a task, leave the dashboard visible, let the time get up into at least 6 minutes, 10 to be safe, and then complete the task. The dashboard should still be active.

Then watch the FireSprite widget for no longer than a minute. When the FireSprite widget checks for a task change, the sprites will change in number... in an interesting way. :-)

Today, 08:49 PM


Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 421

One other thing about the sprites. If you have overdue items, and the flames appear... all the sprites will disappear. As soon as your last overdue item is completed, the sprites will begin appearing, but the widget won't be counting 24 hours back anymore. It starts counting the completed items from the time you complete that last overdue task.

Sprites don't like the heat. ;-)
Tip for those trying to create a test sprite: Don't use KranK to complete the task because it doesn't seem to work.

Anyway, how cute :)
Hmm... I imagine what happened is you gave it an estimated time of 300, then used KranK to complete it.

The way KranK works currently is it will overwrite the estimated time with the time spent working on the task.

If you look at the completed task that was completed with KranK, it probably doesn't have the same estimated time you gave it. So the task was counted as part of a sprite.

Thanks for testing this.
I'm having trouble with any task completed by KranK appearing as a sprite. I suspect that this is because I am running the OF 1.1 sneakypeek. Is there any way I can get a log of what is going on to send to you?
Ahh... the sneaky peek. I haven't had a chance to test this on sneaky peek yet. Right now my priorities are in squashing some bugs in the current release, adding some code to check for OmniFocus before the widget runs, and getting the OmniFocus version number so when an error is reported I know what OF version is being used.

There isn't a log file written to the computer. There is a javascript array that stores the last 50 functions run. If an error occurs, this array is dumped into an email to help me track down the problem.

I noticed a problem with the current version, if the default data is started with... i.e. new user... sprites don't seem to appear. I'm not sure why this is yet. I'll need to test and fix.

One of the hardest things is knowing what the user was doing when an error happened. If you get an error, it would help tremendously to have any user information.

Even harder is when it's not working but no error is created. :-)

Thank you for bringing this up. I'll look at it as soon as I can.
My sprites have disappeared :( I haven't had a fire for over a week though, so that isn't it. According to my "Done" perspective, I have completed 113m worth of stuff in the last few hours (in two tasks).. wait, I tell I a lie I now have four sprites (shouldn't I have 11?). What is going on? I never seem to have enough sprites.

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