About Lee Devlin

I'm Lee Devlin from Greeley, Colorado.

Goodbye Wunderlist, Hello Microsoft To Do


I’ve used a number of on-line ‘to do’ list applications over the years but about 4 or 5 years ago, I came across one called Wunderlist that I really liked and have been using it ever since. It works on a browser, a tablet or a smartphone so it’s never out of reach. And because it’s cloud based, whatever I enter with one device is instantly available on the others.

A few years ago, I found that Microsoft had purchased the company that developed the Wunderlist app for somewhere between $100 – $200 million. Now, I know that when a company gets purchased, it can spell doom for the customers of the product. It’s hard to understand the business model of a company that gives away a product for free and doesn’t appear to have any up-sells or in-app purchases to generate revenue. So my heart kind of sank when I heard that Microsoft intended to discontinue the product not long after they purchased it.

Then I became aware of a Microsoft todo list simply named ‘To Do’ and that it would allow importing of the data from Wunderlist. I was skeptical at first, but now that I’ve imported my data, and have watched a few tutorials, I am hopeful that this new product will be even better than Wunderlist.

Wunderlist will go away on May 6th, 2020, so if you are a Wunderlist user, I can assure you that the Microsoft To Do list works even better. Now to be fair, I learned to use Wunderlist by just using it and never bothered to read any ‘how to’ articles or tutorials on it. I’m sure a lot of its functionality was lost on me. So I made a point of watching a few video tutorials on Microsoft’s To Do and I’ve included them below in case you’re thinking of taking the plunge. One video is of using it on a mobile device and the other is how to use it in a conventional browser. I learned a lot about its features in these two short videos and found them to be worthwhile.

Like my last blog posting, this one was created in one 25-minute ‘Pomodoro’, which is another productivity tool I recommend. It keeps you focused and reluctant to allow distractions or interruptions. You know you’ll be done in 25 minutes or less so you’re unlikely to allow the task to go unfinished. Give it a try too, I think between the To Do and the Pomodoro Technique, you can get much more accomplished that you realize and in much less time.

To Do tutorial for use in a browser

To Do tutorial on a Smartphone

The Pomodoro Technique


pomodoro timer

Kitchen Timer shaped like a Tomato

I haven’t been doing much blogging over the past few years. One of the reasons is that as a teacher, I don’t really feel like I have any time that I could be writing a blog post that I shouldn’t be doing something related to my job as a teacher. When you’re a teacher, there are always more things that you can do than there is time to do them, and so creating a blog posting is a deliberate use of time that might better be put toward updating assignments or your teaching skills or researching new developments in technology, etc., the list goes on and on.

But I recently came across a time allocating technique that really intrigued me. It’s called the Pomodoro technique and it involves setting aside chunks of time where you avoid distractions and interruptions so that you can concentrate on a single task for 25 minute The Pomodoro Technique Book

intervals. It was developed by Francesco Cirillo back in the 1980’s and is the subject of his book, The Pomodoro Technique. It derives its name from a kitchen timer that looks like a tomato (pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato). I recently ordered a timer since Cirillo feels that the mechanical timer is more effective than an app or electronic device for setting the time since the physical act of winding it puts you in the state of commitment and provides a constant display of the amount of time left. For now, I’m just using a website called tomato-timer.com which seems to be working fine for now.

I’m actually writing this post in the 25 minute allotted time of one ‘pomodoro’.

Although this technique was developed in the 1980’s, it’s even more relevant now because of how easy it is to get distracted today. Back in the 80’s I had a TV that got at most 12 channels. My TV now has hundreds of channels. There was no personal email, no World Wide Web, no computer games, no smartphones, no social media and no YouTube. With all these new technologies that are designed to distract us, it’s amazing anyone gets anything done at all!

So far, I like the discipline this technique imposes on me. When I set a pomodoro timer, I know that I have a limited time to finish the task and then I must stop for a 5 minute break. If you notice that I’m posting more on the blog, it just may be the Pomodoro Technique that is to blame. I’ll keep you updated on how useful I find it.

And I’m glad to report that I got this whole thing written and posted in a single Pomodoro!

Get a Full Stack Web Development Certificate in Greeley Colorado


Did you know that you can get a Full Stack Web Development Certificate at Aims Community College? It’s true and you won’t have to pay an arm and a leg like you do at some of the bootcamps that teach these skills. Not only that, you’ll earn college credit and that will apply toward an AAS degree, should you decide to pursue that route. The classes required for the certificate are as follows:

The first 4 classes are required for the AAS degree, but if you’re already working in the IT field and just want the Full Stack skills, you can take the CWB classes and you’ll have as good a working foundation as you’ll get from any of the numerous unaccredited $20,000 15-week code bootcamps you see advertising full stack web dev courses. Most of the Aims classes are all available at night or, if you’re a self-motivated individual, you can arrange to take many of the classes online.

You’ll learn what you need to know to create attractive, responsive web sites with HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, jQuery, MySQL, and PHP. You’ll even become an expert in WordPress because you’ll understand its underpinnings and you’ll know how to fix it if you ever break it.

Some may ask where’s the Angular, the React, the Vue.js that all the cool kids are talking about? How about Node.js? We do talk about those technologies, and you may see bootcamps that focus on those all-JavaScript stacks exclusively because they get away with teaching you a single programming language. And in the area of web development, knowledge of one programming language is simply not enough. For example, 80% of the websites use PHP and SQL on the server side and that’s not likely to change soon. And, once you understand web development basics, you’ll be able to learn those shiny new JavaScript frameworks with an online course or two from Lynda.com or Udemy since you’ll know the fundamentals of JavaScript and how it makes use of libraries.

Cyber Security Specialist Certificate


Aims Community College Offers New Cyber Security Specialist Certificate

GREELEY, CO – Aims Community College invites the public to learn about the new Cyber Security Specialist certificate to be offered at the Greeley campus.

Aims’ new Cyber Security Specialist certificate is designed to prepare students for entry into the field. Courses will provide a comprehensive overview of network security and knowledge necessary to protect data confidentiality, integrity and availability. Students will learn about threats to computer networks, including vulnerability assessment as well as incident response, disaster recovery and computer forensics. The classes will also help to prepare students to take the CompTIA Security+, Cybersecurity Analyst (CSA+) and the Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP) certification exams.

Computer Information Systems (CIS) instructor Kenny McDaniel will lead the presentation on cyber security, which is the body of technologies, processes and practices designed to protect networks, computers, programs and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access. Attendees will learn how to apply to Aims, including information on financial aid.

“It is an exciting privilege for me to help create this program and instruct students in these courses,” said McDaniel. “With such great demand both nationwide and in Colorado, students have an opportunity to gain the knowledge and experience necessary to begin a career in a high paying field.”

About the Aims Computer Information Systems (CIS) Program

The Aims Computer Science program offers training in web development, networking, database administration, and mobile and desktop application development. Students can earn an A.A.S. degree in Computer Information Systems or Web Design and Development or earn a certificate. More information is available at www.aims.edu/academics/cis.

About Aims Community College
Aims Community College is one of the most progressive two-year colleges in Colorado. Founded 50 years ago in Greeley, Aims has since established locations in Fort Lupton, Loveland and Windsor. Curriculum now includes 4,000 day, evening, weekend and online courses annually in more than 160 degree and certificate programs. Aims Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Aims Community College is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer and an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution. www.aims.edu