Push all your activities to RescueTime!

I recently discovered RescueTime.com. It’s a cool service that tracks all your activities on your computer be it browsing or running applications and allows you to review and analyze the time you spend. I tend to spend an incredible amount of time procrastinating on the web (damn you reddit!) and need some way to control myself. RescueTime seems to be exactly what I need!

One problem with this service is that is only logs what you do on your computer. A chap named carlo created a script to log your phone calls and meetings (OS X only). I have decided to implement the same thing on windows.

To make things interesting i decided to venture in the scripting world. Had I know how long it would take me to fine a suitable solution I might not have bothered :). In the end I used an HTML Application (HTA) which is basically a webpage which can access stuff on the machine (e.g write a file). It’s a kind of primitive offline web application (like prism or Gears) that’s been existing ever since windows 95 but nobody ever bothered using.

Here is the result :
RescueTime app

It’s use is pretty simple. Enter the minutes spent on the activity and click on the relevant activity type button. Note that you can create your own type of activity by filling the “custom activity” field and pressing the “Custom Activity” button.
It will appear in your stats as manual_whateverActivityYouChose.

It works by putting a new log file in the Documents and Settings\%username%\Local Settings\Application Data\RescueTime.com\logs\pending directory. The rescueRime data collector will pick it up and upload it as any other activity.
I have no idea if it’ll work on machines other that mine, on an account without admin privilege or on Vista.

Here is the download :

rescuetime.hta

Disclaimer : I take no responsibility for the loss of RescueTime data or other troubles.

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14 Responses to Push all your activities to RescueTime!

  1. Michael Hawksworth says:

    Excellent.

    Nicely done. Works fine for me so far.

  2. curtis says:

    GREAT. You did it!

    I’m downloading and trying it out now…

    Thanks!!!

  3. Markus says:

    I downloaded it, ran the hta file, but I get an error when I hit either button or custom:
    line: 69
    char: 13
    Error: automation server can’t create object

  4. Andrew says:

    Thanks for you efforts. Works great for me.

  5. Willem says:

    Thanks for all your hard work.

    Its working very well on my Windows XP.

    Much appreciated!

    Regards
    Willem

  6. Bob-Oh! says:

    Worked well, and I saved it and added it to my Startup Program list so it’s there after every boot. It does seem to take a long time to update with new Custom Activities, though. Note–this is NOT a complaint! ;-)

  7. ChiLyn says:

    I plan on giving this a shot in the near future, when I test rescuetime. I’m curious though, any thought or possibility of programming a timer into it? Something that you can use to track the time for you and then outputs the log file when you press stop?

    Or something?

    :)

  8. monkeyget says:

    This shouldn’t be too complicated to dobut I’m just too lazy to do it :p
    Plus that’s a slippery slope to a full blown rescuetime client.

  9. Jeremy says:

    Tried it – works fine – and what’s more it is a nice little example script. Thanks.

  10. Cormac says:

    Works fine on Vista – good work. Elegant application that just works. Can be easily customised too with HTML, style sheets and javascript.

  11. Bob says:

    Can you link this to Outlook?

  12. jonathan says:

    this is an outstanding addition. i’d like to get it working.

    when i launch i get this error message:

    an error has occurred on the script on this page
    line 100
    char 5
    path not found
    code 0
    http://users.fulladsl.be/spb21211/rescuetime.hta
    do you want to continue to run scripts on this page [yes] or [no]

    suggestions?

    thanks,

    jw smith

  13. Luis says:

    Hi!

    I this also supposed to work with Firefox or other non-MS browsers? Has anybody tried?

    Thanks for the hard work!

    Luis

  14. monkeyget says:

    To avoid error messages and running it in a browser agnostic way; you should download the file to your computer (right click > save as) and run it from there.

    Sorry if you still have an error message but there is no much I can do.

    By the way, the official application now has a similar (but limited) functionality : http://blog.rescuetime.com/2009/05/29/rescuetime-now-does-non-computer-time-codename-timepie/
    It is preferable to use the official application instead of this third-party kludge.

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