Andrew Canion

Thoughts on technology, business and productivity.

Canion’s everywhere

The Canion family’s website game is strong. My brother has launched his new website at

If you’re looking for a Canion on the Internet, between Patrick and I, we’ve got you covered.


I was one of the first on the Gmail bandwagon. Back when the only way to get an account on the service was to receive an invitation code from somebody else already using it. I remember desperately asking around my networks, until I finally found somebody who was able to supply me with a code – I was in!

Having an address was a point of pride. You were a cool kid with a cool email address, and not one of those sad hotmailers, embarrassing yahooligans, or a joker advertising your local ISP. Using Gmail was also transformational. It was probably the first web app that was genuinely better than desktop software. It was fast, had quick keyboard shortcuts, huge storage (1Gb at launch!), and of course your email archive gained the power of Google search.

Times were good. Google kept adding features, making the service better. It added storage so you really could just archive email. But over time, Gmail began to acquire cruft. It became less efficient and it started to frustrate me. The tagging system impacted IMAP compatibility and caused annoyances syncing with local mail clients.

The most frustrating aspect for me was it’s half-hearted approach to supporting custom domain names. Early on, it seemed as though Gmail were onboard with people using custom domains. As time passed though, the business imperative took over and they shifted full custom domain support to their GSuite paid service. So my @andrewcanion email would generally reveal its true Gmail nature, which annoyed me.

A couple of months ago, I decided enough was enough. It was time for a change. I wanted to find an email service that supported custom domains, that would support proper IMAP, offer push email, that would respect my privacy and not sell advertising based on my email, and be a reliable and good service. All of this necessitates payment, and at this stage of my life, I’m okay with that.

After reviewing a few options, including GSuite, Office 365, Zoho and Rackspace, I ultimately chose Fastmail. Their service ticked all the boxes and offered one extra bonus – they are an Australian company. So I could buy local (albeit in US dollars).

So far, the service has been brilliant. Their web app is great, their documentation brilliant, and their customer service quick and accessible. It’s amazing how much better a service can be when you are a real, paying customer.

I’m at the point now where I actually want more email! I don’t think I’ve ever said that before.

If you are looking to upgrade your email experience, I highly commend Fastmail. If you use my referral code to sign up, you also get a discount. I am sure you will not be disappointed.


I have a vision of myself without the support of OmniFocus. I’d be wandering around in a semi-permanent state of confusion, wondering what the heck I should be doing with my time and trying to keep all the ‘to-do’s’ of my life active and remembered in my brain. The stress of it all would be horrible!

Instead, I have OmniFocus. This application acts as my external brain, keeping all my various projects and tasks ordered, across all my areas of responsibility. It syncs across my Mac, iPhone and iPad so that I can know what I should (and can) do at any point in time. It keeps me on track with my work, bringing up tasks to do at the right time, and keeping them out of my sight when there’s nothing I can do to move the project forward.

I have been on the OmniFocus bandwagon for years, but I’ve been on the “Getting Things Done” bandwagon for even longer. I think I started using that way of managing my work in about 2003. Now, I can’t imagine working, living or thinking about my stuff to be done in any other way.

I have been an active user of OmniFocus since before it was OmniFocus, and was instead just a user-generated add-on for OmniOutliner. The app is just so fantastic to use. Of course, it does have it’s foibles, and the biggest problem is aligned with the biggest problem of GTD in general these days, which is ubiquitous context. When GTD was developed, you went to your office to handle paperwork, and your computer desk to ‘do email’. Smartphones hadn’t been invented and if you wanted to sync data, it probably involved a serial cable between your computer and your Palm Pilot.

This created physical barriers that prevented you from doing stuff, which the methodology termed context. (Un)fortunately, now we can pretty much do anything anywhere, rendering the concept of context almost obsolete. While people have tried to use other axes such as energy or mindset, there’s nothing as good as the essentially redundant physical context. OmniFocus, for better or worse, continues to cling to that context mode.

Nevertheless, that can be worked around, and it still offers a fantastic view of your life in task form. Look at what’s urgent, look at what you can do now, look at what you are waiting on to be able to progress – it can slice and dice your tasks in any way you need.

I couldn’t live without it. I don’t want to live without it. I don’t want to have to keep all my thoughts juggled in my head – that’s crazy! My brain is for value-adding, not remembering stuff!