Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Blogging from the iPhone

I just downloaded a new iPhone app; again. This app is Wordpress. The app allows posting to your Wordpress blog from your iPhone. I wouldn't recommend it for multipage posts, but a quick blurb waiting in line isn't hard to do. This is actually my first post using it. Maybe I'll post more often now????

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Task management or to-do lists are a very personal thing.  Everyone seems to have their own concept of keeping track of their "to-do" list.  Usually there is one common thread: a list.  How you shuffle it, organize it, or tag it, is the personal part of it.

I was excited to see the to-do option in mail.app with the release of Leopard, but that just never seemed to get off the ground.  Additionally I needed a list that moved with me on my iPhone.  I've been struggling ever since I gave up my Treo for my iPhone last year.  That is, until now. Now EasyTask seems to have come close to solving my problems.

EasyTask is created and maintained by orionbelt.com.  The version I'm reviewing is 2.0.  This surprises me as I've never heard of it before I stumbled onto their iPhone app in the iTune app store.  Their website is pretty sparse but there are testimonials dating back two years for the product so I assume it's been around that long.  It runs on both a Mac and Windows.  The Windows version is listed at version 1.8.

The app's todo list conforms to the ubiquitous Dave Allen's GTD (or Getting Things Done method).  It has the classical 3 pane display.  With Projects, Contexts, and Categories on the left, the list of things to do on the right split with the bottom displaying the selected tasks.  Each task can have a start, and due date, importance level of one to 5, status and notes in addition to the Project, context and category.  Additionally you can easily make the task recurrent and assign either an onscreen alert msg or email alert.   The recurrence is quite extensive, even allowing items like the 3rd Tues of the month or the 3rd Tues of every 4th month. All of this can be done quite intuitively.

Those familiar with the GTD method will be familiar with the contexts.  Contexts are how the todo should be acted upon.  Examples are email, specific people, etc.  All of this can be easily selected from pull downs or added on the fly.  The Inbox category servers as a stepping stone for further assignment to a context and or project.  It will also put your tasks into your iCal calendar of your choice.

The best part, which is what actually had me stumble upon EasyTask is the iPhone app.  It allows editing, completing, and adding of tasks just like the desktop.  It has simple views by context, project and Inbox / due date.  And all this is sync'd with your desktop via the Easytask servers.  You sign up for an account with your email and you're off.  The iPhone app and sync feature are FREE to boot.  The combination of the two is great.  Jotting down an idea into my inbox either on the iPhone or desktop and then later syncing  and assiging the task into a context and / or project is simple enough to make it easy for me to do it.

There is also a third way to access your tasks: via a browser.  You can via your task online via http://www.easytaskmanager.net/.  There is even a scaled down version for Safari on your iPhone.

There are a few issues but they are minor.  They note on their web site Project and Context deleting doesn't sync.  You have to do it individually on each device.   Also notes of each take don't seem to always sync.  They promise a fix.  If I had to fix anything on the iPhone app it would be increase the font size of the input fields.  There are time when there is a single input field on the screen and the font is tiny.  There is no feedback when you press Sync now on the iPhone or on the desktop app.  And for some odd reason you have to press Online Sync and then sync now instead of a single touch on the iPhone.

With the combination of the desktop app, the iPhone app, the web interface and the sync between the all for the total of $20US, the suite is a bargain.  Comparing that with the $100 cost of the similar combo of Omnifocus, I'm surprised I had never heard of Easytask before.  Regardless of the cost the ease of use and the accessibility has sold me and I now have a better task management system than I did before I moved to my iPhone.