Todoist is a fantastic and gorgeous to-do list or task management app for the iPad and iPhone, Android, Mac and Windows, and web browsers. Its iPad app just came out a little over a week ago and I installed it that same day. Within 24 hours of starting with it, I had signed up for a premium account, installed the Mac app, and switched over entirely to Todoist across all my devices.
For me, that’s a big deal – as I rely heavily on a great task management app to run my work and life. I’m not a big power user of calendar apps, but managing tasks is something I’m obsessive about and focused on day in and day out.
I’ve used a lot of to-do and task management apps over the years – everything from Outlook Tasks and OneNote, to Pocket Informant on Windows Mobile, to Remember the Milk and Toodledo online and on the iPhone, to Things and OmniFocus on the iPad and the Mac, and most recently Wunderlist due mainly to its cross platform (Android and iOS) capabilities. So it takes a lot for an app in this category to impress me. In fact, even more these days, because now I want an app that works great on Mac, iOS, and Android.
For a long time Things was my favorite task management app – on the iPhone, the Mac, and then the iPad. It has a beautiful and basic UI that makes it tremendously easy, with enough clever features to meet my needs as well.
I used Things every day on iPad, iPhone, and Mac – so effective, easy sync was a crucial issue. And it became an increasingly frustrating issue – as there was no cloud sync, only WiFi sync when iPad (or iPhone) and Mac were on the same WiFi network, and even that sync would very frequently fail. The developers of Things have been promising a cloud sync solution since back in 2010, but their progress has been ridiculously slow – which I griped about numerous times last year. Eventually I gave up on Things and switched to OmniFocus on the iPad, iPhone, and Mac – and I’ve been very happy with the switch.
There are still some things I miss about Things though, and I’ve kept the app installed on my MacBook Pro and iPad 2. My friend and colleague Thomas Wong has stuck with Things and has been involved in their Things Cloud Beta, which has now (finally) extended to iOS devices. He’s been telling me recently that the cloud sync works quite well in the beta. Then this morning I received a beta invite for the Things Cloud Beta for iOS. I’ve now installed the Mac and iOS beta apps and setup and turned on cloud sync.
My plan for now is to try out Things Cloud Beta with just a small set of non-essential tasks. If it looks like it really does work well, I’ll add more tasks to it and sort of run concurrently with OmniFocus a bit, just to see what I think.
Even if I don’t ever end up going back to Things, I’m glad to see there’s finally some solid progress on their Cloud Sync solution.
Cultured Code announced at the beginning of this week that they’re finally extending their cloud sync beta to iOS devices ‘to a core group of testers’.
As before, we’ll increase the testing pool gradually as we go.
Cloud sync is a feature that’s been available in other iOS task management apps for ages now. Cultured Code have blogged in the past about how challenging it is to get this sort of sync right, but by now the speed of their beta progress makes Google’s approach to betas seem blazingly fast.
Their latest blog post announcing the beta ‘progress’ doesn’t mention a month / year / decade when the feature might actually be released to Things users.
As much as I used to love Things, waiting on this feature became ridiculous to me and I switched to OmniFocus for iPad back in June. I couldn’t be happier with the switch.
Cultured Code published a post at their Things Blog yesterday, with their latest update on the status of cloud sync for the Things task management app. The big piece of good news in their update is that they will not be charging for the cloud sync feature / service when it is eventually available.
It turns out that the hard work of making our solution scalable has paid off – our sync service has gracefully handled this increasing traffic – and with usage data on hand from this large group, we can also now confirm that there will be no need to charge for the service. Our cloud sync service will be free for all users of Things.
The bad news is that their beta program seems to be continuing at the same leisurely pace that has been the trademark of Cultured Code’s approach all along. The beta program started in early May but included only Macs, no iOS devices. Yesterday’s post states that iOS testing will begin with a small group of testers, on August 22. So it sounds like they are still months away from a public release. Bearing in mind that several rival apps have offered cloud sync for a long while now, the lack of any sense of urgency on this subject from Cultured Code continues to surprise me. This is all too little and too late for me; I’ve recently switched to OmniFocus and I’m very happy with the change.
For more details, and to hear what Cultured Code think about iOS 5 and iCloud and why their own solution is still the right one, see their full article here: http://culturedcode.com/things/blog/2011/07/cloud-sync-beta.html
OmniFocus for iPad – the excellent task management app from Omni Group – has had a minor update this past weekend, to Version 1.3.1.
Here’s the brief details on the update:
OmniFocus for iPad v1.3.1 is a maintenance release which includes fixes and improvements to Forecast mode and corrects a sync setup problem for some customers using the Omni Sync Server.
I actually had some troubles with sync setup to the Omni server and ended up using MobileMe sync instead – so I might try out the sync with the Omni servers again at some point.
I recently switched over to OmniFocus for all my task management – on the iPad, the Mac, and the iPhone, and two weeks after making the change I couldn’t be happier. Or more productive. My task list each day is shorter and I really have sharpened my focus on what needs doing each day. I’m using projects, folders, and finding Perspectives and the Inbox incredibly useful.
Here’s an App Store link for OmniFocus for iPad; it’s priced at $39.99.
It looks like we may see another good option for task management on the iPad in a couple months, as Franklin Covey, of the famed Franklin Covey planning system, may be releasing an iPad app in September.
Reader Chris was kind enough to leave us a comment on a post of ours on iPad use cases, and even provided the screenshot shown above. Here’s his comment:
I am a certified Franklin Covey facilitator in many of the great courses Covey offers and too love the paper planning system. One requirement of any certified facilitator to maintain certification is to attend a yearly Facilitator Enhancement Day (FED). I attended a FED in May 2011 and they introduced us to a new productivity solution that they plan on launching in September 2011. In the participant manual we received there is a screenshot of an iPad app showing a new productivity solution.
This is very good news for the many fans of the Franklin Covey system. I’ve recently switched to OmniFocus for task management on the iPad and I’m very happy with it, but I always like seeing more good choices for this type of productivity app.
I posted a week ago about finally finding a potential replacement for the Things app, for managing tasks on my iPad and Mac desktop. The potential replacement was OmniFocus and it’s not just potential anymore – I’ve made the switch.
I haven’t opened Things on the desktop or iDevices in 5 days. I am using OmniFocus on the iPad, on my MacBook Pro, and occasionally on my iPhone. I’ve bought the iPad and desktop versions, and had already purchased the iPhone app back in 2008 so just had to install it.
My switchover has only happened over the last few days, but I feel very happy with it, for a number of reasons. Here are some of the big ones:
— I LOVE the OmniFocus iPad app. I’ve always thought of OmniFocus as having a less than beautiful UI. No, scratch that. I’ve always thought OmniFocus had a very ugly UI. But the iPad app is really handsome. It’s a great looking UI, and a very effective one too of course. I can see all the different views and groupings of tasks that I want, including the superb Perspectives views. Entering new tasks is easy – whether I want to add them straight into a specific project or just dump them in my Inbox and work out the project and details later. It even lets me add photos and voice notes to new or existing task items. I do at least 50% of my task management on the iPad, so having a killer iPad app like this one is a big hook for me.
I’ve posted here a number of times about my frustration with waiting for Things, my favorite task management app, to offer cloud sync. It’s a feature that other rival apps have had for a long time, one that the developers of Things have said is top of their list for ages, and yet one that still has no ETA at all, and no guarantee from the developers that it will not be charged for.
As much as I love Things, my massive disappointment with them on this subject has lead me to search for replacement apps. I’ve been doing this for a while now, looking at numerous apps and all of them have fallen short for me. With some, their UI was just too inelegant and ineffective, coming from the clean, simple interface of Things. Some lacked features that are critical for me, e.g recurring tasks support. Others offered sync only with ugly web apps and not with a full Mac app, which is another must-have for me.
And now I’ve finally found a potential replacement in OmniFocus – or more specifically OmniFocus for iPad, Mac, and iPhone. I’ve been aware of OmniFocus for years. I even bought the iPhone version when it first appeared in the App Store, but had always considered it too heavy, too powerful and filled with too many features, just too much all-round for me.
Cloud sync is by far and away the biggest missing feature in the otherwise excellent Things task manager app for iPad, iOS and Mac. It has been for a long time now, while other rival apps have offered it well ahead of Things.
Last month there was some relatively good news for those of us long awaiting this feature; as Cultured Code (developers of Things) started a Things Cloud Sync Beta in early May. The not so great news at the time was that only Macs (no iOS devices) would be involved in the initial beta period, there was no timeframe at all for the beta period or ETA for when the feature would be released, and no indication as to whether the cloud sync feature would be free or paid for.
I’ve been curious about how the beta testing is going and hoping by now there might be some word on ETA for the new feature release – so today I had a quick check of the Things Blog and Cultured Code’s Twitter account. Their most recent tweet was a reply pointing a user at an FAQ page for the latest info on Cloud Sync.
The screenshot above is one I’ve got to know quite well over recent months. Far more than I would have liked to. It’s a status / error message from the Things task management app on my MacBook pro, concluding with
Waiting for Things on your mobile device …
The thing is I see this message when the mobile device in question, my iPad, is roughly 10 feet away from my MacBook (or less). The iPad is on, the Things app is open – so my rather obvious question is WTF is Things on the Mac waiting for?
Of course that’s just a rhetorical question. I’ve learned by now that the issue is generally resolved by closing out Things on the iPad, closing and restarting Things on the Mac, or some combination of these. If this happened once in a great while, no biggie; but when it happens several times per week, as it does for me, it is more than a little bit of a pain in the arse.
I’ve spoken to someone at Things / Cultured Code about this in the past and they suggested that it must be a problem with my wireless router. That is possible, but I find it highly unlikely – as the issue has persisted over enough months to include a time when I used a NetGear router and now an Airport Extreme I’ve had for several months. And none of my other apps that make use of local WiFi connections, or sync between Mac and devices, have had any issues at all.
So my thought is that this is just Things sync getting its knickers in a twist, annoyingly often.
I love Things. It’s one of my most used apps. But the lack of cloud sync has been a sore point for a long, long time now – and now that WiFi sync frankly sucks in terms of performance, it is adding insult to injury. It’s a great app – but the developers seriously need to figure sync out very soon.
Bitch and you shall receive, that’s how the saying goes right? Just yesterday I bitched again about the lack of OTA sync in the (otherwise excellent) Things task manager app, and last night the folks at Cultured Code (developers of Things) announced on their blog that OTA sync will begin testing in May.
Here are some of the major points outlined in their blog post:
— Things on iOS and Mac will need to be updated to enable communication with the cloud server.
This software upgrade will come at no charge, and will also sport a revamped database layer that is not only faster, but specifically optimized for cloud sync usage.
— Things sync will not be automatic it sounds like, but it will sync ‘frequently’ enough that ‘there should hardly be any reason’ for doing any manual syncs.
Whenever you open Things, switch applications, or wake your computer from sleep, Things will check back with the server to see if there are any updates to pull.