As of today the Things Cloud beta is public, no invite required. This is the beta that is testing out cloud sync (or over-the-air sync) for the excellent Things task management app for iOS and Mac.
This is the one essential feature that’s been missing from Things for (in my view) far too long; so long that it caused me to switch over to OmniFocus. As a big fan of Things, I’m very happy to see that there is finally some real progress being made in their efforts to implement cloud sync. The developers had been allowing more and more users into the beta process over recent months, and they’ve been getting very positive feedback on the latest stages of the beta.
We’ve had incredible feedback from our users, telling us that Things Cloud is proving to be both fast and stable. Some of our users have adopted the beta entirely and created exceptionally large databases.
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.
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.