Things

Hu
Hugh
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Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:14 pm Post

For those like me questioning the absence of recurrence/repeating-task settings in Things, here's confirmation that they're in the pipeline:http://culturedcode.com/things/blog/2008/02/habemus-dialogum-we-have-a-dialog.html

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Siren
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Thu Feb 07, 2008 3:09 pm Post

Hugh wrote:For those like me questioning the absence of recurrence/repeating-task settings in Things, here's confirmation that they're in the pipeline:http://culturedcode.com/things/blog/2008/02/habemus-dialogum-we-have-a-dialog.html

What an interesting post! Reminds of my days as a project manager in the software industry; I used to love that sort of decision process. Oh, the nostalgia...

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Eddie
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Thu Feb 14, 2008 8:16 pm Post

Tripper wrote:Thinking Rock is platform independent and can apparently work on a USB stick.

http://www.thinkingrock.com.au/

And it's free...


I'm glad to see it mentioned.

After trying many similar programs, for me it is the best GTD application available for the Mac, with the added benefit of being multi-platform.

While it is free, it is possible to donate to the developers.
One criticism is that the interface is not what one would expect on a Mac. Other than that it has been wonderful for my needs.

Things looks very promising. I tried a beta and will eventually give it another try.
OmniFocus is ok, but even though I paid for it during the beta stages I keep going back to Thinking Rock.

Ti
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Sun Mar 23, 2008 1:20 pm Post

I downloaded Things six weeks or so ago, I used it for two weeks, with gradually diminishing enthousiasm, and then even forgot about its existence. So today I trashed it. Things is not for me; but maybe that's just because of me, not because of Things.
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antony
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Sun Mar 23, 2008 1:32 pm Post

I still use it, every day in fact, and now that the repeating/recurring tasks function has been implemented in the beta, it's even better. The only killer function I'm still waiting for is synching across multiple computers, but even without that Things still rocks for me.

So, horses for courses :)
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Siren
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Sun Mar 23, 2008 2:30 pm Post

Although I first downloaded Things a couple of months ago, it wasn't suitable then for what I wanted, so I didn't use it after an initial brief experimentation period. A week or so ago, I became aware that recurring tasks had been implemented so I downloaded the latest version - and I really like it. (Somehow I just knew this would happen, after my hasty snap-decision purchase of OmniFocus!)

OmniFocus and I didn't get on with each other, in the end. It was never a perfect fit and within a week or two, it just seemed like a load of hassle, so I gradually stopped using it. A partially used To Do management system is almost as bad as none at all :-)

On the other hand, my week with Things has progressed with increasing enthusiasm. I'm even starting to see the point of tagging, which allows very useful custom views on my task lists.

There are four things I need which would make Things perfect for me:
~ dependencies between tasks
~ the addition of folder hierarchies in the binder area (to make visual sense of the huge list of projects and to allow subgroups to be collapsed out of the way)
~ the ability to send/update delegated tasks by email (automatically and manually) to Teammates
~ the ability to block-pause and block-resume recurring tasks, instead of having to handle them one by one.

Other than that, I am finding Things to be excellent. And aesthetically pleasing, as well.
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Pa
Paul_Perry
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Sun Mar 23, 2008 2:35 pm Post

I too still use it.

Recently I came across a blurb on Things and its competition where Omnifocus was described as the Microsoft Word of GTD apps... I thought: "This is so true!" and was reminded of my own deep relief upon switching.

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antony
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Sun Mar 23, 2008 3:25 pm Post

Siren wrote:A partially used To Do management system is almost as bad as none at all :-)


Very true, and something worth bearing in mind. The important thing is to use a system that works for you, regardless of what everyone else is doing :)

~ dependencies between tasks


Not sure what you mean by this, exactly. Care to explain?
Antony Johnston
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Siren
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Sun Mar 23, 2008 4:25 pm Post

antony wrote:
~ dependencies between tasks

Not sure what you mean by this, exactly. Care to explain?

Just that I only want to see tasks if they are physically capable of being done. For example, suppose I can't start Task B until I have finished Task A - I would like to set up a dependency such that Task B doesn't appear as a Next activity until Task A has been marked as complete. The Next list can then become a list of things that I can do right now if the fancy takes me, without having to consider each item individually to see if I need to finish something else first.

This isn't as simple as just having "next" activities properly ordered in a project, because sometimes dependencies are external to the project. To take an overly simplistic example, I can't print off a draft in colour before I have bought a new colour cartridge for the printer, but the purchase of the cartridge isn't in the same project as the production of the draft, because it is relevant to multiple projects. Slightly more realistically, suppose I need to check multiple sources (different projects, in any order) and get feedback from multiple reviewers (delegated tasks, in any order) before doing Task X - setting up dependencies to prevent Task X from appearing on my Next list until all the many prerequisites are completed would be handy.

Nor is it as complicated as the dependencies between tasks in project management systems. I don't want to set up anything that might be considered as a foot-in-the-door-of-scheduling - just to limit the activities in my Next list to those which I am actually in a position to address.
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antony
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Sun Mar 23, 2008 4:40 pm Post

Ah, I see. Could be a right bugger to set up, but I can see how it might be useful if you have a lot of task like that.
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Bo
Boys of Summer
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Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:07 pm Post

RobertB wrote:It's down to Things and Omnifocus for me. I like them both though... decisions, decisions...


If you are down to only 2, you are in good shape!

I am down to 7 and wonder if i really want to be THAT efficient. I have grown used to the haze and uncertainty.

H
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Mon Mar 24, 2008 8:36 pm Post

Ah, the two fundamental H's upon which modern society rests: Heisenberg and Hendrix.
.:.
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bh
bhpascal
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Mon Mar 24, 2008 9:32 pm Post

Nicely put!

For what it's worth, I've messed with both Things and OmniFocus, and OmniFocus just works BETTER for me. The killer element? The easy hierarchical ordering of tasks. It's the ability to on-the-fly break a task down into subtasks that all obey the same rules.

Also, I think the comparison to Word is kind of unfair. Word's main sin is that it hurls EVERY SINGLE FEATURE at you in one undifferentiated mass. OmniFocus has many features, and a semi-rigid structure, so you end up using a lot of them. It sort of forces you to understand the underlying mechanics in order to use it effectively. So yes, there are a lot of tools, but you don't HAVE to use all of them. For example, in mine, I NEVER use starting dates or "On Hold" status, but I've found the imposed structure actually a godsend. It's one less thing for me to think about.

Things excels in its more free-wheeling approach. Put another way, the minimal state of Things is MUCH smaller than the minimal state of OmniFocus. The tradeoff is that you lose some of OF's depth, in exchange for greater ability to pick and choose the aspects you want present in your individualized Things usage.

All that said, it comes down to the fact that OF jives better with my brain (maybe because I never quite grokked tagging -- my life is too partitioned, so tags just end up being minimally more useful than folders). But I can ABSOLUTELY see how Things can work better for some hypothetical individual.

Oh, and one other thing? OF is done, and Things is not. I mean, you can't even reorder things in the sidebar in Things by dragging. I don't begrudge a smaller developer a longer cycle, but this kind of program needs to work seamlessly.

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antony
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Mon Mar 24, 2008 11:02 pm Post

While I agree with everything else you said, it's a little unfair to complain that Things isn't "done". It's still in public beta. There was plenty in OF's public beta that didn't work, too.
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bh
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Mon Mar 24, 2008 11:21 pm Post

Sure. Not-doneness isn't a particularly bad thing. I don't blame that at all. But if you need a task manager right now, and you don't have the luxury to wait for Things to finish up, then that weighs HEAVILY in OF's favor.

I think Things will eventually be totally great. Maybe not in the direction I need it to be great to make me switch, but great nonetheless. And there is a lot of value to having a program that works fully available now. Then again, if Things works ENOUGH for what you need it to do, then rock on.