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Windows and Pocket PC Solution. Is there one?

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  • Windows and Pocket PC Solution. Is there one?

    I am getting really frustrated trying to find a GTD software solution that fits well with both Windows and Pocket PC.

    Everything I seem to try has some sort of drawback that I think I can initially live with, but then find that I can't.

    Listpro, OK on Windows, but then has no text wrap on the Pocket PC screen which is irritating the hell out of me, scrolling back and forth to review all of the action text. It doesn't sync only copies the entire file, already once overwrote the file with old data! Plus fonts are a problem, either too big on the Pocket PC or too small in Windows.

    ACT, syncs OK with Pocket PC and then via ACT groups (set as context) I can see things in Pocket Informant under context. But still looks like a daily ToDo list on the PC, everything has to be dated and associated with a contact. New actions created in Pocket Informant will sync back but not attached to the correct contact.

    MyLife Organised, like it but no sync to Pocket PC (only through Outlook). Although Pocket PC edition planned, so it might be a future option!

    TreNotes, looks promising but have to append project title to all of the text because it only has one category field which I have used as Context. So when filtering on Category/Context unless I add the Project title it is not always easy to determine what the Next Action relates to, but one of the better options.

    Outlook, just don't like Outlook and never have!! Though might be a solution... I wish it wasn't. As far as I am concerned it would be a very last resort.

    The best solution I have found so far is ACT for Next Actions and Listpro just to detail projects. But I can't believe there isn't a better solution out there !!

    There must be a piece of software that can give me multiple lists, works on Windows and Pocket PC, that syncs not copies and has all the functionality to create a Project and Context field. Not forgetting that it wraps the text on Pocket PC so I can read it!

    Please somebody tell me there is an easy solution !!!

    Steve

  • #2
    Try PocketThinker

    You might want to take a look at PocketThinker, although, it too may not fit your needs. They have a PC (intergrates with Outlook) and PPC version and free trials at:

    www.pocketthinker.com

    BTW - I haven't found the perfect solution either and try to adapt the tools I've purchased to fit my needs. PocketThinker isn't perfect either but works for me.

    Comment


    • #3
      Some ACT tips

      Originally posted by Steve Wynn
      ACT, syncs OK with Pocket PC and then via ACT groups (set as context) I can see things in Pocket Informant under context. But still looks like a daily ToDo list on the PC, everything has to be dated and associated with a contact. New actions created in Pocket Informant will sync back but not attached to the correct contact.
      To get around the "all-NAs-appear in one list" problem in ACT, use the Groups view. Select a Group (aka Context), then select its Activities. Voila, there's a contextual NA list.

      Dating every NA is a drag, but there's no workaround in ACT.

      For contact-less NAs (ex: wash the car), I associate them with My Record.

      And like other apps, I use the "Project=Contact" approach for project NA management.

      I'm unfamiliar with Pocket Informant, so I'm not sure what to do about the sync back problem. Perhaps using My Record for contact-less NAs solves this??

      Hope that helps. (fyi I'm using ACT 2006, but I think the Groups view is in older versions as well)

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Cuffy_Meigs
        To get around the "all-NAs-appear in one list" problem in ACT, use the Groups view. Select a Group (aka Context), then select its Activities. Voila, there's a contextual NA list.

        Dating every NA is a drag, but there's no workaround in ACT.

        For contact-less NAs (ex: wash the car), I associate them with My Record.

        And like other apps, I use the "Project=Contact" approach for project NA management.

        I'm unfamiliar with Pocket Informant, so I'm not sure what to do about the sync back problem. Perhaps using My Record for contact-less NAs solves this??

        Hope that helps. (fyi I'm using ACT 2006, but I think the Groups view is in older versions as well)

        Hi,

        I am using ACT 6.0

        Having a Group set as context is OK, but I have found in order to keep track of Projects I have to also create a Group for the Project. For general day to day project work just having a Contact set as the Project works OK. But I have found there might be other Contacts who are part of the general Project, so to see a overall view of the entire project I have to associate them with a Project Group. For example 'Call David etc', I could set that as a task for the Project user, but it seem pointless when David is a contact already in the database with all of his contact details linked. So I have been using a Project group with the relevant contacts attached.

        Adding entries on the Pocket PC, there is no association link with a Contact everything sync's back to the My Record. Which is not a major problem because I can then assign them to the relevant contact but it does leave it open for missing the odd item. Completed items do sync OK, so Pocket PC ok as just a checklist but doesn't really lend itself to adding new actions on the move. Well not with the version I have.

        For dates, unless it needs doing today I assign them in the future. Then if I want to see and pick the Next Action on a Project I just change the view from Today to Today and Future. But I must admit its not ideal. There should really be some functionality to allow you to enter non dated items, but there you go.

        I believe ACT 2006 has a Company function now? Could that be used as a Project Heading, with the various contacts Linked ? Or it is a case of all of the contacts within the Company section have to be part of the same Company?

        I also believe SideACT is no longer present in ACT 2006? SideACT is quite useful to make notes, new actions and the transfer to ACT when working on the PC. One of the reasons I have not yet upgraded to 2006.

        Basically I think I am just coming across problems that most people have when they first start out with GTD, trying to adapt an existing system to suit something that is far removed.

        I just don't understand why such a great system such as GTD doesn't seem to have the software to support it. Things that are available lean towards Outlook, which I just don't like. From using ACT I don't think Outlook is either a good task manager, contact manager, calendar or email package. But that is just me.

        I just find it frustrating, after reading the book I thought there would literally be 100's if not 1000's of software applications out there competing for the GTD business.

        Perhaps I am just being too picky, but I know if something niggles me at the moment that stupid niggle could cause me problems later on down the line. Because at the moment I don't feel like I have any sort of 'trusted system'. Everything appears to have holes one way or another.

        I thought it would be easy to implement a GTD system via Windows and Pocket PC, but it is not turning out that way.

        I may just revert back to good old paper and pen.

        All the best

        Steve

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Steve Wynn
          Outlook, just don't like Outlook and never have!! Though might be a solution... I wish it wasn't. As far as I am concerned it would be a very last resort.
          you might find Outlook more palatable if you combine it with MS OneNote. You can try OneNote for free and see if it works for you. I hear the PPC functionality is pretty limited at the moment but my understanding is that it will get better quickly. I don't have a PPC so I can't say from personal experience but it might be useful as is, depending on your needs and what you want to do.

          Tom S.

          Comment


          • #6
            Now, don't start throwing eggs at me, please, but here's a meditation on the outcome of one person's struggle with synchronizing devices and software:

            http://www.diyplanner.com/node/517

            After you've glanced at it and said Oh, that would never work for me, take a more leisurely look and think it over. OK?

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm going to put myself in the line of eggs, too!

              I have used a HP iPaq 1940 for around two years and I love the thing. However, I have really struggled to find a way to get it to work seamlessly as a GTD tool - I tried Mylifeorganized's PPC beta, but until they get sync worked out, I can't use it. And I tried Listpro, which worked pretty well, but was far more firepower than I needed. In the end, what has worked best for me on the PPC is PocketInformant combined with Outlook.

              However... I now mainly use the PPC for playing solitaire, because: I found I could sync my Outlook calendar with Airset (www.airset.com) to store and share my work-related calendar, tasks, and contacts, and access them anywhere I have access to a computer; and for my personal calendar I have a Moleskine pocket diary (which I now update manually onto my new 30boxes calendar so that I can access that even if I leave my diary at home - or if I were to lose it).

              But the lynchpin of it all for me now is my Moleskine pocket notebook, in which I have tabbed sections for each context, plus a page of projects, a page of research, and a page each for my two main Agendas. I was inspired to try this after reading this blog - http://blogs.msdn.com/omars/archive/...29/362989.aspx - and I've not looked back! I use it as my main collecting tool, writing down everything I think of while away from my computer.

              I then manually input things from all contexts (except @errands, because these I can usually only do when I'm in my nearest village or in town, so I just leave them in the notebook) into my PC when I get back to my desk. I have tried a few ways of working on the PC: GTD Tiddlywiki is beautiful and fun to work with, Mylifeorganized is great. But I have made a change this week, mainly because of the complications of syncing these tools between two computers - my system was working well, whether I chose to email the data to myself in each location or sync it to my pen-drive, but then one day I mistakenly overwrote the more recent version of my MLO data file. So I have signed up for a $5/month Backpack account so that I can have a page for each context, easily accessible (again) from anywhere I have access to a computer. So far, it's working brilliantly.

              There is talk on the 30boxes forum about working in some GTD functionality - if they do that, and get it working as elegantly as the calendar, I see myself moving everything across to that. Everything, that is, except the Moleskines - they're here to stay.
              Last edited by m_s; 02-09-2006, 11:55 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi Guys,

                I can see the benefit of a paper system. In fact I think the process of just writing something down for getting it out of your mind is great. Sometimes computer systems can come across as almost clinical, at least to your own mind. Computer systems seem to draw you into a way of thinking that is not always natural.

                Though saying that there is a lot to be said for a computer systems, speed of information retrieval etc.

                I have to admit that I am a bit of a geek when it comes to computers and gadgets. I can't really see myself adopting a paper system where I have to write things down, mainly because I type much faster than I write.

                I also think the PDA market really needs to look at how people work. Most people I know only use a PDA for Contacts, Calculator, Notes etc. I mean in theory GTD should be ideally suited to a PDA, just at the moment there isn't a great software solution available for Windows and Pocket PC. GPS seems to be the only thing that is really keeping the PDA market alive.

                What I am contemplating doing is getting a good Windows Solution implemented, then perhaps a portable paper solution with printed lists etc.

                Now I just need to find a Windows Solution that I am happy with

                I will post a separate question on another piece of software I want to try.

                But thanks for all the feedback

                Steve

                Comment


                • #9
                  I am VERY happy with my iPAQ hx4700. It came with Pocket Informant 5, but then I bought the upgrade to version 2005. I use it for Calendar, and Tasks mainly. I do walk around with 3x5 cards in my pocket (I am a 1-man IT department for a local municipality) for the things that come up. Then throughout the day, I input them in to the PDA.

                  I have been contemplating moving to a web-based solution. I am looking at Tracks and actually leaning towards implementing that. But I have also looked at Backpack a lot also.

                  Hope this helps.
                  Michael

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I was a Palm user until recently - using a Sony Clie UX50 for my GTD system.

                    I found that the best software by far was NoteStudio (http://dogmelon.com.au/ns/) which is a 'personal wiki'. It is quick and easy to edit, which made it ideal for notetaking. And the ability to easily create hyperlinks between pages makes it brilliant for creating easily navigable reference books.

                    I used NoteStudio for my Project support material and Reference material (it lets you create separate 'books' to divide these).

                    Then used the default Palm OS apps for Calendared actions, Next Action Lists and Waiting For list.

                    I've since moved to Windows Mobile, and really miss NoteStudio - there really is nothing like it on WM. But they say that a Windows Mobile version is a possibility (http://dogmelon.com.au/nsforum/viewtopic.php?t=813) so who knows...?

                    EDIT: PS - it is possible to get NoteStudio to export your wiki as plain HTML which you can sync (almost) automatically with your WM PDA for viewing in Internet Explorer... so you've got your notes with you, even if not editable
                    Last edited by dalelane; 02-19-2006, 10:39 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      cyAct for GTD

                      Have you ever looked at cyAct by cyWren Software? They have a desktop and PPC version that I've been playing with for a while now.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by donaldr
                        Have you ever looked at cyAct by cyWren Software? They have a desktop and PPC version that I've been playing with for a while now.
                        Hi

                        This looks quite promising from just reviewing their Website, I will download a copy and have a play.

                        Thanks

                        Steve

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          reviving an old thread

                          I've had a go at writing my own Windows / Windows Mobile solution - a wiki-based notetaking app.

                          Since I've started using it, I've found my personal GTD system working much better. I've got everything I need with me at all times, and have been able to make use of lots of bits of time to work on my notes, and review and plan projects.

                          If anyone else thinks it might help them too, please feel free to give it a try.

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