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Looking for the "right" desktop app for GTD

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  • Looking for the "right" desktop app for GTD

    Hello,

    Well, do you want a short or a long story?

    The short version would be: What desktop-based application, either cross-platform, for Linux, or for Windows (provided it can work in Linux through Wine) would you recommend for use with GTD?

    The long one: as clearly not everyone's needs are same, I, despite my best efforts, find myself caught up in the trap of trying and failing to find the right desktop application to implement GTD with. I admit I have been warned not to try to adopt a new app and the GTD methodology itself at the same time or it might get back at me, but that is what is actually happening at this time. If that's of interest, I am using Fedora Linux, but I'd gladly use a Windows app if it would run through Wine (most do nowadays). That means I differentiate software by merit (good vs. bad), not by ideology (free vs. non-free).

    I recall hearing David Allen say in a podcast that you should use whatever you are familiar and comfortable with, but that only led me to the broader problem that I have never been truly comfortable with any PIM -- to me, all of them seem to be geared either at corporate world or at hobbyists, with nothing decent in between that I am aware of. Now, the amount of work I have to do might be somewhat comparable to a corporate executive, but its type is way too different, as are my personal needs, values and lifestyle -- this also calls for a different application.

    Namely, I need to dismiss Outlook-style applications as I do not want my email to be coupled with my task lists -- this is not to say that I don't get much email, rather that email is not the central source of input for me. The other reason is that I have grown accustomed to the Unix philosophy that a program should do one thing and do it well -- that means I want to have an email client and a task list manager as separate applications. I am also mindful of not exposing my personal information to security vulnerabilities that are so common in communication programs. I know I can't have absolute security and privacy as long as I am connected to the Internet and don't live in a cave, but I tend to mitigate risks as much as possible. That also explains partly why I don't want to store some of my highly sensitive data "in the cloud", but as I was active in programming and developing software mainly in the early days of PCs, modern OSs and WWW, and in days before all of those, I guess I am plainly unaccustomed to the whole cloud thing.

    So, having dismissed Outlook, Evolution, various calendaring plugins etc, and also all web apps that don't have a standalone frontend, I looked at the apps advertised as simple (Tasks, Tasque, GTG etc.), and they instantly reminded me of the Einstein quote in the book: "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -- they all seemed a bit simpler than possible. OTOH, TaskCoach and Chandler are somewhat more like what I am looking for, even if bloated a bit, but they are slow as hell -- I suppose the choice of Python as the development language might have added up to this considerably. And I plainly dislike Sunbird.

    So, I am at a loss as to what to use from now on and hope some of you could come up with a good suggestion. In a nutshell, what I need from a GTD app:
    1. Desktop-based (cross-platform, for Linux specifically or for Windows if it works through the Wine compatibility layer).
    2. Open source or shareware: I like and support open source, but I wouldn't mind purchasing an app that can meet my needs provided that it would allow me to try it before I buy it.
    3. Efficiency: it must support quick entry, copying and deletion of actions.
    4. Simplicity: tasks and possible calendars, but without mail functionality.
    5. Synchronization: as I don't have a PDA currently (but I am considering getting one), this is more desirable than necessary, but nevertheless a sync plugin or another sync possibility would be nice.

    Thank you for your suggestions,
    Dusan
    Last edited by dusanv; 09-19-2009, 04:41 PM. Reason: rephrasing part of sentence that could have been misinterpreted as my formal job title

  • #2
    try this http://tombo.sourceforge.jp/En/download.html

    it is a .txt based tree view list. all info are stored in different .txt file.
    it has pocket pc version and desktop version.
    it has customisable virtual folder where u can filter and pulled key words related .txt together in 1 view. (i use this to filter my context list)
    it is small and fast. and it is a freeware.

    .txt can be read in all platform (i believe, unless i am wrong) so it is basically cross platform.

    i am using this to manage all my list. except outlook for calendar. hope it helps!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by dusanv View Post

      So, I am at a loss as to what to use from now on and hope some of you could come up with a good suggestion. In a nutshell, what I need from a GTD app:
      1. Desktop-based (cross-platform, for Linux specifically or for Windows if it works through the Wine compatibility layer).
      2. Open source or shareware: I like and support open source, but I wouldn't mind purchasing an app that can meet my needs provided that it would allow me to try it before I buy it.
      3. Efficiency: it must support quick entry, copying and deletion of actions.
      4. Simplicity: tasks and possible calendars, but without mail functionality.
      5. Synchronization: as I don't have a PDA currently (but I am considering getting one), this is more desirable than necessary, but nevertheless a sync plugin or another sync possibility would be nice.

      Thank you for your suggestions,
      Dusan
      One possibility is the various developments associated with Taskpaper by Hogbay software. While Taskpaper is mac only, it uses text files, and there are several implementations, e.g., a similar pc program and an implementation in vim.

      Comment


      • #4
        I am sorry for the somewhat late reply, I had to do some "work as it showed up".

        Thanks to mcogilvie and matsuru for suggesting some applications, I have installed them through Wine, and I have to report that they work with lots of inconsistencies and data losses. As I haven't followed the Wine developments lately (I only run a very limited number of trusted programs through it), I assume that it is Wine's fault. I looked at their application database, and despite of some 12000+ of supported apps, many of those are games, while useful apps are officially supported only if they are popular enough -- it is pitiful that the Wine project has shifted its initial goals so drastically. I don't think the result would be any different with the commercial Crossover, as it's the same codebase. But I do appreciate your suggestions, as I have managed to grasp the key concepts of the suggested apps, and that might have pointed me to the right direction.

        Todopaper (Hog Bay Software endorsed Taskpaper equivalent for Windows) has certain concepts very similar to the open source Linux tool called Getting Things Gnome, namely the @ sign is used for tags and the "-" for subtasks. I had previously disregarded GTG mainly because of the bashing of the competing apps displayed at their website, and because of an awful documentation, though this seems to have improved over time. With that aside, if you use Taskpaper/Todopaper, I am curious to know how do you make Projects list -- the most sensible thing to do, in my opinion, would be to create a tag called @Project and attach it to all the projects, am I right?

        As for TOMBO, it has, coincidentally or not, reminded me of a Gnome app called Tomboy -- I can see that Tomboy's new version has support for multiple "notebooks" (which could be used for different types of GTD lists), and also supports synchronization with another computer. Although I never really thought about using it for to-do lists (despite its being advertised for such purpose), this new version might be worth a try. As for sync with a PDA, I guess that I need not worry about it before I decide to buy one.

        And my question for other GTDers who do not use Outlook for GTD: what desktop application do you use, regardless of an OS? When I say desktop-based, I am referring to the application model different from web-based or mobile-based, and not to imply the app could not be used on a laptop, netbook or any other similar computer.

        Dusan

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by dusanv View Post

          Todopaper (Hog Bay Software endorsed Taskpaper equivalent for Windows) has certain concepts very similar to the open source Linux tool called Getting Things Gnome, namely the @ sign is used for tags and the "-" for subtasks. I had previously disregarded GTG mainly because of the bashing of the competing apps displayed at their website, and because of an awful documentation, though this seems to have improved over time. With that aside, if you use Taskpaper/Todopaper, I am curious to know how do you make Projects list -- the most sensible thing to do, in my opinion, would be to create a tag called @Project and attach it to all the projects, am I right?

          Dusan
          I think the format originated with Hog Bay, where a line ending in a colon ":" is a project. However, @Project is viable. If you can't get Todopaper to work, did you consider Taskpaper.vim? This uses the same format in vi.
          A link is at http://www.hogbaysoftware.com/wiki/T...elatedProjects. I also recall Lifehacker and some other sites have reviewed systems that do everything with scripts, but then there is the portable device issue...

          Comment


          • #6
            I personally use the GTD plugin for outlook as 70+% of my tasks come from e-mail and it just makes the process easier for me. However, a lot of people in my office are using Thinking Rock and are very happy with it. I believe it would work on linux.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
              I think the format originated with Hog Bay, where a line ending in a colon ":" is a project. However, @Project is viable. If you can't get Todopaper to work, did you consider Taskpaper.vim? This uses the same format in vi.
              Thank you for resuggesting taskpaper.vim, as it seems that, when viewing briefly its webpage, I completely overlooked the filetype plugin for vim! I thought that filetype detection stuff and syntax file were all that was there. Now, taskpaper.vim (with the said plugin) is a much more useful thing than it appeared at first glance. With just 3 keystrokes (this can be easily remapped locally to 2 or just 1 keystroke) you can have a context list, project list and all of the other GTD lists in a simple and intuitive format. This also eliminates the need for tagging projects explicitly as such. A vim implementation is also good for being independent of the underlying desktop environment, and sometimes you may not have a DE at all (e.g. when booting in single user mode for maintenance). I am definitely going to be using taskpaper.vim for a week, so I can report my experiences.

              Now, vi, and consequently vim as well, is my favorite text editor -- I am somewhat selective though, as I use vim mainly for editing code or config files or HTML (though that's code too in the broader sense), while I prefer GUI tools for the creative writing kind of stuff. As GTD lists fall in neither of those categories, I think I am just going to get a different vim color scheme to use specifically for GTD.

              Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
              I also recall Lifehacker and some other sites have reviewed systems that do everything with scripts, but then there is the portable device issue...
              I haven't investigated this much, but I do believe the sync with a text file-based system as taskpaper.vim could indeed be performed by scripts, having in mind OpenSync project and their file-sync plugin.

              Dusan

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by tammie333 View Post
                I personally use the GTD plugin for outlook as 70+% of my tasks come from e-mail and it just makes the process easier for me. However, a lot of people in my office are using Thinking Rock and are very happy with it. I believe it would work on linux.
                What confuses me about ThinkingRock is its concept of Thoughts -- this would seem equivalent to, or a subset of, Stuff in GTD terms, but it might imply the intended purpose of the program is only mental gathering and the associated workflow. Eventually I'll ask this on their forum, but I am curious to know if the people using ThinkingRock have various kinds of inputs as opposed to only their internal thinking. Other than that, it looks a fairly decent program.

                Dusan

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