I discovered an amazing iPhone/web based app yesterday morning; reQall pronounced similar to recall i assume. At its core its just another task management utility with a web based part and a fairly groovy iPhone part, that in itself is not that earth shattering as there are many, many task manager apps available for the iPhone, hell my cats even have a task manager iPhone app (okay they haven’t, but that would be cool and there are certainly enough folks making these task apps that someone must, eventually, create one to facilitate some kind of feline requirement). Much as some of them are okay, a couple of them could even be classed as good, they are not good enough to make me spend my evening commute gently caressing them with my kind words. reQall is more, so much more!
I have tried a number of task apps; i always spend half an hour or so adding all the post-it notes from around my computer and all the text files on my desktop to a system that i think is going to resolve all my organization issues. Huzzah, i think, but after 2 days, a week at the most, i can’t be bothered keeping it up to date and it falls out of use, abandoned and rather unhappy with its lot in life; much like my Creative Zen. I then tried task widgets; i have a number of task widgets on my Mac dashboard that i never use and will never use again, they were all somewhat poo and other than checking what time it is in Miami (for some unknown reason i do that from time to time) i rarely look at my Dashboard. Recently i have been using a simple notepad and pen, an archaic method of task organization some might say, but it worked… to a point. When i add a task that i never get round to, it stays on page one, so after a few days i have 4 or 5 pages of tasks all with 3 or 4 tasks left on them, then in an effort to reduce the amount of scribbled pages on my desk i collate all the pages into one page and start again, this was begining to bug me and i needed something else.
I tried Memiary on a reccomendation of my girlfriend who has used it in the classroom (she is a primary school teacher) and has been raving about it, so much so she felt the need to blog about it, so i thought i should give it a whirl. The principal of memiary is that you log the 5 things you have done that day. I thought this might work if i used it slightly differently, if i logged the 5 things i MUST do that day and refer back to it on my commutte home (i get the bus, i did not plan to do this while driving) it mivght do the job. Everyone has looooooooong do-to lists but most folks only have a handful of things they must do and the rest are things that have no time scale for or would be great if they manage to get to it but the world is not going to end if they do not get to them. Memiary worked well for a period but i found myself needing more from it, its a great service with a simple and easy to use iPhone app, but it just didn’t do what i wanted it to do. DISCLAIMER: Memiary is a great service, i just wanted it to do something it didn’t do, it wasn’t their fault. Its kinda like asking a monkey to produce orange juice from its big toe, it might try its best but at the end of the day thats not what it was designed to do.
This morning on my commute i was, as i do most days, listening to one of the fine podcasts from the TWiT network; MacBreak weekly. Those of you who listen to this podcast will know that at the end of the show every week they have recommendations, this usually focuses around iPhone apps and other Apple related paraphernalia. This mornings (or rather show number 152’s) recommendation from Leo Laporte was a task management service called reQall.
As i have said above; it is, at its core, a regular task based application. You add tasks, they appear in lists which you can tick off when you have completed that task, the service will also send you an alert via email/SMS/calendar alert when the task is half an hour from being due… again, groovy but not earth shattering. The bit that made me squeal like a 6 year old on Christmas morning was the voice recording!
So, i install reQall on my iPhone, i login for the first time, i see a large + button in the top right corner, “this must be how i add a task” i assume. So i push the button, the next message i see tells me “touch the screen to add a task” so i do it. Then, similar to the voice commands that came to the iPhone with V3 i see some commands float across the screen “Buy”, “meet with”, “at home”, “at work” to list a few. So i start to talk “Meet with Kirsty at home at 6pm today”, i touch the screen to stop recording. After a few seconds the task appears, fully annotated, correctly i might add, and in my task list for today. So far this is pretty cool, so i read on. The next thing i find is that i can subscribe to this feed from within iCal, so i set that up, and lo and behold i have a task at 6pm today entitled “meet with Kirsty” location “home”… Awesome!
So far this does everything i could ever need it to do! Its web based, it has an awesome iPhone app, it works with voice control, what more could i want?
Well, if you add a task and say “buy apples” it adds Apples to a shopping list within the app! When you go to the shops and buy apples you just tick it off!
In the iPhone app you can set you location based on GPRS, why? well, when you are at work, and you have tasks listed for home as in “cut the grass” or “empty the cat litter” they won’t appear in your main task feed!
How much does it cost? I certainly exchange a small pile of gold fennings for such a service but no, almost everything i have listed is free! from what i can tell the only things you don’t get with the free pack is the “at home”/”at work” functionality. So you want that functionality? $29 a year (yes dollars not pounds, i can’t be bothered to do the exchange) so that’s less than £2 a month!
My only problem with it, or perhaps i should more accurately describe it is a mild concern is, with most new things on t’internet, will it be around for a while? I am worried about hitching my carriage up to services and becoming dependent on them in case they disappear/run out of funding, etc… I only just 2 weeks ago started using a Flickr account as i decided Yahoo was here to stay, but then last week Microsoft stepped in and suggested otherwise. So i guess you can never be sure how will stay and who will go in this market so you have 2 options, buy nothing, experience nothing and you won’t be disappointed or only buy the stuff you read about that looks awesome and experience things you hear about that you believe are awesome.
If you are the latter; buy into this service. Give the folks at reQall some of your hard earned, if you don’t, they might run out of money and the service might go away and i would be sad!
Oh, and it has a similar Blackberry app, but who wants a Blackberry? 😉