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Posts tagged ‘GTD’

Ifttt: A Scriptable Social Web

Ifttt, or “If This, Then That”, is a new web service that activates triggers based on specific events. The service works in conjunction with your social networks, so if someone tags you in a photo on Facebook, you could set up a service to send you an SMS. Ifttt has a seemingly unlimited amount of uses. Once you get the hang of creating tasks, you’ll find it difficult to stop creating and tweaking.

When you create a new task, you’re given the ability to specify your trigger. A trigger forms the first part of the task, like the “If this” part. Triggers can come from just about anything: receiving an email, fluctuations in the stock market, changes in weather, particular times of the day or week, or new posts on Facebook, just to name a few.

The second part of the task is the action, or the “then that” part. Ifttt likes to focus a lot of its potential on communication. As a result, the actions generally cover the ability to send a tweet, email, text message or IM. When you put them all together, you can be SMSed once your stock drops below a threshold or texted when you’re tagged in a photo on Facebook.

Ifttt is currently in private beta. Sign up for your own invitation through their sign-up form.

Freedcamp: Totally Free Project Manager

Freedcamp is yet another project management Basecamp competitor. Why do we need another Basecamp competitor? Because Freedcamp is completely free.

The app is divided into a few pages. To-Dos can be added and sorted with AJAX bliss. If you have multiple users signed-up, Discussions act like a private forum. The Milestones tab lets people create to-dos with deadlines. The Time tab tracks hours for billable professions, and it comes with a web-based stopwatch to keep you focused on your work, not on the clock. There’s also a tab for files, because every Freedcamp account comes with 20MB of storage space.

So what’s missing from Freedcamp that we would see from other competitors? Things like a calendar, gigabytes of storage and API interaction that help magnify any app’s abilities were all left out of the launch. But it’s difficult for us to find fault with a free app. In fact, Freedcamp currently doesn’t even offer tiered paid plans at all. The free plan is the only plan.

Freedcamp is capable of satisfying the needs of almost all Basecamp users. Plus, the FAQ section is surprisingly well fleshed out to help you get started quickly.

Apollo: Simplified Project Management

We have calendar web apps, to-do lists, address books and project management web apps. Apollo is a new web app that crosses borders and pulls these services together. It features a to-do list, calendar, sophisticated project management app and address book all on the same page.

Apollo was crafted as a modern web app. We see a high level of attention to detail both with the design and the development. New windows slide down like sheets or panels, which will make Mac users feel right at home. Double-clicking on a particular spot on your calendar springs open a window to create a meeting beginning at that time. Tasks with approaching deadlines dispatch an email reminder to your inbox, giving peace of mind knowing you’re staying on top of your priorities. As a new app, we were blown away to see the features we demand in a calendar app or to-do list app are available.

Each of the individual modules seem to be aware of one another. Your projects can be assigned to multiple people, which also appear in your Tasks, and your Tasks also appear on your calendar. Apollo helps eliminate a lot of individual web apps you may already use in order to create one, single web app to handle it all.

It’s new, but missing a few features. We didn’t see an Import function to get your data out of your existing programs and into Apollo. That means manual transcription for your contacts and calendar items, which may be too high of a barrier for users at this point. Also, features like data export and an API are in the works but not available to users. Apollo likely scaled back a few features in order to launch. We’re looking forward to seeing them added.

These objections don’t really represent a cause of concern. Apollo is refined and polished, so create a free account to see how a modern web app should behave. The service is in a private beta at the moment. Email them for an invite code, and be sure to mention Mini Sprout.

Hardtree: Online Business Management

Business owners have quite the toolbox for managing their businesses. They have their email, but they may also use services that cover CRM, billing, accounting, calendar management and group discussions. New startups are taking a stab at pulling all resources together, giving owners one dashboard and an instant snapshot of their business.

Hardtree is an online business management service. The web app is set up like an online collaboration tool with additional enhancements to make it a true holistic service. Logging in to the service reveals your dashboard, which spotlights new messages or support tickets. Move around Hardtree by clicking on one of its fifteen tabs on your dashboard. Tools are organized by task, which means project management falls under “Projects,” leads are housed in “Sales & Stock,” and your accounting ledger appears under “Finance.”

There’s enough room for everyone on your team too. Add users and create groups for multiple users. You can also specify which users or groups access which tasks pretty simply.

Perhaps what makes Hardtree remarkable is yet to be seen by the public. Business management services like these thrive on creating a singular destination to manage activities. Hardtree will have plenty of data about your organization. Their next step is launching a new module called Intelligence. This feature will be able to make recommendations for your business based on your data. Therefore, it will be able to make data-driven business improvements. We have yet to see how and to what extent this new feature will play a role in Hardtree, but it has the potential to become a business owner’s most trusted advisor.

The service is available in paid tiers starting at £9.99 per month. A free trial is also available.

There’s a lot to explore in Hardtree. Owners may not use each component, but they’ll see a benefit when they tailor the space to their demands. In fact, Hardtree is the type of tool that may make its way into your web browser and remain open all day.

WorkFlowly: Simply Brilliant Organization

WorkFlowly is a new web tool to track your tasks, errands and even random little tidbits you collect throughout the day. The app is set up like a to-do list. Type in items and hit Return to separate them. Each line automatically becomes a bullet in a list. You can add sub-bullets and drag them around, and clicking the Plus sign next to each line expands or collapses items buried within. They also threw in a few keyboard shortcuts for power users.

Any time you have structured lists like these, they have the tendency to get out of control. Some sections will be larger or more significant than others. That’s why, if you click the actual bullet of a line, WorkFlowly takes you to a new page specifically dedicated to that branch. You can isolate branches within branches, which gives the impression of flying through an infinite list with perfect precision.

The developers made it very fast to move around the app. Typing out items feels as responsive as a text editor. In fact, it’s faster to add items in WorkFlowly than in any to-do list web app we’ve ever used.

Since the service is young, the developers are still adding core functionality that probably should have been there since Day 1. For instance, there isn’t support for mobile yet, but they’re working on mobile apps for the iPhone, iPad and Android. They’re also working out some more advanced features like collaborating between users or backing up your lists.

For many people, WorkFlowly may be a perfect option for them. The creators took the overall concept of managing information and stripped out anything that didn’t fit. And through that process, the app almost seems to disappear, leaving nothing but you and your ideas. WorkFlowly lets you focus on what matters at any particular point.

Jume: The Social To-Do List

Many popular online to-do lists capture the day-to-day activities we need to accomplish. Jume is a to-do list that lets us focus on what’s really important.

Here’s what makes Jume so unique. Instead of creating a to-do list for your eyes only, Jume to-dos are shared with the rest of their community. From there, other members can comment on to-dos, offer a helping hand, or motivate by clicking the “like” link. We don’t see items like, “Email So-and-So with directions to event.” Instead, we see the aspirational to-dos that may never make our lists, like “Learn oil painting”, “Buy a brand new motorcycle” or “Look for a bride for my brother”. Realistically, aren’t these goals more significant than anything on our lists at the moment?

What’s really surprising is that similar minds offer their suggestions. In one example, a user posted “Find a college for my MBA”, and another user replied with a list of the top ranked schools in the US. How supportive.

To use Juma, just type in your to-do and login through your Facebook or Google account. From there, you join the constantly updating feed with others.

The community is still young, but we like what we’ve seen so far. Why not join and help it grow?

Projecturf: Project Management Done Well

For years, we’ve watched attentively as companies like 37signals developed apps that serve as no fuss, no flare project management tools. After all, project management is not about tools and charts; it’s about communicating with your team to accomplish your objective. In fact, 37signals’ manifesto and books have helped launch an industry of stripped-down web apps that excel at accomplishing one thing well.

Projecturf is a web-based project management tool that includes the extras. Whereas simple, GTD apps like Basecamp eliminate many features, Projecturf has the potential to serve as a comprehensive tool for project managers. They identified a niche many web app developers have avoided—feature-heavy solutions—and created an app that is surprisingly easy and intuitive to use. For as many features and screens the developers managed to squeeze in, Projecturf’s interface is clean and very well organized.

Getting started comes in the form of importing your contacts from your email service or desktop address book. Manually adding contacts is also available, but Projecturf allows teams to begin using their service as soon as possible.

All of the options you would expect are included: projects, tasks, deadlines, calendars, user access permissions and email notifications. We also found a few surprises that project managers absolutely require: file version tracking, a timer for tracking your work, tracking tickets, and outstanding print support allowing anyone to put together a status sheet in one click.

Projecturf has the potential to become a cornerstone app for any business or project manager. People interested in getting started should be prepared to set Projecturf as their browser’s homepage; it’s that significant. Plans start as $34.99 per month, available as a free trial. If your team is able to benefit from Projecturf’s features, that price is a bargain.