Better location alarms
Okay, I've got a bit of a bone to pick with the current location alarm system for Toodledo on the iPhone.
Because, to be honest, it's useless. I've just turned it off.
All it tells me is where I am. Which is hardly useful, as I already know where I am (and if I don't, I should probably be seeing a doc for Alzheimer's).
Also, the smallest alert distance is a mile. This is still a pretty large distance, and clutters up the screen when I'm in an area with several useful buildings close together (e.g., at a mall). I should be able to set much smaller distances.
What I *really* need to know is what I'm going to be doing there. Instead of a bunch of locations showing on the screen, it should be showing a bunch of tasks I need to do at the location. Preferably with starred/important tasks at the top. That's what I really need to know at a location, and what would be really useful for ensuring I remember to do what I need to do at the location(s).
I would also be able to set an alarm for when I'm leaving an area. iOS 5 has the ability to alert me when I'm leaving a location. A "leaving location" alarm would also work well with a reduced distance, as it's often a reminder to check that I'm not missing something.
The location alarm system was designed to remind you about something that you may have forgotten about for a nearby location. If you are already at the grocery store and already know that you are there to do your grocery shopping, then yes the alarm isn't doing much for you. In this case, you just need to open the app an go into the location section to find the list of tasks for that location. Or, you can go into the "all tasks" list and sort the list by distance which will put all of the nearby locations in one list with the closest and most important tasks at the top.
The smallest alert distance is 1 mile because this the smallest distance that Apple's technology supports without draining the battery in a few hours. When Apple upgrades their technology to allow smaller alert distances, we will do likewise.
Thanks for the suggestion about alarms for leaving a location. We know that "Reminders" has this, and we are evaluating if it is something that we want to add. From my memory, you are the third person to request this, so it isn't a popular request, but we still have it on our to-do list.
I just can't see the point of location alerts. I just check my todo list and filter for the @errands context before I get in the car.
Now that I have built-in bluetooth in my car iPhone alerts are silent anyway unless I have switched the car's audio source to the phone.
"The location alarm system was designed to remind you about something that you may have forgotten about for a nearby location"
Perhaps something like "Home (3 tasks)"?
I guess the reason why I'm having issues is because I use checklists, in some accordance with "The Checklist Manifesto" by Atul Gawande.
These checklists are a bit different from GTD tasks: These are persistent checklists, never meant to be "finished" but rather meant to be referred to as a tool to prevent forgetting certain things. For example, I have a checklist I go through before heading off to work, so that I always arrive at work prepared.
These tasks may be tied to a location, but will never be marked as finished. However, since the location alarm is global rather than tied to certain tasks, it will always remind me I have tasks at the location, even if all of those tasks are from a checklist.
I guess I can set all of my checklists as being at no location, I think I'll go ahead and do that. I don't think I ever search for my checklist tasks by location anyways.
"From my memory, you are the third person to request this, so it isn't a popular request, but we still have it on our to-do list."
Well, it seemed good enough for Apple to add it :/. Being that Apple is known for its sharp focus on simplicity and minimalism, there had to be a compelling reason for them to add it, or it simply wouldn't be there.
This message was edited Feb 20, 2012.
If you always review your to-do list when you get in the car to see if there are any tasks that you need to do on your drive, then you probably don't need our location alarm feature. The location alarm feature was designed for people who don't check their list, and want to get an alert when they happen to be near a location that has a pending task that they didn't know about. This is why the 1 mile radius is suitable for this scenario.
That said, we will be adding more functionality in the future, including the "location leaving" alarm when we get a chance.
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