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bcmyers

Posted: Sep 22, 2013



I didn't love the initial redesign of the iOS app, but with the subtle changes you've made it's now easily readable and attractive. Everything is crisp and clear, and there are just enough pops of color. I was vocal about my displeasure with the initial app redesign, so it's only fair that I should be equally vocal with my praise about the latest version. Excellent work!
bcmyers

Posted: Aug 15, 2013





This message was edited Aug 16, 2013.
bcmyers

Posted: Mar 01, 2013



Posted by Christoph Dollis:

But ... the general philosophy of Toodledo in how it thinks about automatic task sorting with a large variety of options that can be turned on or off and such ... I remain a ProPlus subscriber for a reason. Toodledo has allowed me to design a system that really, really helps my life.


You hit the nail right on the head. Jake and his team really get it. Toodledo isn't as sexy as some other things I've tried but I don't have to think about how to use it. That frees up my mind to think about what I should be focusing on: my work.

I'm a GTD guy, through and through. The key with a good GTD system is that it should be so easy to use you can work it even when you're knocked on your butt with the flu. Toodledo fits the bill.

Basically, Toodledo goes anywhere I want it to and it reflects back at me what I need to know, when I need to know it. That's what a GTD trusted system is supposed to do, no more and no less.

As for the mobile app, I'm not trying to invalidate the experience of the iPad users at all. From what I've seen from playing with the new iPhone app, though, I like it.
bcmyers

Posted: Mar 01, 2013



I was one of the more vocal critics of the first attempt to redesign the app, and I had publicly stated based on screenshots that I expected to dislike the second attempt at a redesign. I was wrong.

There are a few things design-wise I still don't like but the functionality is great. The app flows nicely, the UI is still very intuitive, and it's easy to use. I expect the bugs will be worked out and this app will ultimately be as rock-solid stable as the prior version.

Lesson learned: don't pre-judge. Props to Jake and the rest of the Toodledo team. You're still the reigning champs in the productivity app space.
bcmyers

Posted: Feb 20, 2013



I was one of the more vocal critics of v 3.0 of the mobile app. Based on the screenshot Jake posted I don't think I love the re-redesign either. I'm not going to say why, though. Because it doesn't matter. I've tried everything and folks... some of you don't know how good we have it with Toodledo.

Long story short: in Dec I signed up to beta test some whiz-bang does-everything productivity app (I'm not going to name it because I don't want to derail this thread). It's been a nightmare and I've realized my productivity has tanked as a result of using this competing app. The final straw came when I read the app's privacy policy. I realized they're sharing personally identifiable data with partners (who are under "confidentiality agreements," as though that guarantees anything) in order to turn a buck. Screw that.

Toodledo isn't perfect. But I have tried upwards of 20 cloud-based productivity apps and Toodledo is the only that GETS IT. A productivity app should make you more productive, not get in your way. Toodledo was clearly designed with this in mind. Toodledo has an intuitive UI, and is customizable enough to suit the individual without requiring an advanced degree in computer science to figure the damn thing out. Moreover, Toodledo's privacy policy is a simple one: no sharing of personally identifiable data unless legally required to. I can live with that.

My search for the perfect productivity app is over. I'm in the process of migrating my tasks back to Toodledo and I feel like I've come home.

As far as the mobile app goes: I bet it will still be better than anything else I've tried. So... if there's stuff I don't like... whatever. We've got it good with Toodledo.
bcmyers

Posted: Dec 12, 2012



I'd like to respectfully suggest that those of you who liked the 3.0 UI ought to avoid trying to read the minds and hearts of those of us who didn't. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn't mean he or she is hyper-emotional or otherwise irrational. Unless you believe you are all-knowing and all-wise, it's best to simply accept that it's OK for people to have opinions other than your own.

That being said I'm glad I have this opportunity to say publicly that I was very unfair to Jake in the thread announcing the debut of v3.0 of the iPhone app. I stand by my negative opinion of the redesign, but my opinion of Jake himself was unfounded. Rolling back to the prior version of the app was a pretty bold move.

Yes, Jake was under pressure to do so. I can tell you, however, that other, larger companies have responded with far less speed and with poorer results under similar circumstances. A few months back I upgraded to Quicken 2013 because of the advertised mobile capabilities. It took them two months and eight patches to get that and other key functionality working. Intuit's response throughout the ordeal was, "We're working on it." The new Toodledo iPhone app wasn't even "broken" per se but Jake acted swiftly and decisively to give customers what they wanted.

As a result of the issues with the iPhone app I had decided to experiment with some other alternatives. I found some things I liked about Nirvanahq, so I signed up for a monthly subscription and had begun moving my data. After using Nirvana for a bit I found myself dissatisfied. Some of the features were nice but for the most part the web and iPhone apps added an unnecessary level of complexity to my GTD practice. (I'm a big believer that one's GTD "systems" need to be REALLY simple -- simpler than I think the vast majority of people make them.)

So I'm back to Toodledo and I feel like I've come home. I've experimented with probably two dozen online list managers and I can tell you that Toodledo has won every round by a knockout. Why? Two reasons: ease of use and customizability. It took me about 10 minutes to figure out how to use Toodledo, and the interface is laid out logically.

As for customizability, Toodledo is amazing. There isn't another cloud-based list manager that I've seen that has as many features as Toodledo offers. I don't want most of those features, but that's no problem. The ones I don't want can be easily suppressed. I can easily sort my data however I want to. I choose the simplest option -- alphabetically -- but there are list managers that don't even let you do that. Again, that's my point: you can make Toodledo your own.

One thing I forgot: the sync capability of the Toodledo iPhone app is rock-solid. I have never -- NEVER -- had an issue with sync conflicts or lost data in three plus years of using Toodledo. That's huge.

So I'm back and when my Pro Plus subscription is due I'll renew.

I will give a five-star review for the Toodledo iPhone app when I get the chance. I'd also suggest that anyone who is as happy with Toodledo as I am should consider talking it up in other online forums. For example I'll post something at the David Allen Co forums. Why? Toodledo is worth having around. Jake just took a hit and I don't mind spending a couple of minutes doing some guerilla marketing.

By the way, I didn't think v 3.0 of the iPhone app was an abomination. With the addition of color and better contrast, and the option to adjust the size of the text, I think I could get used to it. For those who think those are minor complaints, I disagree. I go back to my first point: you have your opinion, but I'm entitled to mine.
bcmyers

Posted: Dec 08, 2012



Posted by mpc_janssen:
I don't really need a link between projects and actions, because I am fairly strict with my weekly review which I found is another essential ingredient to make GTD work.


You beat me to the punch! Many people overcomplicate GTD and then wonder why it isn't working for them. You definitely get it. Creating links between next actions and projects often creates more stress, not less. If I have a complicated project with lots of moving parts I'll keep a separate list of subprojects and next actions. When I do my weekly review I just make sure that anything on the project that is currently do-able is in the appropriate next actions list. It doesn't need to be any fancier than that.
bcmyers

Posted: Dec 01, 2012



Some people here are expressing different opinions, which is healthy. Although some seem to feel a need to "prove" their opinion of the app is best, which I think isn't worthwhile when it comes to something this subjective. No one is right or wrong here. The only question is what makes most sense from a business perspective? Some parting thoughts:

1. A lot of people commenting here share my feeling that the new monochromatic color scheme is a major negative. Very few people seem to have expressed such a dislike of the old color scheme. That leads me to wonder why the UI was redesigned in this fashion, and whether it might not be worth investing in an update that at least gives us a choice of color scheme.

2. There are those who feel the new functionality is fantastic. Others, like myself, find it is not a game-changer. None of us are wrong. Value is subjective. Jake will have to decide for his own future reference whether he made the right decisions about the features in the new app.

3. I did say that RTM has a nicer-looking iPhone app, but those paraphrasing me are omitting something else causing me to seriously look at RTM: the ease of converting an email to a task. It's far easier to do that in RTM than in Toodledo.

4. I've been experimenting with RTM and I have my misgivings about it. I also have my misgivings about Toodledo -- primarily Jake's apparent attitude towards customers who complain. Again, I've read remarks from Jake in other threads in these forums where he has betrayed irritation with customers who have expressed concerns or who have questioned him. It's one thing to tell a customer who is verbally abusive or trying to take advantage of you to mind his p's and q's but that wasn't the case in these instances. This is my greatest concern about Toodledo. I want to feel that as a paying customer my concerns are given a fair hearing, even if ultimately the end result is that nothing is going to change. I can accept that. I can't accept being dismissed out of hand.

Again, I have chosen to stay with Toodledo because its advantages still far outweigh those of RTM, which I consider to be its nearest competitor in terms of quality. As long as that's the case, I'll probably stick around.

I expect there will be some pretty... interesting... interpretations of anything I write, no matter how clear. It seems to go with the territory on the Web. Nevertheless I think I've said my piece and will let the chips fall where they may.
bcmyers

Posted: Dec 01, 2012



Oh, and one other thing, Jake. Being in sales, I've learned that customer complaints are usually a good thing in that you're getting a chance to address those complaints. I'm not complaining in this forum because I enjoy being negative. I'm doing it because I think Toodledo is worthwhile enough that I should give you a chance to keep my business. You get me? I like getting customer complaints better than I like customers getting fed up and walking away without saying anything.
bcmyers

Posted: Dec 01, 2012



Posted by Jake:
I am sorry for using the phrase "knee-jerk". I guess I had a knee-jerk reaction myself to all the criticism.


I get upset with customers as well. As I said, though, I do all of my venting in private. This isn't the first time I've seen you get irritated with customers in these forums. It always surprises me.

You may be interested to know that despite my misgivings about the redesign of your iPhone app I've been forced to the conclusion that Toodledo is still the best choice for my needs. RTM has a couple of advantages over Toodledo: it's easier to convert an e-mail into a task using RTM, and RTM's iPhone app is now far more visually appealing than Toodledo's. Toodledo's advantages, however, outweigh those of any competitor that I've tried. Toodledo's web interface isn't pretty but everything is in the right place. A great deal of the functionality you offer is stuff I consider to be overkill but I can easily suppress the features I don't want to use, and each individual can customize the web interface to suit his or her work style. The web interface is incredibly intuitive; when I tried it out I just played with it and in ten minutes I knew most of what I needed to know. Your iPhone app is still better than any I've tried, for many of the same reasons that the web app beats the competition.

Still, the competition is likely not resting on their laurels. A couple of suggestions to consider:
1. Offer users the ability to customize the color scheme for both the web and iPhone apps. I find the overwhelming greyness of both to be harder on the eyes than a color scheme with more contrast would be. This actually detracts from the practicality of both apps rather than adds to it.
2. Bring back the option of reducing the font size for tasks in the iPhone app's task list.

I sell software for a living. I understand the need to constantly innovate and get ahead of the curve. You can't react to the market. By then it's too late. You have to get ahead of the market. But the new iPhone app again strikes me as solution looking for a problem. You've taken away the things that were best about the iPhone UI -- the look and the customizability -- and in return provided functionality that to me just isn't a game-changer.

It appears to me (and I realize appearances can be misleading, but this is my perception) that this was what I call a "developer's development." Stuff that looks cool to a developer doesn't always bang a gong with customers.

I realize in today's technology world the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" mentality just won't fly. You have to innovate. From my perspective, though, the iPhone app redesign was a step back.

I'd urge you to give thought to the user feedback you're receiving, as difficult as it may be to hear such negative things about your "baby." The prior version of the iPhone app is something I'd've been willing to pay for. I've paid money for far worse iPhone task apps. Toodledo is still my choice, for now. But the new iPhone app has actually narrowed the gap between you and the competition rather than widened it.


This message was edited Dec 01, 2012.
bcmyers

Posted: Nov 30, 2012



Posted by Jake:
Naturally, with such a big change there will be mixed reviews and knee-jerk reactions, however I am pleased that the worst complains are about font sizes and colors.


I'm in sales, so I know a bit about the need to provide good customer service. A word to the wise: you never EVER want to refer to customer complaints as "knee-jerk reactions" even if you're certain that's what they are. It's OK to complain about certain customers in the privacy of your offices when no clients are within earshot. You do not ever want to do that publicly. To do so implies a condescending attitude towards your customers that many find off-putting. You may include me in that number.

I've been happy Toodledo user for quite a while now, and I even bought a subscription to get some of the premium features. One of the things that made me fiercely loyal to Toodledo was the excellent iPhone app. It was far-and-away better than any other to-do app for the iPhone I had tried.

Your latest update was a solution looking for a problem. The color scheme was perfect as it was: pleasant to look at and perfectly readable. Your new grey-on-grey color scheme lacks contrast. It is neither easy on the eyes nor easily readable. Removing the option to change the font size takes an option away from me that I really liked.

The new features and improvements don't impress me. They don't address any of the things I use a to-do app for.

I've been experimenting with Remember The Milk because they make it easier to convert an email into a task than Toodledo. With Toodledo there are so many operators (an ! will set the priority, a hyphen will do something else, etc) that it's easy to forget and include some common punctuation that screws up the subject line for the task that ends up in Toodledo. Or else it's easy to make a mistake with the syntax and something doesn't end up in the right context, or with the right due date, or whatever. Remember The Milk doesn't have that problem.

I bring that up because I was already playing with Remember The Milk. Your new iPhone app, which seems to have been developed with the developer in mind and not the end user, is probably going to push me right into RTM's arms. RTM doesn't offer as much functionality as Toodledo, but frankly I've learned I don't need all of that functionality. Most of it is a distraction.

You may dismiss me as a "knee-jerk" if you wish. Just remember that I'm a paying subscriber and if I don't renew, you may find you miss my "knee-jerk" revenue. Thanks.
bcmyers

Posted: Sep 14, 2012



wksims86 -- I realize your handle isn't "sksims86." I thought I corrected this typo but either I didn't or something happened when I clicked "Post Reply."
bcmyers

Posted: Sep 14, 2012



sksims86, I've read Getting Things Done three times over the last several years and your critique bears little resemblance to the what's in the book. Others have already done a credible job of pointing out the flaws in your analysis so I'll simply say "ditto."

As for the idea that GTD is too dated because technology has blurred the lines between the contexts David Allen suggested in 2002, I just can't see it. Yes, I have a phone with me all the time now but I'm not going to make calls during a meeting with a client, or at 2 am when most everyone else in my timezone is in bed. So an @Calls context still makes sense. As for the ubiquity of the Internet, which is now available to anyone with a smartphone and a good network signal, I simply created an @Web and @Email context. How hard is that? @Office, @Home, @Boss and the rest still apply (I can't do home repair while in the office, or put together packets of marketing materials stored in a closet in my office while I'm at the airport).

I've read your explanations of your system and I think no matter how you slice it, you've way over-engineered this. It is true that David Allen has said to simplify a complex event you need a complex system. He has also said for your system to work it must be easy enough that you could maintain it even if you have the flu. I agree with him, based on my own direct experience with GTD (the methodology I use today) and other systems I've tried in the past.

My own GTD system simply reflects back at me what I need to see, when I need to see it. I don't have to put a lot of thought into maintaining it, so I can spend more time doing the things that I've parked in my various lists when I can and should be doing them.

I'm not going to attempt to persuade you to dial your system back a notch because frankly it's your life to do with as you please. But you put this out there for people to discuss so I thought I'd chime in with my two cents' worth.
bcmyers

Posted: Jul 23, 2012
From Topic: limitations of GTD



Posted by petec_:
This thread has me coming to the conclusion that the only limitations of GTD are those imposed by the user and his/her pre-conceptions.


Indeed. I think my own pre-conceived notions were a significant reason why my past attempts at implementing GTD had failed. GTD goes against conventional wisdom, which teaches us to manage time with daily to-do lists and static priority codes. That's why so many people, even me, can read what is a plainly written and straightforward book and come away with so many misconceptions.

I had actually first encountered GTD via a blog in 2007. I tried to put to work what I'd gleaned from that blog. Of course that was unsuccessful. About 6 months later I bought the book and read it. I tried more than once between 2007 and 2009 to implement GTD and failed. I pretty much gave up in 2009.

This year I started a new job and I felt a need for a system that would enhance my productivity. Something was nagging at me to give GTD a try again and I thought, "Why not?" For whatever reason when I read the book again it was a different experience. It all made sense and I've been much better able to utilize the concepts.

I think my first hurdle was my fixation on lists, and improving my lists, and making them cooler with technology. When I read GTD most recently, I realized that the only function of my lists was to reflect back to me what I needed to know, when I needed to know it. The simpler and easier to use my lists are, the better.

I also realized that my next actions and even my project lists were only part of the whole system. I like to think in terms of a "GTD ecosystem" (David Allen's term, not my own) today. My reference and tickler files, stack baskets, project support material, etc. are all as important as my next action lists.

I also had a tendency to over-engineer projects. I used to have this terrible tendency to over-plan a project, getting so far ahead of myself that I was identifying tasks that in fact were unnecessary or otherwise way off the mark. I realized that for me the entire natural planning model is generally unnecessary, and what I usually need are just one or two next actions. Once those are completed the additional steps usually reveal themselves.

Anyway, that's my story. I'm actually glad I stuck it out. I finally "get" GTD and it's working well. There are still some rough edges but every week it gets a little easier.

Posted by petec_:
And Toodledo works very well with it using a similar methodology.


I've come to that conclusion as well. There are a couple of things that bug me about Toodledo but after trying about 10 - 15 other list managers (not extensively -- for me, if I can't get the hang of it in five minutes or less I don't want to deal with it) and none of them hold a candle to Toodledo. It's strength is in its easy customizability. I can easily suppress the features I don't like and set up the rest in a way that matches my work style. So I've stopped looking elsewhere and will stick with Toodledo.
bcmyers

Posted: Jul 22, 2012
From Topic: limitations of GTD



Thanks, petec_. If someone expresses an opinion or makes an assertion with which I disagree, I'm simply going to say "I think you're wrong" and then explain why. I don't feel the need to qualify my thoughts by telling them, "Of course, you have the right to think differently." That should be understood. Now, if I had said to gbehrendt and hefangdotcom, "You're both a couple of idiots and you should keep your mouths shut," then Purveyor's rhetorical question would be relevant. I didn't do that, though. Nothing is stopping them from responding and telling me I'm wrong, as long as they stay within the forum rules as interpeted by the moderators.

I don't know if either of them are still checking in on this thread but I'm curious as to why they don't feel GTD could apply to learning or academic activities. If you're taking a college class, an assignment with more than one component like a research paper would be a project, and each of the steps toward completing that project would be a next action. Those could include things like "go to library and find references about [topic]" or "search web for information about [topic]," followed by "organize notes for research paper," and finally "write research paper" or "write first section of research paper." I'm being a tad simplistic for the sake of time, but the the idea behind what I'm saying is valid.

GTD could also be relevant for an educator. A college professor might have a project such as "prepare for teaching [topic] next semester," and the next action might be "draft lesson plan for [class]." Since I'm not a professor I might be getting the steps wrong but I think the principle is ultimately valid.

I'm a bit confused by gbehrendt's assertion that "The second limitation is that educational activities do not follow the efficiency rule either. (I'm looking for a new job) More time, can do more things. Learning cannot be compressed." There's no inherent reason why next actions have to be quick. In one of my examples above, I gave the example of going to the library to do research as a next action. That's perfectly consistent with the GTD methodology, and it could take hours to complete. There's nothing in Getting Things Done that suggests a next action can't take several hours. The book simply states that a next action is a physical, visible step (in other words, you don't simply "set a meeting," you "CALL to set meeting" or "Email Joe to set meeting") that you can do in one sitting. Spending several hours at the library is consistent with that.

I would be curious as to how gbehrendt and hefangdotcom would respond. If they're still monitoring this thread, I'd be interested in their thoughts.
bcmyers

Posted: Jul 18, 2012
From Topic: limitations of GTD



Post deleted by author.

This message was edited Jul 19, 2012.
bcmyers

Posted: Jul 17, 2012
From Topic: limitations of GTD



gbehrendt and hefangdotcom, I have to disagree. I'm not a manager and GTD works quite well for me. The Waiting For list isn't merely for delegating to subordinates. There are many forms of delegation. You can delegate upwards ("Boss, I need your eyes on this before I can move forward,"), laterally to colleagues, and even to people outside your organization (such as when I send sales proposals to customers and prospects). GTD isn't solely, or even mostly, about delegation anyway. It's about defining inputs and placing them in whatever bucket is correct, whether it's a "waiting for," "next action," a piece of reference, or whatever.

I'm not a GTD evangelist, so please understand I don't personally care if you like or use GTD or not. That's irrelevant to me. I just think you're mischaracterizing it. I think it's important to try to be accurate about anything you discuss. Although I also think it would behoove people not to be overly influenced by anyone typing anything on the Internet, even me. After all, anyone with a PC and an Internet provider can say pretty much anything. I would urge anyone who is curious about GTD to buy the book, try it, and form their own judgment.