review

2do

2do

2do is a simple yet powerful iPhone task manager that will run you £2.99. With it’s beautiful interface, over the air sync and push notifications I thought I’d give it a try, as I was looking for something with over the air sync to replace Things as I never sync it when I need to.

The true power of 2do is the interface allowing you to quickly switch between tabs each of which can contain tasks related to a area or big project. Yes it does have support for projects with the tabs but I found creating a tab for some of my bigger projects and then breaking down to smaller projects (similar to Basecamp to-do lists) was easier and allowed me to get more done as I wasn’t faced with a massive list of to-dos.

As well as this advanced task management the app is prefect for everyday use and this is really shown by the default set of tabs and tasks designed to help you get started. The interface also has a few nice touches and animation like a pen striking through the items as you check them off. A very nice feature of the UI is drag and drop which more iPhone should have.

The app in itself is sophisticated enough not to need a desktop companion although one would be nice to save my phones battery, they do have a solution that sync’s with a web app but I find this unusable.

However I do have a few gripes with the application. Firstly, and the one that stops me containing to use the app, you can’t schedule tasks to show up on a set date. Some things I can’t do anything with until the end of the year for example, however these will show up on my list of things to do now.

The second is the sync, yes I still have to tell it to sync but this can be done over 3G and that’s not the problem here; the problem is it synchronises with Toodledo and if you have ever used the service you’ll know how painful it is to use. This in it’s self isn’t a deal breaker, I’m sure after a bit of searching I could find a native mac application that would also sync with the service but as I said above the deal breaker is not been able to schedule tasks.

So do I recommend 2do, yes if you want a basic task manager with some power but if you want more from a task manager then no the simplicity of 2do makes some advanced task management hard or impossible. As for me well I’m going to stay with Things for now.

ubuntu logo

Ubuntu 10.04

On Thursday Ubuntu 10.04 was released to the world, this long term support version has a very different look and feel and yes it can still give the big boys a run for their money.

In fact the only thing stopping me running it as a full second computer is I don’t have the hardware. The system does everything you expect a modern operating system todo with a few nice extra’s like Ubuntu One.

When I downloaded the 700 MB ISO file it took are 2 hours due to server load on the release date, now today your download times may be a more what you expect but to ease the strain I have made the ISO for the 32bit desktop version available to download from here.

Once I downloaded the disk image I attempted to install it as virtual machine, which worked fine but I could type in the VM so login on proved a little difficult. So I tried to run the system in a VM from the live CD without installing.

Apart from VMWare not working for me the new version ubuntu is faster, simple and packed with the features most everyday users would want and the powerful linux stuff for the hacker in me.

The guys have also made an effort to cater for new users with instant messaging built right into the operating system and the new Ubuntu One online storage/sync services are perfect for anyone with more than one Ubuntu based computer. They have also built in a new music store, think iTunes for Linux, the Ubuntu One Music Store.

Do I Recommend Ubuntu, of course it’s free and as long as you don’t want to to do any heavy graphic/video editing they’ll be some software out there for you and normally for free.

a230

Sony DSLR Alpha 230 (A230)

The other day I purchased a Sony Alpha 230 DSLR camera to help me become a better photographer. The camera was a brilliant buy I didn’t read many reviews, I just asked the very friendly staff (yes, in a brick and mortar store) for a camera that would fit my needs.

The 10 Megapixel camera with the 18-55mm (SAL-1855) kit lens takes some quite impressive photos, and even better photos when you move away from the preset options.

 The simple user interface and power the camera provides make it prefect for a novice to pick up and use, now yes I knew a little about aperture, exposure etc. but even a good friend of mine could use it in a semi-auto mode after about a 2 minute demo.

As for speed I was surprised, it’s quick at turning on, focusing, taking the photo and processing/storing a RAW + JPEG pair. And you might be pleased to know this camera does support SDHC cards as well as Sony’s Memory Stick format.

The build quality is about right for Sony, a good weight, not to heavy, with rubber grips making the body feel sturdy and well built but the lens feels a little ‘plasticee’. 

It’s a very versatile camera perfect for everyday use on holidays and such. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in photography and wants to go to the next level from a point and shoot.

Available at Play.com • Jessops • Comet • Currys • Amazon

Quickoffice3 1

QuickOffice 3 with Google Docs and Dropbox

Last month I reviewed QuickOffice for iPhone and said I would like it to have support for Dropbox and Google Docs, well today version 3 of the suite came out as a free update to existing customers and they’re added just that. It still has the same great editor and features just with a few extra storage options. However to use the new options it does require you to sign up for a QuickOffice.com account.

You get access to read and edit all your current documents on these new services and the documents you edit and uploaded in place of the originals and very quickly even over 3G.

Things for Mac and iPhone

OK so not a few weeks later as I said but it’s still here. A few month’s ago I started to follow the Getting Things Done program using Things as my tool of choice to manage my tasks.

Well since then I’ve still been following the program and now find I’m getting a lot more done in a day.

Things is simple yet powerful and most importantly easy to use. The simple power of the little application is prefect for me, I put every little thing I have to do in to it ranging from full projects with hundreds of tasks to little things like post some of the drafts on the site.

However I do start to build up a lot of tasks that never seem to get done like the posting of the drafts, and every so often I set aside a day to get through as many of them as possible.

Things can help a lot with tasks and projects that have a start and due date by not showing them until you can start them and turning the check box red when over due and yellow on the day their due, making them stand out a little from the other tasks.

The iPhone is the perfect companion to the desktop version although both can stand alone they work better together with the ability to quickly add tasks on the road and mark them as done the second I do them and have it all in sync is wonderful. The only nag I have is the need to be on the same WI-FI network to sync, Cultured Code, the developer, has said an over the air sync is coming in a future release.

So is Things worth the $50 (Mac) and $10 (iPhone) yes most defiantly if you are going to be using to do lists.

BBEdit

I’ve been using Espresso as my web development environment and love it, but recently I wanted something more than just a web development application. I wanted a powerful text editor with all the features of a full dedicated web development app as well as the ability to right and suggest other coding language’s.

It didn’t take long until I found something that might fit the bill, BBEdit claims to have all of this and more packaged into one every nice app.

It allows me to build complex site’s with many pages and other files and I don’t have to keep track of where they all go as BBEdit will do that for me with it powerful collections in the project manager.

The other killer feature for me is the time it saves me when righting standard text documents with its built in dictionary suggesting words as I type so I don’t have to type every letter, saving me a lot of time.

BBEdit also takes the text editor a step further for developer’s with built in support for CVS and SVN source control.

I have a feeling this powerful yet simple editor could be the one for me.