The recent Internet connectivity problem in the Philippines has allowed me to try several software packages in an attempt to replicate the task management that I do online. Before the connectivity problems, I managed all my tasks (personal, blog-related, work-related and other collaborative chores) using an installation of activeCollab.
With Internet connectivity deteriorating to the level of the days when flickr would have been dismissed as a wrongly-spelled word, I managed to download several personal information managers (PIM) and tasks managers through the only reliable connection I had left, the office PC, for use at home and in my laptop.
I initially thought of using Sunbird, Mozilla’s calendaring software, in conjunction with Google Calendar. But after searching for possible solutions, I still couldn’t find a way to synchronize Sunbird installations in multiple PCs using Google Calendar. I’m crossing my fingers that Sunbird’s coming version will be able to not only grab data from a Google Calendar account but also add entries to it.
I then tried Chandler, the open source PIM released by the Open Source Applications Foundation, but its hardware requirement is rather steep: a processor with a speed of at least 2 gigahertz and 512mb RAM.
The PCs I use meet these hardware requirements but just. I tried running it at the office and it wasn’t that slow, just not as responsive as I wanted it to be. The software is still in its early version, though, and I’m definitely keeping an eye for newer releases although I am pessimistic they will have a version that can run well systems with less resources.
I next tried Essential PIM. I installed the free version and for several days, it organized my tasks, in the meantime that I couldn’t access my activeCollab installation as often as I needed to. But since the software (the free version at least) can’t share data over the Internet, I was stuck with one installation and a Pocketmod for tasks and notes that occur to me whenever I’m not using my laptop.
I would have stayed on with this setup had I not spotted Accomplice in my del.icio.us inbox. Accomplice is the free offline task manager that I’ve long been looking for. The free version includes ads on a portion of the screen but for software like this, I really don’t mind.
Accomplice does task management well. The interface is intuitive–making adding, editing, and managing tasks easy. I’ve included below a short video clip of the first steps I did after installing Accomplice in my office PC so you can see how it’s so easy to use.
What’s great about Accomplice is that it allows you to collaborate with other users. With the software, you can share tasks and notes with other registered users. I do not use Accomplice to collaborate on tasks with people, I use activeCollab for that. I do not need 24-hour access to these types of tasks so I can afford to wait until I get to the office to check on pending matters in activeCollab.
But I use Accomplice’s collaboration feature to share my tasks list and notes between my office PC and laptop. These are data I need access to anytime.
This schizophrenic way of sharing tasks with myself (using different email accounts) has one side benefit: I am able to specify tasks that need to be done on the terminal I am on. For instance, the Accomplice installation in my office PC contains all work-related tasks–deadlines to meet, communications to answer, and projects to be finished.
The Accomplice installation on my laptop, on the other hand, contains personal and blog-related tasks–posts to finish writing, personal sites that need updating etc.
But the two installations, share a group of tasks that I deem urgent.
I give Accomplice high marks in the more than a week that I’ve been using it. It will do a lot to unclog you tasks inbox as it did mine. The software can even link with your e-mail client but I haven’t tried this feature yet as I no longer use POP e-mail.
Here’s a short clip of Accomplice in action: