Tag Archives: app review

Photo by Sean MacEntee

Productivity Tool Review: Todoist

To-do lists are a smart way to stay organized and be more productive. While traditional pad and paper may work well enough for some, Todoist is the best digital tool I’ve come across. I’ve been using Todoist regularly for the past six months and here’s why I can’t live without it.

Intuitive Planning

Todoist tasks are viewable by default based on what is due ‘Today’ and what is due in the ‘Next 7 Days’. When specifying due dates, Todoist understands what you mean by ‘every day’, ‘tomorrow’, ‘next wednesday’ and ‘every other day’. It also correctly interprets multiple day/date formats (so you can type ‘Wed’ if you’re too rushed to write ‘Wednesday’) and includes a pop-up calendar so that you can choose a date if that’s more convenient. Rescheduling tasks is easy with default options to postpone a task until the next day or the start of the next week. Bulk rescheduling is quick and works well in both the mobile and web versions.

Options for Organizing

Todoist helps you prioritize by offering four color-coded levels of prioritization. Tasks assigned a specific priority leads your to-do list to be automatically sorted from most to least important (priority labels are only overridden if there is a time associated with the task, such as ‘Pick up the mail today at 3pm’). Each project and task can be broken down into several indented sub-projects and sub-tasks if needed. The free version allows you to sort tasks by project and labels, while the premium version allows you to make the labels color-coded.

Screenshot by Alexandrea Beh

Screenshot by Alexandrea Beh

Effective Searching and Filtering

One of the best parts of Todoist is how well natural language processing has been integrated into the service: typing ‘3 days’ into the search pulls up the tasks for the next 3 days only, easily customizing the task view. You can also search by date (in the same variety of ways that Todoist understands setting a due date) and you can search by priority. Upgrading to Premium allows you to search using boolean operators (more on that later) and by task keyword (useful if you forgot when something was due and you don’t want to sort through dozens or hundreds of tasks to find the entry).

Cross-Platform and Cross-App Integration

Todoist is accessible on the web but also syncs through plugins and apps for Android phones, Android tablets, Windows, Macs, iPhones, iPads, Amazon devices, Chrome, Firefox, Gmail, Outlook, Thunderbird, and Postbox. I mainly use the web  and Android phone version, and am happy to say that syncing works well and that the Android app has great functionality. Some of the app’s best features are a widget with a customizable task view, ability to check off tasks or reschedule tasks through the widget without launching the app, and the ability to quickly add one or multiple tasks (through the notification bar) without leaving whatever app you’re currently in. For even more productivity magic, Todoist integrates with services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, IFTTT, and Zapier.

Shortcuts – A Programmer’s Dream

Screenshot by Alexandrea Beh

Screenshot by Alexandrea Beh

The Todoist UI is very sleek, fairly minimalist, and easy to work with for those who don’t want to learn complicated commands. There are options, however, that make the programmer part of me very, very happy. Within the free version, you can save long links and create an elegant-looking task with the format ‘webaddress (Task name)’ so that only the task name appears, but the text has been hyperlinked, making it easy to go to the saved website. In the web version, using ‘!!1’ at the end of creating a new task will mark the task with Priority 1, saving you a couple mouse clicks. The Premium version allows you to search tasks and filter using boolean operators: using ‘today & priority 1’, the AND operator, shows you tasks that are both due today and are top priorities while ‘today | priority 1’, the OR operator, shows you anything either due today or due at any time but labelled with priority 1. It’s not the functionality of the Linux command line, but for a productivity tool I’m more than satisfied.

Is Premium Worth It?

I recently upgraded to Todoist Premium (a year’s subscription is $29) and mostly enjoy the enhanced search and filtering options, as well as the ability to easily add emails as tasks. I feel that most people can get a lot out of the free version without ever needing to upgrade, although the Premium version has more color-coding options and more than doubles the number of projects you can have at one time (from 80 to 200 projects, each with up to 200 tasks in the Premium version instead of 150).

What Can’t Todoist Do?

For one, Todoist is definitely not your virtual personal assistant (it can integrate with Google Now though). It won’t try to be smart and anticipate what you want to know unless you’ve set up integrations for that kind of functionality. I would recommend that if you are looking to use a highly functional yet customizable task-tracker, especially one that works well across multiple platforms, then give Todoist a try!


Disclaimer: This post is in no way sponsored by Todoist.

Textter is a real-time texting app from Miami

Textter is a live messaging system allowing users to users to chat in real-time, letter by letter. The Miami-created app also has some great privacy features, allowing users to see each others’ messages without ever having to press “send.”

Carlos Cueto created Textter after watching his two teenaged daughters texting. They text constantly, he said, and so are constantly frustrated by having to wait until their friends respond to their texts. With Textter he found a way to address this issue: instead of watching as texts are being composed, Textter allows users to see texts being written in real-time.

Cueto told Más Wired that the company was recently contacted by a large medical device maker, requesting a group chat function in order to see which emergency responders are available. He also said Textter’s live delete function can aid with privacy, given that users can read and share messages without having to ever press send; they can simply delete their messages after each has seen them.

We spoke with Cueto about his business, enjoy and share this interview!

Más Wired: What is Textter?

CC: Textter is a live messaging system (LMS), which allows users to users to chat in real-time, letter by letter. A beta version is currently available on the Apple App Store and Google Play for free. It’s completely free — no ads. We are releasing a major update in approximately 30 days which will include sharing pictures, as well as copy/paste function and many [other] improvements.

MW: What’s the story behind Textter?

CC: I created the app because I was frustrated with the SMS (Short Messaging Service). When you are engaged in a conversation via text, it is extremely annoying for me, and a waste of time, to wait for the other person to finish typing, fix typos and re-editing their text. Then they need to wait for you to read their text, come up with a response, type, fix typos and edit your message. Cut your texting time in half with Textter because you will finish the other person’s answer halfway through them typing the question.

MW: Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?

CC:  I decided to become an entrepreneur when I realized the management I worked for were not forward thinkers. Their idea of planning for the future was looking ahead three-to-six months.  I am always working on a two-, five- and 10-year plan. Out of frustration I quit my job and decided to start my own business because I knew my growth was stunted. Twelve months after I left, the company closed, laying off 350 employees.

MW: What are some lessons you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?

CC: I started my first business in 2004, thankfully it was successful and it is currently funding my startup Textter. It’s not easy to gain exposure and traction. I thought it was going to be extremely easy. Once you can prove your numbers, the money will follow, hence allowing you the ability to take your time and hire the best candidate as a co-founder and team of developers. Hiring offshore is not the best way to go, you can not control their hours and its easy for them to simply ignore you.

Wire Framing is extremely important. Look at other apps, mimic the best in the industry, use as a blueprint for simple task such as login, creating an account etc.

Don’t rush to release — test, test and test again. There’s nothing worse than losing a customer because of glitches.