To-Do App: Happy to pay, but not to subscribe?
December 20, 2011 6:06 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a to-do list/task management solution that works across multiple platforms and on the iPad. I'm happy to pay for it, but I do not want a model that works on an annual-subscription basis.

I've been using Remember the Milk for about two years now, and here's what I like about it:
  • tags
  • smart add (being able to type #something to add the 'something' tag to a task when you enter it, for instance)
  • multi-platform support (PC Linux at home, Mac at work, iPad everywhere)
  • smart lists
  • general user-friendliness
What I don't like about it:
  • Having to pay $25/year for unlimited iPad sync
  • No subtasks
Don't get me wrong: I have no problem paying for software I like. In the last couple of months, I've happily coughed up for Sublime Text 2, Cyberduck, nTrack and a bunch of Humble Bundles and Steam games.

What I don't like is the idea of paying $25 a year forever rather than just paying, say, $50 once.

So I'm looking for something that, ideally, does everything RTM does plus unlimited iPad sync, even more preferably with subtasks. Being able to share tasks and lists with my spouse would be awesome, too.

I'm not averse to something that works via a Dropbox file as opposed to a 'true' online solution -- that's how I use Keypass across my various devices and platforms, and it works very well.

I have three broad categories of things to organize: at-work, office-job tasks, some of which are multi-component and kind of fiddly; at-home, intricate-hobby tasks, like building basic Web sites for some local non-profits and working on projects like novels, comics, and creating neat stuff online; and personal-runaround stuff, like shopping lists, "time to clean the fridge coils" recurring tasks, and Christmas to-dos.

I'm not a small business owner, building my own house, or doing anything that requries more than task/3–4 sub-tasks in terms of granularity.

I am, however, using a Mac at work, Linux at home, and Win7 to sync the iPad.

I am not currently a GTD adherent, but may be aligning more toward it in the near future.

There are a shocking number of productivity/to-do apps available for mobile devices, and I find myself overwhelmed by all the options out there. What do you recommend?
posted by Shepherd to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Use Todo.txt with Dropbox.
posted by anildash at 6:12 AM on December 20, 2011

Best answer: (Link)
posted by anildash at 6:13 AM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Have you tried Astrid?
posted by pharm at 6:13 AM on December 20, 2011

Best answer: Evernote could probably be wrestled into doing this sort of thing for you. The premium account is a monthly/yearly subscription model, but you could probably get away with the free version just fine.
posted by Gilbert at 6:18 AM on December 20, 2011

Best answer: I just started using Wunderlist, which has Android/iOS/Web/PC/etc. Too early to tell if it's THE ANSWER, but it's solid.
posted by Jairus at 6:18 AM on December 20, 2011

Best answer: It doesn't work with Linux, but if you can live with Mac and iPad only, OmniFocus is great. It syncs via MobileMe, Bonjour, a disk (including USB disk), your own WebDAV server, or Omni Group's own beta sync server. They don't have a web app. It's not the simplest application, but it's very powerful and refined. I've used it since the beta testing days in early 2007 and it has made me much better at keeping track of what I need to do.

It doesn't do tags per se, but its contexts can be used for the same purpose, and it has very quick free text searching of your tasks.
posted by brianogilvie at 6:26 AM on December 20, 2011

Have you tried the built-in "Reminders" app? It will integrate with your e-mail providers as well as icloud (for access from multiple platforms).
posted by samsara at 6:28 AM on December 20, 2011

Best answer: Use Toodledo. It's free. There's a subscription model, sure, if you want subtasks - but if you purchase the Appigo Todo app (iOS only), it extends Toodledo within itself so you can make projects (in which you can store different sorts of tasks - "sub" tasks, call contact, email contact, visit location etc) or a checklist container, in which you can have multiple subitems. Toodledo also has reminders, Chrome and Firefox extensions, works multi-platform and of course has a good web interface. And unlimited sync as far as I can see (I sure haven't run into any issues, and I use it on Android, 2 PCs, an iPad and an iPod Touch regularly). Apart from that, everything that RTM has.
posted by tra at 6:51 AM on December 20, 2011

Best answer: Springpad
posted by LyndsayMW at 7:05 AM on December 20, 2011

Yes, OmniFocus. Been using it for years and love it.
posted by Nattie at 11:19 AM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding Appigo's Todo + Toodledo. I've been using the iPhone version for three years.
posted by morganw at 5:38 PM on December 20, 2011

Regarding Wunderlist and sharing — the Mr. and I are trying to find a workable shared to-do app solution and have tried Wunderlist. One down side is that if you add a task that you want the other person to do, you have to rely on them to check their Wunderlist regularly; there doesn't seem to be a way for Person A to set an audible or other reminder that will sound for Person B. (If I'm wrong and somebody knows a way, please let me know!)
posted by Lexica at 8:03 PM on December 20, 2011

Response by poster: Quick notes to follow up:

doesn't seem to have a mobile-workable solution (other than just editing the .txt file, which is going to get unwieldy when some projects have more than 20 subtasks in their to-do lists).

It's an intriguing enough thing, though, that it led me to TaskPaper, which seems to be something that adds juuuuuuuust enough interface (project selector, tag search) to make this workable. And TaskPaper may have a Linux port.

Astrid: cute! Got excited when I thought it might sync to RTM, but it doesn't any more. So: boo. I'll give it a whirl. I love its easy sharing between users, though, for domestic stuff like my spouse telling me to, er, remember the milk. Lack of command-line typing is a big mark against it, though: I like to enter a task with its parameters all at once, rather than click-assign-list, click-add-tag, click-add-person, click-for-due-date, etc. etc. etc.

Evernote: I've half-assed it in the past, but may give this another shot over the holidays. If I make a "todo" notebook that contains nothing but todo lists for other projects, that might actually give me some cool grouping options across projects. Can't figure out how I'd make dating and deadlines work, though.

Wundernote: Looks cool. Will try it.

Reminders: Not quite enough granularity with tasks/lists to suit me.

Toodledo: Already tried it; I find it frustratingly opaque to use, and the lack of any kind of command-line typing is really a hassle; it's also got a subscription model for base functionality (subtasks). But I'll investigate the Appigo ToDo app and see how they merge. Appigo has a Todo Online thing as well, but -- it's also a subscription-based system. I may need somebody to hand-hold me as I give this a shot.

Springpad: A great suggestion; I'm already heavy into Evernote, though, and the two seem to be pretty much crossover services.

Omnifocus: looks fantastic, but with no Linux support, and $120 to buy both the Mac and iPad versions, that's... a lot of money.

I have to say I'm kind of seduced by the idea of ToDo.txt / TaskPaper, just because they provide solutions that output in plain-text format. My concern with things like RTM and Wundernote is that it's all proprietarily coded information in somebody else's system, so if I get hooked on Wundernote and they fold, or get sold, or suddenly decide to move to a subscription model, I'll have an issue.
posted by Shepherd at 6:22 AM on December 21, 2011

I like Things a lot.
posted by thatone at 1:22 PM on December 21, 2011

We've been trying out Asana at work, and it's pretty nice as a task manager. It's far from perfect, but it's great for collaborative tasking. Still has the proprietary/online problem, though.
posted by ashirys at 1:41 PM on December 21, 2011

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