TaskPaper for iOS

TaskPaper on the iPad

TaskPaper on the iPad

In a previous post I waxed lyrical about my current affection for TaskPaper on the Mac. Today I’d like to write about TaskPaper for iOS.

On the Macintosh TaskPaper excels because of it’s simplicity and use of text. On an iPhone or iPad interface is king, applications live or die by their ease of use.

The same care that was put in to the simple interface on the Mac has been put in to creating an app for the iPhone and iPad that is clean and incredibly easy to use.

There is one difference between the app on the iPhone and the iPad. On the phone the app opens to a screen listing your TaskPaper lists and selecting one takes you to a second screen with your list, on the iPad the document list is on the left of the screen and the selected list is on the right.

The list screen allows you to add a new list, a new folder for lists, search your lists and a settings screen. The setting are not dissimilar to the settings in the Mac application. On iOS it supports both Dropbox and TextExpander and it is in settings that you turn them on.

Then we get to the list view. Touch support is good. Swipe left to right to mark an item as done, swipe right to left to bring up the “Cut Copy Paste Delete” tab. Tap once to select an item, double tap to edit it, tap and hold to move an item up and down it’s list.

When you are editing an item type return to start a new item. A neat trick on an empty item type return again and the new item turns into a new note, again and it is a new project, again and it is back to a new item.

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TaskPaper – My Ultimate To Do Application


The TaskPaper main window using the standard theme and custom colours

When it comes to finding a To Do application I get highly specific. Top of my criteria is that there should be a good native app for both OS X and iOS. Next is a I want simple and easy, if it’s complex I just won’t do it. Third is that I’d like a text based save file. Finally I’d like command line tools and in a perfect universe a TextMate bundle for the file format.

Sounds impossible doesn’t it? Think again, TaskPaper from Hog Bay Software fulfils every requirement, almost. I do have to say that I am still working on getting the command line fu working. AppleScript support is excellent though and I have hopes, I’ve already found an AppleScript that adds tasks using Alfred that works well for me after some hacking to personalise it and make it a little easier to use.

Opening up a new document in TaskPaper will give you a nice welcome text which runs you through some of the most useful features and points you in the direction of more help. Once you’ve seen this text enough you can turn it off in Preferences. If you want a better guide then there is a 20 page PDF accessible via the Help menu.

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Leveraging Twitter

If you are using twitter to keep your friends in the know on what you are up to and keeping track of them then you might like to know what else you can do with twitter.

Since twitter is a stream of short text messages and it allows you to send directly to another account then it is fairly easy for software to monitor a twitter account and take an action according to the message and optionally send you some information as a reply.

Connecting web applications from Twitter

Since I’m a Google fan the first way I started using this was to update my Google Calendar. Twittercal allows me to send a direct message and have an appointment added to my calendar. It uses the same syntax as the “Quick Add” feature. “d gcal appointment with doctor at 6pm Thursday” would add the required appointment. The “d gcal” means “send a message directly t the account ‘gcal’ and not to my twitter feed.”

I use a nice little to-do system called Remember The Milk. This to-do system ties well into Google Mail and Google Calendar as well as twitter. Not only can you add to-do items you can retrieve them based on the date due, which of your lists it is in or even according to tag, all from twitter.

If you’re after an even more advanced reminder system then the one that I’m currently testing, IwantSandy, seems to be a winner. You can add reminders, appointments, to-dos and things you just want to remember right from twitter and then even ask a question. You can tag items and even specify how you want to be reminded, twitter, email or mobile. This may be the killer reminder system given that it ties in to your email system and twitter so well.

If, on the other hand, you want something simple then Twitternotes just stores notes in a simple database with optional tagging.

If you send and receive a lot of freight then you might like track this. Once you follow it you send it a direct message “d 123456978321 New camera” and every time it changes location you get a tweet.

If you have to track a large number of leads and want something to pick one at random and remind you then Salestwit can do that. Feed in your contact list and it feeds you one at random every day, week or a configurable delay.

If you are organising an event or a group going to an event then @eventrack uses a tagging system to collect information from a large number of places, including twitter. This is a great tool for collecting video, pictures, web posts and tweets about an event all in one spot.

These are my favourite online applications that connect to twitter. You can find more at the Twitter Fan Wiki.

Finding more followers

The best way to get more people to follow you on Twitter is to follow them. If you are putting useful information in your twitter feed and blog then find others who are interested in the same areas as you and follow them.

To find people talking about my areas of interest I use TwitterTroll – an excellent search engine. The advantage of this is that I also get great information from others as well as people I’d like to connect with.

Updating twitter

If you’re going to be following a lot of people and making a lot of twitter updates yourself you’re going to need a good Twitter client. On my Mac I use both Twitterific and a Dashboard widget, I suggest you spend some time going through the various options till you find one that suits you. Check them out at the Twitter downloads page and on the fan wiki.