Let's face it: We all have different needs when it comes to to-do lists. Some of us can get by with simply editing a text file; others need priorities and action-items and project labels.
But chances are good you're somewhere in the middle. And that means chances are good that Google's oft-overlooked Tasks web app can satisfy your needs. It supports basic hierarchical structure, allowing you to create sub-tasks for larger projects. It supports due dates for tasks, and provides a field to enter notes for each task. And it supports drag-and-drop reordering, which may not be as elegant as a priority system, but can serve the same purpose with limited fuss.
Trouble is, most of us need to be able to access a to-do list without having to load up a web page. Luckily, with some free tools (and a Google account, natch), you can do just that -- and embed Tasks as an always-accessible drop-down window on your menu bar.
Back when it was just the iPhone, there wasn't much demand for mobile word processing, but when the iPad came along, people expected full computer functionality. Apple heeded the call with mobile versions of iWork, but Microsoft Office still remains king of document software. The popular .doc is still the number one format with a bullet, and a variety of office-based software has arisen to handle it.
In our special cage match office productivity App Showdown, we go three rounds to find out who is the undisputed master of the mobile domain, Apple or its competitors.
There’s nothing necessarily wrong with Apple’s Clock app for alarms, but there’s nothing necessarily right with it, either. Enter Due. It’s not so much that Due does anything that Apple’s apps don’t already do, but rather how well it does it.
Before Snow Leopard, OS X linked applications and their documents not just with file extensions, but also with unique codes that ensured a file would open in the application that created it. Many applications still assign these creator codes to documents, but since they’re no longer recognized by OS X, a PDF made in Acrobat might open in Preview. Magic Launch brings the good old days back—with a twist. It’s a handy System Preferences pane that binds documents to their parent applications or to any app you choose, all according to flexible rules you can customize to suit your workflow.
The problem: you need to modify the names of a bazillion files. The bigger problem: it’s 2011, but the Finder is still built to edit just one filename at a time. Sure, you could fiddle with the Terminal to do the job, but better yet, you can use Renamer and stick with the OS X you know and love.
In a world studded with Photoshop-style image editors and Painter-like natural-media tools, it’s really tough to find a new kind of artistic software that brings something truly unique and innovative to the table. But the little-known Studio Artist 4 totally pulls it off, delivering a one-of-a-kind creative application that can craft visuals like nothing else—if you’re prepared to spend some time mastering its intricacies.
If you’ve never used a quick-launch tool, you might not want to start. As a word of warning, these applications will change the way you use your computer forever. Once you’ve experienced the productivity these bad boys offer, they will quickly become a necessity that’s as essential as your mouse or monitor. So if you like your old-fashioned computin’ lifestyle, move along. But if you’re ready to give your productivity a turbo boost, LaunchBar is the ticket.
The Mac’s window-based user interface was cutting edge in 1984. And while OS X has features that the first Mac users couldn’t have dreamed about, the basic metaphor for interacting with our machines hasn’t changed all that much in the last few decades.
Tinderbox is billed as a “personal content assistant,” which gave us happy visions of a devoted digital concierge at our beck and call. It’s a tool for recording, organizing, and connecting bits of information called notes--snippets of text about which you can record copious amounts of metadata. Options are vast, but Tinderbox can feel more like a chore than an assistant.
Finding the perfect solution for managing my to-do list is--like the list itself--a never-ending quest. Between my tasks for Mac|Life and routine errands like giving the dog his monthly flea treatment, paying the cable bill, and remembering the grocery list, keeping track of my lists is often a chore in itself. Sure, old-fashioned pen and paper work just fine for a lot of things. But since I find myself moving between several Macs--not to mention multiple iOS devices--in a given day, it makes a lot more sense to keep track of that stuff electronically.