Anyone who visits Mobility Digest regularly, knows that I sort of have a thing for ToDo/Task apps. It’s not like I am super forgetful, although I am getting older. It’s just that I have a lot of stuff floating around in my head and my brain prioritizes based on need. So if I know I have a reliable Task app watching my back, my brain sort of forgets those things and only remembers to check the Task app regularly. My brain did the same thing when I got my first Palm Pilot. Forgot everyone’s phone number and address, and just remembered their name. It makes room for other stuff and ultimately makes me more efficient. I also take a lot of pride in never missing a deadline or forgetting something. When I occasionally do, I beat myself up pretty badly.
Back when I was working in a fast paced industry, Outlook Tasks were my friend. I could access it on my laptop, home desktop and WM phone, to keep track of anything and everything important. But my life changed along with my needs. Outlook was no longer that important for me. My contact list shrunk from 1,000 names to maybe a 100. I have more birthday reminders on my calendar now than actual appointments. And tasks were no longer as critical as before, in a business sense. But important nonetheless. The Windows Phone implementation of ToDo’s sucks, so I looked elsewhere for a solution and discarded Outlook as being more than I needed for my simpler life.
After several experiments I settled on Clever-To-Do, a good all around Windows Phone task app, with a great updatable live tile. It has served me well with a good batch of recurring tasks loaded, Cloud backup, etc. But I still lacked that continuity I once had across all my screens. The good folks at Clever Software created a web based tool, but it has never gone beyond a trial, nor should it. When Windows 8 arrived last October I was really hopeful that a Clever-To-Do solution for desktop would be forthcoming. I know they are working on it, and I have even been privy to a few screen shots, but still no app.
Today, I stumbled across a new app, Effectual, for Windows 8 AND Windows Phone. I have only spent about an hour with it so far, so this is by no means a review, more an alert. Looking inside the app, it’s pretty basic. Create new tasks, set due dates, set reminders, create sub-tasks, etc. But it magically syncs across all my devices. It’s not using SkyDrive, but does require a Microsoft ID (and validation on my phone) so I suspect the developer, Spiffy Ventures, is using the Microsoft Azure platform. Enter or edit a task on your desktop and it is magically there on your phone and vice-versa. No manual sync button to remember. It just works. Oh, and did I mention that both apps are free.
The app has generally gotten good reviews so far, although there are some niggles that have been requested. Like un-completing a completed task. I also notice that there is no provision for recurring tasks, something that I rely on heavily. Nor is there a way to set a time reminder (more about that tomorrow). So this is not a 100% replacement for me today, But it still has a place on my Start screen. So if I need to add a business task from my phone tonight, I know it will be sitting on my office desktop tomorrow morning. Finally! Oh, and in case you were wondering, yes it will work offline (obviously without the auto sync though). Speaking of work, my office PC uses a different login than my other “personal” devices. But as this app is using a Microsoft ID to identify you in the Cloud, how you login to a machine does not matter.
I have successfully installed and synced the app with my L1020, office desktop, Acer W3 tablet and Surface RT. So it does work across all platforms. As mentioned, the feature set is not going to knock your socks off. But if you are looking for a basic ToDo/Task app that syncs across all Windows platforms, has a viewable Live Tile, is fairly easy to navigate, and costs nothing, then this app may be what your looking for. You can find Effectual in the Windows Phone Store here. Or you can search the Windows Store on your Windows 8 PC/Tablet.