[kwlug-disc] Todo Lists and task management

Bob Jonkman bjonkman at sobac.com
Fri Mar 19 01:21:39 EDT 2010

ToDo or Task items are just timeless appointments with rollover.  
Typically they display on the Due Date, but if a task is not marked 
"Completed" by the due date then it rolls over to the next day, 
remaining on "Today" until it's finally completed (or deleted).

I use Google Calendar to store appointments and tasks, but use the 
client interface in the Thunderbird Lightning plugin, and also 
Evolution.  The Evolution integration lets me sync to a PDA (which I 
don't currently have).

But I want to set up a CalDav server so that I can eliminate the 
dependency on Google.  No need for them to know which User Group 
meetings I'm attending...

The interchange file format for Tasks (VTODO) (and Appointments 
(VEVENT)) is iCalendar http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2445 usually 
exported/imported in a flat .ics file.  There should be lots of 
available libraries for parsing.

Speaking of flat files, I've heard things about Tomboy http://projects.gnome.org/tomboy/ to keep track of tasks.  Never used it, but I've used other "sticky notes" types of applications.  But I never could get the hang of them.


Bob Jonkman <bjonkman at sobac.com>         http://sobac.com/sobac/
SOBAC Microcomputer Services              Voice: +1-519-669-0388
6 James Street, Elmira ON  Canada  N3B 1L5  Cel: +1-519-635-9413
Software   ---   Office & Business Automation   ---   Consulting

Chris Irwin wrote:
> Is anybody else keeping an electronic todo list? Are you finding it
> effective? I'm trying to get a feel for what works for everybody. I
> haven't found anything that works great for me yet, and typically have
> spent more time managing tasks than just doing them (My tasks span
> everything from "Update package dependancies for new version" to
> "Build a deck before winter (deferred from 2009)" with the odd "Sell
> awesome project for billion dollars before 2012" thrown in for fun).
> My requirements are pretty simple:
> - Priorities
> - Notes for each task
> - Simple data store I can parse with scripts (e.g. for display in
> conky, count tasks completed last week to guilt me into doing more
> this week)
> Things I would prefer, but are not critical:
> - Due dates
> - Completion dates
> - Dependancies
> - Task recurrence
> I had been using a plain text file with vim, but I find that once I
> add a few notes under each task it becomes a pain to get a task
> overview, I have to drop to a shell and grep. The other downside is
> that it is computer/console-only, so i have no ability to add or
> review tasks from my phone.
> I've just started to switch again, and before failing to adapt to a
> new process (or get such process to adapt to me) I figured I would at
> least see what others are using. Somebody else *must* be doing
> something better. There is so much software out there to tackle todo
> lists ("Getting things Done" seems to be all the rage lately), but it
> all seems to fall flat in one area or another, whether it is a backend
> format that needs a million lines of code and five XML libraries to
> parse, or a complex interface that is a pain to use (thus I will
> "update it later"), or stuck to a specific device that I won't always
> have around.
> The current plan I'm considering is using an email inbox with a unique
> address. It gives me a create date, subject, and notes (message body).
> I get an outline in my email client, and can open specific tasks to
> review. I've always got evolution open anyway, and it is an interface
> I am already accustomed to. My mail is pulled to maildir on my
> workstation, so I effectively have all the simplicity features I had
> with the text file. It does give me comparable support on my phone and
> any computer I can access my webmail. It doesn't give me due dates,
> completion dates or dependancies though, and my priority range would
> be limited to important/normal.
> So the email option looks rather favourable since it seems to strike a
> balance of simple and hit most of the features I want. But Todo lists
> should not be that hard, and the general rule I follow is "If you need
> to invent something simple, somebody smarter has already done it
> better". So, back to the original question: What is everybody else
> using, and do you find it effective?

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