One Line Todo Review

One Line Todo Review

Oct 3, 2011

When it comes to productivity, your Android-powered smartphone should be your best friend, keeping you abreast of important information, appointments, meetings and tasks yet to be completed. However, you don’t want to spend all of your time organizing lists of tasks when the point of having them is to get stuff done. That’s where an app like One Line Todo comes in.

One Line Todo promises to greatly simplify the fine art of creating “to do” lists. As soon as you open the app, there’s a box at the bottom where you can begin entering new tasks. Tags, notes, alarms and other features are included, allowing you get the task entered efficiently, without stumbling around in menus and settings. Setting an alarm is even easier, with a calendar view showing you exactly what day each date falls on as opposed to just blindly entering numbers.

To get a good test run out of One Line Todo, I set up several lists that included “household chores,” “writing assignments” and even a list titled, “Take A Break,” reminding me to exercise my legs at regular intervals. Right on schedule, each item sounded an alarm and popped into my notification bar (with the curious notice of “Todo is coming!” above the task’s name). However, there is a serious problem here. I like to keep my phone silent, setting it to “vibrate” for any notifications that come in. Unfortunately, One Line Todo never vibrated my phone, nor did it flash the notification light. I double-checked the settings only to find that there is no setting for either of these functions; they just aren’t included. This is a huge oversight for an app like this.

Another issue is the poor grammar throughout the app. The description text, menu items and settings are difficult to interpret, even verging on the completely nonsensical. You can usually guess what the description is trying to tell you, but there are a few that, honestly, I have no idea what they’re supposed to do. Do I leave a particular setting on or off? How can I know if I can’t understand what its function is?

One Line Todo features some great widgets that display your tasks, times, whether there are notes attached and the status of each task with color coding. In the free version, you only get one, large widget. Upgrading to the Pro version by purchasing the unlock key for US$1.96 gives you smaller widgets that don’t take up as much space. If space on your home screen is important to you, this might be something you want. Otherwise, the app will nag you, constantly, about purchasing the upgrade whether you want it or not.

One Line Todo is more of a good start than a finished product. The user interface can use improvement, as can the menus and settings system. The notifications should definitely be looked at, adding in vibrate and notification light functionality. And while the task entry process is simple enough and the widgets are great to look at, the app itself is a confusing mess. Overall, it just needs more work.

Catch Notes Review

Catch Notes Review

Sep 15, 2011

Information is constantly flowing all around us, and while many of us don’t always carry a pen and paper, most of us carry a phone everywhere. Equipped with cameras, keyboards and microphones, smart phones are the perfect devices for recording all those bits of important information. But to really take advantage of your phone’s note-taking capabilities, you need an app like Catch Notes.

To the best of my knowledge, there isn’t exactly a shortage of note-taking apps for Android — I’ve somehow managed to accumulate nearly half a dozen of them. Each one works very well, but each one does something just a little better than the others. In the case of Catch Notes, its light footprint allows it to load very quickly, eliminating much of the load time associated with other apps. From there, you can quickly record vital information while it’s still fresh, before you forget precious details. When time is of the essence, you don’t want to be messing around with organizing and categorizing your thoughts before you can get them down on the screen; Catch Notes is ready to go with a blank page in seconds.

Another great thing about Catch Notes is the use of hashtags to organize and filter notes. Just place a hashmark (#) in front of a word anywhere in your note and it becomes a tag accessible from outside the note. It’s much simpler than the system other apps use.

Like other note apps, Catch Notes features uploading to “the cloud.” The web interface at Catch.com allows you to edit, organize and export notes quickly and easily. With a free account, you get 70MBs/month while a pro account at $5/month, or $45/year, gets you 1GB/month plus PDF and productivity doc support with more features on the horizon.

One problem I had with Catch Notes was when attempting to take a photo note. When you want to take a photo note, the app loads the camera, but doesn’t bring you back into Catch Notes once the photo has been shot. Furthermore, it doesn’t seem to append the photo to the note very reliably. I saw a small, black square on the note, but no photo. I had to manually attach the photo to the note to get it to work correctly. At last, it synced with Catch Notes’ servers and uploaded my picture where I could privately view it online.

The interface is very attractive and easy to navigate. Interacting with your notes, editing and organizing them is a snap. However, some buttons, such as the “Export to external storage” buttons, could have used a more descriptive icon. If you’re used to seeing such icons, you’ll immediately know what they’re for. New users might be more easily confused, however.

It’s important to remember that Catch Notes, as it is currently, isn’t meant to be where you stuff all types of web-related, multimedia content or rich-text based information. It’s just a great way of keeping on top of daily reminders without a lot of extra hassle.