Saturday, September 19, 2020

ToDo apps: Microsoft's solution

I've used Appigo's ToDo app for about 12 years (with Toodledo at first). It's had problems over the years, but in general it's been a good subscription choice. There's a fairly hard data lock (maybe SQLite?) but manual reentry is feasible albeit annoying.

Lately, however, ToDo has been more ragged. A recent server side change induced a date bug (time zone?) that in turn showed me I was using a macOS app last updated in 2016. It appears to have been abandoned on the Mac App Store. When I went to Twitter I found Appigo's account was closed years ago for violating TOS. Eventually I found I could download a current version of their other App Store app from their web site.

At the moment the app is more or less working again, though parts of the macOS app UI are kind of weird. I figure there was some violent ownership transition with lost dev passwords in Appigo's history (maybe they got ransomwared?).

I decided to go shopping again. I'm looking at:

  • Apple Reminders: hard data lock and I have to upgrade from Mojave to get to latest version (not happening).
  • Google Todo: this is one hell of a weird product. WTF is their web strategy? Tied to Gmail? Tied to Calendar? At least there's data export.
  • Things
  • OmniFocus: poor Omni is in some disarray ...
  • Microsoft To Do
Today I dug into Microsoft To Do. Of course it's a mess, but this is 2020 so we expect that. The mess starts with Microsoft reusing product names. To simplify a bit:
  • There are classic Outlook Tasks. I'll call these TasksClassic. TasksClassic was excellent in many ways, including, once upon a time, great import/export options and lots of view flexibility (I like to sort by last modified!). Unfortunately it's dead, just barely hanging on in the current desktop app with some degree of synchronization with the new product.
  • There's the new Wanderlist-based product variable called Microsoft To Do and ... Outlook Tasks (name reuse!). I'll call these TasksW for Wanderlist.
If you open the Help screen page for macOS TasksW (To Do) it takes one to a page on Outlook synchronization that's obsolete -- because the version of Tasks has switched from TasksClassic to TasksW. On the other hand the version of Office 365 on my Mac still has TasksClassic, and it does synchronize with TasksW as displayed on macOS and iOS Microsoft To

Are you still with me?

This gave me a brief moment of hope that there was some data freedom here. I remember the import/export options of old Windows Outlook. Alas, the only import/export from macOS Outlook is Microsoft's PST format. There might be some way to do things with Outlook Windows or with 3rd party tools but I don't have the energy for that.

At this time I think TasksW is probably a decent enough product, but this has reminded me how screwed up Microsoft is. So I'm setting this one aside for the moment.

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