"Wealth will increasingly be defined by our ability to go offline whenever we want." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Thoughts
August 13, 2008

OmniFocussing

Part of the rationale for getting the iPhone was always to move back to mobile management of my projects, calendars and contacts. My most product phase as a writer and thinker coincided with the time where I was running a simple Palm device and Mac OS9. I had real control of the informaiton I needed […]

Part of the rationale for getting the iPhone was always to move back to mobile management of my projects, calendars and contacts. My most product phase as a writer and thinker coincided with the time where I was running a simple Palm device and Mac OS9. I had real control of the informaiton I needed to get through each day and a clear sense of the projects I had decided to commit to. It wasn’t tat either piece of software was especially powerful (though I miss aspects of OS9 and felt that Palm software became less loveable with each major upgrade). Rather, it was that syncronisation between the two devices (Palm and Mac) was solid, dependable and easy.

So, today I jumped onto OmniFocus – both the Mac and iPhone versions. Although the fully Syncing version of OmniFocus for Mac is still in Beta, it only took 15 minutes to download and set up the programmes on the iPhone, PowerBook and Mac Pro. Please note that to get this setup working you need to buy both the Mac and iPhone versions and have a server set up (like iDisk with MobileMe).

The next task is to move the projects into Omnifocus, which I plan to do with my next Weekly Review on Saturday morning.

Responses
Greg Restall 14 years ago

Enjoy it! I have been: I’ve been a happy iPhone user for 13 days so far (since they were released on not-too-extortionate plans on Virgin two weeks ago). OmniFocus has been (mostly) a dream. The iPhone app does crash every so often when syncing, and I’m still learning the best way to manage the contexts. (The location based contexts are interesting, but when you live 3km from your workplace, and your local shops are so close, it tells me I can do anything anywhere… Which isn’t so far wrong, really.)

I was worried that the constant syncing up in the cloud would eat up my data allocation (I have 1GB a month), and my OmniFocus.ofocus file (package) is 500K in size — shuttling that to and from my phone to MobileMe every half hour could chew this allocation reasonably quickly — but that’s not turned out to be the case. In two weeks, I’ve used only 50MB. It turns out that your Omnifocus document is actually a collection of tiny 4KB files, one for each Next Action, so only the changed ones move around in a sync. Its very nicely done.

With that , and with the fact I’ve not used video streaming while out and about, and I do have WiFi at home and on campus, a data allocation of 1GB is plenty of room. I think I’ll burn through a lot more data when out travelling interstate.

The other wonderful app on the phone has been DataCase, which lets you wirelessly transfer pdf files, txt files, doc files, etc., for reading on the phone. That’s neat, too.

Fernando Gros 14 years ago

Hey Greg, great to hear from you! I signed up for an unlimited data plan here, since all the other options were 0.5GB, which felt really tight, especially since free Wi-Fi is hard to find in HK. The Location/Context stuff is really cool, but we live directly above our supermarket, so that counts out using it for shopping lists and like you, most of our life happens in a small geographic footprint.

And, thank you for the lead on DataCase. I was looking for something to do exactly that (mobile reading!).

C. Wess daniels 14 years ago

Fernando – have you tried rememberthemilk.com? It’s a gtd, organizing site I love. Do you find that Omnifocus is better than a web-based app for your purposes?

Fernando Gros 14 years ago

Remeberthemilk looks good, but I wouldn’t want to use a web-based app. I do most of my work (and by extension, most of my planning) at the Mac Pro, which is not, by default, connected to the web. I love the iPhone’s ability to connect to the “real” internet, but OmniFocus’ interface is easy to read on the device and doesn’t require any scrolling or resizing. When I take my PowerBook with me to a local cafe or library, I don’t have Wi-Fi access. Finally, on the PB or MP, OmniFocus is fast in review and editing mode. To me that’s deal-maker/breaker. If the app is not faster than paper and pencil for planning and review, it’s all over.

I like the lightness of web-based apps, but for me, they are not scratching where I itch right now.

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