Another webapp I’ve started to use in anger is Remember The Milk (RTM). Basically it’s a task manager, but the big benefit for me is the ability to share stuff. I’ve recently spent some time working with a friend to build a Windows Media Center. (Yes, I know, shouldn’t be using Windows, but the ultimate user of the system will not be a techie and I don’t think the Linux versions of this stuff are ready for that yet. I would much rather give them a Tivo of course, but they’re no longer available in the UK.) There are lots of little bits and pieces to keep track of: buying components, installing software, ordering broadband, etc. So we used a shared RTM list to keep track of it all. RTM works with Gtalk, newsfeeds and email. It even works with Twitter so you can get your latest list of tasks via SMS! And it’s near-as-damn-it free.

If you’re a fan of Exchange, you might be wondering why I didn’t just use that to share tasks. Well, up until a short time ago I did indeed have Exchange hosting, but I didn’t want to have to pay for another account. Besides which, I recently took the decision to wean myself off Outlook. It is such a badly behaved program. It ruins my computer’s performance, IMAP is terrible, it regularly crashes and takes an age to startup (during which I can’t do anything else on my PC). One day I just thought “why am I persisting with this? There are so many other ways of doing this stuff.” So here I am using Google Mail, RTM, Thunderbird, Google Calendar and gluing everything together using Plaxo. It’s tricky to setup, but I’m so relieved to get shot of Outlook! (More or less ;)  I still have to keep a minimal Outlook profile to sync with my phone.) And the possibilities for interaction between all these tools – and with other users – is far greated than my Exchange hosting could ever have offered. The only thing that’s missing is over the air syncing for my phone, but I’m confident I’ll crack that soon.

A quick word about Plaxo. I found it very difficult to setup at first, and I ended up making a horrible mess of my calendar – a very big deal for me because I use the calendar to create my invoices! I worked it out in the end though, and in the process had cause to use the Plaxo Backup/Restore facility. I was amazed to find that I could restore immediately from a list of backup instances without any help from Plaxo admins. Very impressive.

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