One problem I have with maintaining tasks and events is multiple computers. I don’t have the same programs on my notebook. My notebook doesn’t have Microsoft Outlook installed. Besides, trying to synchronize a .PST file between systems is a chore I don’t relish. Instead, I like to find alternatives that are easy to use. There are many web-based services that offer task management, but I didn’t want a solution that needed me to log in all the time. I wanted something that was simple and within reach. ReminderFox works well for any type of date-based reminders.
Viewing Your To Do’s and Reminder Lists
Like many people, I always have Firefox open. When I open Firefox, ReminderFox alerts me of upcoming items based on my settings and date. As I continue to browse the web or read email, I can add tasks and reminders by clicking the toolbar. At any time, I can hover my mouse over ReminderFox and see my Reminders and ToDo’s. You can also mark important items in red, which makes them stand out.
Adding Information to ReminderFox
Seeing reminders or tasks is one part of the equation. Being able to easily enter data is a big factor. The process starts by double-clicking the ribbon icon. A dialog opens where you can select what type of information to add. By default, the program includes tabs for Reminders and ToDo’s. However, you can create tabs for additional lists such as I did with Article Ideas and Books.
Once you’ve selected the data type, another dialog appears where you can enter the details. The dialogs are small and don’t take over the screen. You can set your options and add a note by using the icon to the right of the Description line.
Most likely one of the first things you’ll want to do is to customize the application. The easiest way to do this is to right-click the ribbon and select Options... You’ll get a tabbed panel that allows you to change most settings. For example, I changed my Display Placement to be on the Navigation Toolbar instead of the status bar.
Another option I took advantage of was Lists. Each list becomes a tab in the program. You can add to a list by choosing its tab and clicking the Add ToDo button. These can be simple lists such as books to read or a shopping list. As with ToDo’s you can attach dates.
Keeping To Do's and Reminders in Sync
One appealing aspects of the program was syncing. I can use ReminderFox with Firefox and the Mozilla Thunderbird email client. While I could use the same ReminderFox file location, I saved my data to the web. Using the Network tab, you can specify a FTP or HTTP location for your file. This is a nice option if you use multiple computers and wish to keep them in sync. If you’re offline, you can still open Firefox and add data.
My first try at using a network file was to synchronize to my FTP server. I’m not sure why this didn’t work, but I couldn’t get the .ics file to write. It may have had to do with server file permissions, but there were no error messages. Not wanting to give up, I tried a service that appeared on the ReminderFox FAQ page – http://www.icalx.com/.
Setting up the free account with iCalExchange was easy. I clicked the Create link, filled in the required info and I was set to go. I set ReminderFox to automatically sync with the file. The only issue I encountered was a list I created, but hadn’t added any items didn’t show. I expected that I would see the new tab on my other computer, but it didn’t appear until I had added an entry to the list. I’m guessing this happened because the concept of tabs doesn’t exist in the iCal file spec.
The program’s data file is an .isc iCalendar file. Since this is a common file format used by many programs, you could import your ReminderFox data into other applications. Be forewarned as not all applications allow you to interact with your data or display all of it. For instance, Google Calendar will display your Reminders, but not ToDo’s even if a date is attached. Other services like iCalExchange will show your ToDo’s and lists in a separate section, but they won’t display on the calendar. Fortunately, ReminderFox allows you to move a To-Do to a Reminder.
Overall, I’ve been impressed with ReminderFox. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that you see in Outlook, but that also means it doesn’t come with the overhead and cost. It’s a sleek and efficient program that you could use to manage your reminders and tasks. Once you install it, you’ll quickly see how easy it is to capture and collect those random ideas and tasks that pop up around you.
- Firefox page: http://reminderfox.mozdev.org/
- Thunderbird download: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/1191
- Version Reviewed: 1.2.1
- Cost: Free
Last Updated (Saturday, 19 June 2010 09:58)