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Midnight InboxIf you haven’t gotten around to implementing David Allen’s Getting Things Done, system, because of a lack of clear and easy-to-use programs, you may now be in luck. Midnight Beep has just released a public beta of Midnight Inbox, a new GTD application for the Mac.

I have been using another system, Kinkless GTD, for a little while. I like it and many people swear by it, but the setup is not user-friendly. It took me long time to even understand conceptually how it worked.

Midnight Beep’s interface, on the other hand, makes the most sense out of anything I’ve seen so far. I love how the major buckets on the left are called “Collect, Process, Organize, Daily Review, Work, Reference, and Trash”‖very clear to a person who might be just getting familiar with GTD. Even the organization of the help menu offers a concise introduction and overview of GTD.

Midnight Inbox help

Midnight Inbox is also a traditional application unlike KGTD (which is really an OmniOutliner document on steroids.) For people who aren’t power-users, Midnight Inbox might be the most promising new addition to the GTD space.

Download it here:

This is a pre-release beta, so beware of bugs. Make the application better by sending feedback to Midnight Beep.

[via Daring Fireball]

Update Aug. 30: After testing out the beta some more, here’s a longer review:

What I like

  • The ability to collect files and emails as well as notes
    Although it’s unclear how to get files and emails into a Collection box, Midnight Inbox has “Recent Emails” and “Desktop Files” as default Collection groups. This is perhaps the most compelling part of the program, because it can consolidates all of your inboxes into one program. Right now, I have separate Inboxes for e-mail, computer files, and notes. Not by choice, but because there’s nothing out yet that can combine them together. Perhaps, Midnight Inbox can fully address this in it’s next release.

  • Structure of left navigation
    I mentioned earlier that “Collect”, “Process”, “Organize”, “Daily review”, “Work”, and “Reference” and “Trash” are clear labels. I still like them, although the “Daily review” should be just be named “Review”, since you can have reviews of different intervals.

What I don’t like (bugs)

  • Can’t do anything to items in the Collection boxes.
    Once you put an item into a collection box, you can’t do anything to it. This is an upcoming feature that will be implemented, but I wish they had released it with it working.

  • Delete doesn’t work
    Can’t delete items in “Collect” or “Organize”. Normal key commands such as Delete and Command-Delete don’t work.

  • Can’t drag and drop items
    Dragging and dropping between different buckets doesn’t work.

  • Adding an item to the collection is hard
    It’s difficult to add notes. You have to press the Plus icon to make a new note, instead of just clicking in the window or use a key command.

  • Crashes and hangs
    Even with “Automatic Collection” turned off, the application hangs and has many redrawing issues. Sometimes it won’t even let me select the window of the program.

  • Misleading “Beta” title
    This feels more like an alpha or proof of concept than a working application.

Features I want

  • Integration with other apps
    Quicksilver, iCal, Mail, AppleScript, and Growl integration

  • Smaller footprint
    Currently some of the icons are too big, and the chrome of the window takes up too much space.

  • Typographic customization
    The ability to choose your own fonts and sizes would be nice.

Conclusion

Conceptually, the application is off to a good start. It’s a decent proof of concept for what could be an amazing program. Midnight Inbox has my endorsement in that regard. The current implementation, however, has too many bugs to make it useful as a real day-to-day system. The term “beta” is used very loosely since all the major features are not implemented.

If you love checking out pre-release software like I do, then this program will certainly entertain your curiosity. If you want to replace kGTD or your existing GTD system, now’s not the time.

12 Comments

  • Marc

    gravatarSep 1, 2006
    4:31 pm

    Looks promising, once it matures a bit.

  • Anneliese

    gravatarSep 1, 2006
    9:08 pm

    There is an app out there that will do all what you ask for concerning GTD, and it is called Journler. Check it out at http://journler.phildow.net/.

  • evariste

    gravatarSep 2, 2006
    4:34 pm

    The keyboard command to add a Note is Cmd-Return.

  • Pete

    gravatarDec 9, 2006
    6:58 am

    Journler is definitely not a GTD app. It has no workflow. As for Inbox, I’ve tested version 1 for two days and can report that it crashes at the drop of a hat! Not very intuitive either.

  • Anneliese

    gravatarDec 9, 2006
    2:11 pm

    Hmmm Pete, it’s strange you say that, because I use Journler for GTD every day, and I’m not the only one. I use it for my next actions, one entry for each action, labeled with a different color and/or category for each context. I use OOP for projects. I also use Journler for brainstorm writing, and also as my reference system.

  • Pete

    gravatarDec 9, 2006
    2:58 pm

    Anneliese, I guess I stand corrected. But am I right that Journler is not designed as a GTD, but can be configured to be one?

  • Anneliese

    gravatarDec 9, 2006
    9:51 pm

    That’s right, it’s not designed for GTD. It’s just very configurable because of the very customizable smart folders and families, as well as tags, categories, labels, and markings (checks and flags).

    I used to use it for projects, and I know others who do, but I really like to outline and hoist sections in OOP, so I switched. But Journler is still the best for next actions. I tried kGTD but constantly found myself syncing and waiting all the time.

    The newest Journler beta is a treat!

  • pauldwaite

    gravatarJan 11, 2007
    5:00 pm

    It’s got some nice features (I love the natural-language date entry, and auto-collection is a very good idea), and an interface that actually manages to be more Mac-like than the Mac itself.

    But it feels very over-designed. I’ve just spent 20 minutes trying to get started with it. Way too much going on. After I’d managed to create two actions, I set one to start 5 days in the future, and it still got displayed (albeit in grey) in the “Work” folder. I like a to-do app that only tells me what I’ve got to do now, and leaves next week’s tasks for then.

  • Michael Madsen

    gravatarMar 5, 2007
    11:37 am

    Looks promising – but no quicksilver integration is the big show stopper…

  • Lee Rodrigues

    gravatarApr 12, 2007
    8:20 am

    I have been using actiontastic with with quicksilver adn it is very user friendly. I can add notes very easily, but there is no email integration. I tried backpack before that and I abandoned it.

    What version is this review for?

  • Christopher Tilley

    gravatarAug 5, 2007
    4:39 pm

    Been using Inbox (1.2.2), as my sole GTD tool for while now. It’s pretty good, for me the biggest issue is that despite checking an item off it still appears in my work list until I archive the project. As most of my projects last months, this is annoying.

  • Brennan Cheung

    gravatarApr 7, 2008
    12:20 am

    The concept of what this application does is very promising.

    But from a user interface perspective it is way to slow. By slow I mean the design of it, not the computational performance. I should be able to use arrow keys to move around. I don’t care that it looks pretty, I want it to be usable.

    I’m currently evaluating this program and I’m probably not going to use it, at least it it’s current form, because it requires me to jump through too many hoops in order to add items. I don’t get the point of the collect either. It isn’t true to GTD. Collect is where you dump things off your mind or just grab a whole bunch of legacy stuff and put it there so you can sort through it later.