Scott's Weblog The weblog of an IT pro specializing in cloud computing, virtualization, and networking, all with an open source view

OmniFocus for iPhone First Impressions

For those that follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that I purchased and installed OmniFocus for iPhone over the weekend. If you are a GTD lover and a Mac user, you are no doubt familiar with the “regular” OmniFocus application from The Omni Group. I’ve been using OmniFocus for quite some time now (I wrote about that back in February), and I was really excited about the possibility of taking it mobile with me on my iPhone.

A number of things stand out after using this combination for a few days:

  • I’m too cheap to pay for a MobileMe subscription, so I just setup a WebDAV site on my hosting package. It’s not the greatest in the world (I’d prefer to run WebDAV over SSL on the standard HTTPS port, for example), but it works. However, less technically inclined folks would have had a problem without a MobileMe subscription. I hear that Omni is planning on adding Bonjour syncing support, but I can’t imagine that will be anything other than Wi-Fi only.

  • It takes quite a while to sync my iPhone after a day of working in OmniFocus on my MacBook Pro. This is even with a good 3G data connection. I don’t know that there’s anything that can be done about this, nor is this even anyone’s “fault”; it’s just an observation I’ve seen thus far.

  • In an effort to stretch the battery out as long as possible, I generally keep Location Services turned off. This limits some of the location-aware functionality that OmniFocus for iPhone features. Since the release of the 2.1 firmware, my battery life has improved; perhaps I can turn on Location Services and not suffer too much of a battery hit. If anyone has any feedback on how much of a hit it is to keep Location Services turned on, I’d certainly appreciate it.

  • I’m finding that my current set of contexts don’t necessarily translate well to the iPhone version. Currently my contexts are more for grouping similar tasks than by location or resource; I’m thinking I may need to move to more location-based contexts. I’m not yet sure how that will work or how I’ll integrate that with my workflow. Again, suggestions are more than welcome.

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with OmniFocus for iPhone. (In fact, I’m pretty pleased with my iPhone in general.) There’s always room for improvement, but given my experience with The Omni Group with applications like OmniGraffle and OmniOutliner I’m quite confident that the application will improve over time.

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