Saturday, August 29, 2009

aList -- As simple as paper. As powerful as technology.

I am a compulsive list maker. I make lists for everything I do -- shopping lists, task lists, gift lists, movie lists, packing lists. For years I’ve been looking for the perfect bit of technology to make it easier. I’ve tried making lists on my Palm, in Outlook, in a word processor, in text files and on-line at big name sites to name a few. I’ve eventually abandoned them all and gone back to scraps of paper. My goal with aList was to create a way to keep track of lists of things that was as simple as using a piece of paper, but as powerful as the best technology. I think I’ve succeeded -- at least to some extent. In fact, it’s easier than paper in some ways. Paper doesn’t remember the list you made to go to the beach house last year, but aList does. Well, unless you’re much more organized than I am and can find the actual piece of paper with the beach house list. With paper you can’t instantly copy down everything you bought in the dairy section last time you shopped to your new list, but with aList you can. You can’t talk to a piece of paper, but you can dictate to aList.

I use aList everyday for something. Right now I've got a list of music I want to buy (I almost gave away my age by saying a list of CDs I want to buy), a list of books I'd like to read and the ubiquitous and necessary grocery list. Because I use it, I can already see some areas for improvement and I hope you'll also offer suggestions for features and improvements. I don't know how things will work out, but if aList gets any traction I'd like to offer a place where users can share interesting lists, offer the aforementioned suggestions and maybe even build a web app to give an on-line presence for your aList lists (and me a place for mine). To get things started I will post a sequence of tutorials (maybe only 1 or 3) on how to use aList (and I'll even point out the weaknesses I'd like to address in future versions).

For the time being aList is available only for folks judging the Android Developer Challenge 2. A big disappointment, I know. When it's released on the Market, I'm planning to charge a couple of bucks for it and the ADC2 version has a sunset feature. It won't run after August 15, 2010. Of course, you can export your lists to be reused if you decide to spend the bucks to buy the release.

No comments:

Post a Comment