For years I have been searching for an elegant solution to sync my task list between my blackberry and Mac. But nothing would cut it. There are so many clumsy attempts out there that at one point I’d thought to have the blackberry and Mac synced is an impossible riddle to crack . A real pity because the market for blackberry and Mac users out there is huge. Finally now there is the awesome app, that not only ensures that my tasks are synced between my Mac and Blackberry, but even on my iPad, infact I can access my tasks anywhere as long as I’m connected to the web.
Why Blackberry and not an iPhone
Simply because nothing tops the speed that one can get on typing on the blackberry. The iPhone keyboard sucks. Well for me it does. For the life of me I can’t type on it. Certainly not with the speed and accuracy I can on the blackberry keyboard. So it when it comes to sending SMSes, typing quick emails, jotting down tasks, with speed and accuracy, the iPhone is yet to conquer the Blackberry in my book.
First the problems with the existing setups possible:
1. The default setup: Syncing the native tasks application on Blackberry with Microsoft Outlook.
This is the second-best option that I had been running till date. I have blackberry server installed at my office. I had to find out what is my ip from that server and enter that info across my other devices, not too complicated for me but still tedious. I thereby ensured that wirelessly all my Tasks, Calendar items, Notes would be wirelessly synced to my desktop. The sync is tight. Rarely or no errors. And fast. However the problems are as follows:
– Microsoft Outlook is clunky, heavy software. Operating Microsoft Outlook is like manoeuvring a truck on a crowded street.
– Microsoft Outlook has to run on Windows, which has to run on Parallel Desktop. So I’m constantly running two operating systems. That takes a lot of resources, RAM, speed and battery power out from my Macbook.
– When I’m away from the office and want to process the tasks on the go, my Outlook cannot connect to the Blackberry Server without VPN. And VPN isn’t also reliable. Sometimes it connects well, othertimes it doesn’t.
– The native Task App in the blackberry although great has limitations. The most irritating one is that I can’t see all tasks that are Overdue on a single page. I have the habit of marking tasks to be due on a certain date. But life happens that I can’t attend to the task on that date. And I’d like to see all tasks that are Overdue together. The tasks app in blackberry doesn’t show that.
2. Sync the Native Tasks Application with Remember the Milk.
– Remember the Milk is one of the most popular online tasks applications out there. And for good reason too. It is indeed an elegant solution to managing your to-dos. Clean interface. Reliable. Very fast. Online hence accessible from virtually anywhere. Anywhere except your blackberry. There is an app to sync the Blackberry Tasks with Remember the Milk. It’s Great, when it works. Which it rarely does. Each time I try to sync I get error message after error message.
3. Other attempts that have crashed.
The other applications that I’ve used to sync my Blackberry tasks with my Mac or any online app are:
– ToDo Matrix. This may work. However I’ve briefly tried this, and for reasons I can’t remember I couldn’t continue using it.
– Blackberry’s official sync software for the Mac. This is the worst of them all. Don’t even think about it.
The Solution: Behold Upvise. Enter the Pearly Gates of Task Management Heaven.
Literally after years of searching I found one stray reference of Upvise in some forum post somewhere. The homepage didn’t look promising (it’s better now), but I gave it a shot anyway and installed the Blackberry app.
Why Upvise Rocks:
1. They Sync is really Tight. Upvise doesn’t try to sync the native Tasks app of Blackberry. That’s where the other developers were going wrong. Instead it installs an app of it’s on in Blackberry, which automatically syncs really well with the web-app.
2. It’s Fast! Not as fast with the native app. Yet I have been using it for a couple of months now and a picky Power User like me is satisfied with it.
3. The developers seem committed. They are constantly upgrading the blackberry app and web app with new features, without making it heavy.
4. Awesome Customer Service. Whenever I have a problem with Blackberry Tasks or Microsoft Outlook sync. Who can I call? Nobody. But with upvise, I shoot them a mail and mostly receive a reply within 24 hours.
5. They’ve got a super-duper iPad App. I no longer have to squint in my blackberry to process my tasks. I can do it from my ipad and in style.
My Upvise wishlist:
As great as Upvise is, here are a couple of things that I wish they’d implement to make it better:
1. Shortucts. The webapp doesn’t have shortucuts to create new tasks, mark them complete etc. Their customer support says that they should be upgrading it with shortcuts in a weeks time.
2. Option to select multiple tasks to process them. This is a killer feature of Remember the Milk. Meaning I can selelct multiple tasks and then either mark them complete, postpone them etc. Hope Upvise implements this soon too.
3. Option to modify the default due date. When creating a new task, the system automatically sets the default due date to the next day. I’d prefer the option to modify that.
4. When creating a new task, a quick box drops down. I’d like the option to select the task list in that drop box. Right now I have to go to the main task edit screen to do that.
Overall I’m very satisfied with Upvise. The free version of Upvise you get some free apps. The tasks app cost $50 per annum. Well worth the price. I would strongly recommend it. Hope more Blackberry and Mac users read this post and give Upvise a try.