Any Microsoft To-do Users Here?

A friend just told me about a free app by Microsoft that is great for keeping track of getting things done called To-do. At first I thought it was Outlook but it was a stand-alone program. Since it was free I downloaded it. It is a multi-platform app so it can be used in Windows, iOS, and Android. My friend is sold on it and this person knows To Do lists.

In the greater Ratverse, has anyone had any experience with this. Why is this better or not? I see it keeps everything up to date between an iPhone and an iPad. Do you use a different product to keep track of things? If so, what?

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21 thoughts on “Any Microsoft To-do Users Here?”

  1. 10 Cents:
    Do you use a different product to keep track of things? If so, what?

    Yes.

    All you need to know about Microsoft To-Do is encapsulated in the first word of its name.  It is a Microsoft product.  From that, and decades of experience, you can immediately conclude:

    • It will be superficially glitzy.
    • Its underlying implementation will be shoddy and contain fundamental flaws.
    • Over time, it will grow increasingly complicated and opaque.
    • Incessant changes will be made, necessitating your re-learning fundamental things you already knew how to do, with the built-in help being no help at all.
    • No effort will be made to preserve your investment in creating content on this proprietary platform.  Arbitrary changes will destroy capital you’ve created and require you to re-create it or manually adapt it to the ever-changing whims of the developers.

    If you doubt me, just ask anybody who has written Excel macros any time over the last thirty years, or programmed in Monkey C (Visual C++), Visceral Basic, or any of their other development environments.

    With Microsoft there is always a turd in the punchbowl.  In fact, there are generally plenty of them, and new ones keep bobbing up to the top with every “update”.  Note that To-Do is the “new and improved replacement” for Wunderlist, a task management application which Microsoft acquired in 2015.  At the time of the acquisition, Wunderlist had 13 million users.  Pursuing their usual strategy of “embrace, extend, and exterminate”, Wunderlist was rapidly wrecked, and now Microsoft have announced that Wunderlist will eventually be discontinued in favour of To-Do, which is “free for now”.

    Yes, there’s the hook, my fishies.  For now, you can create a free cloud account and store all of your information.  Then, when enough people are hooked, along comes the announcement that “in the interest of better integration with Microsoft’s suite of productivity tools, starting with version X.0, To-Do becomes a full-fledged part of Orifice 365 [which presumably only works on non-leap years, just like Excel], and will require an Orifice 365 subscription to use; subscribe now, or lose all your data.  Ha-ha, you trusted us!”.

    But that’s in the future.  Here’s what it’s like to use today.

    Also bear in mind that if you use To-Do, your to-do list (personal data) is stored in Microsoft’s cloud and thus benefits from the level of security, integrity, and respect for customers’ privacy and intellectual property for which Microsoft is known.

    The personal organisation problem has been completely solved long ago.  The solution is Org-mode, which was originally built on the Emacs text editor platform, but is now supported by a wide variety of other software on numerous platforms.  Org-mode can be used as a simple to-do list manager, but it is much, much more.  Many authors and scientists outline their books and research papers in Org-mode, then flesh them out by adding content, which can be prepared for publication on the Web or print (in LaTeX) with a couple of keystrokes.  Org-mode and all of the software upon which is runs is free, open source, and multi-platform.  Org-mode files are plain text, are completely portable among compatible tools, and can be read and edited manually or by other programs; the format is open and fully documented.  I keep my personal to-do list on Orgzly, a free Org-mode application for Android—it implements only a small subset of Org-mode, but it does what I need and is 100% compatible with the full application.

    Here is a high-bandwidth (but mediocre quality audio) introduction to Org-mode.

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  2. I really wish that John would tell us what he really thinks about Micro$oft and their products! LOL! =) I love “Visceral Basic”!

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  3. Black Prince:
    I really wish that John would tell us what he really thinks about Micro$oft and their products! LOL! =) I love “Visceral Basic”!

    Be careful for what you wish for.

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  4. So far I have no problems in the Apple app and it is fulfilling my needs. I agree that it is not wise to go with a Microsoft product but the price is right. I will try it out for a while and discard it, if it doesn’t work out.

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  5. I stick with simple and concrete, so what works for me now is my Google calendar filled in and color-coded with key dates. I print this out each month and list my bills to pay at the top. Each week, I also print a seven-day view and staple it to the calendar. It includes my important events, and this is where I write in my week’s to-do and my daily lists. I can jot work hours down here, too.  This system is working well for me—along with reminder memos on my phone and post-it notes on my back door.

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  6. sawatdeeka:
    I stick with simple and concrete, so what works for me now is my Google calendar filled in and color-coded with key dates. I print this out each month and list my bills to pay at the top. Each week, I also print a seven-day view and staple it to the calendar. It includes my important events, and this is where I write in my week’s to-do and my daily lists. I can jot work hours down here, too.  This system is working well for me—along with reminder memos on my phone and post-it notes on my back door.

    I hear that works well but there is a caveat. I think Jordan Peterson was using that system but was suspended for a while. This was not just from public things online but also from these Google based data files. His calendar was all on there. “What the Tech firm giveth, the Tech firm can take away.”

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  7. Emacs and Orgmode have a steep learning curve. I can see where it can do a lot but I have to invest about 10 hours to get there I think. I downloaded it and I am playing around in it.

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  8. I LOVE org-mode.  It’s everything I’ve ever wanted.

    Unfortunately, I cannot dedicate the equivalent of a master’s degree in learning to use emacs.

    Who has done more to popularize Unix on Ratburger?   I am defeated.

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  9. Haakon Dahl:
    Unfortunately, I cannot dedicate the equivalent of a master’s degree in learning to use Emacs.

    I don’t think you need to learn all that much of Emacs to use Org-mode or many of its other packages.  Emacs is huge and few if any people know it all (if you include the optional packages), but the core functions: marking and copying text, breaking lines, search and replace, navigation, etc. are all relatively simple and really no more arcane than the equivalent commands in VI or other screen-oriented editors.  And the advantage is that once you’ve learned those basic commands, they work everywhere—in all of the packages.  You’re working with a platform, as opposed to independent applications where the rules change every time you switch from one to another.

    Certainly Emacs has a steep initial learning curve, but those who get over it find they’re more productive for having done so and don’t look back.  Another thing about Emacs is, like TeX, it is rock-stable: not only doesn’t it crash or lose your data, the fundamentals don’t change, so once learned, you don’t have to re-learn it with each update as you do with Microsoft (“Where did they hide the replace command this time?”).  And, if you don’t like something, you can customise it to your preferences, and your customisations will be portable among all platforms on which Emacs runs.

    I have no more interest in getting into the text editor wars than I have in debating the merits of different operating systems, but I do think it’s valuable pointing out that free, time-proven, and cross-platform alternatives exist to proprietary data flytraps.

    Did you hear that Microsoft Word is going to start checking your text for “gender inclusiveness”?  And since Orifice 365 is in the cloud now, they’ll know if you’ve turned the “feature” off or opted not to modify your text as it recommends.

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  10. 10 Cents:
    Has anyone set up MobileOrg on a phone?

    I had set some app up.  It had the awful unicorn mascot for the icon.  It felt like an abandoned project.  This is the curse of Open Source, which I otherwise love, and certainly support from an ideological stance.

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  11. That didn’t take long. I was locked out of my ToDo list until I jumped through a few hoops to verify who I was. I deleted the program and went with a product without Microsoft in its name. I did like the simple clean interface of To-do though.

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  12. 10 Cents:
    That didn’t take long. I was locked out of my ToDo list until I jumped through a few hoops to verify who I was. I deleted the program and went with a product without Microsoft in its name. I did like the simple clean interface of To-do though.

    “Make, Take, or Break” wins again!

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  13. John Walker:

    Instugator:
    Went to Orgmode. Not able to look at it – “connection refused” whatever that is.

    What site did you try?  The official home page, https://orgmode.org/, works fine for me.  The complete user manual is linked to that site.

    Went there from my home internet connection. No mas. Just tried from hotel WiFi and good to go. In all fairness, my home internet has been messed up, so I’ll try again when I get back.

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  14. Instugator:

    John Walker:

    Instugator:
    Went to Orgmode. Not able to look at it – “connection refused” whatever that is.

    What site did you try?  The official home page, https://orgmode.org/, works fine for me.  The complete user manual is linked to that site.

    Went there from my home internet connection. No mas. Just tried from hotel WiFi and good to go. In all fairness, my home internet has been messed up, so I’ll try again when I get back.

    Your home internet is in Chinese, right?

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  15. John Walker:
    What site did you try?  The official home page, https://orgmode.org/, works fine for me.  The complete user manual is linked to that site.

    It is my ISP. I had to run a vpn to an outside server in order to connect to the site.

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