Saturday, February 12, 2011

Editor Redesign

The task editor in Todo Q had always been functional, but not very pretty. Today v2.0.3 is released and includes an updated look & feel for the editor and some function changes. In prior releases, "clicking" the location field would bring up your existing locations. This causes an issue on a new install since, well, you don't have any and Todo Q displayed an empty list that had to be closed. The list would also popup sometimes when you really just wanted to edit. Less than great usability. This is resolved by adding a "Locations" button to the right to select a saved location. Other changes include adding the day to the date display and trimming the date & time values of their leading zeroes. Also labeled the icon.

Scrolling down a bit we see all the dropdown or spinners as android calls them have been made to fit the width. Plus we've added separator bars to break things up a bit. And finally, Save and Revert buttons. In the beginning, you just "backed out" of the window to save. Then I added menu items, and now buttons. It does improve the usability imho. Great advice "Bird Dog".

I hope users like these changes. I did run it by a couple who thought it was an improvement.

Todo Q is only $1.99 on the android market.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

No Permission

Recently I was reviewing the permissions on the new market website site. When I read the following, I thought WTF?

Act As An Account Authenticator
Allows an application to use the account authenticator capabilities of the AccountManager, including creating accounts and getting and setting their passwords.
Use The Authentication Credentials Of An Account
Allows an application to request authentication tokens.
Manage The Accounts List
Allows an application to perform operations like adding, and removing accounts and deleting their password.
 The 1st and 3rd permissions sound pretty scary and I wasn't sure why they were there. At one time, I considered automatically creating a "Todo Q" calendar in the user's google calendar, so that could be the reason. Anyway, I pulled both. Todo Q will still request a token for the "send to friend" feature. Send to Friend allows you to send tasks to another Todo Q user or anyone using SMS.

Following is a screenshot of the requested  permissions in v2.0.2. Todo Q doesn't actually send e-mail, so I'll have to check on that one. It accesses the calendar for import and "add to calendar" functions. It accesses your contacts in order associate a contact to a task and use their address for the location. The SD card is for backups, and the SMS permission is the other half of "send to friend".

We need a way to pick & choose permissions at install and/or runtime. I could easily turn off features if the user didn't want to grant permission.

Todo Q v2.0.2 removes the two unused permissions and is only $1.99 on the android market.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Two Oh

I recently merged a couple of branches that focused on usability and power management. The result is Todo Q v2.0 and includes many improvements in those areas.

What's new in the following screenshot?

Many things...
  • custom task list title color & font size
  • task list detail hidden, but you can customize its color and size too
  • due date on task list when detail hidden
  • completed tasks display with strikethrough and are sorted to bottom
  • custom category color is background on completion checkbox/star
Here's another shot with further color customization on the task list, with details visible.

Another theme of v2.0 is power management. Managing power effectively in a mobile application is an important task. Todo Q v2.0 addresses power management for location alarms by introducing a tiered alarm system and "power profiles". It's not perfect, but it is an improvement.

The new tiered alarm system respects the power profile selected in preferences. The ultralow, low and medium profiles use the cellular or wifi network to track location. The high and ultrahigh profiles use the gps to track location, assuming it is enabled. 

The default profile is low. Here's a shot of the preference screen.

Once a potential location is nearby, Todo Q will use the best available provider (network, gps, etc.) and set a built-in proximity alert. If the location goes out of range, the proximity alert is cancelled. The two tiered alarm approach lets Todo Q limit battery usage while providing for a large number of location alarms.

Todo Q v2.0 is still only $1.99 on the android market. Please give it a try today.