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I use email drafts and a to-do app in a personal information manager to track things I need to get done but I’m always looking for better solutions. So I was interested to see that a new version of lino, the online sticky notes app that we’ve briefly covered previously, had been released.
A good online sticky notes apps can be useful in a number of way: You can use it to track work for clients, keep an eye on to-dos items and due dates, and to brainstorm and work collaboratively with groups.
Based in Japan, Infoteria Corp. provides Chinese, English, Japanese and Korean editions of lino. The latest version adds some useful features:
- New interface for improved navigation.
- Share stickies with others.
- A “My Page” overview of everything, including public canvases.
- Visual search results.
- The ability to embed lino into your blog or web page.
- More canvas templates.
lino is a free service with up to 10MB of file attachment on a single sticky, with a total limit of 100MB of storage per month. lino ’09 also introduces a premium version, priced at $3 per month. The premium service increases the per-note file attachment and total storage limits to 100MB and 1GB respectively, with unlimited downloads, contains no ads and comes with email support.
You can try the service as a guest, without registering, by going to the lino home page.
To create your own canvases, your online space for posting stickies, you’ll need to register. lino comes with public canvases including “How to lino,” so you can see how others use their canvases and learn from them.
I decided to try lino as a simple GTD app to test it out. I started with two canvases: “To Do Today” and “To Do List.” I quickly figured out how to create a new sticky and was on my way to filling my canvas — each to-do item became a new sticky on my canvases.
Stickies can hold content, photos, file attachments and videos. Just drag a sticky to the canvas to start a new one. Or click one of the four media sticky options to add a photo, video, file or transparent sticky. I sent my first sticky as an email, too. This is a handy feature when collaborating with other web workers on a canvas as it notifies the recipient that the user has put a new sticky on the canvas.
The stickies work like plain text files, but with a choice of five font sizes. Editing options such as bulleted lists or adding hyperlinked text aren’t available. However, URLs added to a sticky (with or without the “http://” added) automatically become active links. With rich text formatting standard on similar web apps, it surprised me that lino doesn’t have it.
lino allows you to move stickies by dragging and dropping them from one canvas to another, so it’s a breeze to move items from my general to-do list to “To Do Today,” To avoid any accidental deleting of a sticky, you can pin it with a click. All the stickies come with action icons, such as a pencil for editing the sticky and a calendar for setting a due date. These icons all have tool tips to help figure out what each does.
For my GTD application, when I was finished with a to-do item, I’d peel off the sticky and find the task gone for good (unless it’s the very last action completed, then you can click “undo” to get it back). To keep completed to-do items, I created another canvas called “Completed” and dragged completed stickies onto it.
Group Canvases let virtual web workers and teams share a canvas. Just create a new canvas and select to allow either anyone to join with administrator approval or by invitation only. Stickies in a group canvas come with an icon to identify who posted the sticky and the time.
The user preferences page keeps track of storage and downloads so users know how much they’ve done for the month. You can choose to get notifications when someone posts a new sticky as well as get a daily email at a selected time. The Calendar and RSS feature lets you subscribe to stickies with due dates in iCalendar format, in Google Calendar or in RSS. lino also comes with handy bookmarklets for adding content to lino including the URLs, titles, selected text and images from web pages.
lino is a useful app for web workers, with a number of different applications including collaboration and keeping track of to-dos. lino works with Firefox 3, Safari 3, Chrome, IE6 and IE7. However, application performance varies by browser.
How would you use online stickies?