At this point, regular WWD readers might now about my distaste for all things Adobe Air, but I try to look past my personal platform preferences and focus on the function of productivity apps, instead of the form they choose to take. Over a year ago, we previewed an app called KonoLive that aimed to bring collaboration to Getting Things Done (GTD) software. Now that it’s finally available to the general public, we wanted to take a look and see what it brings to the table. And I promise to put aside my Air prejudice for the time being.
First, KonoLive does require registration, so if you’re partial to services that are more pick-up-and-play, it might not be your first choice. One nice thing about the sign-up process is that it automatically signs you up for a box.net account if you don’t have one, since you need it in order to use KonoLive’s services. As a consequence, however, whenever you start KonoLive, it redirects you to the box.net homepage to sign in. I’d really appreciate an option to save my login and do this step automatically.
Once you get into actually using KonoLive, adding tasks is simple. You can either type directly into a field on your main window to quickly create one, or you can click the “New” button next to that to launch a detailed “Activity Space” with lots of additional options for task creation.
Here you can set a task title, due date, tags, and make it private or public. You can also invite contacts to share the task, assign it to others, and discuss it live with coworkers online. Finally, you can upload and share docs from either box.net (hence the required sign-up) or Google Docs. Once created, activities show up in your main window under the relevant tab. All users that you’re working with can see new tasks in the notification area at the bottom of the main window.
KonoLive would just be a glorified task list if it wasn’t for its collaborative ability. To take advantage of this, you can add contacts either using their KonoLive account name, or by importing them from your other existing online address books, including Yahoo, Gmail and LinkedIn, among others. Unfortunately, there’s no option to import a desktop address book archive file at this time. Contacts can share your activities, add new ones, discuss tasks and upload files. This could potentially be very useful if you’re working with a small, far-flung team.
KonoLive does what it claims to, offering task management for multiple users across platforms. For me, though, it isn’t the best solution in its category, and I think it says a lot about the app that it’s taken this long to see release since our first look last year. And despite the intervening year, KonoLive still has many bugs that need working out, including an incredibly annoying failure to quit every single time. I have to force quit out even just to get my computer to restart. I’ve also had some difficulty logging in on occasion.
Though it is a free service, there are other options that better accomplish what KonoLive wants to do. Hiveminder, for example, is a terrific tool that we use here at WWD and at other multi-author blogs I’ve worked at in the past that also lets you share tasks with a specific group of people. It lacks KonoLive’s live discussion features, but those are easily taken care of with AIM or any other instant messaging application. Unless you really need to have document sharing features and live chat in the same place, I’d check out other options before you settle on this one.
What tools do you use for collaboratively managing tasks?