There seem to be two types of to-do list apps: the simple and the expensive. Unless, of course, you’re talking about Nitro. If you’ve looked at high-end, GTD-oriented to-do lists like Things ($50) or Omnifocus ($80), you know how costly such apps can be.
If you like the idea, but don’t want to fork out the cash, Nitro is a capable alternative. It works for Mac, Linux and in any modern browser; and can easily sync between platforms thanks to Dropbox and Ubuntu One support.
I reviewed Nitro when it was a Linux-only to-do app, but Mac and web versions have since come out. Not only that, but the formally broken sync feature is now working quite well and the interface has been refined quite a bit. If you gave on this app before it’s worth another look.
Everyone uses their to-do lists just a little bit differently, and that’s okay. For me a good to-do app is a place to store things I know I need to do later, then be reminded of on the appropriate days. If you think this way, Nitro will likely work for you – it’s arguably centered around scheduling tasks.
Start up Nitro and you’ll be immediately presented with the tasks you should be doing today:
This, of course, assumes you make frequent use of dates while creating your to-do list. If not, perhaps the “Next” tab is a better method of working. This shows you tasks due on days besides today, as well as being the place to go for planning future tasks. The logbook, beneath this, is the place your completed tasks are stored – leaving you with a record of things you’ve accomplished.
Completed tasks aren’t added to the logbook automatically, meaning you’ll be able to keep track of recent accomplishments until you head to the logbook and tell the program to move completed tasks there.
You can also, of course, create separate “Lists”. This is ideal for projects, but you can also use them for categories if you like. Tasks from any list will show up in the Today screen on the day their due, so don’t worry about losing track of things.
Adding a task is simple:
It’s easy to add a name, of course, but there are also tags for tracking specific kinds of tasks. You can set a priority, if you wish, as well as a due-date.
Sync And Settings
Your tasks don’t need to stay on one computer: Nitro can sync using either Dropbox or Ubuntu One. Click the gear and you’ll find the ability to do this in the Sync tab.
By default syncing occurs only when you hit the sync button, so be sure to change that if you want syncing to be automated.
It’s worth exploring the settings, while you’re at it. There are various themes to try out, for example:
Not important, I realize, but nice to have. There’s even one that makes this app look like Wunderlist – at least, an older version of Wunderlist:
The settings are also home to a complete list of keyboard shortcuts, which you should really check out – adding and completing tasks can be a lot faster with the help of keyboard shortcuts.
Ready to try out Nitro? You can go ahead and download Nitro from Nitrotasks.com. You’ll find Linux and Mac downloads, a web version and even a Chrome app.
The obvious app to compare this to is Wunderlist, which recently added a bunch of new features. And while that app is very good, and offers mobile versions, it’s not perfect for everyone. It’s quite focused on breaking things down into lists, and doesn’t offer a “Next” or “Logbook” view.
There’s also Things, which brings a getting things done to-do list to the Mac. That app sells for $50 to this day, but what features does it offer that Nitro lacks? Not much, at least not when I tested it. I’d argue that most of the functionality offered by this and other advanced to-do lists are ably covered by Nitro.
Of course, Nitro isn’t without it’s down sides. There’s no native web version, meaning you’d be stuck with the web app for tablets and phones. And there are some weird glitches, like a seeming inability to paste text into the notes area. Still, Nitro is a capable to-do list manager for Mac and Linux users, and Windows users can try the web version if they’re curious.
What’s your preferred to-do app, and why? Speak up in the comments below.