Karta Mobile review

Karta Mobile’s Outlook/Blackberry GTD solution


So for a long time I’ve thought I wanted to have projects and next-action tasks be 2 separate objects that would be linked. I thought about coding some clever things in VBA or something to keep them attached to each other in the tasks database. So when I got email that Karta Mobile had gotten a syncing option with both outlook and blackberry support using the tasks database, that seemed like a great thing! The best that I’d come up with was to put the name of the project prepended to all related tasks like:
* DH complete: look at coding iPhoto to iWeb dump/sync
* DH complete: push videos into iWeb
* DH complete: tiddlywiki stuff to sync to iWeb
I also use the "categories" field as my "Context" (in GDT terms). I’ve got over 250 items in my tasks folder. The majority are someday-maybe items, but I’m hesitant to move those to a different database because I like the ability to just change the category on an item to either promote or demote an item.

So I installed the Outlook plugin and the app on my blackberry. I started trying it out and to be honest, my brain just balked at it. I had convienced part of my brain that I needed to attach tasks to projects, but when given the opportunity to do so, I realized that it wasn’t that big of an advantage. Not enought to justify adding additional software to the system and altering the existing database. That was a surprise to me because the Viira solution is reasonably nice an lightweight. I guess David Allen was right that adding that level of detail to the system usually isn’t worthwhile.

Other issues:
* There does not seem to be a way to take the existing tasks and use them in the Viira View. That significantly increases the bar to entry, because I don’t want to have to reenter all my stuff.
* In Outlook, switching to/from the Tasks tab seems to take a lot longer (increases from <1 second to >5 seconds), which is concerning and disruptive to mental flow. Also
* When I navigate away and then back to tasks, I have to reselect the Viira view. Maybe if I changed my workflow to keep a tasks window open, that would be a non-issue.
* There isn’t a way to mark tasks as dependent. That might provide sufficient motivation for me to put up with the extra overhead, but there would need to be something that provided some insight to the dependency tree to aid task importance/selection.
* I’m not sure how recurring tasks, either in outlook, or using my personal recovery mechanism will work. The metadata could easily become inconsistent either way.
So in summary, they’ve made a intersting piece of software that integrates cleverly with Outlook. But I’m going to uninstall the plugin for now. Maybe in the future, possibly with a task import option and/or some other value add it will make sense for me to add this tool to my toolbox, but not yet.

As a followup, I gave the above feedback to the Karta Mobile folks and they agreed that those were exactly the next steps that needed to be taken. Their initial beta was focused more on the syncing mechanism.