I have spent a lot of time thinking about how to get things organized, prioritized, and then ultimately completed. In fact, if I would have just done the tasks instead of discussing and thinking about them, they would probably be done already. We procrastinators will get around to uniting and solving these problems someday…. Anyway, I’ve been using this application called EasilyDo for a few weeks now and I have come to like it, or should I say, I have come to like the idea of it and I am wanting more.
EasilyDo Website (www.EasilyDo.com) say’s the following about its application:
This application gets you the right information and gets things done. It tells you the traffic for your daily commute, notifies you when to leave, warns you of bad weather, files receipts, organizes contacts, tracks packages, and even helps you celebrate birthdays. Information automatically appears when you need it – no more digging through multiple apps!
Never Miss Life’s Important Moments
Get birthday reminders
Important Updates shared by your friends, send your wishes, e-gifts, RSVPs, congratulations and support – be there for your friends
Stay Organized with Zero Effort
Merge duplicates in your address book
add contact from recent emails
File receipts into an email folder automatically – taking care of the things that you always mean to get to and don’t.
Easily Navigate Your Day
Get ‘time to leave’ alerts and directions to your home, work or next appointment; auto-dial into calls; text to say you’re on the way or running late – what you need when you need it.
Overview: The application finds important tasks and things you care about at just the right time and offers to get things done on the spot. Social media is important to the growth of “context-aware computing” because of how connected we all are with our devices and online friends. Because of this interconnectedness, we have information and details about our daily lives that are trapped in different places, such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc. Context-aware computing is all about finding the right information at the right time, so with our heavy reliance on social networks and seeing/sharing things as they happen, these two concepts have a natural connection.
My Thoughts:This has become one of those applications that I am checking on a regular basis now. It gives weather updates, reminds me about things on my calendar. It did a good job of tracking a couple of packages in the mail and indicating that they shipped, were out for delivery and that they were delivered. It provided, “Happy Birthday” reminders for a few people and it allowed scheduling these message a few days in advance. It then posted them on their Facebook timeline on their birthday, so that is nice. It prompts 3 minutes before a meeting to remind you to attend or dial in, and it has offered to clean up a couple of duplicate contacts that are in my address book, (ok, really it has been the same duplicate contacts a few times…) Overall, it is interacting with me via push notifications and through its own UI and that is good. Now they need to continue to add more useful interactions.
Bottom line: It is doing a couple of cool things and I hope they are learning more ways for it to be even more helpful. Specifically for me, I think that it is missing a lot of emails right now because I keep a relative clean inbox. I think that I am manually dealing with emails before it gets a chance to look at them and decide if there is anything that it can do to help.
What I would improve right away: Faster response times in looking through data sources. I would like to see them implement something like email rules to be able handle more emails for me. Find more ways to let me teach it how to review and file things accordingly. But, you have to be quick about it, you can’t just poll my inbox from time to time, you gotta be on top of things before I see them and try to deal with them.
UI/UX Review: The application is very clean, making use of Facebook style side navigation design pattern for enabling options –although they use a sprocket graphic rather than just a swipe to the left to display options. I suspect they do this for a couple of reasons. One reason being because options are set and forget, and the second reason being because of the swipe on a task method that they are using to handle quick dismissal of a task. If you pull down on the tasks in your list for what you think would be a refresh, you are taken to a history of completed tasks. This is a very easy way to see what the application has done for you and if you have scheduled something you can edit it from here. Once it is done, it is just for reference. The only other navigation option is a person in the upper left hand corner which goes to your profile, where you set up connections to various social media and email accounts. I would like to see ways to connect multiple Twitter, Facebook accounts and of course many other social media sites, like Google+, Instagram, Tumbler, Pinterst, etc… Overall, I think the UI is clean, well laid out and very functional –there is even a helper overlay when you first launch the application to help you know what to do to get started. I’ve been seeing this in more and more applications, which is good to help new users.
Things I’d like to see added/enhanced: It would be nice to have it interface with the phone app and tell me more information about the call you’re on or that you just missed. It would also be nice to see who they are/were, when the last time they called, or you called them, additional contact information, latest emails or social interaction especially if they are in your contact list and you can get to that type of additional information through them. If the number isn’t in my contact list, then it should offer to get it there. I’m sure Apple has got some lame reason for not allowing developers into the phone app, but it is time to expand those API’s and let application developers help us be more productive. It could offer up the same information when I am in a meeting. Who are the other participants of the meeting, when did we talk last, what is happening with them, etc… You know, give me good information that I can use while I’m on the phone or in a meeting. There is a new application called MindMeld on the Android platform that is coming that has been talking about this kind of functionality.
Also, it would be nice to have improved social media interaction. A great personal assistant application is going to do wonders by filtering through the noise and showing me things that are important to me. It needs to try and figure out when to display relevant information from my friends on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ (ok, any Google+ integration in the application would be bonus…) Really, what I am looking for is a way to not miss the beginning of something that I care about when it starts to trend so I can share it with my friend, but especially when my friends have spotted something trending and I am missing it. We don’t like to appear out of the loop in our social circles.
With Google Reading going away soon, this might be an opportunity for EasilyDo to take over this type of information stream and learn more about me. My feeds can help it understand the topics that I am interested in or at least the topics that I have taken the time to setup feed about. For example, I have several Google Alerts setup that feed my Google Reader account because I am, or have been, interested in those topics. So this might be a good for me to be able to teach EasilyDo about those subjects and then it can learn about the types of things that I am still interested in –things I click on would be ideal if it could then find other related information that I might be missing.
For example, I’m interested in Star Trek, but I am also interested in the actors who were main characters in the various series so information on them would be good to see. I like some series more than others and I like some actors more than others. I like other movies and TV shows as well. So as I start to interact with data, it needs to make some semantic associations about that data and help me find and discover other things that I might be interested in. Game of Thrones for example…
Now for something completely different: I really want to see it block out some time on my calendar between/around meetings. I’ve wanted this from a calendar application for quite some time. If you have busy calendar sometimes you just can’t get from meeting to meeting, especially if they are back to back and in different locations. You are always running late, or leaving a meeting early. Therefore, I want to see something like EasilyDo take into account the time necessary to get to the next event and block out the appropriate transition time on the calendar.
Once you start doing that, then it is time to get all calendars under control. There used to be services like Tungle and TimeBridge that tried to wrangle your schedule, but they are gone now. Sunrise Calendar is starting to look like it may be a player in the calendar arena if it can figure out that there are more than just Google calendars. An effective personal assistant is going to manage your calendar and agenda. It will be imperative to roll up various calendars into what a day looks like so that other people can see your free/busy schedule. When someone wants to set an appointment they can see when you are really free and get something scheduled onto the appropriate calendar. Not everyone uses just one calendar; you may have personal calendar(s), work calendar(s) –maybe several if you have a couple of jobs and/or own a couple of businesses. Not to mention platforms like iCal, CalDEV, Google, Exchange, etc. So a willing personal assistant application solution really needs to get a handle on the day of a person and become THE interface to scheduling and managing appointments.
Thanks: I hope you enjoyed my review of the EasilyDo Personal Assistant Application. Please let me know if this was helpful to you –also please let me know if you are using other solutions to achieve similar results. I am always looking for interesting solutions to everyday issues.
The information and opinions contained within this article are my own and J&S Tech Designs does not make any warranties or representations as to the accuracy of the information contained within.