Diggin DeskAway

by Jon Davis 24. May 2008 00:40

A while back, I posted a blog entry mentioning a couple project management web sites I had found that were inspired by Base Camp but seemed to have things done up right. I got a comment from the folks at DeskAway.com, suggesting that I check that service out. I found some really annoying issues up front, and I was very vocal about how turned off I was by the otherwise fantastic site because of those issues.

Those issues have been dealt with, though, and although the site is not bug-free nor flawless, it is now proving to be by far the best project management web site I have ever touched. I initiated a big project at work on the site and after I added a few co-workers and my boss to the project and dropped $10 for a month of "Personal" service (mainly so I could replace the plain and boring DeskAway.com logo), my boss came back and told me he was buying a $100 (year) subscription for our company instance because he liked the site so much.

The company is surprisingly responsive to flaws mentioned on the site. I often get e-mails from the CEO himself, the same fella who posted a comment here on my blog recommending that I check it out. I tend to wonder if he is really just a signature a whole staff is reusing, because the responsiveness to my issues -- even performance issues and my own complaints about down time -- have been responded to and addressed within days.

http://www.deskaway.com/ 

Give it a look, you'll be glad you did. 

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Computers and Internet | Cool Tools

Web 2.0 Project Management With GoPlan

by Jon Davis 16. March 2008 14:44

For those who loved Base Camp but hated the fact that it had no issue tracker, task management, etc., there's a site out there called GoPlan, http://goplan.info/. I really like what I see at first glance here. Base Camp-like simplicity and easy-on-the-eyes design are king here, but it's not completely feature-incomplete, either. And I like the fact that besides its limited free package, its smallest complete package is moderately affordable at $10. I could afford that.

This is really just for lightweight project management. For real PM and issue tracking, people seem to be using Trac a lot. But you have to host it. If you have a dedicated host or are hosting it internally, and in either case if you have virtualization support (i.e. VMWare Server), try getting Trac from Jumpbox.

UPDATE: Sahil Parikh [sahil@deskaway.com] pointed out DeskAway.com .. I agree with him, it's much more complete and has a lot more features for a new user. Doesn't have the appearance polish (I hate the amateurish logo, for instance, and the whole thing just looks white-washed) but that's a fuzzy feely measure. I can see myself using this, for sure.

UPDATE 2: I've been trying to use DeskAway.com, but it has some usability issues. For example, the default phone number for a Contact record is Mobile, not Office, and there is no obvious way to make the Office number the default contact phone number. Worse, enter xxx-xxx-xxxx and it will clear the whole number out and scream at you for entering an invalid number. Enter it without the hyphens and it takes. (?!) And if you add a Company record, you can't add punctuation or symbols at the end; it will not let you. I got past it by inserting inside text rather than appending at the end. But.., I mean .., ?!! And to top it off, it refuses .docx files. And when you report this stuff, it asks you to select your operating system: Vista, XP, Mac, or Linux. Windows Server's not in the list, and it's not free-text. I hate these kinds of issues ... I'd prefer fewer features over dealing with these issues.

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About the author

Jon Davis (aka "stimpy77") has been a programmer, developer, and consultant for web and Windows software solutions professionally since 1997, with experience ranging from OS and hardware support to DHTML programming to IIS/ASP web apps to Java network programming to Visual Basic applications to C# desktop apps.
 
Software in all forms is also his sole hobby, whether playing PC games or tinkering with programming them. "I was playing Defender on the Commodore 64," he reminisces, "when I decided at the age of 12 or so that I want to be a computer programmer when I grow up."

Jon was previously employed as a senior .NET developer at a very well-known Internet services company whom you're more likely than not to have directly done business with. However, this blog and all of jondavis.net have no affiliation with, and are not representative of, his former employer in any way.

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