backpack reminders

September 25th, 2005

I regularly use iCal’s reminders to remind me to do most everything time or appointment-based; I attach both a visual reminder “pop-up alert” and a reminder email to the appointment, and the combination of the two is usually enough to spur me to action. I use this approach to remind myself of pretty much everything, from paying rent to job interviews to birthdays. And it works pretty well; it’s been a while since I completely spaced on an appointment or meeting.

The main drawback to this approach is: what if my computer isn’t on? Sure, it’s a terrifically unlikely premise; but in that odd case, iCal wouldn’t be available to send out the email and pop-up the alert. It would be more effective to have some sort of web-based impetus for sending out the reminder.

Luckily, 37Signal’s excellent Backpack web-based notebook has now added reoccurring reminders to their feature set, so PC users, linux users and Mac users can take advantage of this approach.

So how do you use this tool to get organizized? First, sign up for a backpack account. It’s completely free, unless you really go batshit insane with the number of reminders (+10) you need. Use the “Reminder” tab to set the reminders you need, and then set them to repeat if need be. And that’s it; you’ll get a reminder email at the exact time and date and repeating schedule that you specify. Forever. And ever. Until you keel over and die.

If you’re on Mac OS X, however, you have some additional tools available to you: the Backpack widget and the very nifty notifier Growl, both of which work together very nicely to provide on screen reminders ala iCal’s pop-up windows. You might want to set Growl’s notifications to “sticky” for the Backpack Reminders, so you don’t miss them.


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