Review: BugMe for iPhone

I’m not a Getting Things Done kind of guy. I’ve never understood people who live and die by their Franklin Planners. I’ve never understood the huge proliferation of scheduling and reminder applications for the various computing platforms I’ve used over the years. I’ll reveal my secret at the end, but for now we’re going to take a look at BugMe, a reminder application now available for the iPhone.

BugMe is simple enough: it’s basically a note taking application. The iPhone version is all touch — no virtual keyboard. Draw, scribble, doodle, and handwrite notes on your iPhone. They get saved onto a virtual corkboard. You can drag individual notes around to manually arrange them, or you can shake your iPhone to have the re-arranged for you.

You can create notes on various colored papers, or you can use (or take) a photo to use as a background for your note. Obviously, you could just use a photo with no note on top of it as a visual reminder, if you want.

Notes can be assigned a due date, which will allow you to receive a reminder of the note when it is due. Notes only work on the iPhone, not iPod Touch or iPad, and since they rely on push notifications they only work when you have network access. From their iPhone product page:

We must stress that you’ll need to have internet access on your phone to make alarms work and that you should use these alarms as casual reminders – not for really-important-disaster-if-forgotten tasks! Unfortunately, alarms are not supported on the iPod Touch or iPad at this time.

One of the much-toted features of the BugMe iPhone app is the ability to send a note to your iPhone home screen. Indeed, at first blush this seems like a really nice idea: if the note is front and center on your phone, you’re much more likely to remember it! Unfortunately, the process for actually adding an item to your home screen is convoluted:

I don’t blame BugMe for this. They’re going the best they can within the confines of what Apple permits. It just doesn’t seem like such a great idea, to me, to be jump through this hoop in order to put an icon on my home screen to remind me to do something.

You can also push your notes out to Twitter, if you want the entirety of the Internet to remind you to do something.

At ninety nine cents, BugMe for iPhone isn’t going to break the bank, so if this is the only way you’re going to remember to buy flowers for your mom, you can get on with your life.

As for me, I simply add items to the regular iPhone calendar. It’s decidedly low-tech, doesn’t rely on additional applications, and works for me. The fewer apps I need to actually get on with my productivity, the better off I am, I think.