A cluttered interface is something I can’t really stand for despite the fact that we desperately need an actual quarantine zone my office workplace on the grounds of health and safety.
Quite often my day finds me flitting from task to task and quite often leads to moments of panic when I try to work out just exactly how long I have been working on a particular clients project. So I was incredibly grateful when I came across Minco.
Minco is a basic but perfectly formed time tracking application that resides in the top menu bar. Integrating heavily with iCal, Minco lets you swap between tasks in multiple calenders with a click to enable easy tracking of time spent on projects.
Minco has really helped me out with tracking tasks such as doing software support and installations without having to fire up my accounting / time tracking program. Due to the layout you can also flit between jobs, as I do all the time with my scatter brain tendancies, making sure time is accurately recorded.
You can dive in and start using the Time tracking facilities straightaway however for more advanced features such as allocating a cost to a task you need to go into the preferences and spend a bit of time there.
Adding a task really couldn’t be simpler, click the time counter, enter task details and then select the calendar you want to assign your tasks to. Minco supports multiple calendars which do have to be set up in iCal. The integration between the two applications really is seamless. Any calendars or tasks and it within iCal automatically show up in the task list.
When you’re ready to start timing yourself it’s a simple matter of clicking on the time to start and then again to start. Completing the task is a single click of the tick button in the counter display. When working on the task you can choose between two displays, the standard counter display, or displays showing revenue.
The start and end times of timings can be manually changed with a simple right click on the counter. Very handy if you charge any work in increments of 15 min for example. You can adjust the actual start and finish time of a task as well.
If you are working on task that’s chargeable by the hour you can set an hourly rate in the preferences area. Rate is set on a per calendar basis not a per task basis. That means you cant adjust the rate on a per task basis but as you probably won’t be using this application for your invoicing needs it may not be a big issue for some. You can make adjustments to the price of tasks with Tags (more on that below)
Those work from home types can rejoice as there is an option to change your status in the ever popular messaging program Adium to the name of the task you’re working on. It can also allow it to change your status to away or busy etc etc
Data In – Data Out
Once your tasks have been done these can be easily exported to a CSV file ready for importing into your billing application of choice (we really like marketplace billings). As a default you can do just a basic export showing a time, task and the calendar from which the task resides in or really goto town with customizing reports with tags and more.
Tags. There is a rather interesting tag feature which lets you add a surcharge or change the multiplier of the calendar the rate set based on circumstances or differing needs but documentation about this feature was rather sparse but it does look like a good idea.
Time for the bad bits (and puns)
There are one or two annoying issues with this program the main one being is when you add a task. If you aren’t a task and fill out all the relevant details and then change the calendar you wish to add this task to you then lose everything you have entered.
Although there is a tutorial in the form of a screen cast it’s done with one of those horrible synthesised voices which does make it almost unbearable to watch but seeing as it’s only 9 min 30 seconds long it’s worth hanging on in their to get the best from Minco
Final thoughts and conclusion
So what would you need an application like this when the others on the market that include billing features built-in? Minco’s has an obvious advantage of supporting iCal and is an ideal lightweight time and task tracking application.
At $14.99 the pricing seems about spot on for a lightweight application that has some powerful features coupled with simplicity.
Minco is Lion Compatible and is available for download from the App Store.
The developers website Celmaro has a blog listing updates
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