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Swizec Teller - a geek with a hatswizec.com

Klok - the missing PIM application

For the past few weeks I've been giving Klok a spin. Last time I've mentioned Klok it was just after a quick install and neglect, but I did always intend on giving it a try. Then when its creator Rob McKeown commented on the post I knew there was no escaping giving Klok a try. So I started using it full-time to track my time, however odd that comes out when one says it.

Klok is a time tracking system rather than a time managing system. What this mean is you feed in a bunch of different projects then when you're working on one you just tell klok about it. The great thing about this is that it enables you to easily track how much time you've spent on a project and the fact it also makes automatic time sheets shoudl be a bonus for anyone who's ever worked as a freelancer or has otherwise been engaged in multiple projects at a time.

The biggest advantage Klok has brought to my life is that I find it easier to "just get to it" rather than procrastinate until a full hour or whatnot. This is because before klok I used to procrastinate until such an hour as it was easier to track time from because I'm usually paid on an hourly basis and need to know how much time I've spent with something. Since klok tracks the time for me I can now give accurate hour reports even if I work 20 minutes now, 34 later, 12 even later. Of course you have to learn to always punch in to the application, but hey, sure beats having to manually calculate amount of time spent working on something. Especially since I usually forget all about time when I get into something intersting.

Another feature I love is cost calculation. You can specify cost per hour for any given projects and klok will automatically tell you how much money you've earned or spent. This comes in extremely handy when you're developing something for yourself, but would like to give it an objective value when somebody asks.

It's also very nice that klok supports sub projects. The way I use this is to have "projects" that are actual different clients and then having subprojects for everything that I do. However I find the lack of telling klok _what _I'm doing to be a large fault. There are many situations when I need to have a list of things I did for a certain project, but it would be a waste of time and resources to have every little thing listed as a subproject.

Another thing that bothers me is how slow Klok is. I understand using a beta version brings certain problems to the table, but I'm only using it because the latest stable version is so stale it doesn't even allow right-clicking and is overall useless. The beta, although functioning wonderfully, needs a lot of polish.

For example when I first open klok and want to immediately start working on something I sometimes have to wait up to a minute for klok to start responding again. Then sometimes different projects in the week view (inspired by iCal I believe) show without labels so I can't even tell what they are. The fact that resizing the application window is encumbered by the fact klok's interface has to reposition itself is also a big ew. Then there's other little things like not being able to change project's colour even though the interface is there ... oh well, it's beta what did I expect.

Over all, Klok is a wonderful piece of software that I would advise everyone and their dog to use. Hopefully Rob will take care of the bugs and make something truly magnificent.

Oh and I love the design, very shiny.

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Published on December 16th, 2008 in review, time, work

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