Springpadit: droolworthy electronic organizer and task list (with iPad bookmarklet)

I read about Springpadit at work the other night on break, and obviously I had to try it out. It saves your stuff. ALL your stuff. It saves tasks (with optional alarms, repeats, pass-through to---but not sync with---Gcal, tags, notes, and/or photos), bookmarks, notes, lists, books (complete with option to search for Amazon info and links and similar), movies (notifies you when the release date nears), recipes, restaurants to try, and other stuff. Seriously. All kinds of stuff (see their feature list). It's got a functional Web site that doesn't make your eyes bleed (I made it into a Fluid app), and it's got iPhone and iPad apps [free; iTunes link]. They sync. There are several particularly handy things about Springpad, and the stuff on this list comes mainly from an obvious comparison with Evernote, which has been my capturing tool for some time but has some very serious shortcomings that keep me from using it very well.

  • The apps start fast. The clipper works fast (there's a bookmarklet just like with every other service these days; you can also e-mail stuff to yourself).
  • It's easy to find stuff on any platform.
  • It's easy to see what you need to be doing today or in a certain context.
  • You can mix and match collected things; this point is a pro mixed with a con, because Springpad has some confusing terminology in that they have "checklists" and "lists" (also "categories"; you can organize your stuff literally pretty much however you want). You can make a checklist and put it in a list, which then goes on to contain links, tasks, notes, and whatever else you put in there. But once you wrap your mind around it, it's frakking handy. Example: I have a "Publications" list in which reside a checklist of stuff to write, links to stuff I want to put in the stuff I write, notes about the articles on my checklist inside my list, and a contact or two for folks with whom I'm collaborating.
  • You can make your stuff selectively public, and it looks nice. This is in stark stark contrast to Evernote's shared notebooks, which look terrible and are all or nothing. Possible uses would be book wishlists, recently read books or watched movies, must-read links, or must-try recipes.
  • It's social. You can hook your Springpad account to the usual suspects (Twitter, Facebook, Gmail...) and also follow people. Result: you can bookmark something in Springpad and also tweet the link; assuming you've made it public, the people following you are able to strike up a conversation about your find. I haven't tried that part, but it could be useful for projects.
  • It lets you set up notifications to e-mail accounts or SMS numbers, and you can pick different destinations for each reminder.
  • All this lets it effectively replace at least three other apps/systems for me for daily use (Evernote, NotifyMe, and my to-do app du jour, which changes a lot because I keep pretty simple task lists). And I'm all about consolidation.

If you're like me, you'll immediately create an account, download the apps, and try the system, so go ahead. Otherwise, why would you try it?

  • You still seek a single destination for your stuff but instead have a system tied together with sticky tack and bobby pins, including but not limited to scraps of paper, electronic to-do lists such as Remember the Milk, and Evernote.
  • You have a system for collecting stuff but when still find yourself gaping blankly at your phone and thinking "WHERE did I jot down that movie I wanted to see?" (which happens when your significant other is starting expectantly at you, having asked, "is there anything you wanted to see lately?"). This happens to me constantly, which says my system (largely Evernote) doesn't work so well. The reason it doesn't work is that Evernote is slow and has inconsistent entry abilities across platforms, I think.
  • You have a lot of projects with varied pieces-parts you'd like to keep together.

I'm guessing you will NOT like Springpad if

  • You like strict GTD systems and have a complicated RTM or Toodledo system complete with multiple repeating events. My task needs are pretty simple; I'm guessing if I needed more, Springpad wouldn't slice it.
  • You LIKE your Moleskine/notepad/paper scraps, thank you very much.
  • You don't have an iPhone. There's a mobile version of the site, but it's not much to write home about.

In any case, it's free, so there's no reason not to try it. If you read this far, you probably will.

Egghead stuff for iPad users: if you like Springpad and want the clipper on your iPad, here's the javascript  for the bookmarklet. From the iPad, add a bookmark for this page but call it "Springpadit" and put it in your bookmarks bar. Copy all the script below, and then edit the bookmark you just made. Delete the URL and paste the copied text in there instead. Then your clipper should work groovily from the iPad. (And I want some nerd points for figuring this out because it took a little while...I just couldn't stand having a catch-all system that didn't work from my iPad.)