Recently (in the past couple of weeks) I’ve started using Remember The Milk as I have been seeing it on and off on LifeHacker. I went at it zealously at first (as I usually do with these things) and imported all my tasks from work and home. However now the rosy blush has ended and the cracks in the services is now appearing.

First is the inability to create sublists. There are things that need to be done on the house (oil squeaky door, etc.) and then there are my personal programming projects. Ideally they are my personal stuff so they would go in the personal folder. They are also separate from each other so they should get their own folder. You can create new folders but the limited real estate in the layout means that more than a couple of additional tabs you wander off into the realm of multi-row tabs which look horrible in any application. This situation would be solved by sublists but RTM doesn’t support this and the development team doesn’t seem to be forthcoming with dates/roadmaps.

The next major problem is the lack of dependencies. Simply you can’t have one task depend on another. The closest I have come to this is order by numbers. But that doesn’t solve the dates. Example: A bunch of features got put back to the release after next for the program I am working on. They all depend on some functionality that won’t be ready in time for the next release. So I need to put them back to after the release date of the next version. That means I have to shift the times individually because of the next problem.

Time-shifting isn’t supported. You can select multiple tasks, and set the same date for all, but you perform simple maths operations on them. You can’t select a bunch of tasks and say “+1 week” and have all the dates jump by a week from their due date. This seems to have partial, but incomplete, support.

Next problem is how priorities are handled but I can see how this is a tricky subject because people would have a different idea of how priorities are handled. In my book a high priority item with a completion date in September is less important than a low priority task with a completion date of tomorrow. However RTM displays high priority tasks before all others, so task priorities aren’t used.

Which brings me to my next gripe. The editing of a task is via a drop down list. Why not buttons? Most Web 2.0 (how I hate that term) apps have buttons that act like their desktop counterparts, so why not RTM?

One under developed feature is the email reminder. You can set a daily reminder of tasks due that day. The next day you get another email, but it doesn’t list any overdue tasks which are probably more important than the tasks due that day. Admittedly it’s open to debate which is more important, but overdue tasks should be listed along with the due tasks.

The final gripe I can think of, and one that a member of the RTM team commented on, is the syncing with Google Calendar. Now the idea of a calendar with your tasks on is sublime, but the implementation leaves a lot to be desired with RTM stating that it is a limitation with Google Calendar and out of their control.  The problem is that every day, even days you don’t have due tasks, have a big image of tick on it. Now a tick has the connotation that there were tasks but they are all complete. Also a glyph on everyday, even when you don’t have a tasks looks very cluttered. It would be nice to have only an image when there are tasks due and the image changing with the priority. I suggested an exclamation mark with colour of the priority, and overdue being the same with a clock behind the exclamation mark.

They are the gripes and some can be worked around, but the questions are: Do other task lists have these features and how can I get all my tasks from RTM to that app? Do any other todo lists have these features?

I know I shouldn’t complain because RTM is free, but I am willing to pay a small amount for a subscription to something that I found usable and user-friendly but at the moment if they started charging for usage, I wouldn’t be forthcoming with the green.