So, I’ve finally been given access to a beta (isn’t everything on the Internet in beta at the moment?) account with Foldera. If you’ve not heard of Foldera before (and they’ve been quite quiet recently) from their homepage:
Foldera – from homepage “Effortlessly organize your work with Foldera.Foldera is a free and intuitive filing system of web-based folders that automatically organizes your work WHILE you work.Whether you work alone or in a work group environment, Foldera is super easy to use and makes working with multiple files and people seem practically effortless.Just try Foldera and see for yourself how much more nimble and productive you are once you’re finally freed from filing busywork”
I’d heard a lot of buzz surrounding when it was first in Beta (over a year ago) – in February 2006 TechCrunch said:.
On the face of it, it sounds really good right? Well, I have to admit I’m not sure what all the fuss is about to be honest but to be fair, let’s take a look in more detail.
Getting an Account
This is probably the hardest part of all, it’s taken me a year to be accepted into the Beta program – I’d actually forgotten I’d signed up! You can apply for an account here. Once you’re accepted and you receive a confirmation email you’re taken to the foldera website – FireFox users note that you’ll have to let the foldera.com domain open popups, why they’ve worked it that way I don’t know. After accepting the terms and conditions which appear to be pretty standard (although they mention Contextual Advertising so I’m guessing this will be for the “free” users) you are then asked to type in your Name (which I’d already done previously, why have to do it again?), time zone, email address (again which they already have) and change your password:
Activity Folders – the heart of Foldera
The whole of Foldera is based around the concept of Folders, each project gets its own “Activity” folder which stores all the information related to that project (such as files, emails, calendar, tasks). When you first sign in you are given the opportunity to set up an Activity Folder:
Foldera describes these folders as:
The problem I have with this is that it seems to be pretty limited. Perhaps it’s because I’m too used to being able to label and tag things in multiple categories in GMail and Thunderbird but it would appear that you can only have an email associated with one folder (at least in the proper sense – see below).
Now some of you might ask “Why would you want an email to appear in more than one folder Katy?” well, the way I like to organise my emails (as explained here) would mean that I’d have to create an Activity folder called “Deferred” or “Waiting For” outside of the main Activity/Project folder as you can’t (at least from I’ve seen) have folders within folders.
This wouldn’t ordinarily be a problem but as you can only flag an email for “Follow Up”, I’d have no real way of knowing what’s deferred, waiting for or an action. You can “copy” an email but what’s the point of multiple copies of the same thing floating around? And speaking of copying, when I logged in this morning Foldera helpfully checked my emails and then proceeded to duplicate a load of them presumably because they’re still hiding in my Gmail Account somewhere.
Okay, I know I’ve been a bit disparaging so far so I’ll be nice for a bit!
Adding a task
Adding an event
Calendar Day View
Don’t believe the hype?
To be honest, I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. Sure it looks good but there’s quite a bit of functionality missing for someone like me who’s into a GTD-style methodology. I think also as I had been using Contact Office for some time before Foldera came along I’m a little bit over the excitement of managing projects online in this way. You can read a review of Contact Office here which I think, despite its lack of Ajax interface, is actually a better system.
So, in conclusion, it sure looks pretty but as a project/task/email/calendar management system it lacks the functionality I personally need to “Get Things Done” however for someone looking for a simple project management tool where they can just dump all of their stuff in together it’s probably ideal.