Home All-in-One Can Pocket Informant be an All in One Replacement for three good Stand-alone Apps

Can Pocket Informant be an All in One Replacement for three good Stand-alone Apps

by Kerry Dawson

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Informant is not the only All in One app to replace three critical elements in the development of a project. There’s also Microsoft’s Outlook. The main thing they have in common is that they have three modules in one app designed for productivity.

They also both have one other very important thing in common. They are cross platform systems. They run in the Apple environment and also the Android environment. However, the Android version of Informant leaves a lot to be desired. Though it is being rebuilt it can’t happen too soon.


There are a number of elements required to look at this question and it is an important one. Informant can do the job provided your work style is not as deep nor voluminous. If on the other hand you require the capturing of a lot of data and the manipulation of the data plus there is generally a lot required to be captured in any project three powerful, independent packages may be the way to go.

All in One systems tend to also have certain areas of strength while other areas may languish. As an example, Informant has a very capable calendaring system and task management system. There’s a lot required though of the Note taker. Although good, some elements can’t be captured as well as with a dedicated note taker. This stands to reason.

Further, the more you like to do in capturing data and the weaker the all in one is in an area the greater the possibility you will feel frustrated. The all in ones are great for simplification as they are all in ones. They are doing a lot. There’s a point though where they will have trouble competing against a dedicated program. The older the program, the more it can be refined. This does not mean the
All In One cannot meet the need it just means when it’s run out of gas has it given you enough to work with.

Depth of Analysis

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If you’re the type who likes a lot of flexibility in all areas and not just one or two areas, the all in one will have difficulty measuring up. It might be a first rate program for the individual who’s work style is oriented to the less is more approach but sometimes you just need that “more” to figure it out.

Let’s say you generally heavily rely on your calendar and task manager to figure out what’s happening and to know at the birds eye level what the day is to look like. Pocket Informant is a great tool. However, if you like to manage things at a deeper level; the research is abundant and has to be well organized a long certain lines, Pocket Informant won’t be up to this task.

At this point, your data collection tools might have to kick into high gear to lead you back to the “why” of a decision. Something like DEVONthink can be boundless. You might be very good at drawing conclusions but the AI capability found in DEVONthink might just be that piece that helps get to a decision. Plus the depth of material might guide what led to a decision.

Let’s not just think of DEVONthink but also something like Nimbus Note that has the ability to have a multi-architected page of differing items pleasantly laid out that leads back to that “AHA” moment or even just the support of what the conclusion was.

Things like Zoho Notebooks and Google Keep have in their own right a range that is hard to overlook. Again it is back to the AHA moment maybe brought about by some relationship that formed via a wiki that led to the knowledge. The ability to have raw data can be considered database management but it is the broader ability to draw together facts that then lead to what is referred to as the moment or the moment of insight or inference that leads to a conclusion.

Managing information is one thing and it is essential. A good task manager can get at this. However, the ability to draw conclusion via links and inference can lead to that very moment which we can refer to as either new knowledge or just the putting together of things that lead to that point and only to that point.

The All in One Tool can be Great but…


There is nothing like an all one tool to provide efficiency as we search for the answer. We must remember though that any of these tools are no more than that… tools which assist us. The magic so to speak rests in our ability to draw on these tools; to know how to use them effectively; to see something which is eluding us and to finally put together that which has eluded us.

Artifical intelligence is no more than that; artificial intellegence. The better we are at using our tools the better we are at concluding. If we don’t know how to use our tools we won’t go on and in fact few will except for serendipity. That is the person gets lucky and this should not be underestimated either.

I much prefer an integrated approach through the OS and the use of tools that work for me as I get them rather than this all in one tool I might get at some level but at another miss important factors or the they just aren’t there. No matter how good you get, anyone can fall into this boat.

More than just the Basics

It is important to recognize one project maybe assisted with a certain set of tools whereas another will break down on that very set. One significant advantage of using independent tools is the ability to use what’s required to get the job done.
As an eexample,for project A you might need three things:

  • an editor
  • a task manager
  • a note taker

However, for project B you might need all of the above and the ability just to look around. You see this then you see that. You’ll some kind of tool to help you remember what it is you’re seeing but importamtly what are these connections. Oddly enough, Voodoo pad or Notion might just be what’s needed. Bring them onboard so that you can draw these connections and you don’t forget.

One thing then feeds another and as you progress something begins to take shape but still you aren’t sure. Back to your research but when you find something important it gets stored because you’re likely to forget it.

As the complexity increases so too does the demands on you imagination. A simple visualization triggers a thought and then it is refined. At this point, upu asked upir froemds what they think and suddenly it comes to you – like a lightening bolt.

One might call this new knowledge, a general thought refined or what have you. Other than the icing on the cake so to speak you have an answer from a project started three months ago.

It doesn’t have to be a Lightening Bolt Hitting but….

The more complex the problem the more likely it’s going to take a set of tools all good in their area to figure things out. When Apple took on say Tim Cook he brought to the table a certain set of skills that were beneficial to Apple. This team approach, whether it is with our tool kit or a group of people or then again all the above keeps the engine moving forward.

The customer is critical in this process which is highly iterative. When the customer hears that such and such would be beneficial over and over there is something for the company to sink its teeth into.

If we become shallow at our work, it is easy for it to get pushed onto the wrong track. This happens all the time. If ego gets in the way of a true solutions based approach, the beginning of the end has started. This happens far too much and can be disastrous for a successful company.

An All in One tool Can be Useful for a Simpler Problem

Whether you want to utilize two approaches for solving a problem depends very much on your work style. For many tasks and projects Informants all-in-one approach might prove simpler and more effective. Relationships between elements can be easily handled by Informant thus reducing complexity. A task can be accomplished, your calendar followed all within the confines of Informant where.

Where things get tricky tends to relate to the complexity of a project. In this case, specific tools that are geared for their task are preferable.

One must ask, is there an advantage to using two sets of tools to basically accomplish the same thing. Dividing your work between two sets of tools has both advantages and disadvantages.

The Multi-Faceted Toolkit

Your multi-faceted toolkit would consist of three fundamental components. The system would consist of:

  • a calendaring system such as Busycal or Fantastical
  • a task manager such as Omnifocus or Things
  • a Notes system such as DEVONthink or Evernote

Vs Informant which integrates all these modules.

Your multi-faceted toolkit can handle anything but would of course be more expensive. Informant as your toolkit would be of concern if you took on too much with it.

Often when we complete a task or a project it frequently needs referencing for a period time. If all your work is in one system that procedure is much simpler than it would be if some things are in Informant and other things are in the multi-faceted system.

Could Informant do it All


There is little reason to think that Informant couldn’t do it all. However, whether this would prove ultimately efficient is the question. In many ways, Informant has been designed with this intent in mind. The calendaring system is robust enough. In fact, so too is the task management system. Even the Note Taker is sufficient but it is lacking.

There is no reason to think that for the highly advanced note’s system, DEVONthink or Nimbus Notes couldn’t employed also as needed. Ultimately, Informant probably could do the job and knowing its limitations, you work around those as necessary. Thus, you could put Informant to work for the bulk of your activities however, trialing the system would be the only effective way of ensuring it meets your needs. The goal is ultimately to work with a fluid system allowing you to manage your activities and work in an efficient manner. Informant could prove to be the tool that you utilize to meet your needs without the loss of control. It certainly would prove to be an effective cross platform system something which few would be averse to using.

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