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Author Topic: Another project timer  (Read 4869 times)

Joe Hone

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Another project timer
« on: December 21, 2012, 09:53:35 PM »
After searching for months (a couple of years off and on is more accurate) and not finding what I need I’m posting it here - a simple project timer that tracks project times, does time computations and stores the data as text files. It would be stand-alone and have the capability to run in multiple applications at once. The data stored would include the project, subtask for that project, date, start/stop times, total time for task, with a column for total time for project to date.

Generating a report would be a nice option, but to keep it simple it would not need to generate one. It could save data to an excel spread sheet that can be printed and attached to an invoice or client billing statement, but for my personal use, I send a letter to the client with the billing included in a subparagraph, so I would want the info available as copy/paste text.

A necessary option would be that the text fields can be edited – for instance, if I took a bathroom break and forgot to stop the timer, that could be corrected by changing the start/stop times and the elapsed time gets corrected accordingly. If I ended up combining tasks for that project, the task description field can be edited.

I have tried out about 20 project timers from all over the web, but most are overly complicated to use or don’t create text files or don’t run in multiple applications or only generate reports or only export to google calendar, etc.  Anuran and TaskClerk are useful for telling me what I did, but I need something I trigger to track my work hours. Any thoughts?

mouser

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Re: Another project timer
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2012, 06:31:03 AM »
I'd love to hear more about what makes the existing timers not quite good enough, and some idea of what were the main minimal features you are interested in.  As someone who has evaluated that many tools, I think it would be useful to hear what you think would be the ideal one.

Joe Hone

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Re: Another project timer
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2012, 09:22:55 PM »
My issue with the available project timers is that for the most part they do too much and are difficult to implement if you aren't already well versed in how to configure software. For someone like me, setting up a program to generate reports is a pain, and with some of the programs I've tried, not only can I not find where the data is stored, but it isn't saved as text and I don't want or need xml or other formats. Spending more time to learn the programs isn't the answer when my needs are simple - open the program, select the client, enter the task, start timing, stop timing, data stored, retrieve as needed. I'm probably the typical consumer, not totally computer challenged - I've been invited to beta test through two development cycles one of Adobe's flagship products - but I'm also not very comfortable, or successful, setting up software that has 50 different perimeters, filters or destination folders. Other timers I've tried are simple to use, but don't preserve data as text files, or generate text but don't save it, or don't let me adjust the times/task data, etc. Is this useful info? I can comment on specific programs if that would help.

Joe Hone

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Re: Another project timer
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2012, 09:28:40 PM »
I've been thinking about what I can best use and here are my thoughts:

Clock/timer that shows time running

Functions:
User entry window for project title or ability to open existing title (i.e. “Wilson”)
User entry window for task (i.e. “meeting with client”)
Start button
Pause button
Resume button (or hit start again)
Stop/save button (data automatically saved if computer shut down without hitting stop button)

Data stored:
Project title
Task
Date
Start/stop times
Total elapsed time for task in hours/minutes
Total elapsed time for project in hours/minutes
 
Data retrieval:
Copy paste or printable screen or excel spread sheet or export project summary or?

tomos

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Re: Another project timer
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2013, 09:26:53 AM »
Have you looked at NANY 2013 PLEDGE - Contractor's Work Log ?
Dont think it fits all your requirements, but might still be of interest.
Tom

Joe Hone

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Re: Another project timer
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2013, 10:36:56 PM »
Thanks for the recommendation, I installed the downloadable client and gave it a try. It seems worthy, is a bit complicated for my use, but not what I need - the invoice feature would be surplusage, and I need txt files or files easily converted to txt for copying and pasting.

skwire

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Re: Another project timer
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2013, 01:06:57 PM »
I came across this the other day.  Perhaps it might work for your needs:

http://www.tovilevis...ub=programs&id=3


Joe Hone

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Re: Another project timer
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2013, 05:28:36 PM »
Thanks for the mention but it's buggy! It showed exactly 50 seconds elapsed when the actual time was 30 seconds by my clock. It also doesn't have a txt function. It is close to what I'm looking for, and probably worth an extended test if the clock was accurate - I'd have to see how the data is stored for archiving, etc. The closest one for me is Kapow Punch Clock, but it doesn't have a stop/resume function and the text file is restricted to the developer's invoice template, but I'm using it for now as the closest option. Still looking. . .

skwire

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Re: Another project timer
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2013, 05:57:41 PM »
Thanks for the mention but it's buggy!

Ah, too bad.  I didn't actually download and test it.   :(

Paul Keith

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Re: Another project timer
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2013, 10:36:56 PM »
This does not fulfill the needs but template wise for those wondering how an interface can be both advanced and simple:

AdminAssist

Please notice that the reviews also say this is clunky but I found this to be the simplest for me. The idea here being the more important part is not the template but the buttons and the text insertion more so than the software.

For example, there are many remote control tablet applications now that allow you to work on your desktop by controlling some part of a cursor and then becoming more advanced from there. What would happen if a user was adding a task from that interface?

So far as timers with exports, I haven't used these but:

Feature list says can export to Excel: http://www.softpedia...ent/myPomodoro.shtml

Quote
I've grown fond of Hamster, and used it for tracking how long I worked on a Summer of Code project. What's most useful is to add it to your panel (right-click; Add to Panel; double-click on time Tracker). When you want to start/stop/change tasks, just hit Super+H and type what you are doing.

It makes some pretty nice statistics for you, too, and you can export them as HTML to send to others. You can categorize parts of a job into groups to keep track of what exactly you're doing at the time.

Each task is labeled as [task]@[job]. For example, you could have dev@project, doc@project, etc. Hamster will do some auto-completion on these as well so most of the time you only need to type a few characters. Tags can be added to tasks as well for further categorization.

From: http://askubuntu.com...ion-do-you-recommend

Linux: http://projecthamster.wordpress.com/

Web: https://www.toggl.com/

Joe Hone

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Re: Another project timer
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2013, 10:04:59 AM »
Thanks for the suggestions. I'm familiar with most of these, don't run Linux so Hamster won't work. Toggl is a web service, so there are 3rd party issues. MyPomodoro is a management system, I find opening and running the timer overly complicated. I hadn't seen Admin Assist and I'll give it a try.

Edit: I tried AdminAssist and you were correct, it isn't right for my needs. Still looking.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2013, 01:15:42 PM by Joe Hone, Reason: Fixed a typo »

tomos

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Re: Another project timer
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2013, 04:40:13 AM »
There are many time recording softwares that we’ve tried in our office. However, none of them could handle the at least one of the tasks we expected it to.

Then, one of my friends suggested this time tracking software. I’ve been using it since then. It’s been almost a year now and my office functions in a very organized way. It has many options to track project time and cost, time and attendance, time and billing feature, time clock and web expenses.

hi Grace, your three posts are all recommending Replicon (they are also the only times it is mentioned on this forum). The policy here is to state your affiliation with software (*if* there is an affiliation). If you're not affiliated, you may even be doing more damage than good to Replicons reputation, by posting thus.
Tom

Joe Hone

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Re: Another project timer
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2013, 05:27:03 PM »
If you're not affiliated, you may even be doing more damage than good to Replicons reputation, by posting thus.

Good call, Tomos. Replicon is cloud based, which is definitely unattractive given the many standalone options available.