Still Miss Sandy? Task.FM to the Rescue

When word hit the street that popular virtual assistant service I Want Sandy was shutting down, many people were shocked and well, saddened. Sandy was a well built application with a nice dash of personality.

And so many people were left looking for a replacement — another web based application that could offer similar functionality. After I was introduced to Task.FM, I believe I’ve found the tool that comes closest to the mark.

Personally, I love the reminders functionality within Backpack. But it is definitely missing a few features that Sandy included. The piece that I missed the most was the ability to interact with Sandy via email or Twitter.

And so I set off to see if Task.FM would be a better fit. And I think it does the job. Feel free to use the following steps to create your own virtual assistant.

First Stop — Sign Up

Another app with a quick and easy signup process, Task.FM offers two plans. One is the free plan, which can be accessed with Twitter or email and will give you a maximum of 15 voice call reminders in a month.

The paid plan is the Pro plan and it offers unlimited voice call reminders, as well as the ability to create reminders with a voice call (the same as Jott or other similar services). The Pro account also has no ads when logged into the service and is priced at $3.99 per month.

Email and the Web

Once your account is created, add a few reminders via the web. Get used to the natural syntax that Task.FM supports. It’s not quite as robust as Sandy was, so experiment and find the best ways to create your reminders the way you like them.

Adding a reminder via the web interface.

Adding a reminder via the web interface.

Create a contact in your address book application for Task.FM with the following address: [email protected] Now you can create reminders via email.

A nice option for those who make their living from the inbox.

A nice option for those who make their living from the inbox.

Sync with Twitter

Before you go any further, visit the setting tab of the application. Here’s where you can sync your account with Twitter.

Simply enter in your Twitter username and password when you hit the Twitter page. You will then be prompted to approve whether Task.FM should have access to your Twitter account. Click Allow.

Send DM's from whatever Twitter client you please.

Send DM's from whatever Twitter client you please.

Once that is completed, the @taskfm Twitter account will follow your account. Simply send a DM to that account to create a reminder at any time.

On a side note, Anthony Feint, the developer of Task.FM, made a smart move with the Twitter integration. As seen in the image below, the application asks, “Is it ok if we post a status message to your Twitter timeline … ”.

Ask first, tweet later.

Ask first, tweet later.

It’s a very smart move, because there’s nothing worse than apps that spamishly tweet to your account without asking.

Set Up Your Calendar

When logged into Task.FM, there are a few calendar links above your reminder list. The one on the far right is titled ‘feed’. Click on that and copy the contents of the dialogue.

Subscribe to the WebDAV feed.

Subscribe to the WebDAV feed.

Now use that link to subscribe to your Task.FM reminders in your favourite calendar application. Most web and desktop based calendar applications support feeds of this sort.

Web Interface Not Needed

Once you’ve completed the steps above, you shouldn’t need to access your reminders via the web. You can now create automated reminders for yourself with the tools that you already use everyday.

As well, by subscribing to the calendar feed, you can see all of your reminders in your calendar with all of your appointments. For those familiar with GTD, think of Task.FM as the backbone of your digital tickler file. Create your reminders and then forget about them.

When they are actually needed, they will appear in the inbox(es) of your choice — email, voicemail or Twitter.