Changing Timesheets III: The Winner

In previous posts I have chronicled my search for a work clocking app, and of the four contenders that I have chosen. The time has come to eliminate three from the running.

I decided to choose the best by a process of elimination; I would use all four and remove the one I liked least. The winner would be the last man standing. So… for several weeks I have been clocking-in and out on four different apps. This means clocking-in four times on entering the building, and clocking-out four times when I leave. This is not as inconvenient as it sounds, since they all have widgets that I have grouped together on one screen, so the entire process takes about seven seconds.

The first to go was My Work Clock. This was the most visually beautiful of the four, and had the best interface, but the problems with the widget not updating or not working were enough to remove it from the running. This is a shame, as I really liked this app. Perhaps the biggest problem, though was that it was not possible to edit a clock-in time while you were clocked-in — you had to clock out first.

The next to to be defenestrated was Clock Card. I actually paid for this app, and the money wasn’t wasted. Unlike the vast majority of apps I tested, the author actively supported his creation.

The third — and the runner-up — was Hours Bank. The reason was simple; the author went out of his way to make himself difficult to contact, and his website was sparse to the point of uselessness. Shame, as the app was very elegant.

This leaves Time Recording as the last man standing — and the winner. This program has no fewer than three different widgets that show current status. I nearly dropped this program from my shortlist, as the widgets did not seem work as I would expect — selecting one simply invoked the program. Then I read the manual (always a good idea), and there, tucked away in a sub-menu of an obscure tab in the preferences menu, was a “widget click action” setting that allowed the widgets to work in the way that I wanted. This should have been the default behavior. The author was also very helpful in telling me how to open up the database file so that I could merge old data.

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  • Gadroids (@gadroids)  On November 28, 2011 at 9:24 AM

    Why did you rule out “Clock Card” ?

    Export to Google Calendar was my best selling point as a natural store for records.

    I’ve been using “My Work Clock”. Bad point is : if you edit records after punching out it won’t update Google Calendar, which makes that feature useless in practice. Exit “My Work Clock”.

    • Wizard Prang  On November 28, 2011 at 1:45 PM

      Thanks for taking the time to comment; it is good to be noticed. Thanks also for pointing out that I never adequately explained why CC did not make the final cut, and for giving me the chance to set the record to rights.

      There was nothing wrong with “Clock Card”. After testing literally dozens of apps, the competition was quite stiff at this stage. It was like the semi-finals of the World Cup; coming third is not winning, but you have to be bloody good to get there 🙂

      The exact reasons were a little hazy — it was, after all, more than four months ago — but as I recall, there were a few minor issues that were enough to tip the balance.

      The other two both had check-in/check-out widgets that showed hours worked so far, while, IIRC, this one didn’t. Also, the other two allowed you to edit timestamps slightly more easily. And finally, while CC’s interface was good, the other two were just… slightly… better.

      Integration with Google Calendar was not something I needed or wanted; on the contrary, it would have cluttered up my calendar.

      In closing, it must be said that CC had the best developer support of all of the programs I evaluated; Patrick was extremely helpful. As far as I am concerned, the program has my recommendation, it just wasn’t the best fit for my specific requirements.

      Hope this shed some light on the subject.

      P.S. I am @wizardprang on Twitter.

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