Kontact

I've been using Kontact for a few months now. The excitement of resizing the icons has worn off and now I'm back to feeling slightly underwhelmed by my ability to organize things digitally. I have missed several appointments, my TODO list has gotten unwieldy and it seems as though I'm missing a good chunk of my address book, even though I know I correctly imported all of my addresses when I frst started using Kontact. Let's take a look at some of these things individually. These notes are against Kontact version 1.4.2 in Ubuntu 9.04.

Missed appointments

On the one hand it's probably not entirely fair for blaming Kontact that I can't look at the calendar pane on a more regular basis, on the other hand, I shouldn't have to think about these things. So what are some of the real gotchas?

  1. The calendar remembers the last thing you looked at. If it was "today" and now it's three days from today, it will still show you three days ago. Which means if you're quickly checking to see if you have anything planned for "today" you're actually looking at three days ago. Remedy: I've switched to monthly calendar view to try and avoid this problem.
  2. In monthly view you cannot see what it is you're supposed to be doing because of all the decorations. You have to hover over an item to get the details, or double click to open the editing window, or switch to "day" view (see above re. problems with day view). Remedy: simplify event decorations and remove "type of event" icons.
    Kontact Calendar

TODO

There's hardly any excuse for the stuff that's messed up with TODOs, so let's go straight to the list.

  1. Colour coding is impossible to figure out. If you add a new category it gets the colour green. There is no obvious place to change this colour from the "edit categories" functionality within the TODO screens. Remedy: make colour choices obvious on the "edit categories" screen.
  2. TODO items can be created from emails, but they do not contain the email. Which means you can't create a TODO item and delete the email. Remedy: create a stronger bond between TODO items and emails, OR include the full text of the email in the TODO item (including attachments) for easy reference.
  3. There is also no reference back to the email (which means you can't complete your TODO item and then reply back to the person saying it's done). Remedy: create a stronger bond between the TODO item generated from an email and the email of origin.
  4. Purge completed. Even when I was on paper I could keep sheets of paper around for a week or two if I wanted. First of all I don't like the word "purge" as a concept. I would much rather "hide completed" by default and have an option to bring them back. It's text! It's not like it's taking up a lot of space! What happens to attachments when I purge a TODO? Gone. Remedy: add an intermediate step before "purge" called "hide."
  5. Percentage complete. What is that?! TODO items are things that you should be able to do in one sitting (see GTD). There's also no time tracker to record how long it took me to do a task (and therefore how much I should bill a client). Remedy: add a field to track time spent on the task.
  6. Rich Text Editor. Quite frankly this feels like a waste of space. There's a button to toggle the ability to use the toolbar and then it's all stuff that has keyboard shortcuts. Remedy: get rid of the RTE toolbar by default. Move to a customization panel in the config screen that either has RTE turned off or on.

Summary

It's a great idea, but I can't configure it to include the things I want.

  1. I want ALL mail listed in a given folder, not just new messages. I don't have 90834980345980 things in my inbox. I have two which will shortly be moved to my TODO folder where there are currently 13 items. I feel like I'm being punished for keeping a clean inbox. Remedy: give me a configuration option to list subject line, sender and sortby for the Mail pane in summary.
  2. I don't want a summary of how many unread messages there are, I want to know *what* they are. Same remedy as above.
  3. Upcoming events, Pending TODOs are ugly and hard to read. Remedy: align top for each of the rows and add some kind of barrier between items (e.g. a faint line or zebra striping).

Mail

While we're here I may as well throw in a complaint about mail as well.

  1. In most folders I want to see who the "sender" was. In my outbox, however, I want to see who the Receiver was. All panes display the same colums, which means I cannot make the outbox have unique columns. Although there is a column option for Sender/Receiver, it displays the Sender even in the outbox. Remedy: fix Sender/Receiver so that the outbox displays Receiver and all other "incoming" folders display the Sender.
  2. I wish there was a better way to flag a piece of mail as spam without syncing my spam folder with Google. I'm not sure if it's fair to blame this on KMail, but Thunderbird did have a "spam" button that I miss.

Documentation

I gave up a long time ago. Remedy: make some docs and don't tell me to install new packages when I submit a bug that the links in the docs don't work. Fix the interface so that it tells me what package I need to install.

Those are my main complaints with Kontact. The Offline IMAP syncs my mail beautifully with Google, but "any" mail program should be able to do that...it might be time to split up my tasks again instead of trying to integrate them into a single application. At this point, my productivity tool is just getting in the way.

Agreed on the hiding for

Agreed on the hiding for TODOs, but I don't see why they should be one sitting. I put my homework in TODO, then can track if my assignment is 1/3, 1/2, etc done.

For spam:
Tools -> Anti-Spam Wizard
It'll set up Spamassassin or Bogofilter (whichever you've got), then you can right click -> Apply Filter -> Filter as Spam (or Filter as Not Spam, if you're marking ham in your spambox).

Um, the calendar always shows me actual today. I just looked now. It's showing me Thursday 16 July. Last time I looked would've been a couple weeks ago, and it's not all the way back there. For appointments though, is the Reminder Daemon not working?

I think that "Journal" thing is supposed to do the time spent on a task thing, but I don't understand it.

Mail:
Those buttons to the right of search let you change what's shown in that view. They include "Always use this for this folder" checkboxes. I believe you can set your default columns/sort and then on specific folders go through and set something else and hit that checkbox to make just that folder do it.

It's possible you're using a

It's possible you're using a different version than what I've got, because the buttons to the right change the sort order, not what's visible. To change what's visible I have to right-click on the actual column headers and the changes are global. If it works on some later version, that's great, but it doesn't work as you've described for me.

I know it's hard to believe, but I actually am reporting the behaviour of an application that I've been using for nearly four months. If it works differently for you, perhaps you're running a different version?

True, I'm using what's in

True, I'm using what's in Karmic. Wasn't sure if you'd noticed the little checkboxes at the end of the dropdowns is all.

Pretty sure the spam wizard thing was in Jaunty though. Got that at least?

I'm gonna comment on two

I'm gonna comment on two things (mostly because I agree with the others...)

TODO, item 5.

I think that falls under the category "I personally can't see the point of it, so it creates a mess". I for one considers the percentage complete feature VITAL, and especially since I started taking advantage of the sub-todo feature.

Kontact does have a time tracker, although it is not tied to the to-do lists or calendar events. Maybe it should, but I can think of a few circumstances where that could be problematic as well (and since I'm not a heavy user of time tracking features I'm hardly the best qualified to judge whether if and how the feature should change).

Mail, item 2.

There's a configure spam filter wizard that can set that up, and you can add spam/not spam buttons on the toolbar as well. Mine is setup to use spamassassin. It is not perfect, but together with server-side spamfiltering it gets the job done.

For the % complete I didn't

For the % complete I didn't say the remedy was to remove it. :) I know a lot of tracking systems where this would be an important feature. If you use it a lot, that's great.

I agree with most of the

I agree with most of the things, except for these:
Missed appointments
1. The calendar remembers the last thing you looked at.
--> This is mostly a matter of personal taste. For me the way it is working is great. If I am referring 2 days ahead for an appointment, refer an email, come back to set the appointment again It would be really irritating if it switches to "today"

TODO:
Percentage complete
--> I would again need this, to keep track of what all the things I had done so far.[specifically because working with tasks/subtasks is not convenient in korganizer].

Summary
1. I dont know, may be summary will become too cumbersome if user is specifying a folder. But at the end it is his system afterall, he should be given that option.. ;)

for spam, you can use spamassasin as mentioned in previous posts!!

hmm.. and I just saw that the

hmm.. and I just saw that the bug mentioned is a kubuntu specific issue.. ;) Kubuntu & Kontact/(KDE) are different teams altogether.. so this is not really Kontact's fault

To see the receiver in the

To see the receiver in the out-box

If you want to see the receiver in the out-box, just right click on the out-box folder and select you want to see the receiver column.

Yannick

For the timetracker

For the timetracker component, you can install the ktimetracker package, which will add a component to Kontact.
KTimeTracker stores its list as a vcal file so you can display it in Korganizer aswell, and I believe you can use it as your tasks file aswell, although this has caused a few crashes for me when trying to modify the tasks with both programs.

I've not heard about Kontact

I've not heard about Kontact before,for the first time I knew about it from you.But it does have some good features.Thank to you for sharing information about Kontact.
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