Essential BlackBerry Applications: Part 4 – The REXwireless Suite
It has been some time since my last post in the series, Essential BlackBerry Bold Applications. I have another post of apps planned soon after this one, there have been a bunch of great releases lately that I am excited to share. This post will be dedicated to a suite of apps from the same developer, REXwireless.
I first heard about REXwireless while browsing the Crackberry forums. A few users were talking about productivity applications and highly recommended the applications from REXwireless. After checking out their website and finding there was a fully functional free trial, I thought it couldnt hurt to try the software myself and see if I was missing anything. I am glad I did. I will explain each of the products and how they are more useful than the stock RIM apps.
Todo Matrix: This is an advanced to do list application, greatly expanding on the capabilities of what the regular RIM Todo application does. Todo Matrix allows and requires organizing your todo items into categories and sub categories (called drawers). You can easily view items from each category or subcategory, view tasks by due date, overdue, priority etc.
Todo Matrix greatly extends the available status’ available in the stock application. You can place tasks on hold as well as a number of other useful selections and set up to 3 alerts for each task. What I enjoy best about Todo Matrix is that it handles large numbers of tasks efficiently. I no longer just put my high priority tasks in the Todo app and check it every couple days. I put everything I need to get done including reminders about little things that I typically forget about (dishes, recycling, etc). I then check my tasks much more frequently throughout the day and get more done.
Another very nice feature that both Idea and Todo Matrix support is data injection. This feature adds a menu item to your web browser, email, calendar, sms messages etc and allows you to send your selected data, page url, etc automatically to Idea or Todo Matrix without the copy/paste and task switching. This has become a very useful feature as you can easily create a note or todo task containing the information contained in an email or webpage.
Todo Matrix has many advanced features, my favourite being a great search mechanism and the ability to sync and edit tasks on the web via REX Desktop. It also includes task handling methodologies from Stephen Covey and David Allen’s ‘Getting Things Done’. You can view the list of features here as well as find a trial on their website.
Idea Matrix: This app is very similar to Todo Matrix except it is used for advanced note taking. This has replaced the standard Memopad app for me. It allows categories in the same way as Todo Matrix.
Idea Matrix supports an advanced search function that shows seach matches on the fly as you enter in search phrases. This is an amazing feature that really helps when you start managing a large number of notes. I use a whole section dedicated to keeping a list of peoples names that I am likely to forget. It is awesome that I am able to search these!
Notes can also have alerts associated with them and can be password protected which I found useful for my banking information, which I always like to have in my PDA but am always cautious with. Idea Matrix can also be syncronized to the web and edited with REX Desktop.
Alert Matrix: This becomes essential as the number of incoming emails/sms messages increases to the point where your Blackberry is buzzing or flashing red every 5 minutes. You know those days where you are just tired and turn your Blackberry onto Quiet Profile and turn it upside down? Yeah well if you set up Alert Matrix then you can save yourself from some of those times.
With Alert Matrix you can make profiles for your contacts so that emails/messages from certain people or that satisfy your filters can get a special ring, vibrate or led alert. For those times like where I mentioned above you can also enable filters for the particularly annoying people that send you massive ammounts of email. Alert Matrix will intercept the email and disable the alert before your berry notifies you. FABULOUS. It is also possible to have high priority alerts that can cause your berry to beep/ring whatever even when you have it set to Quiet Profile.
REX Connect: This is a small but useful app. I dont know of any other Blackberry developers other than REX Wireless that offer so many high quality apps. REX Connect gives you menu options to send the contents from Emails, memos, calendar entries, clipboard, address book entries and all the other REX Wireless apps to other applications. The following diagram illustrates:
For example, in my calendar I can select a Meeting entry, press menu and select REX Connect. This opens a small dialog which I can select any of the applications in the above picture. If I choose SMS my contacts pop up and I choose a friend to send a SMS with the calendar entry. REX Connect populates the text message area with the information from the calendar entry, allows me to edit it and send it.
This is another app that you really need to use before you can imagine how useful it might become. Thankfully REX Wireless offers full trials on all their software. They have a detailed website including tons of information about each application including screencasts, white papers on task management and more. From the dealings that I have had with them thus far, their support staff are top notch also.
Conclusion: I have spent alot of time introducing these apps from REXwireless but you really need to give them a try for yourself. They may not seem as intuitive as many other Blackberry apps are at first but once you memorize the shortcuts you will be thankful for the advanced functionality these programs offer.
If you sign up for the trial versions of Idea and/or Todo Matrix be sure you try out the REX Desktop which is a web interface to your data. Nice to be able to quickly copy/paste and enter large pieces of data especially for Idea Matrix.
Bundle and education discounts are available for all of the above mentioned software. I strongly recommend all of these applications if you are looking for more functionality and increased productivity on your Blackberry. Check out the REX Wireless software over at their website for more details.