Nerd’s Eye View: Clear from Realmac Software

I like lists. Hell, I love lists. Between my obvious love affair with Evernote and the degree to which I trust OmniFocus, it’s quite apparent that productivity software is something I care about and which routinely captures my fancy.

So. Clear.

What do I think about Clear?

While in San Francisco last month for Macworld, I got a chance to briefly demo Clear (courtesy of the handsome Nik Fletcher of Realmac software). I have to say, my initial impressions were quite good. The app is clearly well thought-out and make exceptional use of iOS’s gesture-based interaction paradigm and, frankly, it’s gorgeously simple.

“But”, I thought to myself, “this isn’t going to supplant OmniFocus.” After all, the two apps are worlds apart and Clear, for everything it is, isn’t a GTD-style list-maker. It wasn’t meant to be one.

There are days when I just need a list; errands to run, chores to finish around the house, things to buy at the hardware store. I could drop these things into OmniFocus, sure, but the data is inherently transient and doesn’t really need a place in my Fortress of Productivity. This is typically where my trusty Pilot G2 Mini and Field Notes notebook would come into play. For one-off lists, analog tools are my go-to.

Clear is going to get a shot at that particular title.

The ease with which I can quickly compose a list of things is on par with any other app out there. It’s certainly faster than OmniFocus.

And I think that, because Clear deals exclusively in short, text-only chunks of information, the Realmac folks were able to optimize the living pudding out of the interface such that the user, once properly acclimated, could fly through it. There’s no background sync operation to wait for, no extraneous options to distract the user from the one thing Clear does. That’s the secret sauce here, if you ask me: pure speed.

My iPhone is just as ubiquitous as my pen and notebooks and—believe me—unless I’m sleeping, all three of these tools are in my pocket, almost without exception. Temporarily retiring the Field Notes notebook in favor of evaluating Clear isn’t going to be a huge leap for me. I can’t really give an opinion as to how I think it will pan out, but the Realmac guys make such great stuff that I can’t help but give it a go, nor can I help being optimistic.

So, that’s the deal—for the next couple of weeks, I’ll be putting Clear through it’s paces as my “incidental” list manager. If nothing else, it will be a marked improvement over my abysmal handwriting.

I’ll let you guys know how it goes.

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