As big fans of Basecamp, we were excited to try out 37signals‘ personal information manager, Backpack. A lot of applications have claimed to be online organizers, but Backpack is the first web app that really comes close to being a true web-based brain.
In 1996 after learning HTML, I attempted my own web organizer — really just a series of HTML pages that made a monthly grid calendar to which I could add links daily to things I found interesting or other flat pages with notes, art project ideas, influences, research, important dates, and so on. Once I discovered the web, desktop applications that could have done the same thing simply didn’t have the virtual and asynchronous appeal since half of the time I was at the university at work, then at home at night. Sometimes I was working on three different computers. Since the advent of micropublishing, I’ve been using blog software (ExpressionEngine or Movable Type) to organize notes as well as some OSX desktop apps like Stickbrain, but none of them have the exact feature set for this type of planning or organization.
Backpack captures the fluidity and functionality that I sought and only dreamed of in 1996. Along with an intuitive user experience, the feature set is impressive. Set reminders to email you or your mobile phone, create pages with content, lists, notes, upload images and files, create link pages, and select page-level sharing (with friends, colleagues, communities) for privacy or access. Handling your life and brain online has never been easier.
Whatever your role in an organization, you or your team can benefit from a flexible planning and collaboration space online, accessible 24/7 at home, office, hotel or airport.