Nose to the Grindstone | Download Product Review - CNET Download.com

Nose to the Grindstone

Track your billable time as you work with this feature-filled freeware.

Anyone who tracks billable time will appreciate Grindstone 2, a personal time-tracking and managing tool from Epiforge Software. Whatever it is you're working on, Grindstone 2 can keep track of it for you in the background, while you work, and generate a variety of reports and billing options when you're done.

Grindstone 2's main interface, the Task List, is divided into two panes, one on top of the other: the Task Pane and the Time Pane. The Task Pane is where you create, modify, and track tasks; the Time Pane manages the saved time from your tasks. In addition, there's a floating Stopwatch feature that's about the size of a media player in mini mode that you click to start and stop tracking your time. The last part of the Grindstone 2 system is the Date Filter, which lets you search for and display specific tasks and time. We started with the Quick Task Entry toolbar in the space between the two panes. Clicking the Create New Task icon called up a small dialog that let us quickly set the estimated time for the task in hours, minutes, and seconds; set Due and Complete dates by clicking on a handy pop-up calendar; and set an hourly rate using a rate calculating tool. We clicked Start Timing, and the Stopwatch appeared with the selected task name and a running digital clock displayed. We clicked the red Stop button, and the clock stopped while our task data simultaneously appeared in the Time Pane. We clicked the green Start button and our task resumed, displaying a new instance of active time in the Time Pane. When we left for a while and returned, a Welcome Back dialog appeared. It was easy to modify and delete tasks, too, and to generate a menu full of reporting options. There's a neat Egg Timer pop-up, a Travel installation option, XML exporting, and a lot more, especially for freeware.

We were impressed with Grindstone 2's performance and pleased by its extras. It's easy to use but does a lot, so the excellent Help file, online forums, and video tutorials go a long way toward getting the most out of all that this fine free tool offers.

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