Bare-bones taskmaster | Download Product Review - CNET Download.com

Bare-bones taskmaster

Don't expect much from this to-do list timer.

It's not always easy to tackle items on your to-do list, especially if the list is long or contains large, potentially overwhelming items. One effective way to make progress on such tasks is to set a particular amount of time that you plan to work on something. Spend 15 minutes responding to e-mails. Spend 45 minutes reorganizing the basement. Whatever you need to do, it can be easier if you break it into smaller, time-limited chunks. And that's what Pomodoro aims to do. The program's interface leaves a lot to be desired, and truth be told, you can accomplish the exact same effect with a kitchen timer or most cell phones. Still, Pomodoro works well enough for what it is.

The program's interface is laughably awful; it's a small square, and its buttons are labeled with such tiny text that they're almost illegible. Nonetheless, Pomodoro is pretty easy to figure out. It's a good thing, too, because there's no Help file. You simply enter the name of the task, then select how long you want to spend on it, how long you want to allot for breaks, and whether you want the program to play a ticking sound as it runs (probably not) or a beep or alarm when the time is up. Click the Start button, and Pomodoro displays a timer that counts down the minutes and seconds. You can pause or stop the program with two other buttons, and that's about it. It's not a fancy program, and it's definitely not much to look at, but it does work as it's supposed to. Its ridiculous interface might be worth putting up with if you find that it helps you get things done.

Pomodoro installs a desktop icon without asking but uninstalls cleanly. We recommend this program with reservations.

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