Focus Booster - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

Focus Booster

CNET Editors' review

The Pomodoro technique is a time management methodology based on the idea that using a timer to break work down into 25-minute segments with breaks in between enhances alertness and focus. Focus Booster is a free tool for implementing the Pomodoro technique. (OK, we know you're wondering: "Pomodoro" is Italian for tomato, a legacy of the tomato-shaped kitchen timer the technique's creator used as a student.)

Focus Booster automatically installs Adobe AIR, which basically lets you run Web apps on your desktop without a browser. Focus Booster is a very simple tool, more like a widget than an app. Its main interface is a narrow black rectangle with a green Play icon and a counter set to 25:00. Clicking a small "i" on the interface toggled open a panel that let us set the session and break length, activate sounds, and select an always-on-top feature. We set our session and break lengths to 1 minute each for testing purposes; however, it seems that 5 minutes is the shortest break interval allowed. We think breaks should be at least this long, but the tool would be more useful, or at least more flexible, if it allowed shorter intervals. Nevertheless, we clicked the Play button, which triggered the countdown with a brief stopwatch sound and displayed a semi-opaque Session 01 message. During our session, a green progress bar slowly filled the interface, changing to warmer colors as it neared completion. When our session ended, Focus Booster rang an alarm bell and immediately started our break period. When that was done, Session 02 started. Stopping and restarting a session early also advanced this counter.

We could minimize the program's interface and drag it around the desktop; it even becomes semitransparent while being dragged, which helps you see where you're sticking it. However, there seem to be no options for changing the interface colors or skin. Still, the color-changing bar shows where you are in your session at a glance, even peripherally, and the black offers high contrast. We can't say much about the Pomodoro technique itself, other than to note that it's an interesting concept. Focus Booster seems the ideal tool for implementing it.

Publisher's Description

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All User Reviews
  • All versions:

    2.7 stars

    out of 3 votes

    • 5 star: 0
    • 4 star: 1
    • 3 star: 0
    • 2 star: 2
    • 1 star: 0
  • Current version:

    2.7 stars

    out of 3 votes

    • 5 star: 0
    • 4 star: 1
    • 3 star: 0
    • 2 star: 2
    • 1 star: 0
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-3 of 3

  • 4.0 stars

    "Good tool for applying Pomodoro Technique"

    October 6, 2012  |   By s1nz

    Version: Focus Booster 1.2

    Pros

    Easy to use
    Customizable session and break lengths
    Better interface than most Windows timers out there
    It's free

    Cons

    Some glitches including when you attach it to the top of screen
    30+ mb usage of RAM
    Alarm sounds cannot be customized
    Session count is too inflexible, unable to pause the session

    Summary

    It's a good tool for applying Pomodoro Technique, but it can be improved in many perspectives, especially with the obvious attachment glitch.

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  • 2.0 stars

    "Very frustrating"

    April 18, 2012  |   By kasperns

    Version: Focus Booster 1.2

    Pros

    Simple and easy to follow your progress (in theory)

    Cons

    Controls of the window doesn't work when you attach the count down bar to the top of the screen. It just gets stuck there and you cannot move it anymore or press the buttons underneath it.

    Summary

    Make the controls of the window work and it would be good.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (1) (0)

  • 2.0 stars

    "Slick looking, but it uses as much RAM as a web browser"

    February 14, 2012  |   By mindianajones

    Version: Focus Booster 1.2

    Pros

    I like the hourglass effect, where the horizontal bar or system tray icon fills up as time goes by; it's definitely nice to see about how much time I have left at a glance.

    Cons

    It uses way too much RAM for what it is - a very simple countdown timer. For me, the whole point of widget-type software is to be able to run a bunch of very lightweight apps all the time, keeping those tools available for quick and easy access. If I ran ten "little" apps this heavy, it would have a noticeable effect on my computer's performance.

    Also, the settings interface is very awkward.

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (1) (0)

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Focus Booster