Archive for July, 2010

How is Time Doctor different from Rescue Time?

Time Doctor vs Rescue Time

(Updated: Sept. 2013)

A number of visitors to the site have asked how Time Doctor is different compared to Rescue Time, a popular and free productivity/time tracking application. On the surface, both programs do appear to be similar, but the approach and the practical applications of each product are vastly different.

Both rely on a client side software package installed on a users computer to monitor computer usage coupled to a remote server that can generate reports and tracks ‘personal productivity’ – or more precisely, productive time.

But this is where the similarities begin and end.

Rescue Time tracks computer usage silently in the background and can be configured to block websites while Time Doctor encourages users to manage their daily priorities and tracks time spent on particular tasks. Rescue Time requires no effort to use once installed, whereas Time Doctor is interactive by design.

A silent tracking application does have some benefits – it requires little or no user input once installed, but unfortunately there are also major drawbacks. A friend of mine who uses Time Doctor wrote to me after trying Rescue Time for the first time last week, saying, “It counts the time when I visited my bank web site on my break as ‘very productive’, but time in Google Chrome as ‘very distracting’, when I was actually working!”

Even if the application tracking in Rescue Time is categorized properly – this information is very limited in its use because for the most part you cannot know what someone is really working on just from what application they are using. For example, Rescue Time can track that a person was working on a Word document but just this information simply can’t tell you the actual work they were doing. So, even though Rescue Time has some eye-catching graphs displaying the time worked utilizing different applications, the usefulness of the data is quite limited.

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Instant Chat Solution

A few weeks, ago, the Time Doctor Team received this message from TD Captain and Commander Rob Rawson:

We need instant chatWe obviously want to provide world class customer service with our software, so we set about finding the best option that didn’t involve having to code live chat ourselves (we have our own software to work on!)

After about 3 days of research, we made a short list, and we initially went with Velaro, mostly because of the 3rd party support it had for Zendesk (and other bits of software we’d thought about using). We made it as far as setting up the entire system, but a few minor bugs with various browsers made us re-consider; we had problems with the way you had to constantly scroll to the bottom of a chat window after sending a message, and the chat window was about 10 pixels wide when viewed with Chrome (although it must be said that customer service was fantastic with Velaro and they’re working on fixing these problems).
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Some things we’ve fixed in the last week

MAC
Version 1.1.15 (6/29/2010)
– Fixed multiple instance of TD running
– Fixed sign in related issues
– Fixed the “going back to work” button
– Implemented the limit the priority length on input
– Fixed priorities list display problem
– Fixed the offline hours dialog layout issue
– Removed the 15 entries limit in the priorities list
– Implemented the auto expand of the priority with long description when selected

WINDOWS
Version 1.1.15 (7/7/2010)
– Fixed multiple instance of TD running
– Fixed the “going back to work button”
– Implemented the limit the priority length on input
– Implemented the auto expand of the priority with long description when selected

LINUX
Version 1.1.14 (7/6/2010)
– Fixed auto update issue in Linux
– Fixed priorities list display problem
– Implemented the auto expand of the priority with long description when selected

If for some reason, you don’t have the latest stable releases running then please contact support@timedoctor.com – all users should automatically be prompted to update their software as new stable releases become available.