Backpack Preview #4 (the last preview): The Backpack Manifesto 28 Apr 2005
61 comments Latest by wqerwer
We’re launching publicly next week. Rumor has it we like Tuesdays. Starting this afternoon we’re going to begin trickling out a few hundred Golden Tickets granting early access before the public launch. We can’t field requests for tickets (and we won’t be able to grant one to anyone who expressly asks, sorry) — the process will mostly be random based on people who’ve signed up for the announcement list. Special thanks to everyone who signed up! If you haven’t signed up, you still can.
So, here’s the last preview: The Backpack Manifesto.
Information is only useful if you know where it is
Your information is everywhere. Scattered across notebooks, emails, post-it notes, and god knows where else. With Backpack, there’s a better way. Now Information is easy to organize, centralize, and retrieve. Information works for you instead of vice versa.
You make the rules
Most information management tools are riddled with mandatory fields, complex multi-step processes, and specialized “buckets” for data. “Simplify your life in 32 easy steps! Just fill out these 64 fields!” Yeah, right. Backpack adjusts to organize things your way. It’s a blank slate that offers you less structure and more space. Easily fill your pages with anything you want, from notes to to-do lists to images to files. And then group them however you want, wherever you want. It’s organization the way you want it.
Calendars are clogged enough
Running out of room on your calendar? Meetings, deadlines, holidays, and other big events take up crucial space. The stuff that permeates our daily lives often gets lost in the shuffle. How do we remember things like picking up the dry cleaning, dropping off a DVD, or returning a phone call? Things like that don’t belong on your calendar, but they belong in your life. Backpack reminders come to the rescue. Quickly set a notice for a general timeframe like “tomorrow morning” or “next Monday.” Or get specific: “9:45pm on May 5th.” Or even “+15” for 15 minutes from now. Backpack will then send you an email or mobile phone reminder when you need it and where you’ll see it.
“Keepshare” your information
Some information yearns to be shared with the world (“Top 10 things to do in Chicago”). Other bits are personal (Frequent flyer numbers, a personal to-do list, etc.). Some only need to be seen by a few people (“Ideas for the presentation on Friday” or “People we’re considering hiring”). Backpack lets you pick and choose who sees what. You determine what’s private, what’s semi-private, and what’s public. We call this “Keepshare” — some you keep, some you share. It’s up to you.
Say hello to an old friend: Email
Backpack takes a fresh look at email — as a publishing vehicle. Send an email to Backpack and it will turn the message into something useful on the web. Need to post a to-do item from your cell phone or Blackberry? Email it to Backpack and it will be converted into a to-do item with a checkbox. Want to send yourself a text note along with some images and a file? No problem — send it all in a single email and Backpack will post the note, thumbnail the image(s), and attach the file(s). Clean, quick, effortless — and familiar.
All together now
With Backpack, everything’s in one place: online. You can access it from a modern web browser (IE 6+, Safari, or Firefox) anytime. Home machine or work machine or friend’s house? Doesn’t matter. PC or Mac? Doesn’t matter. Application-specific and special file formats? Not anymore. Your information is centrally available through a web browser whenever you need it. And it’s backed-up and safe, without you having to worry about it. Plus, since Backpack is web-based, and we host the service, there’s never anything to install, update, or patch.
No jacket required
You shouldn’t have to know HTML — or even know what HTML is — to publish information on the web. There should be a simple web interface that quickly and easily lets you get information online. Backpack’s got it. You should be able to publish via email and Backpack lets you. There’s no need to open the hood, Backpack just works.
We call it useful
Some have called Backpack “a wiki with out the wacky.” Others have called it “blogish.” Others have said it’s a project management tool for all the little things in your life. Some say it’s a application that helps you get things done. Some have called it Basecamp’s little brother. Call it what you will. We call it useful and hope you do too.
Last but most: Clear, Simple, and Fast
At the heart of Backpack is simplicity and clarity. Things work the way you’d expect them to work. Everything complex has been tossed so the tool is simple to the core. In fact, nothing takes more than a few seconds. Our “Ajaxed” interface elements eliminate reloading hassles. Backpack gives you the benefit of the web (centralized access, no install, no IT nightmares) without the downsides of the web (reloads, slowdowns, poor interfaces). Information management on the web has finally been realized. Backpack it.