29 March 2024

Free For All Friday No 803 by Laurie

Yesterday I received the email newsletter from Filofax announcing their new Filofax Reminder App (https://filofax.com/pages/app) to accompany their diary inserts. I imagine this will appeal to people who like a combined paper + digital planning system.

The email says:

"We understand that not everyone wants to carry their physical planner with them on the go, that's why we are proud to present our new Filofax Reminder App, a first-of-its-kind app that links your diary to your phone. Stay organised with our revolutionary refills featuring QR code technology."

It goes on to give these instructions on how to use the QR code on the diary pages and the app together:

"Step 1: Fill in your Filofax diary with any important dates or events.

Step 2: Download the free InkLink app and scan the QR code to add a new reminder.

Step 3: Take a photo of the entry and create the reminder.

Step 4: Set the date & time you want to be reminded of."

There is a short video on the website that shows examples of use. 

It looks like all the Personal and A5 weekly and day per page diary pages for academic year 2024-2025, and for 2025 will have the QR codes on the day spaces to be compatible with the app.

To be honest I don't know how I feel about this app. I already use my phone's calendar app to set reminders and alarms for appointments. This app looks like it has more steps to input an entry (due to taking a photo of the diary page), but the advantage is you would see an actual photo of your diary page in the reminder, and you can categorise according to whether it's an appointment or a task. I can see how this would be useful for people who usually use a calendar app plus a separate app for tasks; having both in one app would streamline the process.

There are other planner brands (Moleskine comes to mind) that have apps to combine paper and digital planning. I've never used any of these, but I have noticed some come and go, which makes me wonder about their effectiveness and/ or popularity. The advantage of this Filofax app is, unlike the Moleskine app, you don't need any other equipment (no special pen, etc) to use it.

What do you think about this new app to combine paper + digital planning? I think it's a step in the right direction, but is it the most streamlined solution? I'd love to know your thoughts. Do you think you will be using this app?

And as always on Fridays, feel free to ask and/or discuss anything ring binder organiser related!

17 comments:

  1. Tbh, I'd be interested if it'd help me fill in my planner based on digital info. You know how gmail sometimes have an add to calendar-button for say flight bookings and the like? Now, if there's an app that will have a nifty add to planner-button and fill in my filofax so I don't forget...

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  2. I thought I’d give it a try - it seems it can’t be used without having a QR code to initiate an entry and set the day. I think they could have allowed manual date entry as an alternative, to get people starting to use it before next year’s calendars.
    But I guess without the QR bit it’s really no different to adding an entry in your normal electronic calendar and attaching a photo.

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  3. sounds like a total faff, especially if you have to do it every time you add something to your diary. with voice-activation & digital assistants on phones its simple to add something to a digital calendar or task or reminder with zero clicks. Probably even quicker just to 'manually' add it to your phone calendar. a (probably marketing-driven) 'solution' to a non-existent problem?

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  4. As I've previously commented on this software on FB, it's sending the information in the wrong direction for me. I transfer from my electronic calendar and task manager to my paper planner, rarely in the other direction. No need to fancy QR codes etc.

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  5. I think that it makes sense for them to launch their own app. Sounds like a shame that you need to use the QR code, as it means you can only use their inserts, but I can understand that as they want you to buy their products. It'll be interesting to hear how anyone in the community gets on with this though.

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    1. You can download fonts for barcodes and I believe there's similar things for QR codes. If someone was clever and the ff diaries / app used a standard qr code they could make their own diary inserts. Beyond me though, I got into a right mess setting up Bircotes for things at my old job. Got there in the end but it was a real pain.

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  6. I use a Personal-sized Filofax and have used Filofax's week-to-a-page (yy-68426) for years for continuity, as I can write relatively small. Strangely enough, yesterday, I looked to see if the 2025 inserts were ready, and they were. I noticed the QR codes on each date, which I think takes up too much valuable space. I need to look for Filofax week-to-a-page without the QR codes, but I suspect I won't find them.

    I can see the possible use for some, but I run Filofax alongside my iPhone/MacBook. If I have my Filofax, scanning the weeks on paper is generally quicker than with an iPhone/MacBook. I'll then add the appointment to the Filofax (in pencil), and then if I'm at home in the office, I'll add the appointment to Outlook on the MacBook, which syncs with the iPhone calendar. If I'm out and about, I'll add the appointment to the iPhone calendar, which syncs with Outlook on the MacBook.

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  7. I am very tech savvy, and can see the advantage of this app. However, I much prefer doing everything in my organiser.

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  8. Sounds very clunky and potentially limits long-range planning (I don't write my long-range plans in the day/week itself until I'm a few weeks out - I use annual planners or monthly planners). I wonder how it manages these long-range inserts.

    I think if filofax wants to enter the tech race, they need to create the next 'reMarkable' write-on tablet in personal/pocket size with reminders and templates purchasable in the device.

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  9. Personally I don't want to see these bar codes on my diary inserts, or to lose page space for the unwanted privilege. I don't want or need my diary connected to my phone. My phone connects to far too many third parties already. This effectively means the end of using Filofax inserts for me, and by extension the end of using Personal size unless I can find an alternative supplier from 2025 onwards

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    1. I am in the same boat here. My Filofax is an escape from the tech world and it makes me feel nostalgic for a time when privacy was allowed and the world was a better place. I open my Filofax and it could be 1995 again, mentally quieter, less rush, better planning and time for thoughts. I do not want a daily harsh reminder of a bloody app in my Filofax. Is nothing sacred?
      Time for me also to find another supplier, what an absolute shame.

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  10. Hands Off My Data03 April, 2024 14:35

    I was really excited to get an email about the 2025 diaries today because I've been looking forward to adding some important events at the start of next year.

    Sadly, that turned to horror (wish I was exaggerating) when I saw the hideous QR codes all over the page.

    Surely the QR code should be the optional add on? If a service is free online you can guarantee YOU, your data, are the product, in ways which may take a while to become obvious.

    Scanning the QR code also requires you surrender multiple snapshots of your diary to every app which has camera access (a larger list than most people know), alongside samples of your handwriting, completely obliterating privacy.

    The only way to avoid this ugly code appears to be paying a tenner extra for the custom version, which more than doubles the cost of the format I wanted. More than that, the incessant nudge to upload one's life & surrender ever more data just leaves a very bad taste.

    I'm going to seriously rethink three decades of brand loyalty to Filofax as a result of this poorly-considered change.

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  11. I've just received the email newsletter from sister company Letts that some of their academic year 2024-2025 and Jan-Dec 2025 diaries will also have the QR codes printed in them to be used with the app: https://lettsoflondon.com/pages/app

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    1. I'm guessing this is the same app, just rebranded as Letts of London.

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    2. Hands Off My Data05 April, 2024 04:30

      Did you notice how the top image in that email only shows the QR code at the top right, under the tiny month calendar? At first glance that would appear to be all there is per week, the rest are masked by the way the image is cropped and overlaid.

      I take that as an interesting admission they're aware the Borg Cubes proliferating all over are (at best) deeply unaesthetic. :)

      Privacy issues aside, one small QR per week would be perfectly fine, and surely something that could be worked into a viable reminder system.

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  12. I’ve got my 2025 diary and tried out the process.
    On personal size (at least) the QR codes are too close together to easily scan the right one - I found I was getting the day before I wanted quite a lot of the time.
    Probably the functionality of the app will be expanded over time, but my conclusions as it stand are:
    If you have a lot of Filofax entries that you want to receive reminders about then there may be some value in using the app.
    If your main purpose is to sync your written entries to the Apple calendar then the app would be more of a hindrance, because it only creates an initial, minimal calendar entry, without the photo or any notes, and which is then decoupled from any other editing or deletion you do in the app.

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    1. This was week on one page personal size, so probably a worst case scenario for QR code spacing.

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