The Ecco Legacy
I just got a nice new notebook computer that should be very capable for Java development (an IBM Thinkpad T42, replacing the sweet but just-too-slow Fujitsu P2046 -- I'll miss you man) and I'm going through the process of installing all of the software I need. And, as I've done on every computer I've owned since 1994, one of the first programs to go on the new machine is Ecco.
What is Ecco, you say? It's a personal information manager that was discontinued by NetManage in 1997 that I simply haven't found a replacement for. I've tried a bunch of other PIMs (including of course Outlook) and nothing else matches the way I think. It's my address book, my calendar, my bookmarks list, and most importantly, my outlined task manager. It does the best job of synchronzing across multiple computers and devices of any program I've ever used. I've got the details for every project I've worked on for the past nine years in my workspace. It never crashes. It's a solid piece of programming.
I've thought about what impact this dependence on Ecco has had on my technology decisions. Well, I'm kind of stuck with a Windows desktop machine for everyday work since it won't run on any other platform (An aside: kudos to Microsoft for achieving this kind of backwards compatibility as detailed in the "The Two Forces at Microsoft" section of this article). Also, since Ecco originally supported synchronization with the U.S. Robotics Palm Pilot, I'm restricted to Palm-based PDAs/smartphones (currently sporting the Samsung i500, but might jump to the Treo 610 if it ever gets released on Sprint).
It's not that I'm not willing to switch. I keep watching the Ecco Yahoo! Group for a potential replacement solution, and I'm following the development of Chandler with some hope in my heart. Until the day comes that something comes along that works the way work, though, I'll keep dragging out that old Ecco CD and cross my fingers that the app still works in the latest version of Windows.