Thursday, June 2, 2011

Chrometa Review

Chrometa is a time tracking tool unlike others.


I was reading http://www.openforum.com/articles/6-cloud-tools-for-small-business and saw a mention of a unique-sounding time-tracking tool.



At my first Internet job, my coworker and I quickly recognized the value - make that imperative - for tracking our time to know our real costs if we were ever going to break free of the hourly pay model for building Web sites.  A decade later time tracking has become a habit - it is fun to see how many hours (weeks, month, years of time...) I have logged for my long term clients.

WHAT IT DOES
The description of Chrometa said it would automatically track my computer tasks. No thinking or time required on my part. With those sweet words, I'm in.

WHAT IT COSTS
Free to to try for 30 days and no credit card required. After that it is $19 a month for 3 devices and 3 months of data with two bigger plans beyond that. http://app.chrometa.com/pricing

WHO IT IS FOR
Mac or PC users who need to know how much time they are spending on computing tasks for billing or sanity.

The site home, http://app.chrometa.com/  is a page that does not waste words. There is one sentence "Track Your Time- Without Notes or Timers" and a tag line. There is a video, which is really a slideshow but only 57 seconds long (Yay, I have very few resources to give to 45-minute or more videos). I clicked the "Download" button. It said for Window or Mac and did not ask me for any info, so I downloaded (inbound marketers rejoice) and installed it in under a minute (note: you need a recent version of Java).

Once installed, I registered and agreed to the terms of service. Do the people who write terms of service get massive neglect complexes? Chrometa let me choose the location of the files rather than just putting them into Windows program file obscurity.

The program does not interfere at all with my work, but if I come back from a break, it asks if I want to include a note about what activities I had going on away from my computer.  It felt like an affectionate, helpfully-motivated question. I give it rather vague details and it does not pry.

On my second day I logged in to the site from the shortcut in the taskbar icon and learned how much I love Firefox more than anything else in my Web-based work. Chrome, Skype, Open Office and "Other" followed.



Chrometa has a tab called "TimeStamps". I can actually see how much time I spend on each site in my browser (I know, some of you are thinking "and so can Chrometa", positively if you are into marketing,  negatively if you are into anonymity.)

But wait, there's more. You can assign tasks to projects, clients, or personal and total up the time spent. Very cool.


CONCLUSION
Having spent 6 hours on the computer already today (thanks for the reality check, Chrometa) I am wrapping up this review with a very positive recommendation of Chrometa for anyone who needs but finds it annoying to try to track their time and who spends significant time on their computer.

Download Chrometa's free trial for Mac or Windows: http://app.chrometa.com/welcome

P.S. On day three, I am also finding the breakdown by how much time spent on each web url (see above screenshot) is very enlightening. Am going to knock off spending half an hour composing individual emails!