(For a summary just read the last 2 paragraphs :) )
Although Jimleff calls this app perfection, and Dystopia agrees so much that in just the past two days has rated it with 5-stars three separate times in addition to his previous 5-star rating, the app has not been perfect. Fortunately the developer has quickly addressed the problems starting with version 1.0. One issue that I can’t test until a new version is available is automatic updating. From 1.01 to 1.02 automatic updating on a PPC is flawed, since it downloads and installs an Intel-only version. Going to the developer’s website and doing a manual download gave me the correct Universal version.
By the way, just as I disagree with their 5-star reviews I also disagree with 1-star reviews based on the application’s price.
The Hit List (THL) is an application used for making lists, which may include tasks. It adds a lot of useful features that, to a degree, support David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology. For people following GTD, Midnight Inbox, Ready-Set-Do!, or Thinking Rock may be better choices. Of those 3, my favorite is Thinking Rock, but I haven’t spent much time with the most recent version of Inbox. Both Thinking Rock 2 and Inbox 1.5 are free. For something perhaps more powerful, there’s JIRA. It has a steeper learning curve, but the time spent learning JIRA can really pay off. Just as an example, it’s possible to automatically create a task for each email that gets to a specific address (e.g., support@xxx, sales@xxx, etc.)
THL’s User Manual covers very basic concepts, but there’s a lot of room for improvement. For example, pointing step-by-step how to accomplish tasks such as entering an item, moving an item, choosing a context, changing a context, removing a context, etc. I’ll mention that a context is just a tag. THL is fairly intuitive, but a more comprehensive manual would be beneficial.
The “Learn The Hit List” item is good, but seems inaccurate. For example, under Hit Lists I could not move items around using the w and s keys, although d and a worked. Every key worked fine under Inbox.
Contextual Menus are limited, but by going to the Menus or displaying hints it is easy to accomplish simple things with THL.
For my needs it still lacks a lot of functionality. For example, GTD aspects such as Delegate and Waiting For are not properly covered, so I prefer to use other applications. As mentioned, THL is more useful for creating lists and/or managing certain tasks. I can achieve some GTD functionality by using tags, but I did not find a way to filter all of my tasks simultaneously. In contrast, Thinking Rock allows me to filter using multiple criteria (e.g., status, project, context, time, energy, priority, etc.), with multiple options for each one. That makes it easy to focus on ALL tasks for Project X that I’ll work on from @OfficeComputer due in the next day or 2 days or a week or a month.
Although initially THL is visually pleasing, the eye-candy did not enhance my work. All contexts use the same color. I found no way to change Font type and color (for font and background) per project. This simple formatting option allows me to quickly view all my tasks and immediately know their respective projects.
Printing can be very useful and THL is quite capable. Let’s say I want to print a list with all my @errands or @computer items for specific dates. I can create a Smart Folder and select the appropriate criteria. This seems to work fine and is a powerful feature. I often print by @PersonName, and generate a list of all the items I need to address with a specific person.
Overall, this is a capable task manager / list creator. Looks nice and is relatively easy to use. After the 1.0 release, the developer has been responsive and fixes have been made available quickly. Is it worth $50 or more with syncing? That’s up to each user. There are plenty of free or cheaper alternatives, as well as more expensive ones. THL has some limitations, including that it does not seem to import/export from/to other formats, URLs are not always treated as such, email addressees are treated as plain text, etc. I also could not find a Trash for deleted items.
For my needs, I’ll still use something like Entourage/Contactizer Pro/Daylite for tasks, Thinking Rock or JIRA for a more robust GTD system, and NeO for my lists and outlines. I was enthusiastic about THL a couple of years ago. In spite of the eternal beta my rating is as though it was just made available today. For me, THL just doesn’t add much value considering the available alternatives. It is good for some basic stuff and that may satisfy the needs of many users. For a "1.0" release it shows potential, but it's not something I would use every day or that will replace the applications I already use.