The free iPhone app Done Not Done has a modest goal: to help you keep lists of books, music, and movie and television shows that you have watched (“done”) and have yet to watch (“not done”). Unfortunately, it disappoints at almost every turn.
The app’s interface lets you search for entertainment you want to explore or have already seen and heard, and group them accordingly. You can add a rating on a one to five scale, as well as a note.
Done Not Done crashed on me once, and upon reboot, it haddn’t saved the search results I had on screen prior to the crash. Another time, after I marked something “done,” the app didn’t move that item into the done section, leaving it among all my “not done” items, even though it was visibly marked “done.”
You start by searching for music, books, movies, and TV shows to add to your Done and Not Done lists. I started with books, and found literally dozens of duplicate entries for Moonwalking With Einstein by Joshua Foer. Why so many duplicates? I looked up Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit and found the book’s cover image was missing. Neither of these books were meant to be curve balls. We’re talking two New York Times best sellers, here.
Worse, though, the app retrieves results with abysmal speed, if you can call it speed at all. When Done Not Done is actively retrieving information, it displays on screen a small circle and the words “heading to space & back…” which I read as a reference to comedian Louis C.K.’s rant known as “Everything is Amazing and Nobody’s Happy.” (The gist of it is: “You’re angry that your smartphone is taking too long to return results? Give it a minute! It’s going to space!”) And that hit a nerve. Developers should be charged with doing their jobs well, not forgiven for lazing coding or engineering on the grounds that a stand-up comic has a bit about the absurdity of impatience.
I would have loved to see what kinds of suggestions I might get from the community of other users, but none were to be found. I had the option of connecting my Done Not Done account to Facebook or Twitter to find friends, but there’s no way to browse other users and the lists they make more generally. I assumed I could “follow” people and all the items that add to their lists, but never saw an option to do so. When I tried to connect to Twitter, the app never made the connection. I tried again, this time with a stopwatch in hand, and one full minute later I quit. Third time? I actually walked away, drank a beer, returned almost ten minutes later, and saw the app was still trying to connect to Twitter. Fail. Fail. Fail.
I connected to Facebook much more quickly and easily, but none of my friends were on the app. And thus, I was left alone, with no way to make friends with outgoing and opinionated strangers.
If you want to keep lists of interesting content and share it with your friends, try Pinterest. Or for more targeted content, like books only, try a more specific service, such as Good Reads. But don’t go for Done Not Done, because the app is just not done.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc