From a GTD perspective, I think this highlights an issue that has come up once before in these threads about using vanilla systems as much as possible.
If I am going to put my life into a system, I need to know that I can get it back out, for the rest of my life. This means looking at companies, online services, software and data formats.
For example, with electronic data formats the trick is to look for formats that are "too big to fail".
If Microsoft accidentally ruined Office and failed as a company, the governments of the world would not let that data be lost and would act to make sure the data within was accessible. So keeping data in plain text (.txt), rich text (.rtf), Word (.doc), Excel (.xls), PDF would fall into that category. Even fifty years from now, there'll still be so much government and corporate data in there, it will never be allowed to disappear.
Do the companies that make GTD software fall into that category? Look at the files underneath Evernote, Omnifocus, Things, etc. Can you read them with another tool? If not, then you are one day away from total data loss.
My GTD app is Things. They are a small company. They could shut up shop tomorrow. They could be acquired by just about anybody. They could write code beyond their means to maintain. If they do any of these things, no-one will care enough to put it right for me. I have opened up the database in a text editor, so I know I could extract some of the text if I were desparate, but not really put the whole thing back together again.
So my Things app is a state machine. It tells me where I'm up to in my projects, but never holds support materials or my inbox. If CulturedCode goes out of business and the system corrupts, then I lose my place, but can put it back together again from support materials.
I use IMAP email for some lists (inbox, tickler, waiting for) plus excel for support materials, SDMB, reference.
Vanilla is an important topic when our lives are run by software.
Last edited by pxt; 06-18-2011 at 06:02 AM.
Fun is being on top of things - Sir Richard Branson