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First Look: Minimalist time tracking on Mac using Minco

Mauritius is a minimalist island nation in the Indian Ocean, and from that tiny set of spots on the map comes a new Mac time-tracking application for anyone who needs to keep track of how much time they spend on tasks. Minco, now in public beta from Celmaro, is a minuscule Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard app that works with any application that supports iCal.

When Minco is launched, all you'll see is a tiny clock icon in the menu bar. Clicking the icon opens a glossy transparent black display that shows either the time you've spent on a project or the revenue you've gained from doing billable work on that project. Clicking on the time or revenue counter starts the counter, which then disappears from view. When you stop the timer, a new calendar item is placed into iCal so that you can keep track of how your day was spent.

The iCal integration works the other way as well. Creating a To-Do item in iCal adds it to your Minco timer so that you can start tracking time. When you start up the timer, the iCal item shows up in your calendar with the phrase "...working" attached. Publishing that calendar could be used to show co-workers or clients what you're currently working on.

If you want to keep a log of what you do during your work days, Minco also writes your time log to a standard .csv file that you can import into Numbers or Excel for analysis. The company is considering writing other export adapters, although the existing adapter is amazingly flexible.

Celmaro provides a 14-day free trial download, and the software is available for US$9.95. I found it very unusual for a company to be charging for beta software, but then again, Minco is much more stable and usable than a lot of beta software I've used.

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