Calendar integration

You can now have your chores appear in any calendar app, by using ical integration! Here is an example from Google Calendar:
Google Calendar integration

It’s not difficult to set up. Simply to go to find the unique address for a person and then subscribe to it in your calendar program. Detailed instructions for 4 common calendar apps is provided.

In future the chores could be distributed throughout the day based on the ‘Time of day’ setting on the chores and the calendar events could have reminders set so your app will pop up a notification about the chore. If you have any ideas for features to do with calendars, we’d love to hear them!


A tweak of the chore allocation process

For a long time, the chores to be done each day were assigned based on the time of day (morning chores before evening ones), so that when the schedule was displayed the chores would be roughly in the order they should be done in.

ChoreBuster shares chores out based on how much work each person has done so far. If Tom does a difficult chore then Harry might need to do two easy chores. However what can happen is if a large chore is in the evening it will be the last to be allocated, after several chores have already been allocated to everyone. Someone ends up with the big chore and ends the day with many more ‘points’ than everyone else. On the next day they have less chores to do while everyone else has more, in order to restore fairness.

Visually, it would look like this:
diagram of before

Sally has a big overhang on Monday simply because the big chore was allocated to her last.

But if big chores were allocated before others then there would be less empty days as there would be more opportunity for others to catch up in the same day, more like this:
diagram of after

Notice how Tom and Harry have three chores on Monday, instead of two. On Tuesday there is no imbalance to correct Monday’s imbalance.

As this change will fundamentally alter everyone’s schedules, there could be problems or unexpected behaviour. People use ChoreBuster in ways we can’t predict so there may be people who were relying on the old way of doing things, who will be disappointed with the results. If you are one of those people, please tell us and we’ll look into it. If there are many like you it will be possible to provide a setting for you to opt for the old way.

This change will be deployed this weekend, so people notice less discrepancy between their daily and weekly emails.

Buckle up. If things go off the rails, let us know.


Big news

The most requested new feature of all time* has been implemented – the option to have chores repel each other – if someone is assigned a chore then certain other chores will not be assigned to them on the same day. For example, if someone is cooking dinner they won’t also be assigned to wash dishes.

It works like this:
When editing a chore, simply select which chores are ‘repelled’ away from it. The effect goes both ways – you can have ‘cook dinner’ repel ‘wash dishes’ and those chores will repel each other – you don’t need to also edit ‘wash dishes’ and set it to repel ‘cook dinner’.

The repel effect overrides the default method of sharing out chores that uses the Intensity of chores to keep track of how much work is done. However each person’s running total of work is still tracked so if the repel causes someone to have done less work that day then they will need to do more work in the future to compensate. If you have many chores repeling each other and some people excluded from those chores then it could cause some people to fall significantly behind, leading to them getting all available chores on certain days and other unpredictable behaviour. It will be best to use the repel feature sparingly and for the most part let ChoreBuster use the Intensity to share out chores fairly.

Until the recent rebuild it was relatively difficult to add new features such as this but with the rebuild out of the way there will be a much more frequent series of improvements.

This is quite a big change and there will probably be new bugs as a result. If you notice anything that looks wrong please let us know.

* In the previous version of ChoreBuster there was an area where people could suggest new features and vote for features they wanted. This feature was easily the highest voted.


Ta daaa

After months of work, a modern version of ChoreBuster is live! It has been completely rebuilt using a new language and is compatible with current web browsers and devices.

Few new features have been added yet as the focus has been on recreating the old system and importing the old data. However now that the redevelopment is complete there is a much better foundation to build new features upon and so improvements are much more likely.

The previous version ChoreBuster operated on a ‘freemium’ model where basic features were free to use but to make the most of it required a small donation. The current version of ChoreBuster gives access to all features completely free although this is likely to change soon, either back to a freemium + donation model or a trial + subscription model. Either of those requires a bit of work to set up and won’t be attempted until the dust settles on this launch.

If you notice any problems or want to give feedback, please do so by filling in the contact us form. Thank you!