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Posts tagged with "calendar"

Fantastical Gains Drag and Drop Support on iPad and iPhone

One of the most valuable advantages of digital calendars over physical ones is how much easier they are to manage. For example, the concept of a recurring event is easy for calendar apps to grasp, while adding the same event to a physical calendar can be both a time drain and a literal pain in your dominant hand. After recurring events, I’d guess that rescheduling is the next greatest pain point for physical calendar users. There’s erasing and re-writing involved when dealing with something physical, whereas with calendar apps you simply scroll the little date spinner to adjust a rescheduled event. Or if you’re using Fantastical, then thanks to the addition of drag and drop you can simply pick a task up and drop it on the new date.


On both iPhone and iPad, drag and drop in Fantastical empowers easy event rescheduling, and it also enables you to drag and drop reminders to set new due dates for them. The drag and drop support on iPad is more extensive, of course, allowing you to bring events and reminders out of Fantastical and into the app of your choice. Drag events into a Mail.app compose field and they’ll send as ICS files. Add them to a text editor and they’ll expand to include all attached information, such as location data, notes, and more. Similarly, reminders dropped elsewhere include their additional metadata as well. You can also drop text from other apps into Fantastical to create new events: simply hold the text over the day you want to create an event on, and drop. The text will be pre-filled in a new event creation dialogue, letting you add additional details then and there, or hit the Add button to complete it.

The pace of new apps adding support for drag and drop on iOS has been encouraging. There’s still plenty of work to be done by third-party developers, but we’re moving quickly toward the day when all of the main apps we use on a daily basis will be able to send and receive information in the most natural way possible.

Fantastical is available on the App Store for iPhone and iPad.


Moleskine Launches Paper Planner That Syncs Appointments to Cloud Calendars

Image Source: TechCrunch

Image Source: TechCrunch

Today Moleskine unveiled its latest work in the area of integrating physical and digital methods of note taking: the Smart Planner. Matt Burns, writing for TechCrunch:

Like other Livescribe systems, the Smart Planner as it’s called uses paper embedded with sensors that can read and sync anything written by the Moleskine Pen+. Meetings and appointments written on the planner part of the paper are synced automatically to the user’s Google or Apple account and placed appropriately on their calendar.

Both the pen and the paper are required for this system to work.

The system will be available worldwide on September 12...The set will cost $199 or $29 for just the planner.

Moleskine’s reputation in the area of physical notebooks is top-notch, and its work in the digital space with apps like Timepage is excellent as well. It should come as no surprise, then, that a company with expertise in both physical and digital realms would put that skill to use creating a system that seamlessly blends both worlds.

I prefer to avoid handwriting anything if I can help it, but for the huge market of people who love their handwritten notes – in this case, handwritten calendar appointments – but also want the benefits of keeping that data in the cloud, Moleskine is building an exciting system here.

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ETA Update Automatically Calculates Calendar Event Travel Times

In the past, I rarely added locations to my calendar events unless I was going someplace I’d never been, but that’s changed since I started testing the update to ETA that was released today. The reason for the switch is a powerful new feature available as an In-App Purchase in ETA, which uses locations associated with events in your calendar to tell you when to leave for an appointment and how long it will take to get there.

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Fantastical 2.4 for Mac Brings Travel Time, Attachment Support, and More

Today the team at Flexibits launched Fantastical 2.4 for Mac, and it is a release packed full of improvements. There’s nothing revolutionary here, but the changes make an already excellent calendar app even better.

Travel Time

A long-requested feature, Fantastical now includes travel time as an option when setting event alerts. No longer do you need to provide a fixed alert time for each event – though that option still remains – because the travel time option will select an alert time that’s tailored to each event and the distance you’ll have to travel to get there, plus a few minutes of cushion.

Attachments

File attachments are now supported for events in Fantastical, with some stipulations. If you have an iCloud, Exchange, or other supported CalDAV-powered calendar, the full range of attachment powers will be at your disposal. With events on those types of calendars you can add, remove, and view attachments. If your calendar is Google-based, you still won’t be able to add or remove attachments directly from Fantastical, but you can view any attachments already present.

Month View

The popular month view in Fantastical has received two significant improvements. One is that if a day contains so many events that they won’t all fit, you can now click the ‘more’ button at the bottom of that day and the hidden events will pop out. When they pop out, they temporarily cover a portion of the day underneath so you can view all the day’s events in the same view. The second improvement is that you can now customize the number of weeks that are displayed at once, ranging from two on the low end to eight on the high end. This is a much-appreciated feature for tailoring the calendar to your personal needs – if you like plenty of breathing room for your events, you can display a smaller number of weeks, whereas if you want to pack a ton of information onscreen, now you can do that too.

Miscellany

Combined Duplicate Events: When you manage a variety of different calendars, including some that may be shared with family members or coworkers, your calendar app can quickly get clogged up with duplicate listings for the same event across those shared calendars. For example, if my wife and I are attending a wedding, which of us puts that on our calendar? Probably both of us, because we’ll both be attending. But Fantastical now condenses those duplicate events so they’re displayed as a single event only, reducing the visual clutter of your calendar while ensuring everyone keeps events on their own calendars as needed. For those who may not like this approach to duplicate events, you can turn it off in the app’s preferences.

Invitation Improvements: Google calendars have received three improvements in the area of invitations. Now you can add a customized message with your invitation response, and you can also view other people’s messages by hovering over their names on the invitation. Lastly, if an invitee is bringing guests with them, you can now see that information as a +1 to their response (or whatever the correct number is). With Exchange calendars there are two small updates to invitations: you can now forward invitations to other Exchange users, and you can respond to invitations without notifying the sender.

Undo and Redo: If you add, remove, or edit an event or reminder and wish to take that action back, now you can thanks to built-in support for undo and redo.

Push Updates for Facebook Events: Whenever a Facebook event has its information updated, or you first confirm that you’ll be attending a Facebook event, those changes are now pushed immediately to Fantastical.


Fantastical was already one of the most powerful, customizable calendar apps on the market, but the improvements in today’s update offer even more in the areas of power and flexibility.

Fantastical 2.4 is available on the Mac App Store and a trial version is available directly from Flexibits.


NotePlan Calendar + Markdown + Notes Comes to iOS

When I first heard about NotePlan, I was intrigued. It was a Mac app that used a text format (Markdown) as a calendar-based system, a note for each day, allowing you to easily create tasks and take notes, then see it all in an organized calendar. NotePlan for iOS was released today, and it's enough to sell me on the idea.

I have a lot of side projects (I suppose my whole life is side projects these days), and organizing todo lists is vital. I love using the TaskPaper format, with TaskPaper on Mac and Taskmator on iOS, to track action items for individual projects. I also have a calendar, and a bucket of notes. Combining all of this in one place is appealing to me, and being able to use it on both Mac and iOS makes it truly useful.

In NotePlan, tasks are created as Markdown lists. You can have it recognize any list item as a task, or tell it that only lines with a checkbox (- [ ] Thing to do) are action items. There's an extra keyboard row available when editing that makes it easy to create items, complete or cancel them, or even schedule them for a future date.

Tasks can sync to Reminders lists as well, so it can incorporate into other workflows (and even shared lists). In the calendar view you can tap a day to see the note and associated task lists for that date.

Each day on the calendar gets a note, and you can add freeform notes in the All Notes area. A note can be bits of information, its own action list, or both. You can use #tags anywhere in the notes to organize, and wiki style links ([[title]] or [[YYYY-MM-DD]]) to reference other notes. Tasks added to freeform notes can be scheduled to the calendar with a tap, so you can use notes as a central project repository and schedule out the day's (or week's) tasks as you're ready to tackle them.

NotePlan on iPhone

NotePlan on iPhone

On the new iOS version, you can drag and drop tasks around by pressing a text block until it turns blue and sliding it into place. You can also press and hold until it turns blue, then release and press another one to expand the selection between them, at which point NotePlan will offer you a toolbar to allow batch completion, rescheduling, etc.

I'd label NotePlan as a day planner, not a task manager like OmniFocus or Things. It's ideal for planning out your day, Bullet Journal style. You won't find extensive project management features or perspective overviews, but the combination of scheduling, tagging, and (plain text, portable) notes in one place makes it a true productivity tool.

If words like productivity, GTD, Markdown, TaskPaper and Bullet Journal cause a stirring within you, you're probably the right audience for this one. Check out NotePlan for iOS, and then try out the Mac version for fully-synced productivity. Today and tomorrow, NotePlan for iOS is $11.99. After that, the price will be $14.99. NotePlan for Mac is $16.99.


Amazon’s Alexa Adds Integration with iCloud Calendars

Mitchel Broussard of MacRumors shares an announcement from Amazon about a new Alexa skill for iCloud Calendar:

Starting today, you can now link your Apple iCloud Calendar to Alexa. To do this, iCloud Calendar customers can simply link their account in the settings tab in the Alexa app. Once linked, just say, “Alexa, what’s on my calendar today?” or “Alexa, add lunch with Sarah at noon to my calendar.”

iCloud Calendar support has been a top requested feature from Alexa customers, and we’re thrilled to bring this to Alexa devices in US, UK and Germany today.

It's nice to start seeing some of Apple's cloud offerings integrate with third-party services. Today's Alexa integration follows IFTTT's integrations earlier this year with iCloud Calendar and the App Store. Services as basic as iCloud Calendar shouldn't be restricted to Apple-made devices, so I'm thankful to see Apple opening up – even if it's just a little bit.

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Microsoft Releases Social Scheduling iMessage App, ‘Who’s In’

Microsoft has introduced a new app called 'Who's In' to the iMessage App Store. The app is designed to help friends plan social events together without ever leaving the iOS Messages app.

When you want to coordinate an event with friends, opening 'Who's In' will present several types of activities to choose from:

  • Eat and drink
  • Watch a movie
  • Visit an attraction
  • Create your own

After making your selection, a Bing-powered list of relevant options will be presented such as restaurant names, movie titles, etc. These are sorted based on your location, and once you've picked one, you'll be asked to specify a date and time for the event to take place. These details are all compacted into an iMessage card that gets saved into your message body so you can send it to friends. When they receive your message, they can vote on whether they'll be attending or not.

In many ways 'Who's In' resembles the scheduling app Doodle, but with a more narrow focus on the specific activities featured in the app.

'Who's In' is available for download from the iMessage App Store.


Google Calendar Arrives on iPad

Google today released an update to its Google Calendar iOS app that brings full iPad support. The app has been optimized for all iPad sizes, including the 12.9" iPad Pro, and it launches with Split View support.

The app is very simple, but attractive. Beautiful illustrations line the background of the calendar, with a different illustration for each month of the year. Hitting the red plus button to add a calendar event provides the option of creating a Goal or Reminder rather than a traditional event. The navigation menu includes a settings button, several different calendar view options, a search function, and a list of all available calendars that you can turn on or off. That's it. There's not much to explore, but then again, maybe that's okay for a calendar app.

On its blog Google states that more improvements to the app will be coming soon, specifically mentioning an upcoming widget that will enable quick viewing of future events.


Fantastical 2.8 Brings Rich Notifications, iMessage Stickers

Rich notifications and stickers in Fantastical 2.8.

Rich notifications and stickers in Fantastical 2.8.

With a new version released today on the App Store, Flexibits updated Fantastical – the popular calendar client with natural language input – to include deeper support for iOS 10 and the iPhone 7. Version 2.8, available on the iPhone and iPad, adds new iMessage stickers using the app's icon as the main character in different expressions, haptic feedback on the iPhone 7, and, more importantly, rich notifications for calendar events and reminders.

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