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Posts tagged with "calendar"

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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Calendar Spam Reporting Added to iCloud.com

Last month a rash of spam calendar invitations began showing up in iCloud users’ calendars from unknown senders. Benjamin Mayo at 9to5Mac reports that Apple has begun rolling out a ‘Report Junk’ link on iCloud.com to address the situation:

This lets users remove spammy invites from their calendar and reports the sender to Apple for further investigation.

At the moment the fix is available through iCloud.com only. Presumably the feature will be added to a future update to iOS, though it has not made an appearance in the iOS 10.2 betas to date.

If you receive a spam calendar invitation, log into iCloud.com, navigate to the spam invitation, open it, and look for the ‘Report Junk’ link. Clicking that link and confirming that the invitation is junk will remove the event from your calendar and report the sender to Apple. Calendar spam can be reported as junk whether or not you have accepted the invitation first, although it is best to avoid accepting spam invitations because it alerts the senders that the invitation was sent to an active iCloud account.

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Outlook for iOS Adds Group Scheduling

Microsoft has added a new group scheduling tool for Office 365 subscribers and users of the latest version of Exchange. Microsoft's Outlook blog explains how it works:

Once you’ve created an event from your calendar and added your coworkers to the People field, tap the date picker. Times that work for everyone show in white, yellow indicates availability for one or more people in the group, and red indicates times with no availability. Next, tap the time picker and just drag and drop until it turns green—indicating everyone is available at that time.

After you have found a time that works for everyone and fill out any additional information about your event tapping the checkmark sends an invitation to each invitee and saves the event to your calendar.

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Microsoft Bringing Back Sunrise Integrations as Calendar Apps for Outlook

Since Microsoft acquired Sunrise last year and began the process of integrating it with Outlook, I've been wondering when they'd bring back the popular third-party integrations of Sunrise. That became clear today with the launch of three Calendar Apps for Outlook on iOS – Wunderlist (obviously), Facebook, and Evernote.

Here's the Outlook team, writing on the company blog:

This is why we are launching Calendar Apps for Outlook on iOS and Android. With Calendar Apps, you can connect your apps—Wunderlist, Facebook and Evernote to start with—to see all your tasks, events and notes from your digital life in one place: your Outlook calendar. By connecting your calendar with a wide range of services, Outlook will be able to provide you with a far better view of your day, week and months ahead.

Those of you who use and love Sunrise will be familiar with this capability. Since the Sunrise team joined Outlook, we’ve been hard at work bringing all the goodness and extra features from their app directly into our calendar to give you a single, powerful app for managing your personal and professional life. Calendar Apps, along with a two-week mini-calendar, three-day view and iOS calendar widget, have already made it to Outlook, with Connected Calendars up next.

Smart move, and something I don't see Apple doing either. I hope they'll open up the platform to more services soon.

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Timepage: A Beautiful and Clever Calendar App

Although I'm sure Moleskine has crossed your radar once or twice in the past, it most likely was for its collection of notebooks, diaries, or pencils. But you may be unfamiliar with Moleskine Timepage, a calendar app that is a step away from the traditional Moleskine image. Through some interesting features and a beautiful interface, there's a good chance that you'll be keeping Moleskine's app development division on your radar.

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