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Posts tagged with "fantastical"

Fantastical for iPad Review

Ever since Apple introduced Reminders in 2011, I’ve been looking for a truly great app capable of combining my todos and calendar events in a single, coherent interface. Fantastical for iPad, released today by Flexibits, is that app.

Based on the solid foundation of Fantastical 2 for iPhone, Fantastical for iPad expands the app’s functionality to take advantage of the larger screen while retaining intuitive features and powerful advanced options. I put Fantastical in my dock when I received the first beta in November, and I wouldn’t be able to go back to using Apple’s Calendar and Reminders apps on my iPad.

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Fantastical 2.0.5

Last night, Flexibits released version 2.0.5 of their Calendar and Reminders client Fantastical 2, and there are a lot of improvements worth noting. Search is much faster for me (I use the feature several times a day) and URLs in the title of events can now be tapped; you can send birthday or invitee text messages via WhatsApp, open links in the 1Password browser, and there are new sounds for events and reminders if you use Fantastical’s notifications. I like the addition of 1Password support because if you use Fantastical to remind yourself to pay bills, you can log into websites securely and easily with the 1Browser, launched from Fantastical.

Fantastical 2 remains my go-to app to manage my schedule and todos, and it’s only $3.99 on the App Store.

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Save Photos As Reminders with Fantastical and Launch Center Pro

Fantastical and LCP

Fantastical and LCP

I recently realized that I wanted a way to quickly save photos or screenshots as todos, and being Fantastical 2 my todo manager (with Reminders) and Launch Center Pro the fastest way to take pictures and upload them to Dropbox, I combined them in two workflows.

I made two simple actions that mix the Launch Center Pro and Fantastical URL schemes to save a Dropbox image link as a reminder in Fantastical. You retain the ability to type natural language in a Launch Center Pro prompt, and Fantastical will also automatically recognize the URL and put it in the URL field of a reminder.

Some details worth noting about the actions:

  • The first one lets you take a new photo; the second one grabs any image from the Camera Roll;
  • Both actions will upload an image to Dropbox in the Photos/LCP/ folder; you can change this once you install the action;
  • Fantastical is set to create a reminder for the received text through the reminder=1 flag in the URL scheme.

Getting all the encoding right was a bit tricky at first, but the actions should work without any further configuration on your end. Feel free to modify them: with my basic structure in mind, you can replace Fantastical 2 with Drafts, Dispatch, or any other app that can receive text via URL scheme. I just find it handy to be able to quickly save photos in Fantastical as tappable links, but the workflow is really up to your imagination.

You can download the actions here:


Fantastical for Mac Gets Due Times For Reminders

With the release of Fantastical 2 for iPhone, using the Mac app revealed an annoying bug that I either hadn’t noticed or just forgotten about: you couldn’t assign due times to reminders created inside the app.

The bug has been fixed with version 1.3.11, available on the Mac App Store. You can now write “todo Buy Zelda at 5 PM” and Fantastical will parse every piece of your command correctly. In the process, Flexibits also fixed some iCloud-related errors, which I’ve been noticing in the past few weeks.

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Fantastical 2 Review

Fantastical 2 for iPhone

Fantastical 2 for iPhone

Last month, I was discussing my schedule for this Fall’s check-ups with my oncologist. During our conversation, she asked me if I had a list of all the appointments and todos that I had saved for the next weeks because she couldn’t find the department’s calendar and she doesn’t save patients’ information in her personal one.

I know that my doctor has an iPhone, and I know that she uses Apple’s Calendar and Reminders apps to manage her own schedule, so I showed her the beta of Fantastical 2 that I had on my iPhone.[1] “You can search for events and reminders that match a keyword or location and get a single list showing all results”. She was intrigued. “For my appointments here, I save them with the hospital’s name, so I can just look for that if I want to see them all at once”. At that point, I’m pretty sure she was sold on the app. “But you can’t buy it yet”, I added with a subtle smirk.

Fantastical 2 for iPhone, released today on the App Store and on sale at $2.99 for a limited time, is one of the best iOS 7 apps I’ve tried so far and the best calendar and reminder client for iPhone, period. It improves upon several aspects of the original app and it introduces powerful new features while sporting a complete redesign that makes the app feel at home on iOS 7 without compromising its identity.

Fantastical 2 is, for my workflow, better than Apple’s built-in apps, and it builds upon the solid foundation of the original Fantastical to offer new functionalities and more flexibility. Read more


Fantastical 1.1 Brings Clipboard Detection, Multiple Alerts, Calendar Improvements

Fantastical

Fantastical

Fantastical is my favorite calendar app for iPhone. From my review of the first version:

Fantastical for iPhone gets many things right without cluttering the interface or forcing me to learn a new set of rules and menus. Like Tweetbot’s tap & hold actions, Instapaper’s footnotes, or Launch Center’s presentation of shortcuts, Fantastical’s DayTicker and natural language support made me ask myself: Why hasn’t anyone else done this before?

Fantastical was already a part of my daily workflow on the Mac; with the iPhone app, I’ve found myself using the app even more thanks to its beautiful and easy to use interface that makes it super simple to get a quick overview of a day’s events. Combined with my OmniFocus-to-Calendar system, I wouldn’t be able to go back to Apple’s Calendar app after using Fantastical.

Fantastical 1.1, released today on the App Store, adds a series of improvements that make the app even better to use.

In terms of UI tweaks, there are new options in the Settings to highlight weekend days and dim past events for the current day. Both changes are welcome as they make it easier to quickly “read” the calendar; weekend days are dimmed both in DayTicker and calendar view. Another option that has been added in 1.1 – but which I don’t use – is the possibility to hide empty days from the DayTicker. The Dock icon can now show a badge indicating the current day of the month or remaining events for the current day (I prefer day of the month).

For calendar management and event creation, Fantastical 1.1 comes with new features that I really like. Events can be moved or duplicated by tapping & holding them and choosing Duplicate or Move from a popup menu; the same tap & hold gesture can be performed on the title bar (where the date is shown) to bring up a beautiful date picker that uses the same “loupe” effect of the DayTicker (shown above). If you don’t want to manually pick a date, you can now scroll the entire event list instead of being limited to the current month; scrolling will also automatically scroll the DayTicker or calendar views.

Fantastical

Fantastical

Alongside time zone support, pending invitations management, and multiple alerts (I managed to add 20 alerts to a single event, more than Week Calendar), Fantastical now has a smart clipboard detection tool that will look for date strings in your clipboard and offer you to quickly create a new event. For me, this has been particularly useful for dates of app releases or Skype calls that I frequently receive via email; I can copy the date, open Fantastical, and the app will parse it, letting me type the name of the event and save it.

Fantastical 1.1 is a solid update to my go-to calendar app for iPhone, and it’s available on the App Store.


Fantastical for iPhone Review

I wouldn’t call myself a calendar power-user.

Ever since I started organizing the things I have to do with a system I can trust, I’ve faced a workflow conundrum: is this a task or a calendar event?

I know that there’s a difference between so-called “actionable items” and time-based events. Maybe I’m not hooked up right, but I’ve been looking for a way to immediately visualize, in a single interface, all the things that I have to do on a specific day. Independently from their actionable (“you need to do this”) or time-based (“you need to be here”) status, I want a software that, like a personal assistant, tells me exactly what I need to get done.

I have found such system in displaying my OmniFocus items inside my calendar. And now, the system has been enriched by the addition of Fantastical for iPhone.

I’ve been a fan of Fantastical for Mac since I first tried it in May 2011. Replacing iCal’s overly complicated interface with a simple menubar overview of your upcoming events, not only did Fantastical show that a simpler way to access your calendar was possible, it also profoundly changed the third-party OS X development scene with its use of natural language input. Futuristic as a concept, in practice Flexibits managed to bundle a powerful language parser within Fantastical that would recognize commands like “Coffee with Chris tomorrow from 6 to 7” and deconstruct them as specific values for a calendar event. It’s not a fancy gimmick: rather than clicking buttons and menus, I constantly find myself invoking Fantastical on a daily basis, typing away like I’d normally do in a blog post or note, saving events in just a few seconds.

Fantastical is one of my must-have apps for OS X. But how could Flexibits ensure its soul wouldn’t get lost in the transition to iOS? Read more


Fantastical 1.3 Adds Reminders Integration

Flexibits’ Fantastical, a menubar-based calendar application to quickly enter new events with natural language recognition, has today been updated to include native integration with Reminders, a feature that Apple rolled out with its own app in iOS 5 last year. I have been testing the new Fantastical (version 1.3) for the past weeks, and its integration with calendars, reminders, and natural language input is as solid as ever.

One of Fantastical’s biggest advantages over similar apps to quickly add items to synced calendars is its built-in CalDAV engine, which ensures the app can directly communicate with online calendars without having to leave iCal open in the background. As with events, Fantastical 1.3 lets you create reminders with a few keystrokes, using reminder lists already configured in your calendar app of choice, such as iCal or Outlook. Because Fantastical is capable of directly communicating with the syncing engine behind Reminders – not just the calendar application that displays them on the desktop – you’ll be able to add reminders in Fantastical and have them synced across devices without leaving iCal open. In my tests, Fantastical 1.3 indeed took reminders I added from the menubar, and synced them to iCloud.com and other iOS devices within seconds. If iCal opens, as Flexibits explains in the FAQ, it’s because of a Lion default setting related to push; switching iCal’s refresh rate to 30 minutes doesn’t compromise Fantastical’s ability to create events and reminders independently of iCal.

Fantastical can create, edit, and delete reminders with natural language recognition. In testing the app, I told Fantastical to “remind me to take out the trash”, and the app intelligently parsed the command as just “take out the trash”, interpreting the initial portion of the sentence as a reminder input. Similarly, commands like “remind” and “todo” will trigger reminder creation in Fantastical 1.3, which, generally speaking, tries to associate every new item without a date to a reminder list. This, however, can be reverted at any time, as the interface to switch between reminders and events includes a handy switch to jump through both options.

Reminders can be given a specific date or priority, assigned a note, but they don’t support location and time-based alerts, as those features are exclusive to iOS’s Reminders and Siri. In the app’s UI, reminders are displayed alongside calendar events, and they use the same floating popover windows for modifications.

In testing Fantastical 1.3 with my iCloud calendar and reminders, I found the app to be remarkably fast and reliable. As you would expect from Fantastical, adding new reminders takes seconds thanks to keyboard navigation and shortcuts, and the syncing engine didn’t miss a beat when communicating with iCloud and iOS. Unsurprisingly considering previous versions of the app, the parser doesn’t disappoint when it comes to automatically switching between event and reminder creation (try to add a date to a reminder, and check out the animation).

Fantastical 1.3 is a great update if you’ve been looking forward to Reminders integration, and another solid release for an app we’ve previously recommended. Fantastical is $19.99 on the App Store.