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. “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
Released last week amid the plethora of iOS 7 app updates, Agenda 4.1 addresses some of my initial complaints about Agenda 4.0: you can now complete reminders from the app, hide completed ones, and toggle the visibility of individual Reminders lists. Agenda still hasn't been optimized for iOS 7 and there's no iPad app, but the new Reminders options are much welcome.
Agenda is $1.99 on the App Store.
Savvy Apps’ Agenda, one of the most popular third-party calendar apps for iOS that we’ve been covering on MacStories for years, has been updated today to version 4.0, which adds a beautiful new user interface and builds upon the previous version’s app integrations, support for Reminders, and gesture-driven event management. Agenda 4.0 is sold as a separate app for $1.99 on the App Store.
I’ve had the chance to test Agenda 4.0 before today’s public release, and as I kept using the app I noticed how it was turning into a powerful complement to Fantastical, my favorite calendar client for iPhone. As I have discussed this week on The Prompt, in fact, I’m currently going through my annual re-evaluation of my workflow, and, partly because of my curiosity in regard to iOS 7, I’ve started using Apple’s Reminders on a daily basis again. Reminders are easy to use, the app is fast, and, more importantly, it’s one of the Apple apps that can sync in the background all the time with iCloud. I can integrate Reminders with IFTTT for iPhone, and, overall, I have been enjoying the simplicity and deep system-wide integration of Reminders. While I’m a big fan of Fantastical’s Day Ticker (I think it’s one of the best calendar interfaces ever shipped on iOS), Agenda allows me to view calendar events and reminders in the same list (something that Fantastical for iPhone still isn’t capable of), and with version 4.0 this list is even more polished and clear than Agenda 3.0. Read more
I used to heavily rely on IFTTT for my daily automation workflows that involved appending bits of text to files in my Dropbox, forwarding tweets to my OmniFocus inbox, generating PDFs, or archiving Instagram photos to my Dropbox account. IFTTT, acronym of If This Then That, is a web service that lets you connect other web services together to create automated workflows that run every time a piece of data is triggered: by leveraging a variety of APIs from compatible channels (such as Facebook, Dropbox, Evernote, Feedly, and more), IFTTT lets you automate the web in powerful (and sometimes unexpected) ways. Browsing Popular recipes on the IFTTT website can give you an idea of the scope of web automation that’s made possible by the service, and we’ve covered IFTTT in the past on MacStories as well.
However, I stopped depending on IFTTT because, once I got more comfortable with my own Mac mini server as a remote automation assistant, I wanted to control the pipes of my personal data. I’m still using IFTTT for things like receiving an email if it’s going to rain tomorrow or a new SMS for press releases published by Apple (just an example of the power of IFTTT channels and recipes), but it’s not the primary system that I rely upon for automating daily tasks. The new IFTTT app for iPhone, which I have been testing and has been released today on the App Store, may make me (partially) reconsider my decision. Read more
As The Omni Group keeps working on OmniFocus 2 for Mac and Apple continues seeding new betas of iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks to developers, I have been reconsidering Reminders’ simplicity and enjoying the built-in iCloud sync, which, unlike other types of iCloud, is working fine for me. However, two things I miss from OmniFocus are the possibility to integrate the app with a web browser through bookmarklets and the system-wide Quick Entry panel; I use both tools on a daily basis to easily save a browser’s tab into OmniFocus’ Inbox, or to bring up a text field where I can jot down an idea and know that, no matter the app I’m using, it’ll be saved into OmniFocus. Luckily for me, Apple’s Reminders app comes with a good AppleScript Dictionary, which is likely something that Reminders’ core mainstream audience won’t ever care about, but that we can leverage to extend the app’s capabilities and input areas beyond Mountain Lion’s leather-and-paper window.
Another nifty solution by Brett Terpstra:
Inspired by Evernote, I whipped up a little script to find “@reminder” tags with date parameters in nvALT notes (or any folder of text files). It can generate notifications or send HTML emails at the specified time. It’s just for fun right now, but I thought I’d put it out there to see if anyone had any ideas for it.
Brett is already working on Reminders integration, but I'm more interested in the idea of "self-hosted" Evernote-like reminders from nvALT. This is a great match for a TextExpander feature that's not mentioned very often -- date/time math macros.
In the years I’ve spent using and recommending Evernote, I’ve always noticed a chasm between people who rely on the service to store reference material and notes, and those who want to also use Evernote as a “getting things done” system to keep track of their todos. The topic has been widely discussed on the Internet, with smart folks such as Sven Fechner and Fraser Speirs delving deeper into the subject of Evernote as a GTD system. Tutorials and eBooks have been published with tips on how to use tags and saved searches to turn Evernote into an app capable of equally handling documents, notes, and todos under a single, searchable archive. Clearly, there was a demand for a task management feature built right into Evernote.
Today, Evernote is releasing updates to its Mac and iOS clients to introduce a major new feature: native reminders. I have been testing the new versions of the app, and I believe reminders are a good addition that fit well with Evernote’s focus on remembering everything through a unified, polished interface. Read more
When editing my Drafts 3.0 review last night, I removed this sentence from the Reminders section:
"Again, I don’t use this functionality, but it’ll be interesting to see something like this being tweaked to work with Drafts and Reminders"
Sid O'Neill figured it out right away:
Drafts just updated today to version 3.0. There are a whack of new features but one that I'm most interested in is the new "list in Reminders" action. It makes it easy to add multiple actions to Omnifocus without requiring Pythonista.
I forgot Daniel Jalkut had a script to monitor Reminders and add todos to OmniFocus for Mac. If you're like me, you know you'll try to make this work with a Mac server and modified default sync times.
Integrating OmniFocus and Reminders On OS X
Daniel Jalkut and Sean Korzdorfer have been working on two aspects of the same problem: bridging the gap between OmniFocus and Reminders on OS X.
Sean put together a series of AppleScripts to send tasks from OmniFocus to Apple's Reminders app for Mac. Daniel created (and open-sourced) an app to check Reminders for newly added items, transfer them to OmniFocus while keeping due dates, and deleting them from their original location in Reminders.
I love OmniFocus for both Mac and iOS, but it turns out that because I lean so heavily on using Siri to add items, I tend not to open OmniFocus while I’m on the go. When I come home and get to work on my Mac, I notice that OmniFocus doesn’t contain any of my recently added items, so I have to go through the cumbersome steps of opening my iPhone and launching OmniFocus just to get this theoretically time-saving trick to work right.
I have tried to get into using OmniFocus' iCloud capture feature on iOS, but because I don't use Siri on a daily basis, that didn't turn into a habit. I know many rely on OmniFocus-Reminders integration, and I think these are nice solutions for the desktop.
I, however, have become a big fan of The Omni Group's Mail Drop service. Using Drafts, I can write down a task, send it to Mail Drop, and have it in my OmniFocus inbox after a few minutes; if I want to save a link to a webpage, I can use a bookmarklet that sends a website to Drafts and then to Mail Drop. Rather than further integrating OmniFocus and Reminders, I'd like to open OmniFocus on iOS and find it already synced with all other copies of the app and Mail Drop. Right now developers have to resort to location-tricks to update information in the background, and I wish Apple will allow more background options in the future.