Productivity

Week Calendar - Easy and powerful calendar management app for iCal, Google, Outlook, Exchange and more

A Calendar on Steroids for Your iPhone

When iOS 6 was rolled out along with the iPhone 5 I was looking for a number of improvements to come along with it. I don’t pay much attention to the rumor sites, or even what Apple sends in some of the developer previews because they’ve been known to pull/add things last minute so when I fired up iOS 6 I didn’t know what to expect. There were a few things that I had hoped would receive some attention (Contacts, Airplay etc.), but one of the most important things on my wish list was an update to the calendars App. Don’t get me wrong, the built in calendar App does the basics just fine. It will allow you to input an appointment or task into it with no problem. It will remind you at a set time prior to that appointment with a notification, but it doesn’t offer much beyond that. When I saw the lack of calendar love with this update, I went searching for a 3rd party App to cover my needs. What I found was a super versatile, customizable, easy to use calendar that is now the only calendar that I use.  From the slick interface to the batch editing, it has everything that I want.

Beautiful Display

One of the things that I dislike so much about the built in Calendar App is the lack of a quality week view. Apple offers “list” view which is a semi-week view but no where near the beautiful layout of the week view in Week Calendar. With Week Calendar the week view shows every day of the week in 9 hour increments. A red line indicates what time of the day you currently are on and allows you to easily identify what appointments are approaching as well as which appointments are currently going on. Indicated by a light blue tint, the column (day) that you are currently in will have the day of the week and date highlighted in bright blue. On the topic of color, you can also color code events based on keywords. So for example I can color code all of my appointments for my children in green so that I can quickly determine what type of appointment I have just by glancing at the colors associated. To take this one step further, you can set the App to automatically color code an event based on keywords contained withing the appointment. For example if I start the appointment off with “Twins” it can change the color to green automatically. This saves a ton of time in color coding. Another great visual enhancement is the addition of icons. These icons can be entered manually into appointments or again automatically with keywords.

Moving appointments has never been easier than it is with Week Calendar. Just tap and hold to move around appointments like you would an App. Intuitive and easy; this is what makes the iPhone so great and that same simplicity transfers into Week Calendar.  Moving beyond simple reoccurring appointments, Week calendar allows custom, complex reoccurring appointments such as every 3 months on the last weekend day of the month, every 2 weeks on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, and much, much more. Basically almost any way of making it reoccur is supported.

Everything You Would Expect

Beyond the added features contained within Week Calendar, it contains everything that you would expect to see in a calendar on the iPhone. Adjustments for the colors, calendar, views, and more. While the “week” view is my favorite and the most widely promoted for Week Calendar, you also have the option to view it in day, month, year, mini month, agenda, and more! This is truly a customizable calendar that is meant to be changed to fit your needs!

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a quality, customizable replacement for the stock calendar App, Week Calendar is for you! It is totally customizable, well laid out, and easy to use. It’s not only powerful, but user friendly. It’s as close to perfect as I’ve seen in a calendar.

 

You can get Week Calendar for the iPhone from the iTunes store for $1.99 here:  iTunes

omnifocus-for-iphone-icon

OmniFocus for iPhone: A Powerful To-Do List

OmniFocus for iPhoneBefore I get in to this review, let me state that OmniFocus is available on the Mac, iPhone and iPad. Because of the different layouts in the iPhone and iPad client, I have chosen to review them separately. For a few years, I have been using Things as my todo list. Only recently, I have begun looking at a system which is slightly more powerful, offering more advanced sorting of tasks etc. OmniFocus lets me do this. Firstly, OmniFocus on the iPhone is very neatly designed using tall the common iPhone User Interface Elements that we are all so used to by now. They have quite successfully managed to cram (and I mean cram in a positive way) most of the features from the Mac app into the iPhone. As a result of this, the app features all projects, contexts and custom perspectives that you’ve set up. Additionally, you get a few extra features on the iPhone such as the forecast view and the nice Map view. You link a context to a pin on a map and you will be able to see, graphically, how far you are to this context where you can do your tasks.

Conclusion

Overall, OmniFocus for iPhone is a brilliant app if you require a feature-rich system that allows you to do a lot of managing with your actions. Naturally, the app shines when you are using it together with OmniFocus on the Mac (with which it syncs over the cloud for free) but can be used nicely by itself, maintaining the high-performance environment.  

OmniFocus for iPhone iTunes

OmniFocus for iPad iTunes

Pages

5 Apps For Writing Better on the iPad

When the first iPad was released, Steve Jobs went up on stage and touted that the iPad would be great for productivity, in many ways replacing a computer. Now a year later, Apple turned the focus from productivity onto games, an area that has been exploding with new apps. The iPad, however, is still a magnificent device to write on, especially using a bluetooth keyboard. In this post, I want to share with you five of my favorite apps for writing on the iPad.

Simplenote

SimplenoteFirst of the apps is Simplenote, my newly found note taking app. The beauty of this app, apart from that it syncs with the cloud and desktop, is that it is not just limited to notes. Because it has such an extensive way of searching and finding notes, I use it for most writing on the iPad when I just want a blank screen to fill with my words.

Price: Free

Simplenote - Codality

Pages

PagesAlong with the first iPad, Apple released the iWork suite for iPad. In here we find Pages, the mobile version of the great word processor found on the Mac. If formatting is important for you when you are writing on the iPad, definitely try out Pages, since it offers much of the functionality found on the Mac. The downside is that you need to setup your documents first and it doesn’t do many of them stored and sorting is a nightmare.

Price: $9.95

Pages - Apple®

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airdisplay

Use Your iPad as a Second Mac Display with Air Display

If your iPad is just sitting on your desk not being used while you work on your Mac why not use it as a second display? Macs have supported multiple displays ever since the Mac II (introduced in 1987). I gotta admit that when I first heard about the Air Display App I wasn't all that excited. I just didn't think the performance would be good enough since it connects via WiFi. However, I just got around to testing it yesterday via my 802.11n WiFi network and I was really taken back by how well it works! Wow! I downloaded and installed the Mac client. After a reboot and launching the App on my iPad I had the choice of using it as a second display to my MacBook Pro. The next thing you know I was dragging panels over to it from Photoshop CS5. I was dragging Safari browser windows over to it and most importantly I was using it to view images in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 since Lightroom has Second Display support! I was doing this all wirelessly without any hiccups. It just worked. I was also impressed that it even supported the rotation of the iPad display in both portrait and landscape on the fly. Again, it just worked. No lagging to speak of. No issues.

The icing on the cake…

Since your iPad is a touch screen, using the iPad as a second display for your Mac also makes it a touch screen Mac display. This means that you can tap on whatever is on that display to click the mouse on that spot or to make selections. You can drag things around and basically use your finger as the mouse. Now while I've only tried this App on the iPad it was recently updated to work on iPhones and the iPod touch as well. Frankly, with such a small display size (iPhone) I couldn't really see using it on anything smaller than the iPad. Also the only other thing that you have to keep in mind is that although the connection from your Mac to your Air Display iPad is wireless via WiFi, the iPad'd display is going to be on the whole time. So you're most likely going to want to plug in your iPad to AC/USB power as to not suck down the battery. Otherwise, if you're an iPad using Mac user this is one of those must have Apps!

You can get Air Display here from the Air

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todoforipad

Todo for iPad

If you're an iPad owner it's always great to see one of your favorite iPhone Apps redone for the iPad. My favorite task manager is "Todo" by Appigo. I've used it for years and I just really like the simplcity of it and more importantly the fact that it syncs with my To Do List in iCal. Although I was perfectly happy in the beginning with using it as a standalone app, when they later added direct syncing to iCal over WiFi I was completely sold. 

If I don't write it down it's not going to happen

As much as I'd like to think that I have a good memory, I really don't. The older I get the more out of sight out of mind I become. So I depend on calendar reminders AND my Todo list. I was OK running the iPhone/iPod touch version of Todo on my iPad but I had my fingers crossed that they would introduce an iPad version too and now my wait is over. Todo for iPad is GORGEOUS! The functionality is pretty much the same, but the look and feel is really good on the iPad. Good use of space and design as well as both tall and wide viewing modes. I love having the extra real estate.

What about Things?

I can't ever seem to mention Todo without someone commenting on how much they like "Things" for iPhone (and now iPad). Guys, I actually own Things! Yep, I sure do. Believe it or not I bought it FIRST! The thing (pardon the pun) that made me keep looking for a task manager after I bought Things originally was that Things (a great app for sure) was more complex than I needed. It seemed back then (first version) that it took too many steps to enter a simple To Do. I wanted something quick and easy. When I came across Todo I uninstalled Things and have been using Todo ever since. So if you're a Things user, that's great! However, I prefer Todo for "my" needs. 

You can get Todo for iPad here and Todo for iPhone/iPod touch here.

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