Saturday, 30 April 2011

Happy Easter

Week Calendar iPhone app review

Week Calendar for iPhone is another of my favorite calendar applications in town. In this short review I will tell you what I like and what I don’t. Here we go.


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Callist iPhone app review

One of my hobbies/obsessions are calendar and to do list apps on the iPhone. I think I’ve been buying quite many of them. I will start to cover some of them here.
My first review is for Callist app.

Callist

 

I am not sure if this app has got very visible in the App store, but I think it is worth having a look. The most interesting part of the app is the week view. It shows in the upper part a small summary of the whole week using bars and a small month calendar to know where you are. And in the main area you can see the list of appointments:

Callist

Another of the of the cool features is the event creation window. It is designed to make the creation of an event really easy and fast. The only thing is that if you need to create recurrent task, you need to use the standard iOS event creation window.

Callist

The month view shows a small summary for each day with a time line.

Callist

And finally a year view that shows in red the days that have any event.

Callist>

You can easily navigate through the years and then tab on the month to change to month view. From month view, select the week number to change to the week view or select a day to change to the day view.

In general, I find it very useful. I like specially the week view with the small summary on the top. 

Update: New version 1.2 is available in the iTunes store. It includes templates and event preview in the month and year view, among the new features. Make sure you go and download it.

Here is the link to the itunes store if you want to buy it.

Guillermo

My interest in mobile tech and calendar apps

I have to make a confession to you. I am obsessed with calendar and to do/task apps. On my iPhone, on my Mac, on my Windows PC. Why is this? Let’s see if I manage to explain it.

Since I was a teenager I was carrying always with me a filofax-type of paper calendar. I was writing appointments, things to remember, friend’s phone numbers and addresses.
But everything changed in 1995 when I saw for the first time the OmniGo 100.

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I fell in love when I saw it for the first time announced. I started to save money to buy one and finally I managed. This was my first mobile device ever. You can see more details here:

After that came a Handheld size-PC by Compaq. I had to buy it second hand from USA as it was not distributed in Spain.

 

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Then came a Handheld-PC by Everex:

 

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If I compare these handheld PCs with what we have nowadays, I have to say that the screen was quite bad. But I really enjoyed it. I started to get interested in calendar apps as the one built in was not the best. I found a really nice Japanese app very similar to the actual Saisuke iPhone app (http://www.saysoftware.net/saisuke_i/SaiSukeTop_E.html). I am not sure if it was the same guys doing the Windows CE version.

After this came a Palm V:

 

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This was amazing device. So small and with nice battery life. The built-in calendar app was quite good. It had also a nice Note and Task apps.

After the Palm V came a Cassiopeia, HP, Sony, Sony Clie, etc... I guess around 15 different devices that I have been buying and selling throughout the last 15 years. Black and white, colour, with QWERTY keyboard, with PCMCIA card, etc... I cannot even remember how many.
Where am I now? Well, right now I own and iPhone 4 and a MacBoo Air 11 inch model after I have owned also an iPad, last year.

And one of my main uses for these mobile devices is to keep all my calendar, tasks and notes with me at all times. That is why I am so much into Calendar, Task and these kind of apps.

I will be trying to review every now and then apps that I buy and try, so stay tuned ;-)

Guillermo

P.S. I found this nice link with more information about HPC devices:

Have a look :-)
 

 

eTask iPhone app review

Another of my interests are task and to do applications for iPhone. I think I have tried dozens of them, but my favorite one is eTask by DFAworks and I will explain you here why.

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I use at work Outlook and at home iCal. I keep in my work computer Outlook all tasks related with work and in my home computer iCal all my private tasks. So at work I sync the tasks using Chromatic Dragon’s ToodledoSync application. That means that I have also online access to my work tasks with Toodledo online service.

At home I use iCal CalDav access to Yahoo! Calendar (one of the only free CalDav service that supports tasks) where I keep all my personal tasks. They are online accessible using Yahoo! Calendar online service

So how do I bring all together in my iPhone? That’s where eTask comes into play. This task handling app allows to access several task services simultaneously, in my case Toodledo and Yahoo! Calendar. So in eTask I have combined both my work (from Outlook) tasks and my private (from iCal) tasks, all in one program. You can also assign colors to each calendar to easily differentiate them.

eTask  

 

eTask


From eTask I can view, create, delete and modify tasks from both services, so everything will be in sync. Another very nice feature is that I can see all the tasks (from different sources) combined in one list. Really convenient!

eTask  

 

eTask

 

eTask supports local notifications and also alarm synchronization with both Toodledo and Yahoo! Calendar tasks.

Another nice feature is the support of categories. I sync my Outlook categories as contexts to Toodledo, and eTask syncs this as categories from Toodledo. Then in eTask I can assign different colors to the categories, making it easy to identify.

And from this week’s new release, it also supports recurrent tasks.

What I don’t like: maybe the user interface is not the nicest one although Dean, the developer, has been making really nice changes in this last release and he mentioned he is working on it.

All and all, one of the best and more useful task app for the ones handling different sources.

Guillermo
 

 

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami donations

Hi all,

iTunes with Red Cross has set up an iTunes page where you can easily donate to help for the Japan earthquake and tsunami relief. If you can spend 5€ in an application for your iPhone I am sure you ca also spend 5€ (or more) to help Japanese people.

Make sure you click here and do your donation now:

iTunes Store

 

Guillermo

Scrollbars safari extension

Here is my first Safari Extension ever, Scrollbars. It changes your default safari scrollbars by a thin iOS-like scrollbar. Really nice.

It uses CSS to modify the style of the page, removing the standard scrollbars and using instead the thin scrollbar generated by CSS. I have found it does not work correctly in some sites that have their own CSS style I guess. I'm not sure if there is any way to overwrite that, but if I find it I will update it.

Please go ahead and download it from this link:

http://cl.ly/5H2d

All feedback is welcome!

Guillermo

Scrollbars

My pray for Japan

This is dedicated to all the victims and affected by Japan earthquake and tsunami. I took this photograph many years ago in Nara, Japan. I captured this anonymous person praying in a temple.

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Winter is gone

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Spring is arriving to Finland

YoruFukurou Safari Extension

Yorufukurou

I have been using for a while YoruFukurou Twitter Mac app. It is full of features and free. You can download it at http://sites.google.com/site/yorufukurou/home-en

The only thing I was missing was a Safari extension that would add a button in my toolbar to send the URL to YoruFukurou. So, I did one based on Echofon It by Favio Basile (http://www.cosmicmission.com/)

Go and download it now at:

http://cl.ly/5LfN

Guillermo

 

SmartCalendar iPhone app review

Here I am again reviewing a new iPhone calendar app. Now the turn is for SmartCalendar by Korean developer Minuk Apps.

 

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This app synchronize with the iOS build in calendars. It has two main views, a month and a week view and it offers a lot of customization options plus a list view.

A peculiar thing in this app is that you can treat events as tasks marking them as completed in the list view.

Here are the month and week views:

 

 

 

Both views include always a text description of the events. In the month view, for events that spread over several days, you can choose to show a thin arrow that goes over all of the appointment covered, in a really nice way.

Whenever you select a day in the month, a nice pop up screen will appear with a detailed view of the day and other useful information like week view, date, and interestingly, a counter with the days to that date from today.

 

 

Also, you can select if you want the detail view attached to the lower part of the screen instead of a floating screen by pressing the small inverted triangle indicator.

 

 

In both month and week view you can change the view to see the holidays. These holidays come from a previously selected calendar from your iPhone (for instance, your local holiday calendar)

Also from the month view, and by double-tapping in a day, you can open the day detail view. I somehow do not like how this day view has been implemented. Have a look:

 

 

In the list view you can mark events as completed, treating events as tasks. This can be useful if you do not use any other task management app.

 

 

All views offer an alternative view when you rotate your device as you can see below. Specially the week view becomes a nice time based view.

 

 

Whenever you want to add an event from any of the views, you are asked to use the build in iOS event creation window or the one from SmartCalendar. In case you choose the last one, you can assign a color per appointment.

 

 

And a final comment, the app allows a lot of customization, from the color of the calendar, to the week numbering, and it even offers 4 different themes for the app look.

 

 

As a summary, I find this app really nice for those who like detailed month views. Also in case that you want to use your build in iOS calendar as a task list. And you can get this all for 1.59€ at the iTunes App store.

You can also follow the developer on twitter at @SCalDeveloper.

 

Calmanac iPhone Calendar app review

Finally I have decided to buy Calmanac for iPhone and give it a try. Here are my impressions.

Calmanac by Ceptacle is a calendar app that simulates a desk and a wall calendar like the one you might have hanging on the wall at work. It has two basic views, the Desk Calendar and the Wall Calendar.

The Desk Calendar shows your day appointments and some extra information like the sun and moon rise and set times as well as a week summary on the right side of the screen. Sun and moon information are updated automatically based on your GPS coordinates. Neat!

 

 

This view has only portrait orientation. You can scroll through the days by moving your finger up and down on the right side of the view. Today's date is indicated by a small red clip while the selected day is identified with a black clip. Very cute. Birthdays are displayed with a small red gift icon. For multiple day events, you will see a small line going through the days that the event covers.

Another of the interesting characteristics of this app is that you can assign icons to appointment automatically. You can for instance assign a small meeting icon to all appointments that contain the text "meeting". There are some predefined strings, so you might see already some of these icons when you start up the app for the first time.

 

 

How do you access the settings and how do you change to the Wall Calendar view? Just by pressing on the right lower corner. Another way to change to the Wall Calendar view is by double tapping on the week summary area of the Desk Calendar view.

 

 

 

The Desk Calendar view has up two three levels of zoom where you can see up to one week in detail. It emulates a wall calendar very well, giving you a very nice four month overview. And if you turn your iphone horizontally, you can have an overview of the whole year. Double tab on any area, and it will zoom in. 

 

 

 

 

You can really get into a nice zoom detail where you can even see the names of the birthdays. Double tab again to zoom out.

 

And after all this explanation, here it is my opinion. I think it is a great idea but honestly, this should have been an iPad app, not an iPhone app. The Wall Calendar view in horizontal is almost impossible to read on the iPhone 4 screen. However this would be great on an iPad screen.

Another annoying issue is the event creation. You click and hold on the screen to add or edit an event, but I have noticed during my tests that events are created too often by mistake, to the point of becoming really an issue.

Also I have noticed some speed issues, although I would consider it normal due to the amount of data that the app is handling.

And one bug that I hope it is corrected: whenever there are two birthdays in one day, it overlaps the names making it unreadable.

All and all, I like the app but I find it difficult to use on my iPhone. I hope the developers polish this first version and they release soon an update. I will wait for an universal update for iPad.

If you want to buy the app, visit this iTunes store link.

MetaClock iPhone app review

Do you have your iPhone usually docked at your office or at home? Do you want an app that always tells you what is coming next in your agenda? Then MetaClock by Meta-Glamour is what you are looking for. And here it is my review.

Whenever you start MetaClock you will be presented with a nice analog clock. But this is not just a clock. First of all, you will see around the minute and hour markers some red marks. These are you appointments in your calendar, so you can see when you are busy next. And yes, it uses the iOS Calendar app calendars. All day events are shown as a circle in the center of the clock. Very clever design. Also, the markers for the events become thinner as the event is further away in time. And events that are happening after more than 5 hours are shown in white color.

 

 

What else you can do? From the main clock view, Swipe the clock up and you will see under the clock the list of events for today. Swipe it down to go back to the full screen clock.

 

 

Back in the main clock view again, swipe the clock down to access the count down view. You will see the list of today's events in your calendar. Select one and you will get a count down till the appointment start time. Useful if you want to see how much time you have left. Swipe it up to go back to the full screen clock again.

 

 

By pressing just once on top of the clock, you can easily access the settings and add event buttons. On the upper right corner the setting button appear. On the left side the add event one. The screen to add events is the standard iOS one, so you should be familiar with it.

 

 

About the options, you can

  • set MetaClock to be always on, by not activating the block screen as long as the app is running,
  • select which calendars to show,
  • display hour marker,
  • display the date number,
  • display the day of the week,
  • remove the second marker if you find it annoying moving all the time,
  • display all day events,
  • change the hour, minute and second markers for dots
  • customize the color for the appointments and the hour and minute markers,

 

 

All and all it is a great way to use your iPhone as a nice desk clock whenever it is connected to your dock. The app is quite simple but useful at the same time and it uses very cleverly all the iPhone swipe gestures to reduce the user interface elements.

Do not hesitate to visit their web site where there is a video explaining how to operate the app.

You can get MetaClock from this itunes store link.

Enjoy!

Guillermo

 

Friday, 15 April 2011

New family member

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Here it is our new adquisition. An angry birds toy from http://www.rovio.com :-)

Friday, 1 April 2011