Firetask Review

In case you’re managing a project, having a good organizational tool on your OSX seems essential. There are a lot of useful to-do and productivity apps in the Mac App Store, which are there to ease up project management and to provide effortless collaboration between your team members.

When it comes to productivity apps, and this goes for OSX and iOS apps as well, there are two main types. First, there are those simple to-do apps which allow you to create reminders and lists of things which need to be done. Even though these applications seem overly simple, there are some to-do apps which come with great OSX-iOS syncing, so you can easily keep track of your colleagues and their duties. If you need a good project management tool, you’re going to be a bit more powerful application, like OmniFocus.

Even though I’ve named OmniFocus as one of the truly great examples of “Getting Things Done” system of organization, there are some other affordable and very useful applications. We’re about to review one of those OmniFocus alternatives, which is named Firetask ($40).

Firetask 2

Firetask is an OSX application created to be used as a task management solution. It can be used to stay on top of large projects, as well as with those simple tasks, which means that it comes packed with tons of useful features. Now let’s see some of those.

The first thing you’ll notice about Firetask is its simple and nicely designed interface. Similar apps tend to come with crowded interfaces, which may be scary for new users, but Firetask doesn’t have this problem. On the top you’ll find the main toolbar, with several self-explanatory icons used to create new tasks and projects, and similar actions. On the left there’s a sidebar used to organize your entries into tasks, projects, categories, and similar. The main workspace features flat design principles, and is generally nicely designed and very easy on eyes. In contrast to the main workspace, other parts of Firetask feature a traditional OSX design, so I didn’t really like this combination because it seems like it’s half done.

Firetask works in such way that it allows you to assign new entries to projects and categories. When it comes to projects, new entries can be tasks needed to be done in order for a certain project to be completed. Categories are also those same tasks, but Firetask looks them as meetings, phone calls, and errands (to give you just a few examples). This way you can list meetings that you need to attend today, and which are parts of different projects. Maybe this all sounds a bit confusing, but once you start working with Firetask you’ll realize that all these tools are logical and very functional, and they are a very strong backbone of this application.

What I liked about Firetask is that it comes with many small features which are real time savers, like keyboard shortcuts. Once you add a lot of new entries, you can always easily review them according to their categories, projects, or due dates.

Firetask is really an effective tool which can be put to a good use. Its price of $40 may seem a bit high, but this application is well worth it.

Simplenote Review

When it comes to note taking on iOS, I believe that most of us can agree that Apple’s own solution is pretty music basic, so in case you’re really interested in a powerful note taking app you’ll need to look elsewhere. There was also a problem with skeuomorphic design of Notes app, but the newest version of iOS comes with a completely overhauled interface, but functionality remained the same.

I can surely say that the Notes app, that comes built-in with every iOS device, won’t get any new functionality by Apple, because this leaves a lot of space for third party developers to offer their own solutions in the iOS App Store. One of those note taking services is called Simplenote, and this one comes from a well-known Automattic, the creator of WordPress. This started as an online service, but with the introduction of iOS, OSX, Android, and Kindle apps, and sync between all of these apps, this started to be a very competitive product.

In this article we are going to take a look at Simplenote for Mac, which is one of the newly released products by Automattic. This note taking service is free to use, and so is its OSX application. It is imagined to serve as a lightweight service for taking and storing notes and syncing across different devices and platforms, so don’t expect any advanced or complex features.

Simplenote 2

Once you open Simplenote for the first time, you’ll see that simplicity can be seen in almost every aspect of this application. In its default setting, interface of Simplenote for OSX somewhat resembles a very simplified e-mail client. On the left you’ll find a sidebar containing notes and trash, as only two categories. Right bellow you’ll find a list of tags, which can be renamed and removed, but in order to add a new one you’ll need to create a new note. The central part is reserved for a list of notes, while the biggest pane takes 50% of the window and is dedicated to writing and editing. There are no toolbars, or any other menus, buttons, or icons.

When it comes to functionality, it comes very close to Apple’s own Notes app. You’ll get a chance to add new notes, edit, and remove them. But you’ll also get a reliable search function with tags included, and there’s also very fast syncing. Simplenote isn’t trying to offer a lot of features, but those which are currently offered are just enough to really enjoy in this service, and to help you in your everyday life. Also, don’t expect any Markdown syntax support or social integration, because this doesn’t fit the simplistic nature of Simplenote, and developers don’t have any plans expanding this app. In case you need a powerful note taking tool, you’ll need to look elsewhere and go for a paid app. There are a lot of choices in case you’re a power user, but Simplenote should be more than enough if you need a reliable, elegant, and nicely designed basic note taking app.

OmniFocus 2 Review

OmniFocus is one of the most popular and one of the best-selling productivity apps in the iOS App Store. It has been around for a while, and during all that time managed to maintain its popularity, and in many ways it set the standard for iOS to-do apps. With the introduction of iOS7, OmniFocus also received an overhaul, so today we are going to review OmniFocus 2 for iPhone.

When an application tries to offer as many helpful tools as possible, this usually means that it will come with hard-to-understand interface, cluttered with toolbars and icons. These applications look intimidating to new users, who often give up on trying to learn how to manage that particular app. This was the case with the first version of OmniFocus, but it managed to attract new users because once the initial barrier is removed, plenty of great features are there to be found. It seems that designers who were in charge of re-creating OmniFocus for iOS7 were aware of this problem, so the newest version comes with a beautifully designed simplistic interface, made in a spirit of flat design philosophy.

Omnifocus 2 for iPhone 2

Each time you open OmniFocus 2 on your iPhone, you’ll be greeted with a welcome window where you’ll be able to see the overview of all tasks and actions. This window is called Forecast, and on the top you’ll be able to see how many tasks you’ll got for the current week. Bellow, the first section you’ll encounter is called Inbox, and this is where you’ll be able to find all your tasks. If you click on the bottom-right-positioned button, you’ll be able to add new tasks, easier than ever. This is where you can make them as parts of larger projects, or simply flag them in case they are top priority. Once you return to the main window you’ll be able to see Flagged and Projects categories, which will take you to those specific actions and tasks.

You can use Projects feature with OmniFocus 2 to create complex tasks with a lot of information attached to them, like maps and locations, people involved, and due dates. That’s why, once you go to your Projects window, you’ll get to see red, orange, and grey dots right below the name of those projects you’ve started. This is a quick way to see if you’ve got overdue actions, so you can keep track of your projects easier than ever.

In the main window you’ll be also able to see two more categories: Nearby, and Contexts. The first one will open a map of your area, so if you’ve assigned placed to your to-do lists, these are going to pop-up once you’re near those locations. The other category also uses attached information to your actions, so you can reorganize tasks according to a specific place or a person.

I’ve managed only to scratch the surface of OmniFocus 2 with this article, which tells you how powerful this iOS application is. It is priced at $20, which sounds expensive for an iOS app, but for this money you’ll get probably the most powerful and one of the most beautifully designed to-do managers for iOS.

Whitespace Review

When it comes to note taking apps and to-do organizers, the iOS App Store offers plenty of choice. You can find any kind of productivity app, which all range in prices and features they offer. Still, it is not that easy to find an iOS app that you’re going to use on a regular basis, so articles and reviews like this one are there to help you find the perfect fit.

We already reviewed some of the most popular productivity apps, which are currently on top of the iOS App Store charts. If you spend some time browsing content right here on MacReview, you’ll find some very helpful articles which are going to give you some advices on productivity apps and how to choose the one that will fit your daily needs. In that manner, today we are going to introduce you to Whitespace.

Whitespace is a productivity app, which is free to download and use in its basic edition. It comes with a unique idea of how to help you organize your thoughts, so I am sure that it will attract a lot of potential buyers who are tired of those numerous traditional iOS note taking apps. Whitespace is created to offer you unlimited workspaces (or sheets of paper, differently said) into which you can add texts, to-do lists, and images. This way, for example, you can have a workspace dedicated to your to-do grocery lists, while you can also have workspaces used to write all kinds of ideas or add screenshots that needs further explanation. This is like having a few different, but very similar and complementary organizational tools in one single app.

Whitespace 1

One of the best things about Whitespace is its flat and iOS7-ready interface. Even though it tries to offer several different roles at once, the interface doesn’t seem overcrowded at all. It is actually very user-friendly and intuitive, and comes with a very natural gesture controls.

Once you open a few new workspaces and fill them with content, you’ll get to see the full power of Whitespace. There are some very interesting small tools and features all around this app, which you can adjust according to your needs. For example, you’ll be able to use easy Markdown syntax only by adding a code using preloaded buttons. Next, workspaces can be organized any way you like and almost every piece of text can be formatted and colored differently. Also, there’s a powerful search which is very usable in this case. These are not some groundbreaking of innovative features, but what I am trying to say is that you’ll get a full-featured and fully usable note taking app for free. Actually, the free version is ad-supported, so it will cost you $2 to remove those ads, but this is still a very good purchase.

The only thing that I missed is some kind of backup solution, since this app is able of handling large pieces of texts and images. There’s no iCloud support either. As it turns out, developers of Whitespace are working hard at bringing sync and backup support, so I am really looking forward to it.

GoodDay Review

From time to time I catch myself using an app on my iPhone to check for new e-mails, or to see the newest tweets, even if I am using my Mac at that moment. What I am trying to say is that mobile apps can be a perfect way to stay on top of things, and to do some tasks in just a few taps. Sure, these apps don’t come with the same functionality and advanced tools like their desktop counterparts, but there are many situations where I prefer a mobile app over its desktop version.

I guess there are a lot of people who share my opinion, and I can see that by looking at the OSX App Store and those numerous menu bar apps which emulate iPhone apps or show web services in their mobile editions. One of the latest additions to this app category is called GoodDay, and we are going to take a look at it in this article. Continue reading to see what you can expect from this app, and how it can help you in your everyday life.

GoodDay 1

Once downloaded, GoodDay is going to be showed in the OSX menu bar. Simply click on its icon and you’ll see fairly small interface which resembles the way an iPhone shows content. Here I am referring to those two large gray strips on top and bottom, which also hold some icons and functions. Every time you click on its icon, GoodDay will show you Gmail.com, and there’s no easy way to remove this. I guess this could be helpful if you’re using Gmail, so you can always get a glimpse of your inbox. In order to use some other service you’ll need to reveal the sliding menu, which will be showed if you click on a button containing three vertical bars. This will show you icons of Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Wikipedia, as well as some built-in note taking apps. Simply click on any of these icons and you’ll get to see their iOS-compatible interfaces. It actually works like just like an emulator, but it comes with a good performance.

As I’ve said in the previous paragraph, with GoodDay you’ll get to use several online services, but you can also use some built-in note taking apps. These also function as web apps, and come in a very limited functionality. There are apps for journaling, taking notes, to-do lists, and expense tracking. All of these are nicely designed, but they can’t replace any desktop app, so in case you’re really interested in a note taking app, I would suggest looking elsewhere. These are not its biggest selling points, but you also won’t find them advertising as primary features.

Even though you can use GoodDay to access your mail and several social networks, and you’ll also get some helpful utilities, I am not sure that I would pay its asking price of $10. There are a lot of similar apps in the OSX App Store which are free or which cost only a few dollars, so GoodDay certainly comes with a very uncompetitive price, which is undermining its full potential.

 

DeskConnect Review

With the introduction of iOS7 you’re able to easily exchange files between multiple iOS devices using a feature called AirDrop. This is something that OSX was able of doing for a while now, so now it is time for AirDrop on iOS to shine. It works just fine and nicely implements into iOS, but it comes with a very limited functionality. The biggest drawback is that you can’t use it to send files to your Mac, which is something that most users were really excited about. If you know Apple well enough, than you could’ve assumed that this functionality will be rolled out gradually, step by step. This is the main reason why some developers tried to offer their own solutions for transferring files between iOS and OSX, and we’re just about to take a look at one of those.

DeskConnect is a new app created to offer easy file access and transfer between your Mac and any iOS device (there’s no iPad version, but for now you can use its 2X mode). It is completely free to download and use, and you’ll need to sign-up for a free account in order to use it. There’s no limit on how many files you can send, and the only limit is that one file can be up to 100MB in size. There’s also another hidden limit, and it comes as a timeout limit on uploads, so you might not even be able to upload those 100MB files if your internet connection isn’t fast enough.

DeskConnect 2

The first step is to download DeskConnect to your OSX and iOS. On your phone this will be a regular app, while on your Mac it will exist as a menu bar application. This is the point where I need to be clear on how this service actually works, because you’ll find a lot of info that says that this app can replace AirDrop. This is not an Ad-hoc service, and it uses internet connection to exchange files, and that’s the main difference. This is basically an enhanced cloud solution, which comes with some iOS-friendly additions. This way you can send contact numbers from your Mac to your iPhone, so your phone can start a call automatically. This is the main reason why this isn’t a typical cloud storage solution.

If you’ve ever used any cloud storage to sync files, than you already know how DeskConnect works. No matter if you share files from iOS or OSX, they will stay in the cloud up to 30 days and they’ll be deleted eventually.

DeskConnect is trying to combine AirDrop functionality with some kind of cloud sync solution, which will leave most people confused, and that’s why you can read a lot of negative reviews around the web. That’s why it’s going to be very hard for this app to find its place, since is doesn’t offer anything that new or innovative. For example, if you’re already using a cloud sync solution like Dropbox, SkyDrive, or Google Drive, I don’t see a big and valid reason why someone would switch to DeskConnect. Sure, there are those small iOS-friendly features that we explained, but these are not something that will make this product more appealing.

Full Review

In case you need some help to say on top of things, than you can use your iPhone as a very reliable digital assistant. This can be done thanks to hundreds of incredibly helpful productivity apps that you can browse throughout the iOS App Store, where you can find free and paid apps to help you get started.

We already reviewed a number of popular to-do applications which are there to help you keep track of your obligations for the current day as well as the future, so today we are going to show you another interesting app which could keep you motivated towards your goal. This application is not a to-do app, nor a regular productivity app. Instead, it could be said that this is a goal tracker, which keeps track of your progress towards desired goal, and notifies you if you begin slacking off. This application is called Full, and could be purchased for $2 right from the iOS App Store.

Full 1

Full is actually a very simple app, but which could be very effective. You’ll basically need to set a monthly goal, and each time you perform that activity you’ll need to report it to this app. This way you can always see if you’re on track of your monthly goal, or if you’re just a little bit behind, or if you’re in a “danger zone”. These three categories are going to be differently colored: green, yellow, and red, and you’ll be able to see the report right after you open Full. Now let’s see how exactly this application works.

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Once you open Full you’ll be able to add a new goal. Simply name it, and enter a number which should correspond to how many times you’d like that particular activity to occur. For example, you can say that you’d like to run five times a week, or if you’d like to read three books this month. Now simply tap on “Set Goal” and you’ll be able to see the report in the main screen. In case your goal changes, you can select the particular one and simply add or subtract the number to edit it. All these changes are going to be updated in the main screen. After a full month of use is passed, you’ll be able to review its history and see how many goals you’ve accomplished so you can make plans for the future.

Full is incredibly simple application, but if you take some time and commit to it, it will surely produce valuable results. It brings something new to the iOS App Store and opens up its own sub-category, so I am very interested to see how well this application is going to perform. I would also like to see some new features, so I’ll keep my eye on future updates, since this can fully justify its price.

Some people will see Full as an overly simple goal tracker, but I see a very good foundation for a very powerful iOS application.

NoteSuite for iOS Review

My iPad already replaced my laptop in many ways. For example, I use my iPad to review all my e-mails, to browse the web on occasion, to stay informed about the current events, and to review Word and PDF documents. These are all the things that you can easily do with your iPad, and there is an amazing selection of applications on the iOS App Store which can help you do the job.

The thing is that I always like searching for a new application that could replace the one I am using at the moment. Here I am talking about simplifying the workflow, and replacing several applications with the one that could do the job I need. For example, when it comes to reviewing and editing documents on my iPad, I use Apple’s Pages when I need to precisely design a poster, while I use some other app to review PDFs and Microsoft Office files, and more. If you’re in the same situation as I am, keep reading this article and you might find a very good solution to this problem.

NoteSuite for iOS 2

In this article I am going to introduce you to NoteSuite for iOS. If you follow articles we post on MacReview, than you probably know that we already reviewed NoteSuite for OSX. This is all-in-one text editor which comes with a great potential, but performance issues and bugs prevented it from receiving high rating. As it turns out, its iOS counterpart can be even better solution.

NoteSuite for iOS combines several roles like note taking, text processor, task management, PDF annotating, and even file management all in one single application. It could be found on the iOS App Store for only $2.

Even though NoteSuite comes with many demanding roles, it somehow manages to balance them out and create a well-designed and unified experience. No matter if you’re taking a note or annotating PDF document, there’s always going to be the same interface so you’re going to quickly learn your way around.

NoteSuite for iOS 1

Even though I am not really fond of iOS apps which try to offer all-in-one, I need to say that I was pleasantly surprised with NoteSuite. Interface and gestures are very natural and intuitive, and even though you can really do a lot with this app, you won’t get overwhelmed in the process.

When it comes to note taking, you’ll be able to write text, make sketches, insert (and even take) photos, and you can also record audio. All of these elements can be easily aligned onto one page, with great flexibility. It actually gives you all you need within one iOS text editor.

As a task manager, you can use NoteSuite to create nicely looking to-do lists. You’ll get all you might possibly need like due dates system, custom reminders, and possibility to attach notes and documents.

Finally, there’s also another very import feature and that’s ability to annotate PDFs. You can actually convert Pages and MS Office documents into PDFs, review them and add annotations, and easily send them through an e-mail.

NoteSuite comes with an amazing number of useful features, so I would recommend heading over to its official website where you can see videos and learn more about this iPad app. If you’re in need of all-in-one office-type app, this application is currently the best choice.

Task Review

Task 1During my time as a reviewer I’ve encountered a number of applications across platforms like iOS, Windows Phone, and Android as well. As even after all this time reviewing all kinds of mobile apps, I can still say with great certainty that the most beautiful apps could be found in the iOS App Store. Sure, there are some developers who are trying their best to make attractive apps for all available platforms, but somehow it turns out that iOS users tend to appreciate beautiful graphic design the most. I am trying to be as objective as possible since I’ve seen a lot of different designs and talked with developers and designers about their decisions, and because my background education is somewhat connected to graphic design.

Task 2

If you follow our reviews, than you can probably remember that we talked about a very interesting and unique to-do app named Clear. This was an application that was designed for iOS, and after it reached massive success it was also published as an OSX app. Today we are going to tell you about another interesting organizational iOS tool, which resembles Clear in many ways, but which also brings a lot of new and unique things.

The application we’re going to talk about is simply called Task and you can purchase it from the iOS App Store for only $0.99. This is a to-do list manager, but also acts as a calendar app, so it can be used both ways.

Task 3

The first time I opened Task on my iPhone I was stunned how similar it was to Clear. As I started exploring it and finding more about advanced gestures, I started to like it more and more. First, let’s see how you can use this app. Well in order to add a new item you simply need to tap anywhere on the screen. This is where you can set up exact time when you need to be reminded, and you can also choose a due date. If a due date is sometime this week, you can simply swipe days in order to choose one. You can also swipe up and reveal a full featured calendar so you can pick any date. You’ll also get to label that specific reminder as important by tapping on a small exclamation mark which will make it bold in the list of to-do items.

Once you return to a list of to-do items you’ll notice that today’s tasks are on the bottom of the iPhone’s screen. Tasks which need to be done tomorrow or any day later are on top, which does seem like a very strange design decision. This is something that many users noted as well, and even though some didn’t like it, I didn’t have any problems adjusting to it. I also need to say that I really liked this interface and that I believe that Task is one of the most beautifully designed organizational tools.

The only bad thing I’ve noticed it that Task can’t import data that’s already present on your iPhone, in Calendar and Reminders app. This is something that every new to-do app needs to be capable of, and I hope this will be resolved in a future update.

NoteSuite Review

notesuite 4Productivity apps have been very popular in the Mac App Store ever since its inception. These apps are created to help you stay on top of things, so they are usually to-do organizers which are also implementing another prominent organizing-related feature, simply to be ready to compete with other apps. Probably the best known one is Evernote, which turns out to be a real productivity powerhouse which now has versions for every possible desktop and mobile operating system, and besides that it’s packed with lots of useful features.

Trying to enter the Mac App Store by designing a productivity application seems like a very serious and not that easy task. Competition is tough, some serious companies are trying to aggressively sell their applications, and prices are great for an end-user (which usually means it’s hard for a new developer to earn a profit). These are all reasons why I am always interested to review a new productivity app, which already received positive ratings and which is trying to offer something not seen before.

NoteSuite 1

The application we’re going to talk about in this article is called NoteSuite, and it basically combines note taking system with a to-do organizer. It can be purchased for $5, which makes it very affordable, and there’s also an iPad version (priced at $2).

Once you open NoteSuite for the first time you’ll be pleasantly surprised with its interface. It’s fairly simple and very intuitive, so you’ll be ready to use it right from the start. You’ll see two main tabs named Notes and To-dos which feature similar interfaces. You’ll basically see a blank sheet of paper where you can enter all kinds of data, and there’s also a formatting bar, which is used to make your lists clear and nicely organized.

NoteSuite 2

In order to get new notes into NoteSuite, you can use one of several ways. One of those is web clipping, which could be done using a web browser’s extension which will allow you to clip an article, a full page, or a certain selection. You can also add new notes through an e-mail which you’ll need to set up first, so that NoteSuite can retrieve information using the Get Mail option. Also, notes can be organized by using folders, lists, and tags. There’s also a standard search feature which works as expected.

NoteSuite 3

Besides note taking, you can also use NoteSuite as a task manager. You’ll be able to enter new tasks and set due dates, additional notes or links to a file. These notes can be automatically organized according to their due dates, so you can easily use preloaded lists like Today, This Week, or Next, to review all those tasks. You can also set up your own lists and manage them manually.

NoteSuite doesn’t offer anything groundbreaking, but this is a very solid combination of a note taking app and a task manager. There are some annoyances like scaling bug, or some other features that you might expect like multiple task editing and similar. These bugs and annoyances leave a bad overall impression, so I really hope a new update will try to fix them.