App Review: Gmail vs Inbox

Gmail vs Inbox

An app that took me a while to fall in love with, Gmail Inbox, is sunsetting in March 2019. (Only the good apps die young?) With the creation of Reminders, a feature for recurring tasks that integrates seamlessly into Gmail, I fell head over heels for Inbox. (I didn’t have much use for Inbox before Reminders.)

Reminders are mainly a feature of Google Calendar, but I loved the way it worked into Inbox, keeping me on my toes for daily emails and daily tasks. Google, for some reason, doesn’t have a dedicated app for Reminders, which I can only imagine are a popular feature (I think I’d die without Google Reminders), and it doesn’t seem to translate into Google Keep’s “Reminders” feature. (If anyone has this figured out, let me know.)

Apparently, the new Gmail, supposedly fueled by the best of Inbox’s features, now has a smart reply (suggesting complete thoughts before you even type them) and a snooze function if you want to treat your emails like tasks.

The one upgrade that I do like with the new Gmail app is the “All Inboxes” feature. I can view all my emails across all the Gmail accounts I have connected without having to switch back and forth between accounts. Inbox does NOT have this feature so Google has successfully converted me into using their revamped Gmail app.

The great thing about Inbox was that it became easy, and almost satisfying, to try and keep your inbox clean. Once you were done with an email, pressing a satisfying green check mark made you feel as though you had accomplished something. Hitting snooze helped put it out of sight temporarily to come back to later. “Pins” acted as Gmail’s “Star” function, keeping important emails or reminders top-of-mind.

As with all the amazing programs Google has killed, I will re-adapt to using the Gmail app. My only hope is that Google finds a way to integrate the Reminders feature into other programs outside Google Calendar. I figure Google Keep is the most intuitive program, but right now, I’m stuck with the dilemma of Google Calendar Reminders being totally different than Google Keep Reminders, and my friends, this should not be.

I will save my rant about the inferior Google Tasks for another day.

App Review: Fantastical 2 for iPhone

One of my favorite calendar apps used to be Sunrise. Then, Microsoft bought it and supposedly integrated the best features of Sunrise into the Outlook app. The Sunrise app itself was discontinued. The interface was great and just what I needed. But with the Sunrise’s void, it left me searching for the “perfect” calendar app for me. And while iCal has a nice interface, I wasn’t satisfied with it. After trying many different apps (including Outlook), I finally settled on Fantastical 2 and I love it.

The feature that is most important to me when it comes to a calendar app is being able to have a monthly view and agenda view at the same time.

Adding an event is extremely easy. All I have to do is type in 8-8:30 Lunch with Melissa at Jefferson Station, and Fantastical automatically recognizes the time, event, and the location based on the keywords used.

I am also able to add as many calendars as I want, which I primarily use from Google.

But if I’m using Google calendars, why not use…Google Calendar (the app, that is)?

I don’t want to go into too much detail about Google Calendar right now since I’d like to save my rant on that app for another post but my main point of contention is that my monthly view isn’t “sticky” so everytime I reopen the app, it defaults to the agenda view.

Monthly/agenda view (need to tap arrow next to month)
Agenda view (default view)

Fantastical 2 costs $4.99 but there are times when you can score it on sale. (Maybe during the holidays?)

I don’t use the reminders feature (we’ll get to Gmail Inbox one day) but I’m sure once Inbox is no longer supported, Fantastical 2 will have another use for me.

App Review: Laundry Day

Laundry Day is a very basic app but incredibly useful when you’re ignorant to what different laundry symbols mean. Don’t remember what that circle means? Laundry Day can help with that!

It’s not an app I use often but it’s one that I find indispensable, especially after buying new clothing.

Laundry Day has a scanner that, when placed over a tag of laundry symbols, will recognize them and define them for you. No more trying to figure out how the heck to wash your clothing!

Symbols defined include washing, bleaching, drying, ironing, and professional care.

If you need more info and tips, Laundry Day has you covered. With a Tips and Tricks section, you’ll be guided through the steps to launder a perfect (err, dirty?) load.

There’s also a section on How to Use Your Washing Mashine appropriately, and Common Clothing Materials, such as cotton, silk, and velvet, and how to best wash each material.

There truly is an app for everything.

App Review: WordPress

WordPress_blue_logo.svgI should give WordPress a glowing review simply because I use their platform, right?

I don’t have to.

But…I kinda will. And it’s not just because I use their platform. I willingly give WordPress my money because their tools (across web, mobile, and desktop app) make blogging so easy.

Rather than focus on the website or the convenient desktop app, I’ll focus on the mobile app. The mobile app has its limitations (I don’t necessarily know that they’re WordPress limitations rather than iPhone limitations), but overall, it’s a great app for what it CAN do.

Not only aside from writing a basic blog post, I can also enhance it with rich text. (I know, I know. Whooptee doo. Big deal.) But I also like the ability to switch to HTML mode if I need to fix source code or have the option to mess with the post settings that show up in a sidebar on the web app.

I do wish I could add audio from my phone but I think it’s more of a matter that I can’t access the music files through my iPhone rather than WordPress not being willing to provide me with the functionality in the app.

The app makes reading other WordPress blogs easy through Reader, also built into the app. I can also check notifications, track my follows and likes, and read any comments.

My blog is relatively new so I don’t have many followers or visitors yet. But, that’s OK! If you’re new to the site or to this post, follow me not just on this blog but also through Twitter and Instagram.

App Review: Evernote

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I’m not gonna lie. Tech writers and productivity buffs have been extolling the virtues of Evernote since its inception and I just couldn’t get on the bandwagon. I tried it 2016 and found that it really wasn’t any better than the basic Notes app on my iPhone. Why did I need an app for taking notes when I already had a built-in app for…taking notes?

But years later since trying Evernote, I’m on the productivity bandwagon. To be honest, I don’t even know how I lived without it. It’s always had the dual function of syncing notes across mobile and web, but I find it essential now. While I’m still learning to use it to the best of its advantage, I find it already helpful.

The basics? Create “Notes.” That’s no different than your phone’s inherent Notes app. But what’s different and significant other than the fact that it can sync across platforms?

Organization.

Read More »

App Review: Do!

I’ve used Do!, an iPhone app that promises a simple to-do list, for a while. Although it’s not my favorite or most-used to-do list app, it lives up to the “simple” promise.

The interface is clean, sleek, and dare I say it? Simple.

  • Face ID feature/password lock so you can keep things private
  • Monthly view can help you select a date quickly and easily
  • Schedule specific times with alarm on or off
  • Recurring events for the tasks that happen frequently (or maybe even infrequently)
  • Pin sets taks to the top of the list
  • Option to color code tasks
  • Change default day of the week on calendar
  • Widget available for home screen
  • Sound of page turning when switching screens (you can turn it off but I personally love it)
  • Limited to 5 groups in free version
    • Unlimited groups $0.99
  • Remove ads $1.99
  • Option to backup to Dropbox or e-mail

If you want a straightforward app that records tasks or to-dos, I Do! recommend.

4/5 stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️