Pocket Informant

[dropcap2]A[/dropcap2] little bit about me: I used to be a PC.  I grew up on PCs, built my own PC and lived with all the bells, whistles, and frustrations PCs had to offer. Then one fateful day, I met one of those artistic types and fell in love… yadda, yadda, yadda… now I’m a Mac.  This is important because during my first year as a Mac, I went through many withdrawals, the most important of which was the absolute lack of a calendar.  Yes, I know the Mac comes with a calendar.  The iPhone too, comes with a calendar.  Those calendars, to put it mildly, suck.

So, fast forward to the iPhone that I now own.  I went from a Windows Mobile based device that could sync with Outlook, to the coolest of cool multi-tools, the iPhone.  Now, I was in dire straits.  I just got this fun toy that plays games, finds my location and tunes my ukelele, but DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO DO BUSINESS.  How was I to conduct my many synchronized calendars, to-do lists, multiple alarms and templates without my Windows phone?!?

Enter: Pocket Informant.  I met Pocket Informant in my WinMobile days and we were tight.  She knew what color my Leisure Calendar was and the puke green shade that I assigned to my Work Calendar.  This was an app  I could not live without, and she saved my life by being on my iPhone when I needed her most.  (She is also on Blackberry, btw.)  Granted, if you are going from the Windows Mobile version, which has been around for years before the iPhone even came into existence, it is a bit of a downgrade.  However, if you are going from iCal to PI, it will feel like the best decision of your life.

I personally sync my Pocket Informant on my iPhone with Google Calendar, because again, I could not get on board with Apple’s desktop version.
[divider] Some obvious upgrades:

  • You can swipe from month to month, week to week, day to day – WHY CAN’T THE IPHONE CALENDAR DO THAT?
  • Very clear views: 1 month with color coded events, different week variations, multi day views, work week view
  • So many more choices for filters, tags, priorities and views
  • Easily duplicate an event to schedule on a different date – same information, different date!
  • Support for all recurring types of events, including “first-last weekday/end/day” (ie. every Sunday, for the next 3 weeks)
  • Multiple alarms! You can set one for 1 week before the event and another 15 mins before.
  • Easily invite attendees to the event (aka. meeting requests)
  • Organizes your ToDo lists in GTD format (you know if you’re this type of person) or the Franklin Covey Method , and syncs with Toodledoo if you’re afraid of losing something
  • Shake to sync – how fun is that?!

Some Downsides:

  • Does not sync with Apple iCal easily.  I don’t like that calendar anyway, so I moved my entire calendar to Google.  It syncs seamlessly with Google.
  • Overwhelming number of choices.  My feeling on that: you can use the very basics and have a great calendar that does everything a calendar should with more bells and whistles to discover.  You will not out-grow this calendar.
  • The visual is a little bitty.  The type is small and there is a lot of information packed in there.  For some people this is a plus, but for others who are used to streamlined Apple interfaces, this one might feel a bit cluttered.

Basically, at $12.99,  this is the most expensive iPhone app I have ever bought,  but it was worth every penny.  I’m pretty sure they have a light version to try some of the features out for free, and test if it works for you and your other programs.  It does sync with Windows Outlook, if you’re one of those Dual Users.  For those of you OCD organizers out there who wanted a fun phone but didn’t find iCal robust enough – this one’s for you.