Mac Calendar App to Try: Fantastical

fantastical app screengrab
Fantastical’s “natural language” in action

The Mac calendar app, iCal, is fine. But it’s only fine: it could be a lot better. I actually prefer Outlook, but it’s not worth the trade-off to me to have to work on a PC. Fantastical is actually better than both.

Fantastical’s real advantage is in something they call the “natural language engine.” What that means from a practical perspective is that it can parse the general info entered into an event. In other words, you type in the basics of the event (Lunch with Mario at 53 Front Street at noon) into the main input area. Fantastical will use that info to complete the rest of the event’s fields, like date and time. It can even invite people from your contact list if you include them in the general info.

Other highlights include that you can incorporate all your calendars into one spot: Google, iCal, etc. It also lives conveniently in your menu bar for easy access. And it almost goes without saying, but of course there’s an iPhone app that goes with it.

I especially like that the app feels familiar, but the design aesthetic is nicer than iCal. There’s something about iCal that, in addition to being slightly counterintuitive, is also just kind of ugly. It feels dated. Fantastical is just better designed.

This is Mac desktop app, which means you can download it from the Mac app store. It’ll set you back $20, but you can try it free for two weeks. That should be enough time to figure out if Fantastical is right for you!

Check out Fantastical at the Flexibits website.

What are you UpTo? Shared Calendar App Set to Revolutionize Business

What’s the hottest new thing imported from Detroit?  UpTo, the new calendar sharing app.  A couple of days ago, I had a chance to speak to founder and CEO Greg Schwartz about UpTo, his new motor city  venture.  UpTo is the social calendar sharing app that has been out for about two weeks.  Already, Greg has noticed that his main users are small business owners, people who were really needing something more modern from their calendar apps.

In the recent past , small businesses used Google calendars almost exclusively. Google Calendar is fairly utilitarian: you either share your whole calendar with someone, or you share nothing at all.  And, the interface is just Google’s traditional minimalist set.  UpTo has an advantage over Google Calendar in that it lets you control what you share through a rich, modern interface.  UpTo also adds social features that really enrich the calendar experience by easily sharing the activities that are relevant, while keeping private those events that are for your eyes only. Read More

Microsoft Office 365 Brings Cloud Email, Calendar, and Documents to Small Businesses for a Low Price

Last month, Microsoft finally unveiled its new cloud-based enterprise productivity and communications suite, Office 365. With more and more small and mid-sized businesses embracing the cloud-based potential of Google Apps, it’s not particularly surprising that Ballmer & the boys decided to fire their own volley. What is surprising, though, is just how robust, well-executed, and affordable the new Office 365 manages to be; for small businesses feeling encumbered by their current software systems, Office 365 might be the solution. Read More

Get it Booked – The First Time with Scheduling

Trying to schedule meetings with partners & team members, clients, and other groups can be a task. Everybody seems to be using different calendar formats/platforms on different devices in different timezones. Funny name aside, looks to bridge the gap to make scheduling easier for everybody involved.

It doesn’t matter if you are using Outlook, Yahoo, Google, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc. As long as your calendar is electronic, Tungle will allow you and your contacts see your available/busy times, propose multiple meeting times, and create group scheduling pages to make booking time consistent for all of your scheduling needs. Without having to sign up, visitors can propose multiple meeting times to ensure the best match to your schedule. Tungle time even takes care of the replies, timezones, and confirmations so you’re not switching back and forth between Tungle and your email client.

If you’re a mobile champ, is available for iPhone and BlackBerry so you can take your schedule with you. Meetings booked through Tungle, regardless of what device you use, will automagically be synchronized with your calendars at work, at home, or on the go.

Whether you use your calendar in an enterprise or education environment to meet/collaborate with fellow employees or partners, or as an entreprenuer looking to schedule time with clients and/or customers, can take the hassle out of booking time to meet. is free to sign up and free to use.