Get it while it’s hot. And free. My Mac360 Friday Freebie™ is called Alarms. It should be called To Do Alarms. Maybe the name change will come with the first price tag.
For now, Alarms is free to use. What does it do? Alarms creates to do items and corresponding alarms in iCal with nothing more than drag and drop. No one will accuse Alarms of not thinking different, as different it is.
iCal, To Do, Drag & Drop, Pulsating
iCal is the Mac’s favorite calendar, to do, and alarm app. It’s built in. It’s easy to use. It’s free. What’s not to like? Actually, not much, but if you want to get picky, to use iCal means to stop whatever else you’re doing.
I’m constantly making to do list items from email, from URL links, from notes, from Stickies.
There’s a massive workflow problem going on there. I have to stop whatever I’m doing, fire up iCal, copy something to the clipboard, find an appropriate date, click to make a to-do or an event, click again to create an alarm, click and paste to save my clipboard.
Amazingly, there is a better way. Alarms starts up with a pulsating alarm in your Mac’s Menubar (one strike against it for using an already cluttered Menubar). Grab a URL, a note snippet, or email snippet, and drag it directly to the pulsating alarm in the Menubar.
Immediately, you Mac’s screen goes dark (as it does when you open the Dashboard Widgets), and a calendar comes down from the top. Drop the snippet onto the timeline wherever you want. Double click anywhere on the timeline to create an event and an alarm is attached.
Setup is easy in Preferences:
Change the timer sound, and change the snooze time. Set your working day using the left to right slider in the middle. Alarms can be set to sync with iCal (or not).
Alarms accepts a drag and drop directly to the Alarms icon (pulsating) in the Menubar. If your aim is bad there’s also an option to make the whole Menubar accessible to drag and drop.
Clicking the Alarms icon in the Menubar also drops down the timeline calendar so you can re-arrange your alarms. Simply drag and drop to a different time or day.
Clicking the icon also starts a timer.
This is interesting. Click the pulsating Alarms icon, hold and drag downward.
The timer begins. The farther down toward the bottom of the screen you drag, the longer the time—say, from 30 seconds (short) to 5 minutes (a longer drag).
That’s handy, yes, but I’m not sure why it’s there. I don’t use my Mac to do much real timing in 30 second countdown increments.
Otherwise, Alarms is quite easy to use, and an effective way to create alarms (drag a note, or click the Alarms icon) without digging into iCal (yet the alarms sync with iCal).
Alarms bills itself as simple and unobtrusive. Almost. I couldn’t find the way to turn off the pulsating Alarms icon (it gets annoying), and I’d prefer that clicking or dragging simply pop up a calendar timeline window, rather than take over my Mac’s whole screen until dismissed.