In the course of business, there are so many important dates that we need to remember and so many good tools that we can use to stay on top of those important dates. One of the things that is important to me is to be able to quickly reference a list of important dates and be able to see how much time I have before that task needs to be completed. I use an iPhone in conjunction with Microsoft Outlook through Microsoft Exchange Server to keep all of my contacts, e-mail, and calendar events up to date, realtime. I haven’t figured out how to keep tasks synchronized, but that’s okay, for now.
When I create a task, or a calendar event, not only do I need to know that it’s coming up, I need to see how many days until it’s due. This is very valuable for the core of my business which is short sales. Since many short sale properties are already on the road to foreclosure, there is a date at which the Trustee will sell the property at auction. When the Notice of Trustee’s Sale is delivered, the tax records are updated, and I know about it. But, keeping track of all of those properties is a challenge.
Enter the event countdown genre of applications on the iPhone. I have chosen 2 countdown applications to review that are available free of charge in the Apple iTunes Application store. The following are the results of my findings:
CountDown by Strangely Simple Software
This was the first application that I used, and it certainly is strangely simple. The main screen presents you with a list of events that you have added with a desktop calendar countdown icon. There’s nothing fancy about this application, and it does its job well.
On the main screen, you have the option to add a new event, edit the list of events by deleting or re-ordering (simply drag the event where you want it to fall), and at the bottom of the screen, you can order the events alphabetically or by the number of days until the event occurs, keeping the closest event at the top.
When you touch the arrow on a given event, you’re presented with the event editing screen where you can define the date that the event will occur and the time at which it will occur.
Days Until by Richard Shearman
If you’re looking for a much more robust countdown application, then Days Until will fulfill far more than the simplicity of Countdown. Days Until is feature rich, utilizing the data that you input in much more dynamic ways. For starters, the icon on the Homescreen of your iPhone can be configured to display the number of events that are going to occur in the next 10 days, or it can show the number of days until the nearest upcoming event, or it can be turned of completely. There is a detailed help section that outlines every icon and feature as well.
On the main screen, Richard Shearman has kindly entered an event for you which exploits all of the features of Days Until, including a custom photo for each event.
From this screen, you can create new events, adjust the size of each line from small, medium, or large, adjust all of the settings for the application, and edit the list of events by quickly deleting them.
Yes, you’ll have to put up with the advertisements between the events and the toolbar, but it’s a small price to pay for such a robust countdown tool.
Creating an event is simple. Press the plus sign, and a new event will appear on the main event list. Tap that event to change it, and you’ll see all of the features that you can use to customize your event.
Start by selecting a photo to represent your event. You can either choose from your iPhone’s Camera Roll, or you can take a new picture. At the bottom of the screen are the controls that enable you to set the font, the date of the event, and the color of the text.
It’s a good application, however, for practical use, it’s a bit much for me, even if it is feature-rich. Of the two applications, which are the only two that I see fit to use free of charge, the simplicity of Countdown by Strangely Simple Software will keep my attention because of how little attention I need to pay to the features. Quick, simple, and effective.