To­gether

Finweek English Edition - - TECHNOLOGY - Value for money: Simon Din­gle

If you’re any­thing like me then your cal­en­dar is really im­por­tant. You could ar­guably live with­out any of the in­for­ma­tion in your world, but delete your cal­en­dar and things really start form­ing pears. In the dig­i­tal world cal­en­dars can be messy and un­re­li­able, how­ever, which is why Fan­tas­ti­cal for Mac has be­come my new best friend.

The magic in Fan­tas­ti­cal is its abil­ity to un­der­stand nat­u­ral lan­guage. All you do is hit a key com­bi­na­tion on your key­board and then start typ­ing. You could say, for ex­am­ple: “Lunch with John next Tues­day at 12:30 at the Wimpy,” and Fan­tas­ti­cal will cre­ate a cal­en­dar en­try at the right time with lo­ca­tion fields and other in­for­ma­tion cor­rectly filled in. So far it has un­der­stood ev­ery­thing I have thrown at it with some mi­nor ex­cep­tions.

For one, this means you’re sav­ing time. Hit a few keys, type a sen­tence, hit en­ter and you’re back do­ing what­ever it was you were do­ing. But it gets bet­ter.

The same key­stroke pulls down the minis­cule Fan­tas­ti­cal in­ter­face on your desk­top where you can also see your up­com­ing meet­ings and tasks – so quickly dip­ping into your cal­en­dar and check-

Cal­en­dar­ing with­out the mess ing dates and stuff be­comes really quick and easy. Win!

An­other ad­van­tage of us­ing Fan­tas­ti­cal is that it pulls all your cal­en­dars to­gether in one place with sup­port for Excel, Google Cal­en­dar and other stan­dards.

In my case I have a fam­ily cal­en­dar shared with my wife in Google Cal­en­dar and an Ex­change cal­en­dar for my com­pany, along with a travel cal­en­dar that is au­to­mat­i­cally gen­er­ated by Tripit. Fan­tas­ti­cal puts them all in the same place with a far bet­ter in­ter­face than any other cal­en­dar­ing ap­pli­ca­tion I’ve used.

Set-up is easy and Fan­tas­ti­cal is free to try for 14 days af­ter which you have to pay $20 to con­tinue us­ing it. This was a no-brainer for me. It’s not of­ten that you in­stall some­thing and just start us­ing it con­tin­u­ously with­out a learn­ing curve, but that was my ex­pe­ri­ence with this soft­ware.

There’s also an iPhone ver­sion of Fan­tas­ti­cal that wasn’t in­cluded in this test but brings sim­i­lar func­tion­al­ity to your phone. There is no Win­dows ver­sion, how­ever, so this is strictly only for Mac users.

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