Today: Review and Giveaway

So you want to become organized, or at least more organized. You can start by using iCal for events, and maybe iCal or Things for to-dos. But what about one small and lightweight place for both of them? This is exactly what Second Gear’s Today does for us.

First of all, you can use iCal for both to-dos and calendars, but a lot of people (including myself) love Things for to-dos. Today doesn’t actually move any of your to-dos or events to a new library, it just reads the calendars and to-dos already in iCal. You may say, “How can I use Things with Today then?” Well, that part is actually in Things. They have just added the feature of syncing to-dos from Things to iCal and vice versa! Now you can have everything in iCal, which means you can have everything in Today. This is why I personally love Today, and others will, too. And when you use Today to create to-dos, they automatically sync to Things!

Today is a menubar app. It simply sits in your menubar (you can turn this on or off in the General Preference pane). It is a great feature, because then Today can always be open without it bothering you when you don’t want it. You can also have it sit on top of all other windows (when it is open). It has a great Leopard-like menubar icon, too! You just click on the icon in the menubar, and the Today window opens.

As I said above, Today manages both calendars and to-dos. To specify which calendars are synced with Today, you just goto the Calendars tab of the preferences. Since to-dos are actually managed in calendars, you only need to specify which calendars to sync. If you sync your School calender, the to-dos and events in it will sync with Today. In the main window, the to-dos and events are color-coded the way that they are in iCal. So if you are used to iCal, switching to Today will be an easy change.

To add a new to-do to a Calender, you just click the checkbox [+] button at the bottom of the window. It will ask you for a due date, a name, a calendar to add it to, and notes. This is exactly like adding a to-do in Things or iCal. To add a new event, you click the calendar [+] button. You can then specify a name, location, calendar time, and notes. Again, just like in iCal. As I said above, when you add a new to-do, it will sync with Things if you choose to (in the preferences of Things).

Here is the way that I think of how the syncing with iCal and Things works. Things <---> iCal <---> Today. This means that if you add a to-do to Things, it will sync with iCal, which will then sync it with Today. If you add a new to-do to iCal, it will sync to Things and Today. If you add a new to-do to Today, it will sync to iCal, which will sync it to Things. The main point is, no matter where you add a to-do or event, it will get synced everywhere. Well, except the events don’t get synced to Things because Things is for to-dos.

Second Gear (the developers of Today) have been very generous in giving us 5 licenses to giveaway to you! Just post a comment about a feature you would like to see in Today! And remember, Today retails for only $15, and you can download a free trial at their site. It is a perfect tool for keeping track of your events and to-dos in one small application.


85 Responses to “Today: Review and Giveaway”

  1. Miguel Nogueira on June 17th, 2008 6:18 am

    I’d love to see a sync function with Google Calendar and a iPhone version of Today.

  2. Dan on June 17th, 2008 6:18 am

    I wish Today would automagically create daily summaries of my to-do lists at the start/end of the day so I can have a hard copy as well as the electronic one.

  3. pacheco on June 17th, 2008 6:20 am

    Google Sync, and perhaps an even more minimal interface option?

  4. MJ Valente on June 17th, 2008 6:23 am

    This is a neat application for whom iCal can be useful, but hate to deal with its UI. Today is simple and goes to the point.

    But, yes, there are a couple of features I’d like to see implemented:

    1) Access to a monthly calendar view so we can go forward and back on the days in a faster way. (The calendar could eventually have the days w/ tasks or items present a different color.)

    2) The possibility of erasing / editing tasks and calendar items.

  5. Alessandro on June 17th, 2008 6:36 am

    Double-clicking on a task or a event, I’d like to view the details (Notes) and be able to edit information of them (date, name, calendar, etc).

  6. Nick on June 17th, 2008 6:38 am

    Tried it and it took me less than 3 minutes to give it a “meh.”

    The “Create Event” doesn’t do anything when you hit the Create Event button. Just sits there. (Create Task works fine.)

    Also, I must be the only person on the planet who wants my tasks to sync to my iPhone. Why is this such a Herculean task for programmers? What good is having my tasks on my MBP when I need it on my iPhone?

  7. dt on June 17th, 2008 6:41 am

    The item is added from the button.
    Additionally, I want the function that the item can be added from the context menu of the display area.

  8. Simon on June 17th, 2008 6:46 am

    I actually own this product, and I think it’s great. If you don’t win it through Macapper, then buy it. I was using MenuCalendarClock, but switched to this soon afterward.

    There is one thing that I really want, though. When I double click on an event in the Today screen, I’d like something to open, so that I could edit it. Right now, I can’t do anything to change things around.

  9. marieboyer on June 17th, 2008 6:50 am

    I am looking closely at this app. Thanks for the detailed review.

  10. Patrick on June 17th, 2008 6:55 am

    I’d love to see more sync features like google calendar

  11. puppy love on June 17th, 2008 7:11 am

    I want function that schedule to pass finish time can be distinguished, for instance, the ending schedule is displayed by monotone.

  12. andrew on June 17th, 2008 7:27 am

    Clicking on an event or task should bring you to iCal record. Maybe open a HUD window for editing? Or a slideout sidebar (as in iCal 2) to view the event in detail and make changes.

  13. Franklin on June 17th, 2008 7:46 am

    I’d like to be able to print a daily agenda.

  14. Carlo Zottmann on June 17th, 2008 8:05 am

    I second the daily agenda printout suggestion.

    Also, I have a good number of calendars in different colors, which makes my Today window look a bit like clown barf (ahem), so my suggestion would be an adjustable color display, something along the lines of neutral color background for all appointments, with each appointment having a colored bar on the left or right, hinting at the calendar it belongs to.


  15. Carlo Zottmann on June 17th, 2008 8:08 am

    Also: having an autohide feature would be nice.

  16. Steve on June 17th, 2008 9:37 am

    I would like it to change to today at midnight – it is a manual operation now.

  17. Justin Williams on June 17th, 2008 9:45 am


    I’m the developer of Today. Thanks for the review and thoughtful comments. Let me address a few:

    Alessandro: Double-clicking an event or task will pass it to iCal where you can get more information or edit it in Today 1.2, which is currently in beta.

    Nick: Syncing tasks to the iPhone would be easier if Apple provided a CalendarStore framework for the device. Sadly they don’t, and I’m not a fan of hacked, unsupported solutions.

    Carlo: You can set a hotkey that will toggle the window’s visibility. I made a note to add an auto-hide preference in the future.

    Steve: The auto-forwarding at midnight has been implemented in Today 1.2, which is in beta.

    As for Google Calendar sync, I think this can be accomplished with Spanning Sync or something similar. I haven’t tested it myself. I’ll give it a whirl and write about it on our blog.

  18. Dan on June 17th, 2008 9:58 am

    Integration with Things would be cool.

  19. Flitzefisch on June 17th, 2008 10:19 am

    I would really like an iphone version (wondering why no one above hat this idea).

  20. Sergei on June 17th, 2008 10:21 am

    I would like to have the alarm for an event set up automatically, the defaults for which being specified in the preferences.

  21. Eric on June 17th, 2008 11:04 am

    nice. i’d like to have an iPhone app when the 2.0 software comes out in a couple weeks.

  22. Tim on June 17th, 2008 11:14 am

    I’m already a registered user, but I thought I’d put my two cents worth in. It’s great to hear some improvements are coming in version 1.2!

    Some more suggestions to add to the list:

    1. Hovering over an event shows the notes associated with this event in a pop-up bubble of some sort. This will avoid the need to go into iCal.

    2. Keyboard shortcuts would be very welcome. Especially being able to move from day to day and go back to today. I suggest using the same shortcuts as iCal for consistency (Command+T for today and Command+arrow keys for next/previous day).

    3. The ability to sort tasks by priority.

    4. Display the priority on tasks.

    5. An easy way to move tasks to a future day – perhaps using a context sensive menu that contains entries such as “Today”, “Next Week” and “Specific Date” (ok, so I’m a bit of a procrastinator at times ;) .

    6. It would be nice if the add event and add to-do features remembered the previously used settings, including the calendar and the priority. Being able to add this information as quickly as possible would be a real benefit.

    7. It would be nice if it were a bit more visually obvious when I’m actually viewing today’s calendar. Perhaps the date field could contain a special icon or have a different background colour when the selected date is today.

    8. Another UI note – it would be nice if the all day events had a distinct look from scheduled events as they do in iCal.

    9. I’m not sure if this is a bug or a feature, but when I hide the to-do list and then reveal it again it shows up with a fixed width. It would be great if Today remembered the height of the to-do pane.

    Thanks for reading and I look forward to Today 1.2!


  23. dex on June 17th, 2008 11:29 am

    Just wait for MobileMe. It will sync your calendars on all your devices. And since Today syncs with iCal…

  24. Moses on June 17th, 2008 12:13 pm

    Ability to edit events and tasks in Today by double clicking is needed.

    Preferences to not have colored backgrounds, they are visually distracting and take up screen space. Would like them only for all day events, as in iCal.

    Any prefs to be able to make the window size smaller would be much appreciated.

    It may not sync with Google Calendar now but you can publish to Google Calender since Today syncs with iCal and iCal can publish to Google Calendar. It just doesn’t go both ways.

  25. Greg Buckner on June 17th, 2008 12:40 pm

    I would love to have a feature where you could set a due date for an event and set a period of time where daily you were reminded of that due date.

    for example, if a paper is due in 2 weeks you could set the due date for the paper’s due date but have the paper show on the today bar every day one week prior to the due date.

    i hope that makes sense

  26. Jeremy Collins on June 17th, 2008 1:19 pm

    I’d love to see an iPhone compatible version of the software. I think the UI on this app is really intuitive. But I would also like to see syncing with more services (MobileMe, Google Calendars, etc) integrated.

  27. Gary R. Green on June 17th, 2008 2:16 pm

    Would like an iPhone version and the ability to autohide

  28. Todd Eastman on June 17th, 2008 2:43 pm

    Thanks for addressing some of the suggestions Justin. If I understand correctly, you are saying double click allows you to edit, but that doesn’t seem to work.

    I’d like to be able to rank each To-Do with a scale of importance (high, medium, low). I would also like to see the ability to print out a daily agenda as was already mentioned. I don’t see any alarm settings.

    I think the bottom line is that most of us want the same features of iCal, but with your slick and tighter interface.

  29. Justin Williams on June 17th, 2008 2:45 pm

    Todd, the iCal integration is not in the currently shipping version. It is in the next version that’s in beta. I’m targeting a release for next week, but no guarantees.

    I’m always looking for good beta testers who can help improve the software, so if you’re interested in helping squash bugs, get in touch.

  30. Bill W on June 17th, 2008 3:16 pm

    I think some of these have been addressed (or will be in the next beta), but in playing with this a while back, the following suggestions occurred to me:

    1. Ability to edit/delete events

    2. Ability to hide the events pane

    3. iCal sorting reflected in Today sorting / vice-versa

    4. easier way to change which calendars are displayed–maybe via a button at the bottom, or a dropdown in the main display

    5. having the Tasks pane remember its size when collapsed and then re-opened. If I resize, then hide and show the tasks pane, I have to resize it again.

    6. also, have the pane be resizable (specifically, smaller than the current smallest size). I’d keep it open if it were slightly more compact.

  31. Bill W on June 17th, 2008 3:20 pm

    Oh, and 7. The ability to jump to a specific month/day, sort of the reverse of being able to jump back to today by clicking “Today is ” up top. Perhaps with a small pop-up calendar.

  32. Joe Cool on June 17th, 2008 3:24 pm

    I would love to see the ability to display the day on the desktop in a mostly transparent unclickable “stamp” with a line that slowly travels across the day. The whole day could also simply scroll and only show a few hours at a time. I would prefer it doesn’t take up the whole desktop.

  33. Todd Eastman on June 17th, 2008 3:32 pm

    Justin – Sure, I’d love to be a beta tester. Email me at -
    todd (at) eastman-writing (dot) com.


  34. Nick c on June 17th, 2008 3:37 pm

    Google calendar sync would be nice.
    I would also like a way to have recurring events and alarms.

    Overall a nice app that should be able to bring all my calendar stuff and todo’s together.

  35. bob on June 17th, 2008 4:44 pm

    Nice app! I think it’d be great to be able to edit events, or at least have a link from an event to edit it in iCal. Google integration would be fantastic, too.

  36. dai1976 on June 17th, 2008 8:30 pm

    When the function that today’s weather forecast can be displayed is added, I am glad.

  37. perfume on June 17th, 2008 8:34 pm

    I want the function that display today’s fortune-telling and biorhythm.

  38. Jim Krenz on June 17th, 2008 8:37 pm

    Although it would go against the name of the software, I would like the option of displaying two days at one time.

    For example, today and tomorrow, side by side. A button (or keyboard shortcut) could toggle the display of the second day (so it is there when you want to compare, and hidden when you want to focus on today).

  39. sunnyday on June 17th, 2008 8:53 pm

    Very cool application!! I think it is better when it is possible to synchronize with the Google calendar.

  40. monochrome effect on June 17th, 2008 8:59 pm

    If the function to conceal automatically or to do the penetration display is added when focus comes off from the application, it is wonderful.

  41. macaroni on June 17th, 2008 9:09 pm

    Nice and useful application :)
    It is wonderful when come to being able to synchronize with iPhone.

  42. mmac on June 17th, 2008 9:22 pm

    function that I wants is can be moved at the given date using the calendar display etc.

  43. dai on June 17th, 2008 9:32 pm

    This is very useful for me!!
    I want the following function.
    ï½¥Filter display function of item
    ï½¥Retrieval function of item

  44. sorethroat on June 17th, 2008 9:52 pm

    I love this sweet application :)
    I think that this application improves further when it is possible to synchronize with the google calendar and iPhone.

  45. puppet master on June 17th, 2008 10:03 pm

    It is a simple, good application.
    In addition, if the function that skin can change externals is added, I think
    that I am glad.

  46. am on June 17th, 2008 10:12 pm

    This is a very useful program.
    I want you to add the function that can be displayed by translucent.

  47. Perfect Star on June 17th, 2008 10:24 pm

    It is a very convenient application.
    I think that it uses it easily more if the size of the panel can be changed.

  48. jane birkin on June 17th, 2008 10:34 pm

    If the function to print by beautifully arranging the schedule is added to Today, it is wonderful. :)

  49. Alex J on June 17th, 2008 10:43 pm

    Let me first off say that the owner of Second gear is from and lives in the same city as me, and I admire his work. After wipeing the brown off my nose, most of the features I would like to see are for near future Apple products like MobileMe and a native iPhone 2.0 app that is synced with your other apps automatically. This feature might be silly but the ability to intergrate this app into a modern web browser, kinda like a Firefox plug- in. On that same note, maybe intergration directly into the Finder. Spotlight searching and Quicklook functinaluty if it does not already exsist. Lastly a Widget that shows the upcoming to-do or calender event.

  50. tokyo incidents on June 17th, 2008 10:43 pm

    This is nice app.
    Feature i would like to see in Today is “Function that the order of display is changed under various conditions”.

  51. daisuke on June 17th, 2008 10:52 pm

    Nice application.
    But, I am usually using the google calendar.
    So, I hope seriously the sync function with google calendar.

  52. cannabis on June 17th, 2008 11:26 pm

    I want to see the function that output the schedule with html.

  53. love the world on June 17th, 2008 11:35 pm

    It’s a wonderful application!!
    When the schedule can be displayed as a desktop picture, it is more wonderful.

  54. nakedcity on June 17th, 2008 11:49 pm

    I like this application.
    I think it is more wonderful when the function that the input and the edit in the item can be done more easily is provided.

  55. fan service on June 17th, 2008 11:57 pm

    I love Today’s interface.
    if i can select a usual display and the timeline display, this is more useful:)

  56. jon on June 18th, 2008 12:21 pm

    The ability to get the program to sync with Google Apps calendar. Great looking, clean program. Definitely worth looking into.

  57. Don on June 18th, 2008 2:01 pm

    BusySync will sync iCal Google Calendar. It syncs auto or manually. Personally I’ve been very pleased with it.

    I also have a license of Today and use it daily. I’m looking forward to the new 1.2 features.

  58. Moses on June 18th, 2008 2:11 pm

    I agree, I think that syncing is out of the scope of Today and would be a waste of the developers time. The key thing is to develop it’s main premise, and sync with iCal. iCal can publish to Google now, and BusySync is a good solution for those who need true two-way syncing with Google Calendar. Plus, MobileMe may well take over much of the Mac syncing market in time. Features relating to the original intent of Today should be more fully developed and let the syncing nightmares be handled by these other people who are specialists in that.

  59. Ed Deguzman on June 18th, 2008 3:22 pm

    I also second the daily agenda printout suggestion. . .or should I say, “third it”?

    Also, how about integration with Bento?

    The interface is terrific! Clean and elegant. It implies good design.

  60. Stephen on June 18th, 2008 3:39 pm

    I like the suggestion for agenda print outs as well. I also would like to have a view more than a day at a time (ie yesterday, today and tomorrow)

  61. Yonghwee on June 18th, 2008 7:45 pm

    Would love the ability to share my todos with family and friends.

  62. Aditi on June 18th, 2008 8:27 pm

    I think that Google / 30 Boxes calendar sync would be wonderful, as well as really robust printing support.

  63. chris on June 18th, 2008 9:09 pm

    google calendar integration so that my gcal and ical are true syncs of e/o.

  64. Calvin on June 19th, 2008 1:17 am

    Hmm, interesting. I wonder if it’s possible that you can choose to have something to do on a certain time. Lets say – 8:00 – Open PhotoBooth and Do …

    At 7:55, it will remind us, and on 8:00, it will open PhotoBooth!

    That will be nice, anyone else with me?

  65. xyzpdq on June 20th, 2008 12:38 am

    So many great suggestions already. Not sure if this has been mentioned yet since I haven’t read through all the comments, but the ability to change the look of the window (i.e. themes) plus having options for the menu bar icon. I like to customize. I know this doesn’t have anything to do with the functionality, but it would be something I would like to see.

  66. Luke Bacon on June 22nd, 2008 3:19 am

    Again, not sure if this has already been mentioned, but I’d love to see:

    Integration with OmniFocus
    (sync with iPhone isn’t ‘really’ necessary if you can handle the built-in iCal-based todo list…)

    Also see

  67. Sean Jarvis on June 23rd, 2008 4:21 pm

    I’d like for the ability to view attachments via “links” in the Today window itself. For example, if I set an iCal event as a deadline, I’d like to be able to graphically see that I’ve attached that document that I need to work on and open it from within Today. I think that could help with my longer-range academic projects (extended research projects and things like that).

  68. Veit Winkler on June 24th, 2008 3:03 am

    I miss a preference setting: “auto-hide today when not active” or so.
    Means: I wanna invoke today via hotkey and as soon as I switch to another application, today should automatically disappear until I press the hotkey again or click on the menu bar item.

  69. Veit Winkler on June 25th, 2008 7:08 am

    If you close the 2Do Drawer and then open it again (with the little symbol on the lower right), then it opens with the default size while it should open with the size you had set before. It’s quite annoying if you have to readjust the length of the 2Do list every time you just wanted to blend it out for a sec.

  70. Veit Winkler on June 25th, 2008 7:13 am

    Ah, and something I really lack (kinda the deal breaker for me): Hot keys! I’m not a friend of the mouse, trying to do as many things as possible with the keyboard. Now I can invole today via hotkey, why can’t I create a task, an ical entry, etc. via hotkey?
    Or do I just not find this function?
    Anyway, a complete hotkey system that makes the app completely controllable via keyboard would make this an amazing little tool.

  71. Veit Winkler on June 25th, 2008 7:18 am

    Sorry for posting so many comments but the more I play around with this the more I like the basic concept but the more I also find small flaws:
    If you have the today window active and then switch to another application, the today window stays open behind other windows – then if you click the invoke hotkey again, the today window closes. which is irritating if you don’t see the window. you wait and press the hotkey again and then it opens again and comes to the front. If the window is already open, the hotkey should bring it to the front instead of closing it. Or, you could have the option that it closes automatically when switching to another app as I suggested before :-)

  72. Stefan on June 25th, 2008 7:46 am

    I lack a quit command. Had to restart today to make it work with changed spaces settings (show in every space) and couldn’t quit it. Had to use activity monitor for that. Not a big deal but not pretty either.

  73. Justin Williams on June 25th, 2008 9:29 am

    We just released Today 1.2 this morning with several new features and enhancements. Of most interest to the people here is the ability to quickly navigate between future dates, automatic date shifting and setting the window opacity.

    Today 1.2 Release Notes

  74. am on June 25th, 2008 8:53 pm

    @Justin Williams
    all new features are great.
    Especially, opacity setting is glad for me.
    Thank you!! :)

  75. sinbad on June 26th, 2008 4:12 am

    A small feature I would like to see added is when you are creating a new event or task (or for that matter, anywhere you input a date), to be able to click a small calendar icon which would open up a small calendar where you could pick your date, instead of having to type it in. I know some people prefer everything by keyboard, but I know a lot of people like a graphical interface.

  76. Veit Winkler on June 26th, 2008 2:32 pm

    The update is great. Two of my requests already solved (invoke-from-background behaviour and the task list drawer size memory). I also just found out that my desired keyboard functions actually exist. They are just not listed in the app itself (didn’t read the manual) so I found out by trying. Same for the quit function, works via hotkey. So all my requests are already fulfilled and I’m starting to really like this app:-)

    So a new request: I would actually like to have a menubar when the app is active. Maybe optional to set on and off in the prefs but I’d prefer to have one as I could find all hotkeys via KeyCue then.
    And I find it just a bit weird to hava an app that behaves like a normal app when active with all the commands but without seeing it. If I would have a today menu bar when it’s active, I would clearly know WHAT I actually quit when pressing apple-q and I could find all hotkeys in the menu.


  77. macpug on June 27th, 2008 8:01 pm

    I would love it if printing were enabled. That would be great.

    I love the color-coding (one of my favorite organizational aids…I’m very visual, so love being able to see the colors at a glance and know what’s going on). Things integration is the deal-maker for me. I absolutely LOVE Things.

    Several people said they’d like syncing with Google’s Calendar. I use BusySync for that and it works great!

    Nice review, Joe. :)

  78. Khürt Williams on June 29th, 2008 8:00 am

    I would like integration with Google Calendar. Currently I use gSync to move stuff back and forth from iCal to Google Calendar but … it does not always work and I have lost my entire calendar on a few occasions.

  79. Justin Williams on July 2nd, 2008 3:55 pm

    I just penned a blog posting about how to synchronize Google Calendar with Today. I hope all you Google Calendar users find it helpful!

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