Due: The Brain Outside Your Brain

Be honest: have you ever told yourself “I absolutely need to remember this thing on that day” only to let the time come and pass blissfully unaware? Don’t despair, you are not alone in this.

I know this for sure because otherwise we wouldn’t have a wonderful app called Due, which is dedicated solely to the task of making sure that you remember in time. Let’s take a look at how Due can change things for you.

Get to know Due

Now, I don’t know about you, but a reminder app only makes sense to me if it’s fast and unobtrusive. Everything that requires more time to comprehend than to write down the reminder is no use.

Due excels at both being easy to use and getting out of your way. The app’s window is just a thin stripe (even though you can grab its corners and change the dimensions) with the various reminders arranged vertically. The one to fire soonest sits at the top. The muted colors do the good job of making Due unobtrusive even when the app is open.

The main screen of Due, complete with some things I must not forget

Along the top of the window there are four buttons, from left:

  • Reminders
  • Timers
  • Logged Reminders
  • Create Reminder

The timers are great for stuff that isn’t that far into the future. For example, letting your tea sit for 10 minutes, checking for your laundry in an hour and so on. There are a number of preset reminders included in due and you can just hit the “play” button to start them.

All reminders that have been successfully completed are logged in another screen. It’s not just for seeing what you have remembered before, but you can recycle reminders: instead of creating the same or similar reminders over and over, simply use a previous one.

Left: Timers, the blue one is currently counting down // Right: Past reminders, logged away

Creating reminders

Now, how do you go about creating one of these reminders? Simply enough, either hit the appropriate icon or simply type “CMD+N”. And now the fun starts: instead of coming up with some obscure grammar, just use your natural language. The engine behind Due is smart enough to understand “Do something tomorrow at 5pm” and sets the date and time correctly. You can of course do it manually, but where’s the joy in that?

Use your natural language to create a complete entry in Due

Use your natural language to create a complete entry in Due

Now, reminders can be a one-off thing, like to remember to buy a movie ticket or pick up a friend after work. Or you could go for repeating events. For example, to remember to get a new ticket each month for your ride on public transport. Or perhaps you need to remember to pay a bill on a certain date. Due is very flexible and offers a number of options.

Need to be reminded more than once? No problem!

Need to be reminded more than once? No problem!

As you can see, reminders can be set in daily, weekly, monthly or yearly intervals and the app lets you specify the day when the reminder is supposed to go off. If you need to, just pick several days. Due will comply.

To tweak Due to your liking, enter the settings. There are lot of different sounds available to get your attention. Very convenient are the default due date and most importantly the default snooze. Why? Well, if you are not at your computer when the alarm goes off or for some reason you don’t hear it, the default snooze will repeat the alarm after the time you’ve set has passed.

That’s what I love so much about Due – it just keeps bugging me and even if I snooze the alarm away, I can’t escape forever (which is a great thing for people like me who like to push stuff back).

Tweak the settings to your liking

Tweak the settings to your liking

Cloud Sync

You might have spotted it in the screenshot above: Due offers cloud sync, leaving the choice of iCloud or Dropbox up to you also, you can use Due completely without Internet access if you don’t need sync).

Now, first and foremost that allows users on Macs connected to the same iCloud account to share reminders. But there’s more: Due is available for iPhone and iPad as well, an was actually on the mobile platform before it hit the Mac recently.

Now you can not only enter your reminders or timers comfortably through a full sized keyboard, but if you think of something on the road, throw it into Due and be reminded of it when you fire up your Mac. It’s pretty convenient all around.

Right now, there is just a tiny snag with the synchronization: while it’s fast and reliable, you actually have to start Due on any given device to enable the sync. So, if you deleted a reminder on your Mac, for example, but didn’t start the iPhone app, the mobile version will know nothing about the deletion and remind you anyway. But in the overall scheme of things, that’s just a small issue in my book.

Due vs. Reminders

I guess a fair share of you are wondering what benefit Due has over Apple’s own Reminders. With Mountain Lion approaching, the creation of Reminders on OS X will become an integral part of the operating system. Right now, you can use excellent apps like Fantastical or QuickCal to achieve the same thing.

Why also should you spring the extra money for Due? Well, for those of you who can’t wait until Mountain Lion, Due is available now, no need to wait another couple of weeks.

Second, Due excels at recognizing natural language input. There’s no need for you to jump between different input fields, click around or anything of that kind. Due just knows what you want.

When compared to Reminders’ behavior on the mobile devices, Due is also more persistent as pointed out above. Instead of just firing once, you can make the app nudge you again and again and again.

Verdict

If you’re anything like me, you have a lot of stuff going on and keeping it in your mind is challenging at best. It doesn’t matter if it’s family matters or business themes. Forgetting stuff is annoying and puts everyone under a lot of pressure.

Due, while unfortunately on the expensive side, is nonetheless a great app to stay on top of things. It’s very easy to use and reliable. It helps you focus on what’s important and dump everything else out of your brain quickly into the app, knowing that when the time comes, you will know what exactly you are due to do.


Summary

Due is an incredibly easy to use and fast reminder app for your Mac, which syncs via the cloud to your mobile Apple devices as well.

9
  • aryllies

    It is a great app indeed especially when paired with its iOS counterpart.
    The whole not syncing if you don’t open the app on your phone/mac IS bothersome.

    I wish apple became more lenient about the whole internet access API thing.
    I am an adult who’s computer literate. I can take care of my own security.
    I think I may switch to jailbreaking in a near future.

  • B30

    Another To-Do/Reminder app *yawn*

  • http://www.technicaltalk.net/ Peter S.

    Does this help to remind birthdays? and can it give a reminder notification one day before the actual day? Please let me know.. Also if there is alternative app for my requirement, then let me know. I will wait for your answer. Thank you.

  • Michael Solis

    The price is a definite turn off for me. I have the iOS app and its great, but the limitation of not syncing unless the app is open does bother me some.

    I have tons of apps, I try out apps all the time, I damn near collect them like trading cards. But in order for me to try it out, it has to have some utility for me. Due for Mac is about to be Sherlocked by Mountain Lion, which is coming out in a month. Mountain Lion will give everyone the added bonus of syncing reminders along with a whole new OS for twice the price. You’d be crazy to buy Due now.

    If I were Due I would be trying to get as much money as possible in the next month. Preferably through sales.

    • Luís Gomes

      remember, there will be a lot of macs out there that will not be able to run mountain lion…

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