A tease about the new OmniFocus, sorry

Oh, the pleasure I get from great software: it’s immeasurable and terribly surprising. Today the Omni Group released a new beta of OmniFocus and I shouldn’t talk about it. Not because I’ve signed anything, not because of spoilers, but because it is a bit mean of me when you can’t get the new version yet.

You will soon. You will.

But I’ve been waiting for one feature in this beta and was taken by surprise by another one.

The one I was expecting was that when this comes out in the next few days or weeks, we will finally be able to do a Review on the iPhone. Previously, Review was a feature of the Mac and iPad versions of OmniFocus but not the iPhone one. I’ve said this before and lamented it before and scratched my head before, but no longer.

It is weirdly freaky seeing such a familiar feature in an unfamiliar place. But then I’m also beta testing OmniOutliner which is coming to the iPhone for the first time ever. That is seriously odd, just seeing the icon my iPhone home screen. Mind you, it’s only odd in that one way. In every other way it is fantastic to have this app on my iPhone and it went straight onto my home screen.

The unfamiliar feature, the one that took me by surprise, was that the Omni Group has revamped how the iPhone and iPad handle Notification Centre. Previously, even just a few days ago, I wrote a piece for MacNN about Notification Centre and how To Do apps were using this. At that time, OmniFocus was doing okay with this thing: whatever you’re doing on your iOS device, just swipe your finger down from the top and you get Notification Centre. Within that, OmniFocus showed you the most urgent To Dos on your list.

Or it did. Now it can show you that or it can show you other things that you decide within the main app. I expect to be fiddling for days and I expect to be using Notification Centre more.

And every time I do, I promise I’ll feel rotten for saying there’s this great OmniFocus update and you can’t have it. Not yet. Not quite yet. But soon. Honest.

Refresh gets a spot on Notification Centre (still USA-only)

Refresh is the app that seems a bit mystical when it presents you with a dossier (its phrase) about the person you are just walking up to meet. Mystical and maybe a wee bit creepy. But sometimes also so useful. Useful enough that I keep mentioning it to you even though it remains a US-only app.

And useful enough that yesterday’s Forbes roundup video of best productivity apps included it, though the presenters didn’t seem to glom onto the creepy mystical element so much. I’m just sensitive.

It’s also not quite useful enough to be as useful as you’d expect. I reviewed it months ago and forgot I had it until some many weeks later when it chimed up with one of these dossiers. But it does it for this person and not for that, it does it before this meeting and not that. And it hasn’t chimed a dossier at me in two months. Enough so that I forgot I still had it, until I got this email telling me about a new update:

There’s a new Refresh for you to try.

We updated the app you know and love to take advantage of new features in iOS 8. You can now install a Refresh widget in the Notification Center to see who you’re meeting each day, and insights display beautifully on any screen including iPhone 6 and iPad!

To install the new Refresh widget, update your app and then click “Edit” on the bottom of your Today screen. Click the green plus next to Refresh and you’re good to go!

Refresh now available as a Notification Center widget! – email from Bhavin Shah, Refresh (21 October 2014)

I am slightly confused by this: the Refresh app itself says you need to update to the new version and then delete the old. Cool. Happens all the time: a brand new app downloads and until you delete the old one, you’ve got two on your iPhone and it all ends in hilarious consequences. But this time, once I’d tapped its update button, there was no second copy. Can’t see where the old one is to delete. Actually would be hard-pressed to tell you for sure that what I have is the new version, except that it does have that bit in notification centre.

Which on my iPhone right now looks thisaway:

I like that it’s Yasmin I’m meeting because she’s an author who routinely fakes all her personal information on Facebook and Twitter and Linkedin so that description of her is nonsense.

If you’re in the US or, like I do, have a US iTunes account then you can get Refresh here and it’s free.