By Graham K. Rogers
In January of last year I had a look at an interesting calendar app that focussed on events and holidays in Malaysia and Singapore. William Wong's app, Singapore and Malaysia Calendar, was a tidy work with a large amount of useful information, catering for the 3 major ethnic groups in the area. As well as its obvious value to those in the two countries, I felt it was also useful for those with business within the area.
When I belatedly went looking for the calendar this year after an update was posted, I found that there was no 2015 version. Instead, the developer suggested another app: Everyday Calendar. When I downloaded this, however, I thought I had the wrong app as the opening page showed information for California with a list of public holidays for the USA.
Checking the app store again, I saw that the developer was indeed the same William Wong (Song Rong Wong), so I looked deeper. The answer was in the Settings which has a number of options:
- Calendar to take the user back to the main display screen
- My Events, in which the user can enter up to 20 events for free, before needing an in-app purchase
- Public Holidays lists all the holidays in chronological order for the selected country or area
- Festivals & Events lists events throughout the world: for example this week includes Valentine's Day and International Women's Day
- School Holidays shows the terms and breaks in some regions, but not all. China, Hong Kong and Korea (among others) show no available information, while England and Singapore do.
- Settings contains a number of items for fine-tuning the data available in the app -
- Region has 12 preset countries, some of which have specific areas within their borders. Malysia has several provinces, as does Canada, while the USA has states; and the UK has its four component countries: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland. Also available (at the top of the screen) is a Custom setting that allows a user to build a personal set of custom holidays and events.
- Alternate Calendars is off by default, but this allows the inclusion of holidays from Hebrew and Islamic (calendar I and II) religions. Only one calendar can be selected at a time.
- School Holidays which may be toggled On/Off.
- Build-in [sic] has Calendar Sync Off by default, but allows the inclusion of data from the iPhone calendar (and hence iCloud) - Calendars to be included need to be selected individually. These are not colour-coded as in the Apple Calendar app.
- Help & Support has 4 options: Report Error, Contact Support (email), Rate in App Store and Tell a Friend.
- Purchase/Unlock links to the App Store to remove ads and unlock the event limit for $1.99
All of which makes for far higher levels of flexibility for users in those countries that the app caters for specifically.
That first Settings item, Calendar, returns the user to the main panel where the months are displayed along with other information that may depend on the Alternate Calendar or other items selected.
The page appears to use the same thin font as the iOS Calendar app - Helvetica Neue - which is fairly easy on the eyes. The light blue heading shows the current region selected with an icon linking to Settings on the left and a quick access to Today on the right.
Tapping on any date displays the full day's listings, including additional calendar items. At the top is a display of previous and past dates: 4 before and 4 after. This can be scrolled left and right so upcoming and past dates can be checked easily. In this way I can easily see that 20 February is Chinese New Year (2nd day), I am teaching at 1:00 pm, and that the date in the Hebrew calendar is 1 Tishrei in the year 5775. It is also in week 8 of the year.
The app is easy to use and the ability now to access additional regions makes it far more flexible. And international. While I tend to stick to the Apple-brewed app which has several calendars I have added for work and outside, Everyday Calendar is an attractive alternative, both in terms of its design - particularly its stylish icon - and flexibility.
My single reservation is that there is not a specific calendar for Thailand. The variety of calendars that can be integrated with the app will make it useful for those living in or visiting any of the regions covered.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.