We have lots of exciting work going on here at Cultured Code, and the time has come to expand our team.
In the past months we’ve been working on three important projects that have culminated in today’s 2.2 release. Jokingly referred to around the office as “Snow Things”, this update includes no significant interface changes, but greatly improves some of Things’ core functionality.
When you go traveling, you shouldn’t have to think about time zones. Your phone automatically detects your location and sets the correct time zone for you. Apps can then use this information, adjust as necessary, and make sure that everything happens on the correct day.
Due to the way Things previously stored and processed dates, however, it was possible for a to-do to show up on the wrong day when you traveled to a different time zone. For example, an item that was due on the 17th could show up on the 18th instead. While this would only happen in certain situations, it was unacceptable – and something we just had to get right.
For this release we’ve been through and carefully adjusted all the date-related functionality in Things. It’s been a considerable amount of work, but these improvements – which affect scheduled dates, due dates, repeating tasks, local notifications, and the Daily Review – are a good and necessary foundation going forward.
After updating to 2.2, you’ll never have to worry about time zones again when you go traveling; Things will know where you are – or should we say, when you are.
When we first developed Things, our dream was to make a tool that people would use to manage the many aspects of their day-to-day life. Now all the time we hear people say things like “My whole life is in here”, “I can’t imagine working without it”, and “Things is my brain”. It’s amazing to us how central Things has become in people’s lives, and many of you have thousands of to-dos in your library by now.
There’s been a downside to having such a large library, though: in some cases, our Mac app wasn’t efficient enough to handle the processing of so many to-dos. For example, it could be quite slow when deleting a large number of to-dos all at once, often leading to an encounter with the nefarious beach ball.
We’ve identified the resource hogs and improved performance in key areas that were troublesome in the past. Below are some measurements we took before and after these improvements. Overall, the app now feels much more responsive, especially when you perform an action on multiple items at once:
Things Cloud is really fast in day-to-day operation, but there is one use case where we wanted to make it even faster: If you have a really large database, downloading it for the first time onto a new device (or a fresh install of Things) could take a considerable length of time. We’ve managed to improve this procedure significantly, and it’s now more than three times faster than it was before. This isn’t something you’ll do often, but it’s there when you need it – and makes moving to your next new device that much more seamless.
On top of these three enhancements, Things 2.2 includes more than 50 additional bug fixes and tweaks, and is available for download now on Mac, iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.
Six months have passed since the release of Things Cloud. Our users have now created over 150 million to-dos, requiring the service to handle up to 7,200 transactions per minute.
During this period, Things Cloud has performed admirably. It’s had only two minor hiccups with less than 3 hours of interruption, and only for a small portion of our users. That’s an uptime of 99.9%.
For us, and for our users, it has been an incredible success. We couldn’t be happier with how things are going.
Like all cloud services, Things Cloud is an ever-changing landscape; it’s always taking on new users and more data as it becomes increasingly active.
If we should ever run into any kind of issues, it would be great to have an easy way to communicate the status of the service – so we’ve placed a new status indicator at the top of our redesigned Status Board:
In addition to showing the current state of Things Cloud, it shows historic information about the service over the past 7 days – and also provides a place for users to report any problems as they arise. If problems do occur, we’ll change the status for minor hiccups or major outages.
Of course, we plan to continue on the success of our last six months, and hope that the status indicator sees very little action indeed.
Update: This sale has now ended.
For one week only, Things Mac is on sale for an incredibly great price.
As the new year gets into full swing, the Mac App Store is holding a Get Stuff Done sale. It starts today, and you can get Things Mac for a whopping 50% off the normal price.
This sale runs from January 24-31. If you’ve been holding out on getting Things for your Mac, this is a wonderful opportunity.
We’ve just released Things 2.1 for iPhone, iPad and Mac. In addition to improvements for iOS 6 and the new iPhone 5, these updates bring Reminders & Siri integration to our iOS apps for the first time.
If you are running iOS 6, you can now easily enter new to-dos via Siri. Here’s how:
1. In Things, enable “Reminders & Siri” integration from within Settings.
2. Use Siri on your iPhone or iPad to enter new reminders. For example, you could say “Remember to send the job application”.
3. Your reminders will now show up in your Things Inbox, from where you can easily import them.
It’s that simple.
There are a few additional options which allow you to configure which types of reminders will show inside Things. For more information, see this page.
We’ve also updated the Mac version of Things to include the same Reminders settings as on iOS. For this, we had to use a new way of accessing reminders that is only available in OS X Mountain Lion. For older versions of OS X, Things still shows the old “iCal” preference pane. Here’s what the new preference pane looks like:
We recommend that you set up both your Mac and iOS versions of Things to show the same Reminders list. This way, your Inbox badge will show the same number on all your devices.
Please note that we’ve also removed the option to export your Today list to Reminders on OS X Mountain Lion. You can read more about that here.
Things has also been adjusted to take advantage of the taller iPhone 5 screen. Here is what it looks like:
Things running on an iPhone 5. When adding new tasks, the title, notes, tags, and due date are now shown right away.
We hope you find the new integration with Reminders & Siri useful, and we’d love to hear what you think!