Blotter: The Showdown (Mac)

Not too long ago, I did a slew of reviews based on products I found while trolling through the Mac AppStore. During my quest to find something useful, and something worth my time, I found the very interesting App called iDeskCal. For those of you, like me, who are too lazy to go look up that review, here is an overview of what iDeskCal does. The App basically takes what is in your iCal database and streams it onto your desktop in a little see through glass panel. It is capable of being clickable or not, and it is pretty non-intrusive. The review went up, and every one was happy. Everyone except the guys over at WireLoad. They read my review, probably laughed at my awful jokes, and then sent me an email.
What did the email say? I’m not going to tell you. Just don’t worry about it. The words aren’t that important. The point of the email though is very important. The good fellows over at WireLoad wanted me to reconsider a few things. And they wanted me to give their App a chance to have a duel with iDeskCal for the prize. Do they deserve a shot at overturning my decision? Do they deserve a shot at taking down iDeskCal? Well, only a quick review and your own opinions will tell. So, for the first time ever, let’s have a Short List Duel and see who comes out on top.
Blotter, WireLoad’s answer to keeping life simple and organized, is an App that works just like iDeskCal. It puts an image overlay on top of your desktop so you can see your events at a glance. It also allows you to add new events and new tasks to your iCal with either a click or a key command. It also lets you click on objects that are on top of your desktop without trouble. So, where is the difference between the two? Looks, and power.
While iDeskCal has a very non-intrusive UI that is basically a box that has a list of all of your iCal events, Blotter has more to offer. It takes all of your iCal data and puts todo’s in their own box, while also putting up a seven day calendar on your desktop that allows you see the week’s events at a glance from 9 to 5. There is also a box for events that don’t fall into the 9-5 scheme of things, as well as a section for the “right now” category. While this default view takes up a little more screen real-estate, it does allow for a more detailed look at your week. And, just for convenience, they even added a small box with today’s date for you.
Blotter’s assault on iDeskCal doesn’t end there though. It also has some power under the hood. In the preferences panel, you can choose from three views. A full view, a normal view (described in the previous paragraph), and a narrow view. The narrow view just has the date box, the todo’s box, and the ‘right now’ box that tells you the next three hour’s worth of data. The full view is the same as normal, but slightly more expanded, and centered to take up the whole. With either of the other two though, narrow and normal, you can use the control panel to drag the little see through window around on your desktop to where you really want it to be. This is a little more sophisticated than the click and drag method, but no more or less valid than it. The best under the hood feature though is that you can make Blotter behave in a few different ways that iDeskCal’s list view just won’t do. For instance, you can have Blotter view this week (Sun-Sat), or you can have it view the next seven days. You can have it show dates, or no dates for those seven days.
Of course there are some features that are the same. You can pick which calendars you want displayed (home, work, play, chores, what-have-you), you can hide the different icons, have it start at start-up, etc. You can also record custom shortcuts, and other such things. One thing that is different from iDeskCal, and for some of us the one reason for choosing one over the other, is the price. iDeskCal sells, according to their website, for $12.99* while Blotter on the other hand sells for three double cheese burgers, I mean dollars, less. $9.99 is a good price for this App, and certainly does beat the price of it’s competitor.
So, After all the scores are tallied, and everything has been taken into consideration, what have we learned? Blotter is prettier, cheaper, and has a view more options than iDeskCal. Blotter does though have one weekness. (And yes that is misspelled on purpose), because Blotter only shows you one week at a time. iDeskCal on the other hand does allow you to see the next six weeks if you so desire. So, the list view does have a few advantages that way. And on thing I’d like to see is to have a month calendar view as well. Something that would just show me dots of when I have events or maybe a number showing me how many events are on a specific day. It could even just be a little box like the Date box is, but I think it should be there if we are only going to see one week at a time. For the first time, here on the Short List, the guys over at WireLoad have made me change my mind. Blotter truly is the better of the two products for my money. A better UI, and a better value, makes Blotter the better product than it’s competition. With that being said, Blotter gets the coveted 10 out of 10. Congrats from me guys, but only time will tell if the customers out there agree with me. So, keep up the good work.

App Receives a 10 out of 10 possible points.

* A note – The Mac AppStore lists this item currently priced at $10.99, but that could be a sale price, or just a promotion of some other sort.

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