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Friday Favorite: Due

Yesterday around the TUAW water cooler a number of us expressed our love of Due, an app for Mac and iOS that is basically a simple timer/reminder application (my original review here). After trying dozens of timer apps, I think Due wins for a number of features that make it stand out from a very crowded field. After all, your iDevice comes with a timer in the Clock app, and there's Apple's Reminders app. While Reminders syncs with iCloud, your alarms in the Clock app do not. Due can help you stay focused and never overcook a boiling egg again.

Due's interface is simple as can be. There are three views: Reminders, Timers and Logged Reminders. You can quickly set a reminder for later in the day, or whenever. Due accepts natural language instructions, so you could say "next Thursday at 1 PM" and it'll set a reminder alarm for just that. Note that Due doesn't integrate with the built-in Reminders app, so I'm only referring to reminders (lower case) within Due itself.

Once a reminder has gone off or you check it off manually, those go into Logged Reminders. This is handy if you need to recall what you did or if you need to remind yourself of the same thing again, later.

I tend to use the timer function more frequently (as I use my calendar for appointments and OmniFocus for repeating tasks and "to do" items). I have a 25-minute timer for Pomodoros, a 5-minute timer for breaks and a couple of others for things I need to do at some point in the day, but things which require me to focus on just that thing for an allotted amount of time. By doing this, I help my squirrel-like brain stay focused on some critical tasks throughout the day, but it also helps me be flexible enough to not dread going out of being flexible in my daily schedule (more on this in next week's Productivity Tip).

Best of all, Due has just the right number of preferences. From changing sounds to setting a snooze time, Due can be as intrusive or quiet as you like. You can even change the alarms to use Notification Center or Growl -- handy especially if you use something like Prowl. I particularly like the option to "suppress alerts on launch and wake" because I hate opening my Mac to have 30 alarms from past events going off all at once. Is it just me or is that "throw a million notifications at me on wake" thing seem a very obtrusive, Windows 98-like behavior? But I digress.

Due is a rock-solid, beautifully designed app. iCloud sync works flawlessly (you can also use Dropbox) across my Macs and iDevices, meaning I always have what I need where I need it. Most importantly, Due keeps me focused on doing things, and not setting myself up to do things, which is precisely what technology should be doing. You can get the Mac app here or the iOS version here.