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Panic's new Status Board app fills your iPad's screen with meaningful data


Panic added to its iOS lineup today with Status Board, a new app for the iPad that promises to give you "a beautiful, clean status board to track your meaningful data." Status Board does exactly what its name implies -- it gives you a blackboard that'll display the current status of your email, your twitter feed, the weather, and more. It uses customizable panels that let you organize the information you want to appear on your iPad screen. It was borne out of Panic's own status board that it uses in its office.

Status Board first launches with one of the best setup guides I've ever used within an app. It takes the appearance of a foldable manual that you would see tucked inside the box of your TV or DVD player. Each panel of the virtual leaflet allows you to set up a different part of the app. You are given the option to enter your email account and grant access to your personal information like your calendar, location and Twitter account. There's also a brief set of instructions that'll help you get started with the app. It's a clever way to open an app and makes the dry part of entering your accounts enjoyable.

Once you have completed the background configuration, the app launches with a collection of modules that are filled with the data that you enabled in the initial setup. With the black background and brightly-colored modules, the view of your data is quite striking. If you don't like what you see, you can easily change the type of modules on your screen in the settings view. You can also change their size and location to design the best layout for your board.

The app ships with several core modules including a clock, weather, calendar, IMAP email, Twitter, RSS, graph and table. The graph module pulls data down from a JSON or CSV file, while the table module supports an HTML table or CSV file. There's also a custom module that'll let you create a panel that pulls selected data from supported third-party sources. Right now, these custom panels can pull crash and tester data from HockeyApp and StatHat, a web and mobile app statistics service.

Status Board lets you share your board via email or AirPlay. A "Send a Status Board" feature captures an image of your board and sends its as an attachment to an email. You can also share a board via AirPlay to an Apple TV. This fullscreen TV out feature requires an in-app purchase that currently costs US$9.99.

Status Board is a polished offering from Panic, but it's not perfect. One limitation we ran into was with authenticated RSS feeds, which are not supported. It's also worth noting that by design, there's no interactivity within the app -- Status Board is read-only. It provides a data-rich snapshot of your current status, but it is not a replacement for your RSS reader or Twitter client.

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