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    Track your big events with Widget Countdown

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    There are big events in life. Some we can't wait for, others we dread. It's easy to put them on the calendar, but thats not as immediately clear as seeing just how many days or hours remain until something happens. Widget Countdown puts your big events front and center where it's easy to keep track of them. The app is US$0.99 and requires iOS 8.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

    When initially presented with Widget Countdown my first reaction was, "I don't need yet another calendar." I get by with the built in iOS and Mac OS Calendar, even though I'm not terribly excited with them. I do like and use Fantastical for fast access and creating events and reminders. But, Widget Countdown isn't a calendar. It's not even about counting widgets. This app about setting up and displaying future events. A most importantly, it can display these events within the Notification Center.

    The app itself is beautifully and thoughtfully designed. It's very easy to create new events directly from your existing calendar events or to manually create them within the app. You can give each event a name, specify a date and/or time, and select a background picture. The app lets you search online for pictures from 500px or Flickr with a keyword search. The result it very nice. It would make a great lock screen, if Apple permitted such a thing (it does not).

    Widget Countdown screenshot

    I find that I don't often launch the app to review my upcoming events. Instead I pull the Notification Center down from the top of the screen and find them displayed there (after adding them by editing which apps to display there). That's the really useful feature of this app. It's just the text, that's enough and what makes this app terrific.

    I find that limiting the number of things that I include in the countdown to make it easier to think about upcoming events. Add 20 items and the list becomes unweildy. But limit yourself to just four or five events and it's much easier to deal with.

    Widget Countdown screenshot

    When using the app itself you can flick up on the displayed days to reveal the hours remaining. You can also send the image of the event countdown via any of the system services, including Mail, Messages, social media apps, etc. Unfortunately the app adds a commercial message to your image as well, but you can delete that. I still find this practice annoying and tacky, especially for a paid app. Note to app developers and publishers: don't beg for positive reviews with popups in your apps and don't tack on advertisements in messages.

    If you want to keep track of the big upcoming events in your life, I do like Widget Countdown, especially for the Notification Center access. Don't let that next birthday or anniversary sneak up on you.

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