How to stay safe against malware

As fun as the internet can be sometimes, it also comes with its fair share of dangers. The biggest one is the threat of contracting a malware infection.
These programs can damage your computer, steal your identity, or just annoy you for the author’s own personal amusement.

If you are wondering how to stay safe against malware, this article will share a few tips to help keep your devices virus-free.

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1) Own a website? Install security plugins on it.

We’ll get to how you can secure your personal computer from malware, but if you own a website, you should begin your defensive efforts there.

The reason for this is that if your web platform becomes infected, it can expose people all over the world to nasty bugs such as Cryptolocker.

Protect your reputation from being ruined by a pimple-faced hacker by installing a trusted plugin that will defend your site against external threats.

Don’t let wrong-headed myths like the SiteLock scam stop you, as it is better to be proactive than to neglect your obligation to protect visitors from the worst that the web has to offer.

 

2) Install antivirus/malware software on all the devices that you use

What’s the first thing you should do when you purchase a new device? Buy or install an antivirus or a malware program. Whether you use an old school desktop or a smartphone, there are pieces of software out there that will stop malicious scripts in their tracks.

A common excuse for many folks is the cost of these programs, but ask yourself this: would you drive a car or own a home without insurance? Your digital portals deserve the same level of protection.

Besides, if you are short on money, there are low cost/free options such as Windows Defender that will prevent most digital infections from holding your device hostage.

 

3) Keep your malware programs up to date

Malware creators are constantly working to outwit the latest defensive measures that security experts at major tech companies throw at them, and vice-versa.

It is a never-ending battle between the white and black hats, but know this: it is up to you to hold up your end of the bargain by updating your security software when new downloads become available.

With a scary amount of nasty bugs hitting the web on a daily basis, it is crucial that you update your definitions as soon as possible. You never know whether there is a bug behind the next hyperlink that your outdated malware program doesn’t know about, so don’t take this responsibility lightly.

 

4) Be cautious about downloading files from the internet

It’s really quite surprising how easily we get taken in by an unsolicited e-mail on the web. We ask no questions as we download an attachment, and then BOOM, we’re screwed.

Some of the most destructive viruses in history have spread through this method, causing massive amounts of economic damage and personal grief.

Plainly and simply: if you weren’t expecting to get an e-mail with an attachment from someone, there’s a good chance it is carrying a malicious payload.

Another tip: avoid websites that deal in pirated material. We hate weighing in on such an ethically-loaded subject, but many files found on these exchanges can contain nasty surprises that will end up ruining your entire evening. Just steer clear, and you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches.

Maximise web needs and meet commercial interests with VPS Hosting services

When it comes to optimising your web needs and requirements, the support of web hosting servers are considered to be essential. There are several web hosting options that are offered to website owners these days. Making your website accessible and prominent among users, hosting servers delivers facilities and provides easy control to most users. Be it free hosting, shared hosting, dedicated web hosting or collocated web servers, people are able to choose services that are convenient for their websites.

Web hosting solutions are usually known to provide space on the server that is either completely owned or leased by clients. Whether you are a business company or a small enterprising website owner, it is the size and ability of servers that determines the overall internet activity and web traffic that is required for your business.

For successful internet hosting service, most commercial website owners prefer dedicated servers that are considered to be quite effective. It has been a well known fact that while selecting the right web host server, clients are unable to determine suitable servers that successfully meets their business needs. There are certain factors that should be fulfilled by web host servers in order to deliver their best to clients.

  • The type of support that is offered
  • Term period of business company
  • Kind of backup/redundancy measures that are present and others.

These are few of the major elements that are necessary for effective functioning of web host servers. Whether it is for managing e-commerce platforms, multimedia technology, free website scripts or securing databases, such dedicated Virtual Private Server is regarded to be quite productive and highly responsive to most web requirements.

 

Gain ultimate control and server stability

In order to gain ultimate control and server stability, dedicated servers are regarded to be an ultimate choice. Designed on the same functionality to that of dedicated web servers and more software defined, active VPS Hosting solutions can be an effective solution for those who are seeking exclusive control of their website.

There are several packages for VPS Hosting solutions that have been designed in order to suit the convenience of clients. Be it cost effective packages or bigger diamond packages for vast commercial activities, Virtual Private Server web hosting can be availed by one and all website owners who wish to deliver a disruption free browsing experience and ensure free flow of traffic online. Most packages are said to include Intel Xeon processors, SSD caching, 2 free backups, RAID data storage and an active Linux operating system among others.

 

Provides maximum facilities

In order to get maximum needs and requirements, several business companies are said to rely on such VPS web hosting facilities. As per honest and reliable feature reviews offered by VPS web hosting solutions, there are several advantages that are offered by VPS web hosting in recent times. Few of the following have been mentioned below for a better understanding.

  • Once you have set such web server, you are able to get control and have root access that will give you the ability to install and configure programs you require.
  • For those who wish to run PHP with PostgreSQL instead of MySQL, installing such active VPS web hosting solutions is said to be quite effective.
  • Another advantage that comes with such web host servers is the ability to manage unlimited number of websites through Apache’s virtual hosts.
  • Users are also able to access and have exclusive control of their web activities. They can host other services, such as a mail server and FTP server whenever it is required to.
  • What adds to the overall benefit is that website owners are able to secure their databases and files in such server with least hassles.

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Offering high space availability and solid security

With high space availability and solid security facilities, more number of people are relying exclusive and efficient virtual private servers for earning website popularity. With ultimate speed and efficiency is said to deliver ultimate performance in the long run and offers multi level technical assistance to their clients.

Hence it can be said that with expert VPS Hosting solutions, people are able to get much support and technical convenience. Ideal to get your small business established online with a considerable web prominence, it is the presence of updated and easy-to-use website building tools, manageable control options and active 24X7 customer support that makes the service unique and recommended.

If you want to maintain your own space and avoid disruptions during its operations, such virtual private server hosting solutions is regarded to be quite useful in the long run.

Get Hoverwatch to track devices in need of supervising

If you are constantly wondering what your kids are up to with their phones, then maybe it is time to put an end to the apprehension and start taking some effective steps. Installing spy software is possibly the best decision that you can take. It will not only help you in gaining full access to your son or daughter’s phone but also ensure that it is done secretively without them even knowing. Hence you need not interfere unnecessarily in your children’s life. The software will enable you to monitor everything that is going on in the device. Now considering that there are several doing rounds in the market, there is an urgent need to select one that is actually going to work.

 

Your monitoring needs solved

Now Hoverwatch is an option that you can effectively use in order to certify that your children or even employees are right on track and not wasting time during office hours. Once you have signed up for the account and installed the software in the device, all you need to do is start monitoring. It is the most effective, simple and easy to handle tracking software that you are going to come across. There are two separate plans available for users. The personal plan starts at $8.33 per month and you can track one device. On the other hand with the family plan, the rate starts at $3.33 each month. With this plan, you can track up to 5 devices. The software works on Windows, Mac and Android devices. Hence you are at the receiving end of all services. Once you get the application, there will be no more uncomfortable questionnaires flying around in the house.
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Monitoring requirements under one umbrella

Considering the fast paced life that people are leading right now, your device is the one thing that contains and transfers all vital information that is related to personal as well as business needs. However the requirement to keep a check on it comes in the picture when children roam around with the devices, getting involved in all sorts of situations that are not ideal. Similarly even employees may indulge in social networking during office hours or even leaking business information to other competitors. Hoverwatch will actually allow you to keep a track of all these events so that you need not spend sleepless nights thinking who is up to what. Right from tracking messages and media files of social networking sites to call recordings, tracking location through GPS and GMS, viewing phone contacts and schedules or to-do lists and more; everything is made available to you. All activities within the target phone will be sent over to the dashboard for you to monitor.

 

Exclusive features

Now call, sms and location tracking are quite common amongst most software available in the market. However Hoverwatch differs in this case in many sectors. There are several characteristics that are absolutely fascinating and does away with the boundaries that initially stopped you from comprehensive monitoring. One of the most intriguing features is that that Hoverwatch can actually detect sim card changes. Hence whenever the user takes out the sim, a notification will be sent over to the dashboard. Another very interesting feature is that every time the phone is unlocked, the front camera clicks a picture of the user and sends it over to the control panel. Therefore you are constantly aware of who is using the phone and is where. These are some of the many unique features that have been introduced to allow a deeper insight into the world of tracking. The factor that the software itself remains hidden from the target phone is one of the reasons of its popularity.

 

Simple and effortless tracking

Hoverwatch introduces a very easy and complication free system of monitoring. Even if you are a novice getting into spying for the first time, the user friendly interface is going to make it a piece of cake for you to handle. With a simple and free registration and application download, you can keep a watch over the target device, where it is, with whom it is, the conversation taking place, the media files shared and transferred and many more. Right from getting to know about the events and to do list to viewing the contacts and more, Hoverwatch allows to keep a track of all those minute details that will enable you to understand circumstances. Therefore now you can keep an effective track without having to constantly disturb your employees or children. So let your guard down and do away with the apprehension. Get Hoverwatch and start monitoring.

Facebook will now let you make payments through Messenger

Much to the joy of Facebook Messenger fans, they will now be able to make payments via their favorite app. Facebook Messenger app has more than a billion users today and it is well on its way to introduce this payment option via chatbots, which can be used by customers to make payments for goods and supplies directly via Messenger. Users will not be required to visit the URL of a different website.

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What is this payment facility all about?

It was at the TechCrunch Disrupt Conference that David Marcus, VP of messaging products at Facebook said that the social networking giant was already working with multiple payment providers like Visa, PayPal, Master Card, Stripe and American Express.

The tiny Artificial Intelligence software programs were added to Facebook Messenger in the month of April (2016). They enabled individuals to interact with businesses and secure updates from them as well. He said that 34,000 developers had joined the platform to build around 30,000 bots in the month of April itself. 10,000 developers joined in the month of May.

The payment facility will be available with Messenger Platform v1.2. This platform has a “Buy Now” button which, on being clicked, will take you to a page where you can insert your credit card details and other important information to make the payment. If you already have some credit information stored in Messenger or Facebook, that information will be used instantly to complete the payment proceedings.

Besides making business-related payments, you can also use Messenger to pay your friends in future.

Sam is an experienced tech writer, who has contributed articles to prominent sites DX news, Rocketnews.com, Tech Crunch and others.

Preparing Your Home for Storm Season

There are still a couple of months left of storm season, so if you haven’t already prepared, what are you waiting for?! Preparing for a storm is so important as it can protect your home, belongings, and of course yourself from any unfortunate damage caused by high wind, hail, flooding, and more. Start getting ready for the next storm of the season now, so that you’re ready for anything later.

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Keep Track of the Weather

This one seems like a given, but if you’ve just been having an easy weekend sitting on the couch and watching TV, it’s easy to forget to check the weather (especially if you’re living in a place where it rains all of the time anyway.) Stay up to date with the weather, and check at least once a day to ensure you’re ready for anything that might come your way. Tornados and hail can come seemingly out of nowhere, so make sure you have real time hail reports at the ready if it starts to look foreboding outdoors.

Gather Emergency Supplies

In case a storm does hit and you’re left without running water or power, and you’re stuck indoors due to the insane weather, be ready for it by getting together some essentials beforehand. You should always have gallons of water on you, these are cheap and can save a lot of hassle down the road in many situations. Fill up your tub with water for brushing your teeth and towel bathing (just make sure you put the used water down the sink so you aren’t bathing in toothpaste!) Have flashlights at the ready, and get some dinners ready that will keep well in a cooler and don’t need to be cooked.

Update Your Home

Taping up windows so they don’t shatter might seem like a good idea when you see it on TV, but it’s almost entirely ineffective. Don’t be caught in a mad scramble looking for important documents and photographs to avoid them being blown away or getting rained on. Keep everything important in one safe area of your home so that in the case of an emergency, they will be easy to grab. However, it’s best to protect yourself from having to do that in the first place so make sure you’re ready ahead of time. Seal up any holes in the roof, windows, and doors, and get shutters if you can.  Don’t forget the outdoors too! Remove any outdoor furniture and trim tree branches that could fly and break a window or wall of your home. Of course, the best protection from storms that you can get is insurance. Be sure your house is insured against damages caused by weather, and if you live in an area with flooding, consider getting flood insurance as well.

Storms can be intimidating and destructive, and if you truly feel you or your home won’t be able to withstand a storm you should evacuate to the nearest safe area. But if you’re confident that you’ll be able to emerge from storm season victorious (and maybe just a bit damp!), these pointers will help you achieve that victory.

Pointers to keep in mind while liquid clenbuterol

Clenbuterol is a drug with properties similar to adrenaline. It is used in asthma patients as a bronchodilator and is a prescription drug. But in addition to this, Clenbuterol is used by bodybuilders as a weight loss drug. It is this used that is of most interest to many. Clenbuterol is available in tablet form and in liquid form. Although tablets are available easily and preferred, some users like to go for liquid clenbuterol. There are few pointers and facts that one should keep in mind while buying liquid clenbuterol.

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Facts:

  1. There are two types of the liquid form of Clenbuterol, one that is injectable and one that is to be taken orally. These two are not interchangeable. Each should be used only in the way it has been intended.
  2. They are available in mostly 3 dosages, 50, 100 and 200 mcg/ml. Beginners can also opt for clenbuterol in liquid form or 20 mcg tabs
  3. At times, pharma companies add fillers to the liquid form of clenbuterol and this might make it impure.
  4. Use of Clenbuterol is banned in animals that are to be used for human consumption.
  5. Some forms of Clenbuterol are meant for use in horses only. They should never be used by humans for any purpose. These could lead to serious side effects.
  6. Liquid Clen has a bitter taste. It is very difficult to have it as it is.
  7. Maximum dosage to be taken per day is 120 mcg.

Pointers:

  1. One should be careful while determining the dosage. The liquid Clen is available in micrograms while most recommendations for this drug is available in milligrams. You need to find out how many micrograms of Clenbuterol are present in one ml. And then measure the dose accordingly. Hence the dose should be measured carefully using the dosing tool provided with the drug.
  2. The dose should be taken before 4 pm, in case the user experiences difficulty sleeping.
  3. As with all drugs, the dosage should be increased only gradually and the user should look out for side effects at all times. It is advisable to start with 20 or 25 mcg and increases that through a period of 4 weeks to 100 mcg.

Side effects to look out for:

One of the most common symptoms to look out for is nervousness. It is not very easily noticeable but if you feel that you are more anxious than normal then you should try to stop the dose for a short time and see if it improves the condition. Over dosage causes headaches, gastric irritation and dizziness. Some persons experience palpitations, tachycardia (heart beats faster than normal) which in turn could lead to ischemia or heart attack. In some cases, there is excessive thyroid production and that can affect a host of functions in the human body.

Liquid Clen should always be purchased from original and trusted sellers and users should be careful about dosage. They should always check out for possible side effects.

Why the ‘zero fatality’ comment by Tesla’s Elon Musk is so important

Tesla Model S

Tesla is about to adjust how their Autopilot self-driving tech works. According to Elon Musk, radar will be used more aggressively to scan for objects, sending out a signal that’s not all that different from how a weather radar works looking for darkening clouds.

In terms of a tech discussion, it’s an interesting update in light of the fatality that occurred while a Model S sedan was driving in autonomous mode. The New York Times posted a thorough breakdown of how the crash happened, including how the car swerved suddenly.

Musk has stated several times that the incident was related to the braking system, not the Autopilot mode. However, in a conference call with journalists on Sunday meant to explain the new update, Musk made a bold claim. It’s something robotic engineers have been saying for some time, and it’s a level-headed statement about where this self-driving tech is all going.

It’s also something I happen to disagree with.

Musk insisted that there will never be a time when there are zero fatalities on the road. That phrasing is a subtle reference to the term Volvo has used in theirVision 2020 program. Toyota at one time had taken a different stance, suggesting that humans will always have some control over the vehicle and that turning cars over to the bots is a bad idea in the first place. They havesince changed their minds.

We all know that accidents will happen, and no technology is foolproof. If humans are involved, there will be mishaps. However, my issue with the statement about “never” is that it assumes the transportation industry will never figure this out, that there will never be an advanced autonomous driving system that prevents fatalities completely on any highways ever. What about 100 years from now? What about 200 years from now? Saying never means it is not even possible, and that’s dangerous.

I’ve written about this before, but I can imagine a fairly foolproof transportation system with autonomous cars. First, they’d need to connect to one another — they’d always know where every other car is on the road. Second, the Internet of Things would become so prevalent that every railing, ever bridge, and every person would send a signal to the car as well. It’s audacious, but in the near future, it could happen.

And, that’s just the technology available today. In the far future, I could see using special roadways (possibly the ones used for trucking in California today) that are designed only for autonomous cars, certified as 100% safe. All of the cars would platoon, and the technology would work so efficiently in keeping the cars a set distance away from each other that mishaps would be incredibly rare.

But here’s my real issue. We have to set the goal at zero. The Vision 2020 program is a good example of this. Maybe that isn’t possible. Maybe it isn’t even realistic. Yet, anything less than perfection means we are accepting that the technology can fail.

Here’s a good, timely example of this. Think of your smartphone. The goal is for your phone to never explode. We know that this can happen, but no one ever goes around and says “Well, if humans are involved there could be mistakes and a phone could explode.” Instead, Samsung issues a recall and then we state that the phone won’t ever explode. If you bake one in the oven, sure — bad things can happen. But the goal and the desired condition is for no explosions, ever. Anything less than that is a waste of time.

Autonomous cars can save lives. They can be developed in a way that ensures safety on the road at all times. Someday, even if it is 100 years from now or 200 years from now, we might be able to say that they don’t ever get in accidents. We know satellites can fall out of the sky. We know catastrophes can happen. We know phones can explode.

But the goal should be zero fatalities. Period.

Probiotics for constipation in adults and children

Probiotics are bacteria that are beneficial for health present in curd, yogurt and other cultured foods which have ability to ease digestive worries. There are many number of probiotic supplements available in the market which are loaded with lactobacillus or bifidobacterium, considered as most beneficial bacterial species.

Probiotics are live micro organisms that are considered as friendly bacteria very beneficial for children. But, constipation affected children did not find any good results even after consuming probiotic drink according to a survey. Children suffering from constipation should be fed with high fiber food and proper exercise. Laxatives can ease constipation in kids. Probiotics are not considered as first and initial treatment for constipation. But when probiotics are used along with other medications to ease constipation are proven helpful. Combining probiotics with fiber rich foods and drinking plenty of water can effectively reduce constipation.

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Constipation is major cause now days among many people because of unhealthy life style and lack of exercise. Bowel dysfunction and constipation can be relieved by using laxatives and other stool softeners but many of the users are not satisfied by them quoting in- effectiveness. Probiotics that are enriched with bifidobacterium considered as most effective measure to treat constipation in both adults and children. Constipation can be a problem inside digestive tract.

Probiotics can play a key role in relieving constipation but it is very difficult to choose right and effective one. But, still research is going on whether the effectiveness of probiotics is true on constipation. Moreover, probiotics are safe to use and do not cause any side effects.

Human intestines are home for millions of bacteria but when striked with imbalance, it can lead to digestive problems and one among them is constipation. Bifidobacteria and lactobacillus are present in large intestine and are very beneficial in reducing constipation. The species of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium can improve bowel regularity by secreting more mucous.

Constipation can be caused through many things and probiotics can effectively ease constipation. But probiotics are many and only few are proven effective on relieving constipation. Each probiotic strain is different from one another and certain strains are considered as beneficial. People suffering from constipation should choose a probiotic strain with proven benefit since few bacteria may not survive stomach acidity and bile juices.

Here are few points to remember while choosing probiotics to treat constipation in adults and children-

  • Bifidobacteriumlactis BB- 12is considered as considered as very beneficial probiotic strain and effective in reducing constipation.
  • The particular strain of bifidobacteriumlactis BB- 12 has obtained positive results from many users suffering from constipation and also saw many improvements.
  • Lactobacillus caseirhamnosus GG or commonly called as LGG is well known strain of probiotic bacteria with proven desired benefits including constipation.
  • LGG is also effective in increasing bowel movements.
  • But children identified with constipation are not benefitted with LGG.
  • Daily intake of fermented Bifidobacteriumanimalis eases symptoms of constipation.
  • Bifidobacteriumlongum is also considered to have proven benefits in easing constipation.

Methods for Buying a Quality Coaxial Directional Coupler

A coaxial directional coupler is a crucial device that is used every day in many different industries. People who need to buy one of these devices will find a large amount of companies in the business of making them. This often makes it hard for people to decide which one they are going to invest their money in. You should not make the common mistake of believing that all coaxial directional couplers are pretty much the same. This is not even close to being the case. Take your time and make a wise decision that you will not regret later. Here is how you can go about buying a nice coaxial directional coupler that will last for a very long time.

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1. You should test a coaxial directional coupler before you buy a large quantity.

It would be in your best interests to make sure you know what you are getting. Therefore, you should buy a single coaxial directional coupler and test it out. This will let you know if the device will be able to withstand the tasks that you will depend on it to perform on a daily basis. You can then buy a larger quantity if the hybrid coupler lives up to your expectations.

2. Take a look at the materials used to make the coupler and the way it was manufactured.

It would be very beneficial to you to find out exactly what went into the manufacturing of any coupler that you are thinking about buying. This means you will need to do a little bit of research to discover all of the different materials that the manufacturer used to put the coupler together. You will find out that the materials that companies use to make their couplers will vary dramatically in terms of their quality. You should also learn about the process that each company uses to assemble their couplers.

3. Only buy your couplers from a company that has an acceptable return policy.

You might buy some coaxial directional couplers and you later discover that they are not to your liking. If this is the case, you need to be able to get your money back without the company you bought them from giving you a hard time. Ideally, the retailer you bought the couplers from should give you a refund without asking why you want your money back.

The best calendar apps for iPhone and iPad

In the age of the iPhone, the art of managing a calendar is so efficient  that we barely have to spend any time thinking about it. Like a high-priced personal assistant, our calendars work even when we’re not staying on top of them, dutifully pulling dates from emails and messages, and making sure we never forget a friend’s birthday. The smart, sophisticated iOS interface has turned calendar-keeping from an active, urgent responsibility into a passive one, and pretty much everyone who owns an iPhone now partakes in some form of day planning.

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The best iOS calendars in the field don’t just look great, they offer their own unique concepts, distinguishing themselves by how they handle and present our data. Whether it’s event input, intelligence, social integration, or notifications, calendar app makers have added a wealth of features and functionality to the stock iOS calendar, to the point where Apple has even begun to borrow popular features just to keep up.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the impending shutdown of Sunrise (which was scheduled to fold on Aug. 31, but Microsoft stayed its execution). When it launched back in 2012, it offered a refreshing spin on the classic calendar. With a variety of app integrations, it combined events from places like Facebook, Eventbrite, LinkedIn, and Foursquare to create a complete picture of your work and play commitments. Smart, slick, and stylish, its color-coded events and minimal monthly view set a new standard for digital day planning, showcasing the enormous potential of multitouch and the untapped power of iOS. A steady stream of updates made it one of the best and most popular calendars in the App Store until Microsoft bought it in 2015 and subsequently announced that Sunrise would shutter this week. The company delayed the move to bring more features to Microsoft’s Outlook email app.

But while bits of Sunrise can be found in Outlook, its influence can be felt on calendars all over the App Store. Its sleek design and unique concept paved the way for generations of digital day planners, and dejected devotees won’t have to look far to find a worthy replacement. Here’s our list of favorites.

Winner: Fantastical

fantastical1Fantastical’s slick design gives you a tidy overview of your schedule, whether in day, week or month view.

There are calendar apps, and then there is Fantastical ($5 for iPhone, $10 foriPad). What started as a Mac utility for die-hard date keepers has turned into the measuring stick for all other mobile calendar apps. From its perfectly-calibrated views to its downright pleasurable input screen, Fantastical doesn’t just live up to its lofty name—you’d be hard-pressed to find a flattering adjective that doesn’t apply.

Fantastical’s main screen has a definite Sunrise-style feel, with a chronological list of appointments displayed below a full or partial calendar month. Instead of a choose-your-own-account method, Fantastical piggybacks on Calendar, displaying only the accounts you’ve subscribed to in Settings. Serious Eventbrite and Facebook users won’t miss the in-app integration, however, as they likely have those events already plugged into their Google or iCloud calendars.

Its interface is simple enough to grasp in seconds, but that’s not to imply that Fantastical is merely a basic calendar. There are three views to choose from: The patented DayTicker, which boils your calendar down to only days that have events, a full dot-style monthly calendar, and a week view that offers an hourly overview of your upcoming schedule.

fantastical2The DayTicker puts your events on full display, so you can check in and quickly get on with your day.

But while Fantastical can certainly function as a regular calendar, it’s not as much about days as it is about events. Where other calendars will show blank slots between appointments, Fantastical’s event list focuses solely on what you need to do. In fact, the only place you’ll see free time is in the weekly view, and that’s mainly for fixing scheduling snafus. It’s not unlike a to-do app in that regard, and it’s one of the many subtle ways that Fantastical sets itself apart from its competitors.

Event creation is an overlooked aspect of many calendar apps, but Flexibits spent considerable time on it. Foremost is its natural language engine. It might not be as novel as it once was (especially since more than a few of its peers have adopted the concept on their own way), but it’s still delightful to watch it parse a jumbled string of words into a sensible event.

Fantastical requires separate purchases for the iPhone and iPad, but the money is well spent. Whether you have a mini or a Pro, Fantastical makes the most of the extra pixels, adding support for Split View and Slide Over, as well as an expanded design that puts a greater emphasis on the calendar. And if you own an Apple Watch, you can get reminders and add events right from your wrist. But the iPhone app is the star here, offering excellent on-the-spot event creation and at-a-glance scheduling all in one of the most beautiful interfaces you’re likely to find. And if that’s not fantastic, I don’t know what is.

Runner-Up: Calendars 5

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No matter which view you choose, Calendars 5 will give you complete control over your events.

Readdle has been selling a calendar app for nearly as long as Apple has been making the iPad, and that experience can be felt all throughout Calendars 5 ($7). Powerful, versatile, and just a little bit fun, the deluxe day planner will dutifully track your day with power and panache that defies its mobile status.

A variety of views is common among most top-tier calendar apps, but Readdle leaves no stone unturned, offering calendars in all shapes and sizes: You can choose to see your day, week, or month, a list of your events, or filter down to just tasks. While you won’t find anything to rival Fantastical’s DayTicker among the fairly standard display options, its variety of views is a testament to just how well Calendars anticipates and responds to its users’ needs.

Like Fantastical, Calendars picks up all of your iCloud entries, but a separate sign-in gives Google users a bit more control over syncing. All of the usual features are present here—recurring events, reminders, alerts, etc.—but Calendars employs a natural intuition that makes the whole process quite enjoyable. For instance, you can tap on an event to open a floating window that will tell you more about it (or let you change something). Or double-tap a box when in full calendar mode to quickly shift to that day’s view. Or my favorite: If you want to reschedule an event, simply drag its tiny colored rectangle to a different date.

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Even without dials or sliders, Calendars 5 lets you create appointments quickly and easily.

And drag-and-drop isn’t the only desktop-caliber feature. Very little about Calendars feels much like a mobile app, and its utilitarian yet still elegant interface would be right at home on OS X. Even on the iPhone, Calendars’ user experience belies its tiny screen, with smart gestures and slick navigation that make scheduling a breeze.

When it comes to event creation, Calendars excels there too. While its natural language engine isn’t quite as mesmerizing as Fantastical’s, it does well to understand what you type or say, whether it’s a simple lunch meeting or a weekly task. And if you want to do things the old-fashioned way, Calendars’ date selector is one of the best you’ll find, eschewing dials for a grid method that eliminates any fumbling and lets you create even custom recurring events in seconds.

And that, in a nutshell, is Calendars’ main appeal. Everything about it is designed for speed and simplicity, and after using it for a few days, Calendars just might be the sole calendar you’ll ever need.

Best for Android switchers: Google Calendar

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Android switchers will instantly know their way around Google Calendar on the iPhone.

When you’re in a strange land, a little familiarity is always welcome. The same is true with OSes. There might be a fair amount of overlap with Android and iOS, but switchers still have a lot of new stuff to learn. Thanks to Google, a calendar isn’t one of them. Google Calendar on iOS (free, iPhone only) is pretty much a carbon copy of the version it offers for Android users. While it may look out of place next to the calendars here that follow Apple’s interface guidelines, Google’s Material Design isn’t without its charms. And with iOS’s lag-free scrolling and touch response, Android users might actually get a better experience than the one they’re used to.

But more than that, Google Calendar is as good of a calendar on the iPhone as it is on a Galaxy. Switchers can see all of their appointments and birthdays without learning a new interface, and even veteran iPhone users will appreciate its colorful card-inspired look that gives  events an extra degree of glance-ability—just so long as they don’t mind admitting that Android might not all bad.

Best for long-term planning: Informant

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With notes, photos and checklists, Informant will let you meticulously plan all of your events.

While any of the calendars here are as adept at planning next month’s vacation as they are with scheduling tomorrow’s business lunch, if you’re looking to chart out a serious long-term life plan, they might not fit the bill. But Informant (free to install, subscription required) will. Not only does it offer bountiful customization options that let you differentiate from things happening now and further down the road, it expands your events far beyond simply when and where they might be happening. If you’re scheduling a project, for example, you can add to-do reminders or you can easily attach a packing list to a future trip. You can also add memos and sub tasks to make sure nothing is forgotten.

But what makes its planning abilities truly awesome is its text editing. Surely it’s not the only app to offer in-event notes (in fact, even Apple’s own calendar has them), but Informant’s text capabilities are more than a mere extra field. You can write and edit full pages of rich text and attach images to create a complete picture of your event. Informant’s iPad interface could use a little updating, but if you’re an obsessive long-term planner, its impressive tools and customization options will let you hammer out every last detail of your event.

Best for short-term planning: Timepage

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Timepage’s slick, carefree interface is perfect for casual calendar keepers.

If you only use your calendar for the most important events in their life, many of the apps here are probably too much calendar for your needs. But if you still want an alternative to Apple’s standard Calendar, Moleskine’s Timepage ($5, iPhone only) might be just the ticket. Straddling the ever-thinning line between a to-do app and a calendar, Timepage doesn’t overwhelm you with features or options—rather, it offers an elegant spin on the day planner with a beautifully crafted, minimal interface.

Timepage utilizes a series of color-coded circles to illustrate your busiest days—a system vastly superior to the classic dot method, especially if you’re a casual calendar user. At a glance you can quickly see when your events are taking place, and scheduling a new one utilizes a delightful scroll bar that makes the process easy and fun. Events themselves get weather forecasts and travel estimates, all of which are also available on its companion Apple Watch app.

Best for your social life: UpTo

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If you want to know what’s going on in the world around you, just give UpTo a pinch.

No matter which calendar you choose to make your own, there’s one thing that’s consistent across all of them: They’re only as useful as the data you feed into them. UpTo (free) takes a different approach. While you can use it to plan your schedule just like a regular calendar, it’s not just for tracking the things you have to do—it also keeps you up to date on stuff you want to do.

UpTo is kind of like a page-a-day calendar for the digital age. With a variety of community calendars to choose from, the app does a remarkable job of turning your boring calendar into one you’ll want to visit each day. Along with your personal dates, UpTo shows you important dates in history, TV premiers, sporting events, concerts, and anything else worth knowing about. And it doesn’t clutter up your calendar to do it—to access your social calendar, simply pinch out on your main calendar to see what’s happening in the world beyond your own.

Others of note

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Cal puts less of an emphasis on what you’re doing and more on who you’re doing it with.

Much like the hundreds of wall calendars that fill the shelves of that kiosk in your local mall each December, the App Store is loaded with more calendars than you can shake a stick at. And while there might not be any that feature tiny kittens doing adorable things, you’re almost certain to find one that fits your tastes.Anyone who enjoys the sleek stylings of Any.DO’s task management will love Cal’s (free, iPhone only) simple, breezy take on day planning. With a slick, speedy interface that puts a heavy focus on the people in your life, Cal turns calendar keeping from a chore into a downright pleasure.

If Cal isn’t minimal enough,Peek ($3, iPhone only) ditches the calendar format altogether. Clean and hyper-focused to the point where it barely looks like a calendar at all, Peek turns the traditional square grid on its head with a gesture-driven interface that will change the way you schedule and view your events.

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WidgetCal is a must if you send a lot of time in your lock screen’s Notification Center.

If your life revolves around your calendar,24me (free) wants to be at the center of it. More than a calendar, 24me keeps tabs on all of the things you need to remember—dates, to-dos, lists, notes and even bills—with a neat interface and a keen eye for organization. Like a personal assistant, 24me gets smarter as you use it and makes sure you never forget or blow off an important event.

Several of the calendars here offer widget companions to their main calendar, but WidgetCal (free) is devoted to it—and it shows. With a bright, colorful design and a surprising amount of customization, WidgetCal puts a complete picture of your life right in the Notification Center. And if it didn’t have to rely on Awesome Calendar for inputting events, it would actually be powerful and flexible enough to be your main calendar.

That’s not to say being forced to use Awesome Calendar ($7) is a bad thing. Packed with loads of features, including to-dos, checklists, notes, and photos, the all-in-one scheduling app overcomes its somewhat stale interface by handling your tasks and events with swift precision.