Version 8.2 contains a number of improvements to popup reminders and desktop alerts. These improvements include a new text-to-speech reminder option, improved media playback, selective visibility of reminder columns, and a streamlined popup reminder window layout.
Voice Reminders (Text-to-Speech)
A new option has been added to the event/task popup reminder and desktop alert settings. This option is labeled "Play voice reminder". When reminder appears using this option, a text-to-speech voice will recite the associated reminder text, and repeat the specified number of times or until the reminder is snoozed/dismissed. This can be useful if you're often away from your desk, but within hearing distance. When the reminder appears, the computer will recite the reminder, so you won't need to look at your monitor to find out what the reminder is about.
By default, the voice reminder will state the name of the event/task and when it is scheduled to begin. A voice template can be used to customize the recited text. A number of dynamic tags are also provided. For example, when the template includes a tag of [Description], any text entered on the Description tab will be recited. A default template can be saved when using the Pro version.
Desktop Alert - Sound File Looping
Previously, desktop alerts could play a system sound or wav file, but that sound would only play one time. A new option has been added to loop playback of the sound until the desktop alert is snoozed or dismissed. There are a number of good wav files available here (like VueSoft, that website is also based in St. Louis, Missouri).
Improved Popup Reminder Window
The popup reminder window layout has been simplified and improved. An area is still shown at the top of the window for listing multiple reminders, but now that area can be resized and the size will be saved. Here's an example of the popup reminder window when only one reminder is shown:
The reminder above is a very simple reminder that doesn't use any of the more advanced features, like media playback or additional content. These settings can be enabled when an event or task is defined. In most cases, it's just a matter of checking a box or picking a song, video, or picture. In the example below, the option to include the event description was enabled, along with the setting to play a song. As you can see, the media playback controls have been improved for a more modern appearance and better visual integration with the rest of the window. Additional buttons are shown due to multiple reminders being displayed, but the Snooze and Dismiss buttons retain their positions on the left and right side of the window. This makes using the popup reminder window easier, since once you get used to the layout, there will be no hunting for buttons.
Popup Reminder Options
In the previous popup reminder window, a lot of space was used at the bottom of the window for the "Always on top" and "Opacity" options, as well as a status bar for showing when the reminder will next appear if snoozed. The status bar has been removed to make the window smaller. Now, when you hover over the Snooze button, a popup balloon will appear showing when the reminder will appear again if the Snooze button is clicked. This is based on the current snooze length selected to the right of the Snooze button.
The window options are available in the "Reminder Options" window, accessed via the Options menu. New options have also been added for selecting which columns should be visible in list at the top of the popup reminder window. For example, if you don't care which calendar is associated with a reminder, you can turn off that column and further streamline the popup reminder window to only show the information you need.
In addition to the visual changes, a lot of improvements have been made behind the scenes. These changes make reminder processing more reliable and fix problems some people were seeing with media not playing or reminders not appearing when expected. Other more subtle improvements have also been made, such as making individual reminders remember the length of time they were snoozed for previously, and restore that as the default the next time the reminder appears. When all these improvements are combined, the popup reminder and desktop alerts are years ahead of anything else on the market, in terms of both flexibility and ease-of-use.