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Summary:

I have a haunting feeling that I’m not the only one who has neglected the power and ease-of-use that Apple offers in their OS X based iCal and Address Book. I use them very simply (at best) and every time I open one to do some […]

iCal graphic I have a haunting feeling that I’m not the only one who has neglected the power and ease-of-use that Apple offers in their OS X based iCal and Address Book. I use them very simply (at best) and every time I open one to do some occasional task I think to myself, “I gotta start using this program more!”

So I’m on a mission to make them a regular part of my day while using my Powerbook. I know they’ve got so much under the hood and I could benefit from these offerings greatly. My [analog] sticky-note organization (of both scheduling and contacts) is highly effective…But I’m sure I could do better.

address book As I begin my quest to get more intimate with iCal and Address Book, I’ll be reporting back in segments. I’m eager to discover the killer features – the things you didn’t know they (or you) could do – and ways to integrate them seemlessly into daily work.

If you’ve got life-hacks, plugins, or personal experiences that you’d like to share, please do. I’m always interested in how other people user their systems, and I gain a great deal by learning from them – as I’m sure all of you will as well.

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  1. I’ve also come late to the iCal party because my company uses Meeting Maker (a great product, btw) for group scheduling and I thought “why would I need two calendars?” Well, here’s why – shared iCal calendars. Seems like there are a zillion calendars chronicled out there at iCalShare and Dotmac.info, and a bunch of them are about events I’m interested in. Besides that, Apple has a number of web pages that generate iCal files on the fly according to your preferences. So I have incentive to use iCal.
    But two things really have pushed me this direction now – first, someone pointed me to a little program called iMeetiCal that converts Meeting Maker text exports to iCal calendars. Then I got to wondering about a Filemaker Pro database I was using that generated date-and-time events: could I look at those in iCal as well? Turns out there’s a company called Cleveland Consulting that has a free FMPro db called iCalFilter that will translate any fields in a FMPro database into an iCal file. Cool stuff about that – I can save the resulting file to my iDisk and subscribe to it with any Mac OS X machine anywhere…

  2. Tim – some great info. That’ll help me get up and at it quickly.

    Now I just have to wait for my Powerbook to come back from AppleCare. Hurry up Apple!

  3. iCal: Set up my wife’s professional business with a series of calendars. They now mange event calendars for selected clients too. Also Call schedule and vacation calendars etc. We personally use personal calendar for each of us and one for each kid. Also one for each kid’s school… and so we break it out in great detail… then I can pull together the data very easity to get the big picture. The wife can get the business picture just as easily. I hear good rumors about many GREAT improvements comming with Tiger… so I will only get BETTER. But for now, the printing options (font size etc.) are extremely limited.

    Address Book: Best feature is auto lookup for email addresses. Nicely customizable, but could use a few more features. I wish it was more integrated by Group Organizer and PhoneValet and other third party products. I think more will integrate it better as it gets better with new features that I expect in Tiger.

  4. I have no need for a propietary calendar, however if iCal works as well on the PC as it does on the Mac, there is vast uses.

    Mozilla Calendar works with the iCal standard, this is great for PC users’ ablilty to synch to .mac calendars or individual personal calendars.

    Why is this nice? I frequently search for ways that my Mac at home can do what my PC at work can do. I strive to find ways my Mac is more efficient than my PC. Unfortunately MS Outlook is a primary condender in the PC busniess world keeping many Enterprises away from the Mac. Just no good enterprise solution for email and scheduling.

    Well, I think that Apple has done a fine job in iCal’s implementation and feature set in comparison to the Outlook Beast.

    I am able to share calendars with all my relatives whether they are on a Mac or PC. You can’t do this in Outlook – every one must be on the Outlook server.

    The key is using http://icalX.com to exchange calendars. Mozilla and Apple iCal both can utilize this service and the results are compelling.

    Almost realtime updates to any calendar you subscribe to. If someone doesnt’ have iCal or Mozilla Calendar there is an HTML version of the Calendar hosted there also.

    So, now i can see my wife’s calendar and she can see mine. Helps us keep track of what’s going on much easier.

    My Calendars include; Family Vacation Calendar, Work, Home, Birtday’s, Anniversaries and one for my small group.

  5. A suggested plug-in is MenuCalendarClock (mouthful, huh?!). Simply put, it replaces your menu bar clock and adds the functionality of a drop-down calendar and to-do list, illustrating your iCal events. It’s pretty customizable, even to the icon you place in the bar.

    It’s nice to have the convenience of seeing your schedule quickly via the menu bar.

  6. QuickSilver for Mac has an Address Book plugin that allows you to look up address book entries on the fly. Click Open Apple-Space Bar and then start typing a name in your book, hit return and the card comes up.

  7. nick santilli Friday, February 4, 2005

    Aaron – thx, yeah, i’ve actually used that a few times.

    only reason I’ve already got contacts in my Address Book is that I’ve Sync’d it with my T610 cell phone…

  8. I recommend an app called “iCal Birthday Shifter” Sounds stupid, but it lets you keep track of birthdays in address book easily in iCal. Just run it and it puts all your contact’s birthdays in iCal.

    http://www.scotlandsoftware.com/products/icalshifter/index.html

  9. Pale –
    that sounds really cool! I’m focusing more on iCal at the moment, and plan to update (heavily) my address book shortly. when I do that I’ll definitely check out the iCal Birthday Shifter.

    Thanks for the tip!

  10. The Apple Blog » FOLLOW-UP: Did iCal Solve All My Problems? Friday, February 25, 2005

    [...] Recently I posted about iCal and Address Book, and my suspicion that they were a couple of unsung heroes amongst the OS X-included apps. As [...]

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