Despite my allegiance to Entourage, I still use Apple iCal. It’s my way of keeping a separation of church and state. Entourage is for business. Mail, iCal, AddressBook is for personal use. iCal has a simple charm and beauty that is aptly expressed in Ben Kazez’ Dashboard Widget, iCal Events.
To View or not to View
Sometimes visual cues are worthwhile, sometimes not. For example, when email comes to Mail, the Mail icon in the Dock lights up to say mail has arrived, and how many messages await you. That kind of visual cue is great.
iCal doesn’t provide that same kind of simplicity, but Ben’s Widget comes close, and still fits in with one of my multiple-times-daily actions.
Yes, Virginia, I use Dashboard Widgets. Sometimes. I set up my Mac’s Dashboard so that all I have to do is swish the mouse pointer to the upper right corner to invoke my Widgets. No click, just a little swish of the wrist.
Among the dozen or so Widgets that I admit to using is iCal Events. All it does is exactly what I want it to do. iCal Events lists the events coming up in iCal, up to two weeks worth of events in an attractive, resizable Widget.
Why is that so good? Because there’s no need to fire up iCal to see what’s going on. iCal Events pulls up the data whether iCal is running or not. iCal only needs to be open when I’m ready to make a schedule entry.
Uh oh. That sounds like the perfect feature to be added to iCal Events.
Simple is Better, Less is More
Everything about this nifty utility says simplicity. Just look at it to see what is happening and when. Mouse over each event to see which calendar it’s attached too, or to see when an event starts and when it ends.
From what I can see, iCal Events is instant. Make a change to iCal and iCal Events has the change by the time you open your Dashboard.
It just works, so it has become well integrated into my daily routine of click this, click that, or, in this case, just move my mouse pointer to a corner, and I’m updated, along with latest New York weather, my Apple stock, and a few comic strips.
Practical is one thing, fun is something else.
An alert reader tells me that the official iCal Widget has a similar, though not quite so elegant feature. Open your Dashboard Widgets and click on the date of the iCal Widget. It opens another pane to the right with that day’s events (don’t double click). Click the date again and all the side panes close. Click it again, only the date pane opens. Click once more and the events pane opens.