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iCalViewer: A Different Way of Viewing iCal Events and Lists

Published February 19th, 2007

iCalViewer: Real-time, dynamic viewing of your events and to do’s

iCal Viewer SoftwareOriginally downloaded 6/8/06. This is an interesting approach… you have numerous options for customizing it, but in a nutshell, iCalViewer puts your events on the desktop, in a window, or in Expose in a timeline metaphor where all the events are moving slowly forward, in real time. Hard to describe… you kinda have to try it and see. It’s shareware, but interesting to download just cause it’s so different! A menubar extra gives you access to the various options.

Update 2/19/07. I really love the iCalViewer concept, but frankly it’s just not that useful for me. I keep turning it on and trying to like it, but I don’t see the advantage of this over just opening iCal, unless you’re just in it for the eye-candy (which is actually fairly modest).

Here’s a list of a few things I can’t do with iCalViewer that I’d like. Enabling these wouldn’t necessarily induce me to pay $11 for it, but I’d probably be more tempted than I am now.

  • Interact with the calendar when it’s running in Desktop mode. At the moment, the Desktop mode view appears to be read-only… you can’t even click on items to open them in iCal, as you can in the other two view modes.
  • Let me do something with the To-Do item list other than open iCal. This list is nice-looking but pretty brain-dead. You can’t (a) organize items by calendar or due date, (b) update item status, or (c) manually cycle through the to-do list. iCal Viewer by default sorts To-Do items by priority, and you can’t change that. You can’t interact with its list in any way other than opening iCal. Finally, if you have a lot of items, iCal Viewer can’t fit them all in one pane, even if you make it as tall as possible. The software automatically shuffles through the list every few seconds, but there’s no way to make it shuffle. You have to just patiently wait… Sorry, this just doesn’t make for a useful to-do list, when one item on the list is called “Wait for To-Do item to appear in the Viewer.”
  • Let me change how the event items are displayed. iCal can change the colors, since they follow the calendar color. But I’d like to be able to change font, width, and height, for example. Or perhaps I’d like a different style of background.
  • Navigate forward and backward in time, within the iCal Viewer window. If iCal Viewer is supposed to provide quick access to iCal events and other data, it needs to assume some additional tricks. What I mean here is that rather than changing the Viewer’s “lookahead” value (the number of days, weeks, etc. that iCal Viewer will show on the screen) in order to see into the future, it would be cool to be able to scroll there. The problem with increasing the “lookahead” value is twofold: (1) It requires a manual round-trip to Preferences, and (2) The screen gets too cluttered to interpret if you’re showing more than about a week of data.

Still, iCalViewer is a very cool idea that may some day become more than a curiosity for folks like me. In the meantime, I’ll stick with iCal and the terrific, free DoBeDo widget, together with the $20 MenuCalendarClock for iCal.

Version as tested: 2.0.8.

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