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by: Bernard Teo

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Bernard Teo
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Thu 14 Oct 2004

Reflections on Man United, iCal, and a life well lived

Category : Commentary/ManUtdiCal.txt

I thought there would be something like this - Manchester United's fixtures on (where you can also find Arsenal's fixtures if you follow the gooners). This is what I now have on iCal.

It's wonderful - iCal displays the time as local time, from whatever locale you view the calendar. No need to check the newspapers or guess if it's a Wednesday or Thursday morning that United is playing.

See what I mean about how the technology is helping us to merge work life with the rest of our lives.

The calendar with the orange tab, above, shows the Singapore Public Holidays. You definitely don't want to schedule a business meeting on a holiday. And my wife updates an Appointments calendar for me, when she needs me to know when I have things to do for the family. I also publish my work calendar, of course, so that's where she goes to get an idea of my schedule.

It's all very easy to set up, if you have your own server. iCal calendars are published using WebDav servers and it's not that difficult to turn on WebDav support using the Apache web server that Apple builds into every OS X machine.

It's the little things that count, and these little things do add up to quite a lot, if what you're looking for is a quality life, or a life well-lived.

I was reading this review of the Mac by a "die-hard" PC user, the other day. It's interesting reading, if only to understand how PC users think and it'll be a useful reminder for when I'm teaching our OS X courses. A PC user is very concerned about speed - e.g., how fast a window opens or scrolls - but what I observe is an absence of context.

Context is what your inner eye is looking for when you think about what you want to do with the machine. For example, using iCal to coordinate a family's schedules. Or using the Font Book, below, to organise the typefaces on my Mac, so that I can use them to add colour to the messages I'm trying to communicate - on a web page or on a piece of printed page.

I love reading Allan Haley's "The A B C's of Type" and I often have it by my side when I work. I've created a collection containing some of the typefaces that Allan Haley covers in his book and I can make them available with just one click in the Font Book.

But I digress. Yes, the Mac may be slower than a PC when it scolls or opens a window. But I don't often notice it because my mind's usually on the context, on what I'm trying to communicate or achieve, and what I can tell you is that the Mac's usually faster than the time I take to find solutions or ideas. Context is the key. Without it, we're always going to be pointlessly arguing about the merit of one tool or the other. With it, the choice is so clear - at least to me.

Posted at 10:20AM UTC | permalink

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