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Is iCal the "Center" of the Digital Hub?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
This guy have a point.

<a href="http://www.macobserver.com/editorial/2002/09/24.1.shtml" target="_blank">http://www.macobserver.com/editorial/2002/09/24.1.shtml</a>
[quote] Why Cal?
Apple continues to shock and amaze me. Back at MACWORLD NY, I was caught up in the keynote (as we all do), and I couldn't help but gush at the demo of the soon to come iCal. But once I got past the initial reality distortion field, I thought to myself, "Excellent, another free app that I'll never use."

Now I'm not saying that there is no merit in having or keeping a Calendar of daily events, but for me (and nameless others you know who you are) I'll never use it. I hate keeping a calendar. I prefer the ol' noggin or little slips of paper strewn about every room of the house. I keep my top secret VPN login information for one of my clients written on an old phone bill (in my safe). I even gave up on my Visor after a year. With the exception of the GPS attachment, the handheld has been consigned to the glove compartment of my car. I just find the task of keeping on top of a calendar app tedious and beneath me.

Funny too, because in my design or programming work, I am detail driven. I sweat any image that may have a frazzled or feathered edge. Everything must be perfect, but when it comes down to applying that same level of intensity to my lifestyle (to me every drawer is a junk drawer), I just can't muster the requisite discipline to keep on top of time. That's why I have a checkbook, but I never write checks. It would require tracking that information. Besides, as a consultant, time to me is truly relative. I work my own hours, all of which are negotiable.

So when Apple threw me a new bone, I was thrilled to have a new toy to download, but I knew it wouldn't be long before I lost interest in it. Boy was I wrong. I think that iCal is the first calendar application I might actually make a lifetime commitment to.

Now many people will probably wonder what is so new to this application that it would make such a difference. I mean, it is a little buggy, and some of the most obvious UI elements of user forgiveness and feedback are missing, but I don't care about any of that. After sitting around digging around the application for a little while, I had a few eureka moments that have opened my eyes. Thank you Apple, for once again showing me the error of doubting your infinite loop wisdom. So what reasons could I possibly have for hailing this as the savior of my digital existence?

Reason 1
So I'm sitting there, ho-humming through the program, when it finally dawned on me that the ability to subscribe to calendars that appear on MY desktop is f#$%^& brilliant. Almost overnight, Web sites like <a href="http://www.icalshare.com/" target="_blank">http://www.icalshare.com/</a> have sprung up, allowing me to add important dates and items to my calendar without my having to dedicate one tiny electron of brain-to-key power on my keyboard. Apple also has a section on its site with a small selection of calendars, like TV schedules, Concert Dates, and Holidays.

This is quite revolutionary! Really! Unlike Microsoft, who believes that everything should occur at their server level, Apple has given us poor schmucks the ability to share collaborative data on a whole new level. P2P coordination of times and dates! Not only is it valuable for my own personal use, I can apply someone else's work to my busy lifestyle. An example is seeing the Sopranos season premier pop up on my HBO calendar and then creating a list of invitees to come to my premier party (unless it is read-only).

This got me to thinking about other options. What if the people in my life started to publish calendars for me? I was at the vet yesterday and I learned that four of our animals were due for $omething. I thought, "It would be fantastic if my vet could publish an iCal of when the dogs are due for rabies, or the cats need their feline leukemia. Then when I made an appointment, I could subscribe to that calendar as well."

I also build FileMaker solutions for large companies as part of my business. So with an iCal plug-in, changes to the database could be updated to an iCal that might have thousands subscribers. The possibilities are endless. Since iCal can import vCal data, even PC folks can join us. The tip of the iceberg is only now revealed, who knows where this will go?

Reason 2
Also while plugging along through my tour of iCal, I thought to myself, what if iCal could control my computer? Is Apple so freakin' brilliant that they've already realized that iCal is the actual center of the digital hub? Of course they are. How do I know that? Because it is scriptable! Yes you heard me right. I went out onto the Web to see if anyone else had caught on to this and yes indeed, a guy named Doug Adams had written a lovely AppleScript called iCal Calling iTunes, which allows you to control your playlists based on date and time. What a neat idea!

Okay, so we extrapolate on that idea and we have an application that can do home automation, program your net radio station, handle receipts for eBay (when Pay Pal e-mail comes in, it could create a calendar receipt of payment), automate FileMaker, and more. The possibilities are endless. I've even seen someone talk about blogging from iCal. Kinda brings tears to my eyes.

Final Thoughts
Recently, David Coursey from ZDNet (who John Dvorak would be if he had enjoyed a happy childhood) posted a commentary on what the next big technology thing would be, asking folks to contribute their ideas.

Well I don't know if I'm the first to say it David, but here goes:

To me, iCal combined with iSync is quite possibly the next killer app. The next big thing in computing actually involves something so simple as date and time (and soon presence). You possibly heard it here first. Sure, you can tell me the future is bio-whatever, implanted GPS chips, virtual chewing gum. But, the problem with predicting what will be, is that it isn't here and still has numerous hurdles (primarily ensuring that virtual gum doesn't stick to your Bluetooth). But iCal is here now, iSync is days away, and I've started using a calendar. And that, is simply amazing.

He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
- SolipsismX
He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
- SolipsismX
post #2 of 5
I have ordered a sony erricson t68i artic blue phone just because of the steve note.

important comments steve made:

"we looked at what people use there pda for and most of it is to hold phone numbers and dates."

with ical,isync,bluetooth (which would require me to install (and fail a couple of times at it) bluetooth drivers on my 3 ghz pc and still not have this level of integration)

i think we may be onto something big. the next wave of personal information always with you and that is _usable_ and _synced_ and _synced _easilty_

great article and bravo apple.

I'll take innovation over megahurtz any day of the week
post #3 of 5
nice written article.
post #4 of 5
Good article, but he could have been more clear about that iCal and all other iApps are free (for all the PC-people reading).

[ 09-25-2002: Message edited by: Fobie ]</p>
iBook 800 with 10.2.6 - Various PC's with OpenBSD 3.3
iBook 800 with 10.2.6 - Various PC's with OpenBSD 3.3
post #5 of 5
What he could have added:

Noticed how your online buddies have a green dot next to them in Mail?

Noticed how you can send SMS from Address Book?

Noticed how incoming messages / calls are flagged by the OS on Bluetooth-enabled systems?

iCal is only one part of a strategy which includes interoperability of iSync, Address Book, Mail, Bluetooth, iCal, .Mac and other OS goodies ... we'll be instant messaging seamlessly -- with roaming capabilities via mobile, choosing cheapest route for the message depending on how close they are to a computer to which their mobile device has been "paired." But you send a message / data to a person, not an address or a device and it gets there as fast and as cheap as it can.

iSync is based on SyncML, which eg T68i uses, and enables one to sync over a network ... combine this with Bluetooth (for automatic sync near a paired computer / GPRS (for automatic sync in the field) and your data is never static, following you around ferpectly as you or others change stuff that's relevant to you.

Apple are WAY ahead on thinking here, and that little iPod is going to be more important then we all think.

Not only that, but .Mac is going to suddenly look like decent value (not to everyone).
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