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Apple Mac OS X tips and tweaks

Date: 19th September 2011

OS X Lion: Have fun creating iCal calendar appointments

iCal, the calendar application that is bundled with OS X, has had a bit of a makeover in Lion and in addition to the new leather-look graphics at the top of the window, it also has a better understanding of what you type in when creating a new appointment or event.

It is worth spending a few minutes with iCal experimenting with it to see just what it understands. It's interesting and fun and you can use what you learn when you make appointments for real. A simple example of the sort of thing you can now enter into iCal is "Dentist at 10 next Friday". iCal will correctly create the event in the calendar on Friday at 10am. That's useful.

Try typing "Dinner with Susan on Sunday". In this case, no time is specified in the entry, so what is iCal to do? In situations like this it looks for keywords and here it recognises the word Dinner. This enables it to automatically schedule the event for 8pm next Sunday and lasting an hour. If you try it with the similar "Lunch with Sue on Saturday" you will find that it schedules the event for 12.00 and lasting an hour. It obviously knows the difference between lunch and dinner.

How about this one: "Dentist at 11.30 a week on Thursday". It correctly interprets "a week on Thursday" and creates the event at 11.30 on Thursday next week. That's quite clever. Can you think of any other phrases you might use? Try them in iCal and see if it understands them. It's fun seeing what it can interpret and it could be useful the next time you want to create an event.

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