In many ways, iCal is not so different from those "Hunks of the Midwest Police Stations" paper calendars people leave hanging on the walls for months past their natural life span. But iCal offers several advantages over paper calendars. For example:
It can automate the process of entering repeating events, such as weekly staff meetings or gym workout dates.
iCal can give you a gentle nudge (with a sound, a dialog box, or even an email) when an important appointment is approaching.
iCal can share information with your Address Book program, with Mail, with your iPod, with other Macs, with "published" calendars on the Internet, or with a Palm organizer. Some of these features require one of those .Mac accounts described in Chapter 19, and some require iSync (Chapter 19). But iCal also works fine on a single Mac, even without an Internet connection.
iCal can subscribe to other people's calendars. For example, you can subscribe to your spouse's calendar, thereby finding out when you've been committed to afterdinner drinks on the night of the big game on TV.
When you open iCal, you see something like Figure 10-4. By clicking one of the View buttons on the bottom edge of the calendar, you can switch among any of these views:
Day shows the appointments for a single day in the main calendar area, broken down by time slot.
If you choose iCal → Preferences, you can specify what hours constitute a workday. This is ideal both for those annoying power-life people who get up at ...