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Remember when iCal didn’t look like it had been designed by a fifth grader learning to use KidPix? The only other decision I’ve ever seen Apple make that was so universally panned as the iCal redesign was Ping, but at least you could just turn that off. Whether your aversion towards iCal is due to its tacky design or its cumbersome method of inputting events, you fortunately have no shortage of alternatives when it comes to scheduling your day.

Of course, buried beneath the eye sores is one redeeming quality: iCloud syncing. Many alternative calendars for OS X and iOS still integrate with iCal in order to utilize that syncing power. SmartDay by Left Coast Logic lets you interact with your calendar and to-do lists from the menubar, while adding a few neat features. This isn’t a new concept, so making it an appealing option for Mac users means it needs to introduce some innovative features.

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This post is part of a series that revisits some of our readers’ favorite articles from the past that still contain awesome and relevant information that you might find useful. This post was originally published on April 23rd, 2011.

Time management is be a daunting task for many of us. I excel in writing down my appointments and time blocks into iCal, but if I don’t assign an alarm to them, I miss them. More than that, knowing that I have a lot crammed into a day discourages me to even open iCal – which doesn’t really improve the situation!

With Blotter, you can display your iCal content on your desktop and so keep an eye on your important stuff much easier – and surprisingly enough, find that there just might be time to do everything properly.

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We’ve scoured the Mac App Store and the web in search of the very best calendar apps for OS X. Some serve as full on iCal replacements while others are must have companion apps that extend iCal far beyond what it currently offers.

We found apps that put calendars on your desktop, in your menu bar, on a screensaver and just about everything else you could want. If you’re in the market for a new calendar utility of any kind, this is the roundup for you. I’ll even help you cut through the clutter by pointing out my favorite app of all!

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Organization is crucial for greater productivity and we all know the famous saying, “A failure to prepare is a preperation to fail.” On Macs, you’ve got a whole range of programs designed to help you become more productive and improve your organizational skills. You can use the traditional option of iCal, which has been given a much-needed rework in Lion, or if you prefer to have your calendar synced across all platforms, you can use Google Calendar. Facebook also comes in handy for keeping track of those house parties as well as your friends’ birthdays.

But there are times where you want to see exactly what’s happening across all your calendars without having to look all over the place. Enter CalendarBar. It’s a lightweight application available exclusively from the Mac App Store that runs quietly and nonchalantly in your menu bar and lets you view all your appointments from all your synchronized calendars with one click. The developers, Clean Cut Code, state on CalendarBar’s website that it’s a “unique way to keep track of your events”. Let’s take a closer look at CalendarBar and see whether this claim holds up.

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It is a rare but welcome occasion when an app is developed to do something I’ve always wanted an app to do. Fantastical is precisely that app. Often, when adding an event to iCal, getting frustrated with date and time fields, and giving up on adding any details but the name, I’ve pondered “shouldn’t there be another way?”

The developers of Fantastical have endeavoured to answer this plea with a menu-bar iCal tie-in promising the ability to quickly add events in natural language.

Upon further research, I learned that Fantastical wasn’t the first app to offer such a handy feature, apps like the cheaper QuickCal promise the same features. So, is Fantastical fantastic enough to justify the price?

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One of the excellent tools that comes standard with OSX is iCal, a basic calendar and task management program. Although it is a sufficient program for many Apple users, there are times when it would be great to have greater functionality, and a bit more flexibility than comes out of the box. Fortunately, there’s a program called BusyCal.

Not only does it have the same features and appearance as iCal with just a few tweaks, but it also provides many other functions that make it stand head and shoulders above its competition. Why? Well, I think that there are 7 good reasons…

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Sometime last year, frustrated by the complexities of the majority of task-tracking and GTD apps on the Mac (I’m looking at you, OmniFocus), I spent some time exploring the software that’s already built into OS X. That is: To Dos and Notes in Mail.app, and those same To Dos in iCal.

I turned more of my information into Events in iCal. Deadlines and reminders, which in the past had been undated items linked to particular Projects in OmniFocus or Things, now became dated To Dos or Events.

This worked quite well for me, but I found that I wanted to have easier access to my calendar, without needing to keep iCal open all the time. I tried using Bjango’s excellent Organized), but in general I don’t use Dashboard, so an ordinary app suited me better.

I considered a few options, and the one I liked most was Second Gear Software’s Today. Read on for a walkthrough of the basic feature set.

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If you are anything like me, you have scraps of paper lying around with dates, times, and names all over the place. Hopefully, you aren’t relying mainly on your head to keep yourself on-time and in the right location. Maybe you are stuck in the world of iCal misery, with syncing problems and duplicating events.

This is where BusyCal from BusyMac proves to be something of a lifesaver. If you are familiar with iCal, the transition to BusyCal shouldn’t be too difficult. Plus, you will enjoy some added bonuses such as powerful synchronization tools and live data built into the Month view.

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Anyone who owns a few domain names will appreciate that it can be somewhat of a pain to keep track of them all. You may have purchased them from a few different providers, some may auto-renew, some may come with hosting, some may be for other colleagues or friends. It can quickly get confusing.

Master of My Domain (MOMD) is an application designed to simplify the management of several domain names. You can keep track of when they expire, analyse where they are hosted (and where they point to), check whether your sites are running correctly, and easily monitor uptime.

This review will take a look at the different features of MOMD, and decide whether the application is worth purchasing (or whether you’d be fine with a simple spreadsheet!)

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