So simple, there should be a million of 'em
August 4, 2010 6:36 PM   Subscribe

Recommend a Calendar Application for OS X - special snowflake requirement.

I have never found a calendar application for os x that I liked (when I say os x, I'm including any cross-platform app that will work on os x 10.6). I am hoping someone may have a good recommendation.

General requirements:

1)must work offline (i.e. cannot be online only)
2)can set alarms/reminders for events (ability to send email reminders a plus, but not 100% necessary).
3)generous space for event descriptions
4)ability to work on Touch/iPhone would be fabulous - but if that's too hard, this is not a deal-breaker.
5)ability to attach files to events - a big plus, but not 100% requirement
6)it should have holidays etc. marked (USA)
7)free would be nice of course, but I'm willing to pay

Special requirements:

I want to be able to see the entire year at a glance. This is the thing that I cannot find in a decent calendar app. And this is an absolute non-negotiable requirement. I want to be able to see the whole year - all 12 months and all days of each month on one page, and have the ability to click easily between years, like here:


I want to be able to set flags to any given date on such a page, so that when I click on a given date, it takes me to the full page for that day with all events for that day.

Given these requirements, the usual suspects of iCal, Google Calendar, Thunderbird etc. are a no-go.
posted by VikingSword to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You might try looking at this site which lists OS X software...I entered "calendar" in the search box and didn't see anything matching your requirements, but you might want to double check I didn't miss anything.
posted by forthright at 7:23 PM on August 4, 2010

Saisuke on your iPhone will do this. It will sync with GCal, so you can use whatever desktop calendaring program you like that will sync with GCal and present the views you need.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:25 PM on August 4, 2010

Alternately, I think Saisuke will display the iCal database, so you can use anything that will sync through .ical files or MobileMe, like PreMinder.

Alternately, I'd imagine Entourage has a year view.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:29 PM on August 4, 2010

Google calendar has a year view facility. You have to enable it specially: go to your Google calendar, click on "Settings" in the upper right, then in the Calendar Settings options page, click on the "Labs" tab, and then finally look for "Year view" on that page.

It's also possible to view more than one month at a time in iCal, but it requires a poorly-documented trick. This page describes how to turn on the debug menu in iCal. Within that menu, there is a command for "New Calendar Window". I use this all the time to view multiple months, by first creating new windows and then using the month view in each window, setting the month to different months. A drawback of this is that the iCal windows won't let you resize them very small, so it's hard to see many months at the same time, unless you have multiple large monitors.

iCal entries can have file attachments, alarms, reminders (even over email). For holidays, you can simply subscribe to some public holiday calendars like the ones here or here.

For your request #4, if you subscribe to MobileMe, you will get the ability to do over-the-air synchronization of your calendar and address book, so that you don't have to wait until manual USB-based sync'ing to do updates between your desktop iCal and iPhone/iPod touch.

(I used to hate, hate, hate the fact that I couldn't see more than one month at a time in iCal, and it almost drove me to use Google calendar, but the discovery of the debug menu/multiple windows feature turned it around for me. This combination makes iCal 10x more useful for me. YMMV of course.)

Usual disclaimers apply—this is not an endorsement of any of the things mentioned, I don't work for Apple/Google/subsidiaries or indeed any commercial enterprise, if you try any of these ideas and they cause your computer to burst into flames and scorch your cat, I won't be held responsible, etc., etc., etc.
posted by StrawberryPie at 8:35 PM on August 4, 2010

Response by poster: Thank you, wonderful folks - great suggestions. StrawberryPie, I'm a gonna try me some debug trickery.
posted by VikingSword at 9:34 PM on August 4, 2010

Response by poster: Sadly, I can't even turn on the debug menu in iCal following the instructions in that page - I also googled around, and the various suggested codes does work on my 10.6.4.. It would be nice if iCal fucking grew up and had a year view without secret handshakes and undocumented features. For the Google Calendar, yes, you can turn on year view, but it's useless as your events are not marked on it... may as well just keep a pdf of a year view.

I'll look at PreMinder some more, though the reviews worry me a bit - seems buggy as all get out.

In short it's a big flop - again.

Every couple of years I check in on the state of missing apps in OS X. Here it was time to check again on OS X calendars. Still FAIL in 2010, for the most advanced operating system in the world for the incredibly recherche software: a freakin' calendar. I'll check back in 2012./rant over/.

Thanks everybody.
posted by VikingSword at 10:16 PM on August 4, 2010

I was running PHP icalendar locally on my machine for a while. It does the year view thing OK, but but any editing/attachments/alarms/etc need to be done through iCal. Worked for me because I was really only using the year view as an overview; if you want to live in year view and drill down all the time, it probably won't suit.
posted by Pinback at 11:49 PM on August 4, 2010

I do nearly all of this (not sure about attaching files to an event) with Google Calendar and a Google calendar app on the droid (they sync great)... I would imagine there's a iphone app for it as well...
posted by HuronBob at 5:28 AM on August 5, 2010

Every year view I have seen is useless in terms of showing event detail. Any display that shows twelve months is typically too condensed to show calendar items in a useful way. Since iCal can show a few months in the left column, can you elaborate more on why the year view is a requirement for you?
posted by markmillard at 7:58 AM on August 5, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks again. Markmillard, I need the year view, because (perhaps I'm alone in this) I need to see the whole year when making plans and scheduling events - I like to see all my options and breaking multi-month projects into 1-3-4 month chunks loses the instant overview aspect for me - it's like a painting, sure I can look at it a sliver at a time, but much prefer seeing the whole thing. Perhaps just a personal quirk, but I can't adjust away from it. So what I do now is have a full year calendar on my desktop that I can stare at and make plans, and then Google calendar next to it to put in events - all very awkward and I hate it. As to putting events in being too condensed in a year view - I've got a big 27" monitor :)... seriously though, it can be done with multi-colored flags, labels and various symbols - I had a piece of software like that for windows back almost 20 years ago, but forget what the name was (Task something, I think). Oh well.
posted by VikingSword at 10:25 AM on August 5, 2010

Maybe you want to look at project planning software?
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:12 AM on August 5, 2010

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