capsule review

DayChaser 2.0

Even though Mac OS X includes iCal, there’s a big market for calendar programs for the Mac. Instead of repeating iCal’s features, Econ Technologies’ DayChaser 2.0 offers a different strategy for organizing your appointments and tasks.

Rather than showing all of your separate calendars in the same window, as iCal does, DayChaser uses individual calendar files, each of which displays in a separate window. This is both the program’s strength and its weakness. Since you have more display options with DayChaser—you can choose your own global font and color for events the program records—each calendar can have a completely different display. However, you cannot see how multiple calendars overlap, which is one of iCal’s main strengths. After all, what’s the point of using multiple calendars if you can’t get a bird’s-eye view of how they interrelate?

DayChaser lets you set five types of events: full-day events, appointments, memos, executable tasks (opening a specific file or running an AppleScript, for example) and general tasks (to-do items). You can set display options for each event, changing colors and fonts at will so you get a more visually attractive calendar than iCal’s. You can also import iCal calendars, allowing you to integrate schedules from other users into your own. And you can set several kinds of event alerts, from dialog boxes to e-mail notifications.

But, in many ways, DayChaser’s advantages end with this eye candy. You can’t set priorities for to-do items, and the display of to-do items and their associated notes is no better than in iCal. In day or week views, the program always displays full days, from midnight to midnight; you can’t choose to only display the hours that interest you, nor can you expand the amount of space taken up by each hour. And the program doesn’t interface well with Address Book; auto-complete for contacts’ e-mail addresses is buggy.

One nice feature of DayChaser is the Entry List window, which shows all your events in text form. However, this is not customizable, and the entries do not inherit the display changes you make in calendar view, making it hard to spot a specific event at a glance.

Macworld’s buying advice

DayChaser 2.0 is a good program for people who want more control over color and who prefer custom fonts in their calendars. But the lack of multicalendar views is a big weakness; if you use more than one calendar, you will probably find that iCal does a much better job, and for free.

[ Kirk McElhearn is the author of many books, including The Mac OS X Command Line: Unix Under the Hood (Sybex, 2004). His blog, Kirkville, talks about Macs, iPods, and more. ]

DayChaser lets you spice up your calendars with custom colors and fonts.
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