capsule review

Event Reminder 2.8.6

Earlier this week, I told you about Dates to iCal, which automatically syncs birthdays and anniversaries from Address Book to iCal, adding editable reminder alarms in the process. Today, I’m sticking with the iCal/reminder theme to show you a way to track upcoming events without having to set a pesky alarm for each of them.

One of my favorite Dashboard Widgets is iCal Events, which displays pending iCal events in a handy list, letting you quickly see what’s coming up. Today’s Gem, Supermagnus Software’s Event Reminder 2.8.6 (payment requested), performs a similar task—although outside of Dashboard, and with more options and flexibility.

When you first launch Event Reminder, it launches iCal, imports upcoming iCal events, and then quits iCal (a process that can take a while if, like me, you’ve got thousands of events in your calendars). Events Reminder then displays all upcoming events in a list, complete with each event’s date, its name, the calendar that contains it, and the number of days until the event occurs. (Unfortunately, the time of the event isn’t displayed; Event Reminder is designed to let you see events at a daily level, not as a replacement for a true scheduling application.)

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Using Event Reminder’s preferences window, you can determine exactly which items appear in the list. For example, you choose how many upcoming days the display covers (I use 14 so I see everything for the next two weeks) and how many, if any, days of already-past events are shown. You can choose which iCal calendar(s) should be used, a useful feature if you’ve got multiple personal and subscription calendars and you want to view upcoming events in only particular ones. You can also choose to have Event Reminder display standard holidays (using your choice of one or more of 22 built-in holiday calendars) and iCal To Do list items. You can also set the translucency of the Event Reminder window, choose the date format and tweak other minor settings.

But Event Reminder isn’t restricted to iCal’s data. It can automatically import birthdays and custom events from Address Book and, if you’re a Palm user, load calendar data from Palm Desktop. (I couldn’t test the latter, although, oddly enough, the developer says Event Reminder will display the date and time for Palm Desktop events.) A nifty feature: if an event is a birthday, and you’ve provided the year of birth in Address Book, Event Reminder will display the person’s age in the listing.

The top of the Event Reminder window provides a toolbar with a number of buttons for accessing other features. (The buttons aren’t labeled and only a few of the icons make sense to me; thankfully, the developer has added tooltips, so you can hover your mouse cursor over each button to see what it does.) For example, you can tell Event Reminder to ignore a selected event, which simply removes that instance of the event from the Event Reminder display; the original data isn’t affected. (Unfortunately, the item will remain in the list until Event Reminder reloads your event data from the chosen sources; you accomplish this by clicking the reload button in the toolbar or by relaunching Event Reminder.)

Another button lets you change the event display to show only holidays; however, to switch the display back to your personal events, you need to reload the data again. There are also yearly and monthly “perpetual calendar” features, a button for exporting the current display to a delimited text file, and the capability to print the current event listing as a table.

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Event Reminder isn’t the prettiest or most polished Mac OS X application I’ve seen, but it’s useful for giving you a quick look at what’s coming up on your schedule.

Event Reminder 2.8.6 requires Mac OS X 10.2 or higher and is a Universal Binary.

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