Stop the vibrating iCal alarm clock

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Do you use iCal to alert you to upcoming events via the “Message” or “Mesage with sound” pop-up alert? If so, you’re probably quite familiar with the mechanisms iCal uses to get your attention—when an alert appears, the iCal dock icon starts bouncing, a sound (optionally) plays, and the small alarm clock icon in the alert box visually “buzzes” to catch your eye.

I use these alerts all the time, and sometimes, I like to leave them on the screen—since they float over everything, they’re a good visual reminder of upcoming deadlines. However, the visual indicators soon start to bug me, as they catch the corner of my eye. It’s easy enough to quiet the bouncing dock icon (just click on the alert box), but the buzzing alarm clock doesn’t seem to have an easy fix. Or does it? If you close the alert box, it obviously vanishes, but I want to keep the alert on the screen.

It turns out the solution is ridiculously simple…and it’s actually documented, if you dig deep enough into iCal’s help. All you need to do is control-click on the buzzing clock, and then select Stop from the pop-up menu that appears, as seen in this movie.

As noted above, this is documented in iCal’s help, but many people (myself included) didn’t notice it there. It’s on the Tips page. If you want to reach that page on your own Mac, start by selecting Help: iCal Help within iCal. When Help Viewer launches, follow this path to the tips page: Browse iCal Help -> Shortcuts and Tips -> Tips.

There are actually some really useful tips on the page, including “to invite someone to an existing event, drag their Address Book card to the event’s Info drawer.” It’s usually worth your time to dig through Apple’s help files, as the content is usually quite good, even if it’s a bit tricky to find all the good stuff.

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