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I have a lot of devices that talk to my main Mac, the Mac Pro. There’s the ultra-tiny iPod nano, perfect for those short trips when the full-size iPod video is overkill. There’s also that second-generation iPod that I still haven’t gotten around to selling or donating. I don’t sync it any more, but it’s still there on my desk.

Then there’s my Treo, which I carry everywhere, much to the chagrin of my wife. And the MacBook Pro, my main portable computing machine. Out in the family room, our older 12-inch PowerBook G4 is used primarily for light Web surfing and e-mail checking during TV time. Finally, there’s my recently-retired Dual G5, which will soon be given to a relative, but for now, still resides in the den.

Each and every one of these devices is either actively synched with my Mac Pro, or was synced at one time. And that’s why I always know when it’s 10:30 a.m. every Thursday. You see, I have a recurring event that day each week, a phone call with my Macworld boss. Generally I don’t use alarms on my iCal events, but I set this one up with an on-screen message with sound (don’t want to miss the phone call to the boss!). So every week on Thursday at 10:30 a.m., our home begins to sound a lot like a rehearsal for a performance of The Carol of the Bells. The Mac Pro chimes, followed in quick succession by the Dual G5, the iPod video, iPod nano, second generation iPod, and MacBook Pro. Then, a couple seconds later, the Treo chirps up (I guess its clock is slightly out of sync), and if the PowerBook in the family room has been left on, I’ll hear that bell, too.

Of course, all of these sounds don’t happen perfectly in sync, so I’m treated to the sound effects spread over a 10-second or so interval. It’s quite humorous, actually…the first time. The second time, not so much. The third time, I was ready to throw the iPod through the window. It’s happened so much now, though, that I have the opposite problem: I completely tune out the alarms!

Yes, I know I can delete the events from the older, no-longer-synched devices. But that still leaves five devices that are in active sync mode, each set up to remind me of my weekly phone call. At this point, there’s not a lot I can do about that, unless I want to manually edit the recurring event on each five devices (and do it again after every re-sync). As a result, my No. 1 iCal feature request is an “alarm on this device only” setting—or perhaps there’s some way to do this that I just don’t know about?

In the interim, if you ever call me around 10:30 on a Thursday and wonder why I don’t answer, now you know—I can’t hear the phone ringing for all the other electronic bells going off in the vicinity!

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