There isn’t much to complain about the software on a stock, out-of-the-box Mac, right? There’s email, a browser, a calendar, address book, iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, and a bunch of utilities to make a Mac more productive.
Add Apple’s iWork suite of word processor, spreadsheet, and PowerPoint killer, and the Mac is good to go. Almost. What we need are some handy dandy utilities that make a Mac even easier to use.
How Many Ways Can You Calendar?
iCal is the calendar application for the rest of us. Almost. iCal isn’t exactly handy. Each time you need it, iCal has to be fired up, even if your need is simple.
For example, if you want to check the date for next Monday. Or, you want to add a to-do item.
Suddenly, iCal has to be open all the time just to do the little niggling things that matter.
Is there a better way? Well, I’m glad you asked. Mac software makers are an ingenius bunch, striving to fill the gaps in Apple’s core software offerings. Be forewarned. This nifty utility is addicting, and requires a wide screen Mac.
The Calendar That is More Than A Calendar
BdCalendar is an extra handy window to iCal and Address Book. An easier and faster way to get into either one with a click or hot key.
Set up is a breeze. Download, drag and drop to your Applications folder, double click to start. What you get is a little calendar in your Mac’s Menubar, just to the left of the Date and Clock. Click it and a calendar pops up (click on an image to view a larger, pop up, close up view).
BdCalendar is handy, yes. And expandable, customizable, and actually fun to use. Even the Help function is fun. Click Help and get a context video instruction kit to walk your through all those features you’re not expecting.
Features? Yes, BdCalendar is much more than just an easy click to your iCal items. You’ll see that right away with the Preference settings. I don’t think there’s another small utility with so many configuration options.
Set BdCalendar to show a specific number of months in the calendar. Set the week start day, change fonts and colors, even set the Menubar time format, or auto save functions. From within the BdCalendar pop up menu you can select an entry into iCal.
Select a calendar, set the alarm, set a location or date, add new items, and never bother to open iCal at all. Another click brings up a quick window into Address Book. Add and edit accordingly.
Yes, friends, BdCalendar has what every handy utility must have, just short of adding email. There’s a built-in word processor. Actually, it’s more of a notes utility, but you get the idea.
It’s like having an open window into iCal and Address Book.
Greater Than The Sum Of The Parts
To be fair, for such a wonderfully utilitarian utility, BdCalendar has some fun parts and places, too.
Instead of using the drab, lifeless background in the calendar view, BdCalendar lets you customize almost everything you see. Even the background. Add a color photo background.
Or set it up to dial Skype or Vonage right from the contact list in the Address Book window. Bored with point and click? Set up BdCalendar to pop up using a hot key combination.
The only notable caveat to BdCalendar is that it is yet another item in an already overcrowded Mac Menubar. The saving grace is that it replaces the date and clock function so you get extra functionality without much additional space.
If productivity and efficiency is what you’re after, especially on Mac notebook’s smaller screens, BdCalendar is a fun and effective tool that’s more than the sum of the parts.