Friday, September 16, 2005

Life without a calendar...

The last two weeks have been an unintentional experiment. Ever since coming to Case waaaay back in 2002, I've use Apple's calendaring program, iCal to plan out just about every day of my life. This is not just classes, assignment due dates, meetings and club events. No, I actually allot time for studying for each of my classes, completing homework and reading assignments, time to eat, time to go grocery shopping and numerous other things that most people wouldn't put in a calendar. It's also a very nice interface because I can drag and drop entries -- so if something takes shorter than expected, I can shrink down that entry's time and bump everything else up - it's very dynamic in that respect. This way, I actually get free time (with a free conscience!) from time to time.

Well, for the past two or so weeks, iCal has been crashing immediately after being launched. This resulted in deleted entries, duplicate calendars, blank entry titles, and numerous other annoying problems. So, I found myself not using it at all. I have been incredibly inefficient during this time. If I don't have all the things I need to do plotted out in great detail, I find myself wasting time because I think that I don't need to be doing anything. Then, when deadlines approach, I am not prepared and I go into panic mode. I'm not used to operating this way. So, I needed to do something about it.

I tried all the usual fixes for misbehaving Mac software - deleted the application's preferences, disabled 3rd party system extensions, and even rebuilt the calendar files by purging out all my old entries. Nothing did the trick. Until yesterday -- I discovered that the problem was related to Apple's online synching program, iSync. I used to sync via .Mac but I had some problems with data corruption and discontinued using it to sync between my desktop and the Campus Rep PowerBook. Anyway, the problem must have been more severe than I thought. I disabled all syncing via the iSync application (this in addition to already disabling it in the .Mac control panel - apparently two independent controls), and reset all sync data from the iSync preferences window. This finally did the trick! Now I can use iCal again.

This was a very abnormal experience for a long-time Mac user. Generally, Apple's software works wonderfully together... but I've had nothing but problems with iSync. Of course, I've had much worse experiences troubleshooting the Palm Desktop sync system - maybe syncing data is just an inherently difficult task. Whatever the case, it has cost me a lot of time and energy to get straightened out. But now -- I'm on the path to success with my trusty iCal up and running again!

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