Beginning Mac: iCal

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Calendars have come a long way from the days of a pocket diary, with software able to manage your schedule and information much more reliable and accessible. iCal for OS X is the bundled calendar application, and works surprisingly well. It appears simple on the surface, but packs a wide range of different features and functionality.

This article will walk you through iCal from first opening the app, to having a diary filled with important events, recurring appointments, alarms, attachments, and attendees.
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5 Green Announcements on the First Day of CES 2009

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which is making an effort to be greener in 2009, officially kicks off this morning — and already the eco-announcements are piling up. Electronics makers are claiming their hardware is more energy efficient than the next, manufacturers are launching recycling programs, and devices that just make your life easier (such as navigation services) are being painted as green.

Here are 5 announcements already out by the first morning of CES:

1). Motorola Calls Up Recycled Water Bottles: The largest U.S. cell phone maker has launched a phone — the MOTO W233 “Renew” — that is made partly from recycled water bottles and is fully recyclable. It’ll be available first from T-Mobile USA this quarter. In addition to the more eco-materials in the phone, Motorola (s MOT) says the phone is also “the world’s first carbon neutral phone,” because Motorola is offsetting the carbon emitted for the manufacturing, distribution and operation of the phone with Carbonfund.org (wonder how they calculated that given the complexities).

2). E-Waste Recycling Ramping Up: At CES 2008 the North American divisions of Panasonic (s PC) and Toshiba, along with Sharp Electronics, joined forces to form Electronic Manufacturers Recycling Management Co. LLC, with a plan to manage collection and recycling programs. This year, the group says it is expanding its current program to 280 sites in the U.S., with one spot in each state and hundreds more locations planned for the next couple of years.
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No Excuses: Tracking Your Fitness On OS X

It should be obvious that the blogging elves at The Apple Blog care about the fitness of our readers, especially at this dessert-laden time of year. If you managed to stuff yourself as much as I did at Thanksgiving you may be in need of some extra assistance ensuring that the only thing that gets blown away in December is your budget. With that in mind, TAB takes a look at four OS X applications that can help you kick start a fitness program and track almost every detail of your workouts.

Meet the Contenders

Since the iPhone apps have some built-in advantages, I chose four programs that work with GPS devices, heart rate monitors or other accessories – such as the Nike + iPod kit – to even the playing field.

Garmin Training Center
Maker: Garmin
Price: Free
Compatibily: OS X 10.4+/Universal
Hardware Support: Garmin GPS
rubiTrack
Maker: toolsfactory
Price: $39.00
Compatibily: OS X 10.5+/Universal
Hardware Support: Garmin GPS, Nike+iPod, Amod GPS
Ascent
Maker: Montebello
Price: $40.00
Compatibily: OS X 10.4+/Universal
Hardware Support: Garmin GPS
TrailRunner
Maker: Berbie
Price: Free
Compatibily: OS X 10.5+/Universal
Hardware Support: Garmin GPS, Nike+iPod/Sportband, iPhone/iPod

NOTE: Real world workout data from Garmin and Nike+ devices were used in testing all four applications.
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The Truth about ARGs: Tales from the Masters

How does a huge, monolithic and somewhat old-fashioned public broadcaster get the attention of a generation that gets its TV moments via YouTube and BitTorrent? How about a big conspiracy, completely with allegations that the broadcaster is manipulating the public and possibly cooperating with a powerful secret society? That’s exactly what unfolded in Sweden when the publicly-owned SVT network started its participatory drama The Truth About Marika in the fall of ’07. Marika producer Christopher Sandberg stopped by the American Film Institute’s Digifest in Hollywood this week and shared some rare insights into the drama that received the International Interactive Emmy for being the best interactive TV service earlier this year.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iX_ZJkwvKR8]
The Truth About Marika was only one example presented at Digifest that merged new media with oldteevee through alternate reality games or similar approaches that transform viewers into participants. Former Heroes producer Jesse Alexander talked about his experience with online storytelling, and the alternate reality game specialists from 42 Entertainment explained how Trent Reznor has used their services to promote his music. The common thread of these presentations: Letting your audience become part of the story has its dangers, but it can also be very rewarding.
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GPS Players Aim to Navigate the Mobile Market

Even though Apple has yet to show off turn-by-turn directions on the GPS-enabled iPhone, navigation is one of the fastest-growing categories of mobile devices apps. As comScore recently noted, map use on cell phones in the U.S. during the three-month period ended May 31 was up 82 percent over the same period last year.

The demand is particularly high for step-by-step pedestrian navigation. GPS makers are responding by getting their services onto phones or, in some, cases, making phones around their services.

TomTom, based out of the Netherlands, deployed its Navigator 6 software at the end of 2006 on a wide array of handsets including models from Nokia, HP and Palm and included a Bluetooth GPS receiver to allow phones with no GPS chip to use the service. Intrepid TomTom-ers say they’ve even gotten it to connect to their BlackBerrys. And although it hasn’t yet been approved by Apple to be sold in the company’s App Store, the GPS maker has already gotten its service to run on the new iPhone. “We have made our navigation system run on the iPhone; it looks good and works very well,” a TomTom spokesperson wrote us in a statement. “We will have to look more closely to Apple’s strategy before we can say more about what kind of opportunities this will bring us.”

Meanwhile GPS veteran Garmin started offering its navigation software for the likes of BlackBerry and other smartphones last year. Read More about GPS Players Aim to Navigate the Mobile Market

June 27: What’s Interesting Today

One of the toughest parts about hosting a conference is all the work that still needs to be done after the lights are turned off. We’re currently busy trying to finalize the video clips — and consolidate them for your viewing pleasure — while at the same time keep the site going. So posting might be a tad slow. In the meantime, here are some of the cool stories/bits I found that might be of interest today:

Where Do You Want to Go Today? Forget the old Microsoft and instead use that line to think about a new service called Trazzler, which recommends trips unique to your both your location and travel personality. And if you’re a blogger with expertise that meets their needs, you can join their publisher program as well.

Search: Is It About Searching for a Needle, or Exploring the Haystack? That’s the question one of our angel investors, Anand Rajaraman, the co-founder of Kosmix, asks. Even though it’s about his new product experiment, it’s a pretty astute summary of the state of search today.

Fiber Growth Pushes GPON Sales. Infonetics Research says the GPON market grew 33 percent worldwide in the first quarter of 2008, as broadband service providers shift their focus from DSL to FTTx for delivering broadband and IPTV. Mitsubishi, Tellabs and Hitachi are the top three vendor in the PON market, while Alcatel-Lucent leads the global GPON business, with Huawei close on its heels.

Mobiles Will Slow Navigation Device Sales. We’ve said this before, and In-Stat makes the case for us with their forecast. Sales of personal navigation devices rose to 30.7 million in 2007 from 13.3 million in 2006 — up 130 percent. They will grow to 68 million units in 2012 for total growth of 121 percent over five years. Nah, that doesn’t sound like much. With competition from mobiles, these guys (as predicted by our readers) are going to get crushed, never mind the price compression.

From our network of sites, I recommend reading:

  • Earth2Tech: Four ways to save energy on cloud computing.
  • WebWorkerDaily: How to declutter your digital workspace.
  • OStatic: Java infrastructure provider SpringSource gets $15 million.
  • NewTeeVee: YouTube founder Chad Hurley says brand display ads will be the primary driver of the monetization of video.