2005-11-30

Omer reminders in iCal

UPDATE: Setting up omer reminders this year I noticed that hebcal now includes alarms in the iCal calenders it creates, so the instructions are no longer necessary, although I could find no mention of this improvement on the hebcal site. The settings used by hebcal are almost identical to mine except that the alarm sound is Basso instead of Glass. One piece of advice, however: when I initially subscribed to the hebcal calendar iCal's "Remove Alarms" checkbox was ticked, and even though I unticked it before hitting 'OK' I needed to refresh the calendar before the alarms showed up.

I realize this is a bit premature, but anyway...

There are a number of Omer reminder programs available for the Mac, but perhaps you’d rather not bother with another program and would prefer to use iCal’s built in reminder feature, which will sync with your Palm, etc. And let’s say you want to be reminded which day to count for. Well, it’s not so straightforward to generate 50 separate iCal events, one for each day, each of which has an alarm.

Enter Hebcal. Hebcal generates monthly or yearly calendars with jewish events, which can be downloaded and added to various calendar apps, including iCal. When you generate a calendar including with the ‘Days of the Omer’ option, you’ll get a separate event for each day of the Omer, e.g. “7th day of the Omer”, etc. So go ahead and generate a calendar with the events you want, scroll down to the bottom of the page and download for iCal. (iCal may offer to import your calendar when you’ve downloaded it; if so, select ‘Cancel’ not to import.)

Here’s how to take the Hebcal generated calendar and add notifications. Open up the downloaded calendar .ics file in a text editor (TextWrangler is a good, free choice). Find the entries in the file for the Omer; you’ll see entries like:
BEGIN:VEVENT
DTSTAMP:20051130T163705Z
CATEGORIES:Holidays
CLASS:PUBLIC
SUMMARY:7th day of the Omer
DTSTART;VALUE=DATE:20060420
DURATION:P1D
TRANSP:TRANSPARENT
UID:hebcal-20060420-7th-day-of-the-omer
END:VEVENT

In order to add an alarm to the event, create a new calendar in iCal (this isn’t required, but makes things easier) and create an event with the alarm setup you’d like to use for the Omer. Export that calendar, and open the calendar file in your text editor. Find the the event you created and look for the ‘VALARM’ portion of the event entry; it should look something like this:
BEGIN:VALARM
ACTION:AUDIO
TRIGGER:-PT3H
X-WR-ALARMUID:635E952A-1348-4D32-958B-70A6157EAE53
ATTACH;VALUE=URI:Glass
END:VALARM

This code specifies an audio alarm, using the ‘Glass’ sound, at 9pm the day before the event, i.e. at a time suitable for counting the Omer. Yours will differ according to the settings you’ve selected, of course. Remove the ‘ X-WR-ALARMUID’ line. Copy the rest use it to do a find/replace in your Hebcal calendar, replacing:
-omer
END:VEVENT

with
-omer
BEGIN:VALARM
ACTION:AUDIO
TRIGGER:-PT3H
ATTACH;VALUE=URI:Glass
END:VALARM
END:VEVENT

or the equivalent for your settings. Replace all. Save and close the file, and open it to import it into iCal. You might want to import it into a new calendar so you can check to make sure everything turned out OK. Don’t forget to close the calendar you used to create your sample alarmed event in you text editor — there’s no need to save — and to delete the calendar from iCal.

It works for me.

2005-11-27

I'm so glad I live here

yay bedbugs!

2005-11-23

Walk the Line

Well worth seeing.

One oddity of the experience: It’s an unusually quiet film—when music isn’t being performed during the film, there’s almost no additional music in the soundtrack—so, for the first time in quite a while, I got to enjoy running commentary from other theater patrons through most of the film.

2005-11-18

Misleadingly Seductive?

...or was it “seductively misleading”?

At the end of a pleasant and helpful conversation, that was what one of my profs described me today—well, really just some of the remarks I make, but never mind that—and this was by way of explanation after comparing me to Hilary Putnam! Had this come from anyone else it would have been one of the greater compliments I’ve ever received, but from the prof in question there is no doubt it was (good natured) criticism—no great fan of Putnam he. Even so I rather like the sound of “misleadingly seductive”—how often do I get called “seductive” of any kind, after all, misleading or otherwise.

So, a fair characterization? (Be nice now.)

2005-11-02

Not paranoia this