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One of the best parts about using Gmail is accessibility. I can be on a mobile device, work computer, or desktop and always have access to my email, calendar, documents, etc. Thanks to Google, all of this is possible. It’s just as easy to configure your Gmail account on Mac OS X Mail as it is to access it online. Today, I’m going to show you how to setup iCal with your Google Calendar — it’s actually quite simple.

  1. In iCal, go to Preferences under the iCal menu.
  2. Select the “Accounts” tab in the Preferences window.
  3. Click the “+” button on the bottom left corner to add a server account.
  4. When the “Add an Account” pop-up window appears, select “Google” for “Account type”. Fill out your email address and password.
  5. Now click the “Create” button.
  6. You should be in the “Account Information” section now.
  7. If you’d like to, you can change how often iCal refreshes the calendars by choosing from the “Refresh calendars” drop-down menu.
  8. If you have special calendars such as “US Holidays” go to the “Delegation” tab and enable them.
  9. To add special calendars to your Google Calendar, read these instructions from Google.

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When it comes to web browsers, the one that stands out the most is Firefox. It has a wide variety of add-ons, themes, and settings which are very customizable. The most powerful part — the add-ons — is where the true beauty lies within Firefox. One add-on in particular — Greasemonkey — is extremely useful. It can change any website to display extra information, re-organize site layouts, and unlock “hidden features” of a site to make it easier to use. For example, a website like Grooveshark has a humongous advertisement panel on the right side of the screen. In my opinion, it gets in the way when using their site. With Greasemonkey’s Grooveshark script, it completely removes that advertisement panel so you’re free from distractions. That’s just one example of how you can use Greasemonkey. Other Greasemonkey scripts that I use almost daily include De-Sidebar Facebook, Remove Digg Ads, Flickr Buddy Icon Reply, Flickr Ad Removal, Flickr Titles + Descriptions Batch Tools. For more Greasemonkey scripts, please visit Userscripts.org.

Screenshots: Grooveshark without Greasemonkey script Grooveshark with Greasemonkey script

One of the few annoyances I have found with Flickr is the method by which it sorts your photos. Typically, in most photo editing programs all the images are sorted by the date/time they are taken. However, with Flickr, the pictures are organized in your photostream by the date/time they are uploaded. Big difference. Finally, it was becoming quite bothersome to the overall organization of my photostream that I wanted to find a solution. Luckily, I came across a website called SortMyPhotostream which does just that — sorts my photostream. The developer, Michael Tyson, put together multiple PHP scripts, so the whole process goes by rather quickly. If you’re worried about losing your photos (which is highly unlikely to happen), Michael provided an option to download a backup file which can be restored later. The easiest way to start this sorting process is to first login to your Flickr account and then visit SortMyPhotostream. Once you’re there, click on the “Proceed” button” and read the instructions. Anytime you want to upload a photo that’s from an earlier date/time, just re-visit SortMyPhotostream and follow the directions. Note: the oldest upload date can’t be before the day you joined Flickr — so if you were wondering why, now you know.