Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mozilla Sunbird: The Result of a Cathartic Experience...

"You know married life is getting the better of you when... [fill in the blank]."

For The Nerfherder, the blank is "despite years of antisocial behavior and an innate fear of both technological tools and the very ideas of 'planning' and 'structure', you suddenly find yourself in need of a calendar".

Managing an increasingly hectic lifestyle has become unbelievably time-consuming, and for those of us who have, shall we say, a subpar short-term memory, it often leads to a persistent state of anxiety that you're not forgetting vital tasks (and, consequently, you also don't want to get yelled at by those who rely on you).

I've always made fun of people who use day-planners. I thrive in unstructured environments. I resent the very idea of calendars (and even the very concept of linear time, since I'm on a rant anyway). So what gives? I couldn't say with confidence whether it's the result of getting older, being married, or having a "real job" (though that is still very loosely defined, in my case). The truth is I hate the mere possibility, though I've been dragged into accepting it, that I even might need a calendar.

Regardless, yesterday I sucked it up and finally took the leap. Still insistent on not hanging some wretched, overpriced thing filled with awful photos on my apartment wall, which I find horrendously tacky, I spent some time researching possible software tools that might do the trick instead.

What I ultimately settled on as the best of what's out there was Mozilla Sunbird. It's a stand-alone desktop application, meaning that it lives on my computer's hard drive and has a friendly icon pointing to it from my main desktop screen. I specifically sought a stand-alone application, rather than a web service like Google's Calendar, because remote access was less important for my relatively simple needs than reliability and a friendlier interface. I also chose Sunbird over other tools like Lightning because I didn't necessarily want to integrate my calendar with my web browser.

And I have to admit it's actually pretty cool - at least as far as evil tools of 'The Man' go. Sunbird is very intuitive and easy-to-use. It allows you to password-protect and encrypt your calendar, organize your events by category, set alarms, and play with a host of other features too. On the downside, it doesn't print or publish your calendar in a nicely formatted way. So if you want to view it off your desktop, be prepared for some ugliness.

All of that said, I still feel somehow ashamed at being the kind of guy that even needs such a thing, and my panic attack continues. Has my lifestyle really changed that much, or have I always just flaked on plans and shirked my responsibilities because I've actually been in need something like this for years already? What would The Nerfherder of a decade ago think of The Nerfherder of today?

While I re-examine the depths of my soul, at least my reluctance is somewhat overcome by the fact that at least I'm using open-source software that I can geek out to by tinkering with the thousands of lines of programming code beneath it.

Chaos-oriented brains need some place to feel at home, after all :-)


At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And of course you love being married and your new life style very much, right?

At 9:53 AM, Blogger Robert J. Domanski said...

Who is this "anonymous" individual asking me if I love being married???



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