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The globe is getting warmer, they say. So what can you do about it?
Get a Google Calendar, that's what. What does a computer calendar have to do with global warming? Simple: The fewer paper calendars in use, the fewer trees get cut down. It may not solve the problem, but you've got to start somewhere.
Global warming is just one reason to switch to Google Calendar (http://www.google.com/calendar). GCal, as fans call it, provides you with not just a way to tell what day of the week and month it is, but the ability to schedule events, share them with others, invite people to meetings, add on "alternative" calendars (like a Jewish calendar overlay) and even receive SMS alerts on meetings and appointments on your cellphone (and yes, this service works in Israel, too). With all that, why bother with a paper calendar?
On my Google Calendar, for example, I've overlaid a daily Jewish calendar, which lists the Hebrew date alongside the civil one, as well as Shabbat times, etc. I've also got a calendar with highlights of history (tomorrow, for example, is the date that Star Trek premiered in 1966), world events, moon phases and even the activity schedule at the Jerusalem Zoo. You just search or browse calendars and add them to your mix, and you'll always know, for example, what they're up to in Daf Yomi (the daily Talmud study program) - or, if you prefer, the release dates for the next Hollywood blockbuster, in the movies and entertainment calendar. It's all there, waiting to be loaded onto your GCal.
Mac users will be reminded of iCal, which also lets you overlay information on a basic calendar and set alarms and reminders - except that GCal works on all platforms, for free. Once you've customized your calendar, it's time to use it to set appointments, alarms, reminders, etc. You can get reminders in your e-mail, or as mentioned, on your cellphone via SMS (instructions at http://tinyurl.com/2e3726). And if your phone has a browser, you can even view your calendar appointments and information on your phone. GCal, like all things Google, is capable of a great many tricks; check out http://tinyurl.com/hv53z to see some.
Of course, GCal works great when you're on-line - which, in the era of broadband Internet connections, many people are, at all times. But those who still use dial-up connections or would rather use an off-line calendar application are out of luck.
Or are they? Google's got a new feature that could solve this problem very soon, allowing users to download the GCal application and use it while they're off-line! The Google Gears service (http://gears.google.com/), still in beta, currently works with the on-line/off-line "Remember the Milk" reminder service (http://rememberthemilk.com/) - but will soon work with not only GCal, but other Google applications too, like Google's word processor, spreadsheet, etc. Our solution to global warming? Sign up for Google Calendar, and hug a tree.