How to Display Events or Tasks on Your Desktop With icalBuddy

Posted on July 13, 2010
Filed under Featured, Mac, Miscallaneous

icalBuddy, GeekTool, NerdTool icons I don’t really have any statistics about this but I’m quite sure that an overwhelming majority of the users of my icalBuddy program are using it to display calendar data on their desktop via GeekTool. Several tutorials on how to get this done have been written by different people, mainly for relatively non-technical users, which I think is great. The problem seems to be that many people don’t know how to configure icalBuddy to give them the kind of output they’d like and end up copy-pasting the commands from these blogs (some of these blog posts also contain outdated information about a bunch of things). Hopefully this short tutorial (and the usage examples page) will offer an easy way to make a more informed decision about how to get this done.

Choose Between GeekTool and NerdTool

GeekTool and NerdTool are two programs that do the same thing: display stuff on your desktop. The choice between which one to use is up to you but allow me to give a few suggestions:

Install the Apps

When you’ve chosen which one you’d like to use, download and install it. GeekTool is a preference pane so it lives in your System Preferences, while NerdTool is a regular application which you drag into your Applications folder.

In order to install icalBuddy, download the latest version and unzip the package by double-clicking on it. Open the unzipped folder, double-click on install.command and follow the instructions (you’ll have to press return, input your password and icalBuddy will be installed).

Figure out Your icalBuddy Configuration

So now you need to figure out what to put into the command field in Geek-/NerdTool. First you need to go to the icalBuddy Usage Examples page and browse through it — you might find the kind of output you’re looking for right there, in which case you can just get the command you see there (note that some of the examples require you to add something to the configuration file).

If you’d like to take some of the examples and modify the output a bit, you can fire up your Terminal.app and start experimenting with different arguments. In this case the documentation links will come in handy.

Add Your icalBuddy Command into GeekTool/NerdTool

Once you have your command, you can put it into the app by creating a new “shell” entry:

You can then insert your icalBuddy command into the command field in whichever app you’re using (and set the refresh interval in order to specify how often the command should be run):

That’s it. You can then delve into the settings that both GeekTool and NerdTool offer you, like changing the colors and fonts used for the output.

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