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Better GCal

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 by | Filed Under: Using The Internet

Better GCal

By now, many of you know I’m all about making good Web sites even better! I love to use Greasemonkey scripts and Firefox add ons to add new features to my favorite Web sites. So far, we’ve covered YouTube, MySpace, Digg, Wikipedia, eBay, Amazon, Gmail, Flickr and Google Reader. Whew! That’s a long list, but I have even one more to add to it: Google Calendar. Many people think Google Calendar (or GCal) is the best online calendar out there and I agree. So, all I have to say is all of you Google Calendar users are in for a real treat today!

1.) To tweak GCal, we’ll be using a Firefox extension called Better GCal.

2.) To get started, head on over to the Better GCal Web page and begin the download by clicking on the green Download button.

3.) After the download is finished, restart Firefox by hitting the Restart Firefox button.

4.) Firefox will open and you can now surf to and log in with your Google account information.

If you don’t have a Google account, you can create one here and then continue.

5.) Once you’ve logged in, you should see your calendar with all of the events you entered listed.

6.) Now, to add the new features, go up to Tools and then click on Add Ons.

7.) Find Better GCal in the list and then select Options.

8.) You’ll see a list of checkboxes. As always, all you need to do to activate a feature is checkmark it and then refresh GCal.

Now that you have that out of the way, I’d like to show you some of my favorite features in Better GCal!

Always Use a Secure Connection

I think this one is a no brainer! Why wouldn’t you want to use a secure connection to access Google Calendar? If not, you run the risk of revealing names, phone numbers and other sensitive information to strangers.

Collapse Header and Sidebar

I really like this one too! Do you think the header and sidebar make the whole page a little crowded? Or, have you ever wanted to just see only the calendar? If so, this option is perfect for you! If you select it and restart GCal, you’ll notice little purple arrows at the top and to the left of the page.

If you click on them, presto! You have a nice clean page.

Colorize Weekends

Sometimes you only want to focus on the weekend days on your calendar. This option makes it so much easier by colorizing Saturday and Sunday. Nifty, huh?!

Text Wrap Events

Don’t you hate it when certain events get cut off, because the box is too small? It can be such a pain in the neck, wouldn’t you agree? Well, you’ll never have to worry about that again, because this feature takes care of that problem.

As always, skins are included with this add on. There’s only one right now, but I’m sure as GCal updates, more will be included. Here’s how the redesigned Dark Skin looks:

If you take a liking to it, you can set it as your default. Also, if you ever need help with any feature, simply select the Help tab and click on the Troublesome script.

Finally, if you have a favorite Web site you’d like me to optimize with Firefox add ons and Greasemonkey scripts, you can let me know through my contact page. Your submissions may even be featured here in the newsletter. Enjoy!

~ Neil Patel

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