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I haven't seen anybody address what I primarily use iCal syncing for, but then I read kinda quick through all the posts.

I'm a freelance illustrator who frequently develops motion comics, and I use iCal syncing specifically for capturing and visualizing tasks without needing to have OF running. Rendering some of my video work and such means freeing up every chunk of RAM I can or face longer rendering times. Also, it's nice to have OF out of the way because when it's running, it can be just as addicting as being in my email all day futzing with stuff. (I know that's not OF's fault, but knowing it's always open is still incentive for bad GTD habits.) I'm surprised OF doesn't have this functionality already.

I'm not working on Snow Leopard yet, so maybe there are updates to get the Quick Entry Window without having OF active or activate afterward (which is why I don't like the Quicksilver script). I made an INBOX context which syncs with my default iCal calendar. Using FlexCal, I hit a few keys, capture my action, and then sync when I open OF for my evening review. Without context or project info, OF puts all the actions in the INBOX context straight into the actual inbox anyway.

In terms of visualization, I use iCalBuddy + GeekTool to display my calendar agenda above my synced next actions to my desktop so I can review all the things I should be doing throughout my day without having OF running. A scheduled sync would be nice, but since this isn't going to work with the future of CalDAV, I see why it's not implemented.

This is my two cents about OF calendar syncing since I'm a creative worker not necessarily a knowledge worker. OF is not very useful for visualizing or analyzing the progress made on my 'hard GTD landscape'. Even making contexts based on scheduled time periods (drawing, designing, etc.) or assigning estimated times to actions in OF makes absolutely no difference to me unless that translates into a visual component which I can assign compared to the rest of my time. If a task is going to take me more than 15 minutes, I don't even bother putting it in OF because it isn't useful to track using a list.

If OF doesn't want to implement some sort of calendar visualization, they could at the very least offer some progress status bars and countdown status bars next to projects and actions.

I think progress bars and countdown bars should work this way: When adding actions to a project, you have to assign an estimated time to the action (default of 2 mins. obviously). The total estimated time of all actions produces a visual progress bar which shows you how close you are to finished. This would let you see how and where to assign your time especially if you have only three actions left and a long way to go before you're finished.

These should work in conjunction with countdown bars. When you set a Project/Action Due Date, OF generates a status bar representing the time between start date to due date. It then fills/counts down as time goes on. Maybe starting by showing days, then scale to hours, or whatever. This would easily allow you to gauge how much you have left to do (progress bar) in how much time (countdown bar), and probably help you prioritize projects with more to do and less time to do it over small projects with far off due dates. If your progress bar is about as big as your countdown bar, it's crunch time. You could tell this at a glance. As it stands, OF doesn't give you an easy way to find a starting point without doing extraneous flagging, etc. All of which doesn't display on the desktop when synced with iCal.

If OF had those status bars, and I could display/capture without having the program running, that'd be a dream come true. I don't know if that kind of implementation would work very well for team GTD or not. That's just what I use syncing for, and what I'd like to see replace it.

In any case, I'll probably never switch from OF unless I absolutely have to because I've tried almost everything else, and I only trust OF to keep my GTD fu in good practice. That said, I'll toss my hat in the ring for BusyCal integration and CalDAV support also. (Loved BusyCal but more than I needed at the moment.)