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December 8, 2005

Why does the iCal icon show July 17 and not the current date when it is closed?


Debby Stanford, a fellow member of UVA–MESS (that's the name of the University of Virginia–Central Virginia Mac User Group) yesterday posed the above question.

In a response that impressed me so much I'm seriously thinking of naming him an honorary member of my crack research team, UVA–MESS-er Mark Worthington wrote, "I wondered that too," and provided this illuminating link, whose contents follow.

    At first I thought every Mac user’s birthday was displayed on this icon since July 17 is my birthday.

    What a nice touch.

    That Apple!

    Always taking the computer experience one step beyond.

    Microsoft would never think to do this bit of PR.

    I figured the display used some user identification we all had to submit when we registered our computers.

    Then, as I made my rounds around the office, I discovered that every Mac was displaying July 17.

    It was as if all of you were remembering my birthday.

    It felt so nice to be loved by everyone.

    And it was a birthday gift I got all year round.

    Only after a solid year of this non-stop party did I began to delve into this a bit deeper.

    I don’t ordinarily use iCal so I wasn’t familiar with its ways.

    As it turns out July 17 is only displayed in the application’s closed state; when open the icon displays the actual date.

    But why July 17?

    Was it Steve Job’s birthday too?

    Or perhaps it was the birthday of iCal’s project manager.

    A nice perk for a job well done.

    I started to investigate.

    I wrote various computer cognoscenti.

    But no one seemed to know the origin of this icon — not even Susan Kare, the "mother of the original Mac icons."

    I decided to call Apple.

    After numerous dead ends I found the number for their PR department.

    Using my expert investigative abilities I posed this piercing question to the woman on the other end of the line: "So, why July 17?"

    I wanted to think, I was hoping the reasoning was special.

    But as it turns out the origins of this icon are much more mundane and bureaucratic: iCal debuted on July 17, 2002 at the MacWorld Expo in New York.


As I think about it, I could do worse than to add Jeff Gates (below),


the author of the above switched–on Sherlock Holmes–worthy investigation, to my team along with Mark.

And Debby Stanford as well: asking a good question is sometimes more important than finding the answer.

[via Debby Stanford, Mark Worthington and Jeff Gates]

December 8, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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I was wondering the exact same thing as my birthday is the same date. Your blog came up first on google.

Posted by: Marc | Jul 28, 2008 3:05:51 AM

Too funny.
I had the exact same thought, as I have been an mac addict for years, and as it happens have the same birthday.
I thought how cool is my mac.

Another reason to feel specials

Posted by: Daren | Oct 18, 2007 3:29:50 AM

Whose hands are those! The angle of repose -- so relaxed -- reminds me of those 50's foxies draping the well-dressed woman.

I hope those hands are not attached to a -- well -- dead and draped person.


Posted by: Mb | Dec 9, 2005 8:30:55 AM

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