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Before it's launched, iCal's Dock icon reads July 17; today, however, is February 19. Let's fix that lag.
One minor niggling annoyance of Mac OS X's bundled applications is how iCal is displayed in the Dock. Before you launch it, its desk-calendar icon shows July 17 - the date in 2002 when it was announced. Only after you launch it does it display today's date. Annoying.
But we have a way to overcome that annoyance.
The work-around is powered by Mac OS X's Login Items feature, accessed by launching System Preferences, clicking on the Accounts icon in the System section, then clicking on the account for which you want to iCal to display its Dock icon with the correct date. Oh, and if it's not already obvious, the owner of this account should have already dragged iCal's icon into the Dock so that it'd be visible whenever the Dock was displayed. But you knew that...
Back to System Preferences > Accounts. After selecting the account you want to work with, click on the Login Items tab. In the lower-left corner, there's a li'l lock labeled Click the Lock to Make Changes; click it, and enter your admin password when prompted to do so.
Now Click on the little plus-sign icon, navigate to your Applications folder, select iCal, and click Add. iCal will apear in the Item column in the Accounts dialog. Now click on the checkbox in the Hide column, click the lock icon (which is now displaying the text Click the Lock to Prevent Further Changes), then close System Preferences.
The next time you start up or log into your user area, iCal will automatically launch itself, then hide itself - and, having launched, it will now display today's correct date on its icon in the Dock.
Oh, and by the way, if you're worried about iCal eating up system resources because it's running in the background (as it will be, if you've performed this kludge), don't. iCal sips only gently from the fountain of your Mac's power. Rest easy (see below).
Here's Activity Monitor's (Applications/Utilities/Activity Montitor) assessment of iCal's waiting-in-the-background processor usage. Nothing to worry about; move along, now.