: views from the Hill

Friday, April 14, 2006

Google Calendar

His nibs and I have been playing around with the beta version of Google Calendar.

Previously, we'd tried synching calendars with Outlook, but that was a no-go. We didn't have a network, so the synch'ing wasn't as easy as it is in a work environment. Problems with the klugey synch-up we had meant his nibs overwrote any changes I'd made to my calendar when his nibs' calendar fed into mine. In lieu of the klugey synch-up, we'd try to remember once a week to synch our calendars manually by sitting down at our computers and reading through the entries each of us had on our calendar and adding/deleting events.

His nibs is enamored of synch'd calendars. He uses one at work to keep track of when he's doing what and when his staffers are available for meetings. I, on the other hand, am more an old-fashioned write-it-out-in-colored-pens sort of person and sorely missed the 2'x3' write-able calendar I'd had affixed to the wall near the kitchen. Because I checked the calendar at least once a day, I could visualize it when someone asked, "What are you doing a week from Saturday at 4 p.m.?"

Alas, with the move from dale to hill we had no proper spot to hang a calendar that size. Sure, we could've hung it some place like the powder room, but what good would that have done? Out of sight, out of mind.

His nibs would say to me, "We're going to the Simon Winchester lecture at lunchtime on the 17th."

"Oh, and we have the THD dinner next week."
"SFMOMA Members Day is next Saturday."
"... and Francis Cooks is Sunday."

Ask me how my schedule looked for the coming week and I had no clue. I didn't like the feeling.

His nibs started setting up his Google calendar on Wednesday. Yesterday he imported the events from his Outlook program and we synch'd up. Easy peasy. His events show up on mine -- in a different color -- and mine on his.

I'm still feeling my way around to see what features I want to take advantage of and which I don't. I can set up multiple calendars, share some, keep others personal, feed some into my master calendar, not feed others. The app has a "search my calendars" option that looks a lot like the Gmail "search mail" feature. There's an Evite-like feature and more.

I've added a calendar button on my tool bar. Once I get in the habit of checking the calendar and keeping my events up-to-date, I should be good to go.

Whether Google will be trying to push Simon Winchester's books to me in ads connected to a mention of Winchester's name on my calendar at some future point in time is a question.

For now, the calendar is ad-free and easy to use. I have a master calendar again and fewer excuses for forgetting to do things I intended to.

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