Vincent Cheung

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Google Calendar

Ya, I know I'm slow about blogging about it. In short, it's pretty good and if you don't have a Mac, it's probably the best thing you'll find in terms of electronic calendars. Support for multiple calendars, nice interface, interoperability with other programs (you can do round-about ways of getting your calendar on your pda or iPod), sharing calendars, viewable and editable (not edible) from any computer on the Internet, electronic invites, reminders, the list goes on.

I started using Apple's iCal calendar program about a year and a half ago and now I can't live without it. It's absolutely crucial for keeping track of all my meetings, deadlines, social activities, birthdays, daylight savings, etc. You just have to add things as they come up and then it's not much maintenance. Plus, it serves as a record of my life. Like an abbreviated journal - where I was, what I did, etc.

I imported all my calendars from iCal like early on the 13th. Pretty easy process because Google Calendar uses the open calendar standard (ics files). The only hiccup is repeating events and exceptions to repeating events which iCal and Google Calendar handle slightly differently (b/c it doesn't look right in Google) and Google Calendar doesn't do time zones as well as iCal.

Google Calendar is basically a rip-off of iCal. The look of it is very similar. It does a pretty good job on the interface. I love iCal and I think it does the job very well. My only beef is that I can only update my calendar from my laptop and viewing it online is a bit of a hassle (I eventually managed to do it with spymac, which won't be updated anymore if I stick with Google Calendar) and sharing and collaborative calendars are not possible. Google Calendar is great in this respect - editing and viewing from any computer on the Internet, sharing calendars, reminders through e-mail (I don't use Apple's mail program), and the ability to invite people (say goodbye to stupid Evite).

If you want offline access to your calendar (only for viewing when not connected to the Internet, you cannot update it when you're offline), you can subscribe to the private or public webdav calendar link in iCal (or Sunbird for Windows and Linux). The private link is really nice. It uses a hash to make it nearly impossible for anyone to find your calendar unless you tell them about it and if they do, you can just get a new hash and the old link will be dead.

So, go to it. Get organized.


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