I figured the best place to start when it comes to getting my day to day life together was with a calendar. While it’s such a simple tool it is also an invaluable one, and one of the only task oriented tools that I’ve regularly used. Although my schedule is generally fairly open having an up-to-date calendar is quite helpful during hockey season – the one time of year in which my life leans a little more towards the busy side. With my flaky memory it’s nice to be able to glance up and say, “Oh yeah, I’ve got that thing coming up at the end of the week.”
I’ve always used Apple’s iCal on my laptop which conveniently syncs up with my iPod Touch that I use as a PDA. The problem with that, since I don’t have their MobileMe account, is that if I needed to access it via a different terminal there was no way to do so. While this was never a real issue to me it has become more of one lately now that I’ve added another computer in to my daily mix(a salvaged Windows XP box). Google Calendar seemed like a good solution, the only problem for awhile being that, without paying for third party solutions, it was virtually impossible to reliably sync it with the touch. Also, I missed the UI of iCal, preferring it much more than Google’s interface. Fortunately Google has made some changes recently and there is a very simple method for two way syncing with iCal now. Unfortunately there’s no good way to merge calendars. You have to use the calendars created in the Google Calendar as your primary ones. As far as I can tell the only way of combining the two is by doing it manually. Fortunately, as of late, I had very little on my calendar so it wasn’t much of a chore – still I can see this being an issue for someone who already has a well filled out calendar on iCal. The only other downside I’ve discovered is there is no syncing of the ToDo list (but I’ll cover more on this in a separate post).
So now I’m up and running with calendaring, being able to share it reliably across all the machines and devices that I use, plus having a web interface that I can access from any terminal with an internet connection. The best part is it is all for free!