Thursday, April 13, 2006

Google Calendar is born

For anyone who isn't nerdy enough to know, Google has released its calendar. I, of course, have been longing for such an application, since I'm so popular that I always get emails inviting me to this party and that, and I can't keep them straight in my head. And besides, I'm incredibly lazy, so not just any calendar program will do: I need one that's so well-integrated with my email that I can simply add an event to my calendar with the click of my mouse (or touchpad, if I'm using the labtop).

So I'm leaving CalendarHub, and embarking on the rest of my life armed with gCal. I've organized my gCal thusly: I have four personal calendars.

My primary calendar is for random stuff, parties, visits, appointments, whatever. I don't have much on there at the moment.

Another calendar is for events somehow linked to school, such as weekly seminars or lunches with speakers (free food). I've also included yoga classes, though I'm not sure it's going to stick there.

I made a third calendar for birthdays. I'm terrible at remembering birthdays (hence my mom's voice mail message last week, "Hello Erica, this is your mother. I'm calling because I thought you might want to talk to me and wish me a happy birthday.... What's that? Oh, thank you for wishing me a happy birthday!"), and I don't have many on this calendar, so if you want me to know when your birthday is, pop me a comment and I'll add you. (This is not necessary for readers born on Jan 27, Feb 1, or Feb 10. I've got you.)

My fourth calendar is for dance events. Why separate this from my primary social calendar? Good question. Long explanation: Part of the power of Swingmonkey is that in the forums, people say whether they're going to this or that dance, so everyone knows who's going to be there. Like parties, the more people who say they're going, the more people who will decide the dance is worth their time. I can imagine this being done also through gCal, if it catches on like it should. It can also be used to invite people to dances or parties or whatever, without inviting everyone on Swingmonkey. Therefore, I have a separate calendar saying which dances I plan to attend, which can be viewed by anyone who asks me for access (drop a comment).

Then there are the Other Calendars. These are calendars that somebody else maintains and I just look at. For instance, I've added the US Holidays calendar supplied by Google, as well as a Miscellaneous History calendar, the Red Sox schedule, and a Gilmore Girls episode iCal. (Don't judge me.)

I'd like to have a local events calendar, like from The Advocate or something, but for now the best Other Calendar is from Swingmonkey. It will automatically update all events within a month, and I can add events from this calendar to my own calendar (without having to type anything-- see? Lazy).

But perhaps the best feature of gCal is the gMail integration (which only started showing up today). Now, I get gMails that say, "Your Dissertation Progress Report is due April 24", and gMail says, "Would you like to... Add to calendar," and I say, "Yes, please," and POOF! It is done.

By the way, I've been going back and forth about who to allow to comment. If I allow anyone to comment, I sometimes get comment spam. But if I only allow registered users to comment, then y'all have to register, and that's a pain. So I'm back to anyone can comment, but I'm screening the comments, so it'll take a while for them to show up.

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