Why I like Google Calendar

Over the last few months, I’ve taken to using Google Calendar to keep track of whatever events I need to schedule or be aware of. Here’s why:

GCal

As you can see from the screenshot of this week’s calendar, I can keep track of multiple calendars. Some of the calendars I track are public calendars (in my case, religious calendars for the Catholic, Jewish, and Islamic traditions). All-day events get put in the block at the top of the display, and the various calendars are color-coded.

The way I’ve set it up, I have my main calendar, which includes my classes, personal appointments, to-dos that are set for a specific time, and the like. I keep a separate calendar for important dates such as birthdays and anniversaries, and set the events as all-day events, so they’ll show up in the block rather than eating up time in the schedule itself. In addition to telling the calendar to repeat these events every year, I can set it up to remind me of the event in advance (so, for instance, I get reminded about a birthday in sufficient time to send a card).

The other calendars are for my various classes this semester, and contain information about assignments and exams. Once the semester’s over, all I have to do is delete those calendars and set up new ones for next semester.

But, you say, what about getting all this information onto my Palm? Right now there’s no easy way to sync GCal with Palm if (a) you keep multiple calendars and/or (b) you don’t want to spend money trying to get things synced.

Enter iCal:

iCal

GCal supports the iCal format, so subscribing to my calendars with iCal is a simple matter. Then all I need to do is use iSync to transfer the information from all my calendars to my Palm.

This works very nicely at work, where I use a Mac. I’ve yet to find a good solution at home, where I’m using a laptop running Windows XP. I just ordered a copy of Office 2007, and I understand it knows how to subscribe to web-based calendars in iCal format. I’m given to understand that Palm recently released a HotSync conduit that works with Outlook 2007. The question for me is, will it know how to sync all my calendars (sweet!), or will it only sync the default calendar (which would miss the point entirely)?

For now, I’m just not calendaring at home except in GCal. But I’m looking forward to experimenting when my copy of Office 2007 arrives.

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