Sync Google Calendar with iPod

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If you use Outlook 2007, Google Calendar and iTunes and own an iPod – this tip might be helpful to the two of you. It’s not really anything new… but I didn’t think Outlook would share calendars that it’s subscribed to… Fortunately, it does.

  1. In Google Calendar go to Settings > Calendars. Choose a Calendar from those available to you. This will bring you to a Calendar Details screen.
  2. At the very bottom, you’ll see options for Public and Private Addresses for calendars. Right-click on the iCal button and copy the link location.
  3. Paste the link location into your browser’s address bar.
  4. Replace http:// with webcal://
  5. Hit enter.
  6. This should bring you into Outlook 2007 where you can subscribe to your Google Calendar.
  7. Your Google Calendar should now be available in Outlook!
  8. Open iTunes and plug your iPod into your computer.
  9. If your iPod supports it, your iPod settings will have a Contacts tab available to you.
  10. Under Calendar, select Sync calendars from Microsoft Outlook. If you don’t use Outlook’s calendar – choose ‘Selected calendars:’ and choose your Google Calendar(s) from the list.
  11. Hit apply… now every time you sync your iPod, you’ll pull down your calendars as well!

This tip would probably work similarly on the Mac by using Apple’s iCal app.

  • UPDATE: If you’re looking for a solution to sync Google Calendar with Outlook 2003, there’s an app called gSyncit you might be interested in… More info here.
  • UPDATE: Google released Google Calendar Sync which will allow for bi-directional syncing between Outlook and Google Calendar and it’s not as crappy as this solution is. While it would be preferred if you could simply sync directly with Google Calendar via iTunes (much like you can do with Google Contacts)… it’s still not a feature that Apple’s made available. One can only wish it’ll be included at some point in the future.

Campaign 2.0

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Get ConnectedHow are 2008 Presidential Candidates using the Internet in their campaigns? That’s what I wanted to find out when I started putting together data for Campaign 2.0: 2008 Presidential Campaigns and their Use of Web 2.0.

It all started when Don sent me a link to John Edwards’ page on Social Networking. I was astounded when I saw that his campaign had setup profiles on 20 different social networking sites. At first, I couldn’t believe that someone spent that much time getting setup on so many different networks… but then, I realized this might be really, really smart: his campaign can now be seen on twenty different, established networks.

Reviewing the websites of candidates that have formerly announced and/or filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission was eye-opening. Most Democrats are utilizing RSS feeds, and have setup accounts on one or more social networks. Few Republicans are offering an RSS feed. Only one is using a social network. All three Libertarian candidates are using RSS feeds, and two of the three are on multiple social networks – and one has included options to Digg the site, add to Del.icio.us bookmarks or view their Technorati profile. I’m not surprised that the Democrats are using technology like they are… but I am surprised by how little the Republicans are using the web…

This brings up a number of questions that I hope to have answered between now and November 2008:

  • Will using social networks (or Web 2.0) make a difference or will homegrown social networks be the real winner?
  • Will social networks “accept” candidates as legitimate participants in their communities? More specifically, will users “friend” candidates, comment on content submitted to the community, etc.?
  • Will candidates increase their use of existing social networks as we draw closer to the election?
  • Will Republicans use the web more?

For now, I’ll be detailing which social networks candidates (and providing links to their profiles and/or groups on each of those networks). As additional info becomes available, I’ll be updating the site. Of course, you can help with this too… if you know of any additional information that would be helpful with this table – let me know! You can email me at chris@cdharrison.com.

Far From Done

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Well, the new site design is here… sort of. I’m still working on a lot of behind the scenes stuff… but I felt like where I am with everything is much better than where I was with the previous iteration of the site. So, without further adieu, here’s Effercio – version 14 of cdharrison.com. There’s still a lot more to do at this point…

  • Integrate hAtom and hCard support.
  • Fix paging glitch when browsing categories.
  • Search and Archives need to be improved… The paging glitch is effecting these as well.
  • Fix notifications.
  • Create alternate, high contrast stylesheet.
  • Fix rendering bugs…
  • And much more…

It’s getting there though. Let me know if you encounter any problems while using the site.

Suitcase for Windows Released

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Well, it finally happened: Extensis released a new version of Suitcase for Windows today. I’ve been hoping for an update for quite some time, and the day I complained about it – a new version was announced.From the Manage This blog, here are some of the new features:

Updated Suitcase Server client When serialized properly, Suitcase for Windows is an updated client for a Suitcase Server. It can also be used in a stand alone, or single-user capacity, if desired.Microsoft Vista™ compatibility – We are now compatible with the 32-bit version of Vista, as well as Windows XP and 2000.Automatic font activation plug-ins – Through the use of plug-ins, fonts can be automatically activated when a document is opened. We provide activation plug-ins for the most common creative applications, including Adobe InDesign CS2, Illustrator CS2 and QuarkXPress 7.The Font Vault – When used in a single-user or stand alone capacity, users can take advantage of the new Font Vault. Basically, this is a secure repository in which Suitcase for Windows can store all of your fonts. This keeps all of your fonts in a single location, rather than all over your hard disk.

Once I’ve used the new version, I’ll try to post a more thorough review.

Resource Availability

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I won’t go into the whole Premium Google Apps stuff… Plenty of others have covered that since last night. What I wanted to (briefly) discuss was a new, undocumented feature I encountered while using Google Calendar this morning: Guest and Resource Availability.

Before I go on… obviously this is a feature that Outlook has had for years, and it’s especially useful when used with an Exchange Server. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before in an online calendar application.

(I should note that I current use Google Apps with my domain… and as far as I know, this isn’t a Premier Edition only feature, but I could be wrong.)

When creating a new event in Google Calendar, you now have the option to “Check guest and resource availability”.

Snapshot of gCal’s Add New Calendar Event screen

Clicking on the link, gives you the menu previewed below. (It appears right on top of the Add Event screen.) Due to space constraints, I’m only showing a small portion of the menu. The menu actually spans the full width of the available browser area when available. (Click here to see a full preview.)

Preview of Guest and Resource Availability Menu

It shows you a person’s availability for the day(s) you’re planning your event for. You’re able to modify the timeframe you’re looking to schedule your meeting, and you’re able to filter whether you only want to view Working Hours Only. If you want to add additional guests, you simply type their name in the Add a Person text field. If the person is in your Contact List, it’ll auto-suggest a person based on what you’ve typed:

Adding a Person

Once you’ve added guests, you’ll be able to see whether they are available for your event. If the person you’ve added isn’t publicly sharing their calendar events with you, it will let you know.

Guests Have Been Added. w00t

Once you’re done with this screen, you click Okay and go back to the Event entry screen. It auto-adds the guests you’ve entered in the ‘Find a Time’ windows into your Guest List for the event (so you can send them an invite to it).

This is a great addition to Google Calendar… especially on the heels of the Google Apps Premier announcement. It’s one of those little details that most people can do without, but would work really well for businesses…

Cisco and Apple Settle

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So, the Apple v. Cisco showdown has finally been resolved. Hallelujah.

AppleInsiderCisco and Apple settle iPhone trademark dispute

Cisco and Apple said Wednesday that they have resolved their dispute involving the “iPhone” trademark.

Why do I get the impression that this is far from over? Sure, they’ve declared a cease-fire… but what’s going to stop Cisco from firing back when/if the iPhone becomes incredibly popular? Cash… hard cold cash. And stacks and stacks of it. Oh yeah…

Under the agreement, both companies are free to use the “iPhone” trademark on their products throughout the world.

This dillutes the iPhone brand for both sides. Sure, Apple will probably promote their iPhone as the “Apple iPhone”. And most people (I hope) are going to be able to tell the difference between a VOIP phone and a cellphone. But is the market big enough for two iPhone products? Only time will tell.

Both companies acknowledge the trademark ownership rights that have been granted, and each side will dismiss any pending actions regarding the trademark.

Translation: “Apple gave us enough cash to have amnesia. We’re BFFs now! Wait, what were we talking about?” – Cisco

In addition, Cisco and Apple will explore opportunities for interoperability in the areas of security, and consumer and enterprise communications.

Other terms of the agreement remained confidential.

Sounds like Cisco got what it wanted… plus, loads of cash. What did Apple get out of it? A monkey off of it’s back, and freedom to continue using a name essentially thrust upon them by the public and media. Don’t get me wrong, I like ‘iPhone’… but it’s very vanilla… People were going to lynch Steve if he didn’t deliver the goods.

A Second Look at Outlook 2007

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Outlook 2007 Product Box ShotI wrote an “Open Letter to Microsoft” over a month ago. It was a short diatribe on Microsoft’s decision to use Word’s rendering engine for Outlook 2007 instead of Internet Explorer. Well, I had assumed that it would be quite some time before I had to worry about testing designs in Outlook 2007, but that day came much, much sooner than I had anticipated. I snagged a copy of it off of Amazon.com (product link) for $89.99.The interesting thing that I’ve discovered while using the new version, is that where it fails with rendering emails – it excels in handling contacts, calendaring, etc. The mere fact that the new version of Outlook supports the iCal standard, viewing RSS feeds, etc. makes it a pretty solid upgrade. Having said that, I don’t expect you to run out and buy a copy. How it renders email is a huge flaw, and one I have tried hard to ignore while using the product.

CONS

  • Email rendering sucks. Standards-based email designs blow up. Old School HTML is the only way to fly if you’ve got any customers, clients, etc. that use Outlook 2007. This is the single-most important concern I have over the product, and one that I hope gets addressed in the near future.

PROS

  • Beautiful interface. Everything is logically organized when viewing email. You can view your mail, mail folders, To-Do items, and upcoming tasks all in one window. The inclusion of Vista fonts like Segoe UI, Calibri, Cambria, etc. make everything easy to read… with ClearType enabled, everything looks beautiful.
  • iCal Support. I use Google Calendar as my primary calendaring app. The fact that I can now subscribe to them via Outlook is awesome. I also use Basecamp… and I can import individual project calendars if I choose to. Being able to pull those into a desktop app makes sense. (I only wish I could write to those calendars through Outlook – but that’s a fault of Google and Basecamp, not Microsoft.)
  • RSS Support. Anything that helps bring RSS feeds more mainstream is a win in my book. The only downside I’ve seen with this feature is that it treats new posts like emails… which doesn’t work for me. (I much prefer using FeedDemon/NewsGator Online to keep up on all the feeds I am subscribed to.)

Aside from the most obvious defect in Outlook 2007, it’s a solid upgrade from Outlook 2003. Hopefully, Microsoft will address the rendering issue at some point – but for now, we’ll have to make due with it the best we can.

Recovery

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I got hit hard with the flu this year. I knew it would get me eventually. I didn’t think eventually would mean this year. (That’s why there’s been a lack of updates for a number of days.)

On Thursday, I went home early. I wasn’t feeling well when I woke up in the morning, but didn’t think too much of it. I chalked it up to a simple headache… a head cold maybe. By noon, I felt a lot worse. I had achy joints, lots of sinus pressure, a headache, a bit of congestion… At this point, I was having a hard time concentrating. I got a few things done that were lingering on my queue, and then went home.

I hardly ever go home when I’m sick. Our office is setup in such a way where each of us has some degree of space between our desks. Most people would probably stay home if they’re sick. Here, we pretty much stay head’s down unless we’re feeling bad enough to go home.

Well, on Thursday, I felt bad enough to go home. That’s how my wife knew I was really feeling badly: I went home. I took my temp… it was at 101º. Not good… So I laid down, and took a nap. I took my temperature again around four o’clock and it had increased to 103.5º. I called my wife, and she suggested I try to get an appointment with our family doctor as quickly as possible… (They were unable to see me until Friday morning.) So, she took me to a Prompt Care clinic close to our house, and around six o’clock I was able to see a doctor.

They checked my vitals… temperature was up to 102.8º… noted my various symptoms… The Doctor concluded that I had the flu. (Lucky me! Yay!) He gave me some Motrin (for the fever and joint pain), a prescription for Tamiflu (which works wonders), and sent me on my way!

The barrage of meds I through at the flu seemed to do the trick. By Saturday I was up and out of bed… and I’m back at work today…

God, it’s good to be back to “normal”. Being sick is awful. Maybe I’ll start wearing my jacket more often.

Design Quote

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Fantastic quote by famed Apple product designer, Jonathan Ive:

“I don’t want to see a designer wagging his tail in my face. I want to see a problem solved, and in a way that acknowledges its context.” – Jonathan Ive