Trying Google Calendar on for Size

by Tara McGoldrick Walsh, ORN Editor

To keep track of my work life, I've been using one of those GIANT 2' by 2' calendar pads--you know, the kind you can order from Staples that takes up pretty much half of your existing desk space. About as low-tech as you can get, and not exactly portable. And for me, since I often split work time between O'Reilly and my home office, not exactly the best way to keep track of meetings and appointments.

(I guess I could set up a webcam pointed at my calendar at the office so I could view it when I am working from home.... Nah. Though that might be a good way to pinpoint when the folks from janitorial swipe the
bacteria-ridden water bottle off my office desk to send to the recycling bin. I think they're trying to tell me something there. OK, I'll admit this: to thwart their efforts, I've taken to putting a yellow sticky-note on my water bottle that says "Please do not throw this away!". I figure I should have the right to decide when I've consumed enough bacteria.)

Serious digression aside, it's long been time for me to get a better calendar system. I tried Outlook's version once, played around on my partner's Palm (there's an interesting sentence) to see if I should get one, and way, way, way back, when it was stylish, I carried a Franklin (because they were cheaper than Day-TImers). But everything just seemed like too much work, so somehow I settled into this simpler calendar pad system. Yet when I work from home these days, I always have this uneasy feeling I am forgetting something that I've written down on that giant calendar pad at work.

So, when I read Giles Turnbull's Your Life in Web Apps, I was intrigued by what he had to say about using Google Calendar. When you work in online publishing, you pretty much are always on--a necessary thing for using any of the many web apps Giles covers exhaustively in the PDF--so trying Google Calendar on for size sounded like a good idea for me. Long story, longer, here's what I found out.


Roger Weeks
2006-07-10 15:37:27
Tara, if you use a Mac, you should check out this cool little app:

You can load any web page into it, and then make it essentially a background application. It's not quite like Active Desktop for Windows, but it's a nice translucent overlay on your desktop, always in the background. Works great for calendar apps, monitoring apps, or anything you need to keep an eye on, but don't want to waste browser space with.

Forget It
2006-07-11 00:20:43
Google calendar doesn't do the right thing yet.
Try it with Mozilla Sunbird and expect frustration:
You can only upload and not download event/tasks. allows you to do both and is also free -
not as Ajax-y though

2006-07-11 08:13:31
Outlook sync available?
2006-07-12 03:49:56
Two things - F11 is your full screen mode toggle in Firefox and you can download the ICAL (.isc) files anytime you want as a backup/sync - put them on your website for others to download!
2006-07-13 12:09:18
Thanks for the comments--more reason to get a Mac here, especially for the iCal factor!
Kim Caloca
2006-07-29 10:19:57
I did a search for downloading events from my Google calendar, and stumbled across your blog. I agree that this is definitely a con. However, if I can figure out a way to automatically send an invite to myself via my outlook calendar, I'll be able to use that to update my PDA. Maybe a good workaround until Google realizes the need for that feature.
ted ullman
2007-01-05 15:19:16
I put google on my front page and a bunch of stuff came with it like
"To rearrange your page, drag and drop the title bars."
and two add stuff links at the right. How can I clean the page up? thanks