Wednesday, August 31, 2005

x2v: An XHTML-to-iCal tool

Via Kevin Marks, I found out about Brian Suda’s x2v calendar parsing tool. Kevin used it to provide a calendar page for Gnomedex back in June. I wonder how hard it would be to wrestle XHTML into vCalendar - and solve my Outlook import problems?

Hunting for two-calendar blogs

I'm hunting for two-calendar blogs. One calendar would be the usual way to access blog archives. The other would access events -- certainly future events, but maybe present and past events as well?

It doesn't make sense to have a single calendar to access both blog archives and events, does it?

If you've seen anyone who's implemented a two-calendar blog, drop us a line.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005 adds support for groups added support for groups yesterday. Details here. Says Ed Vielmetti: "nicely enough the calendar comes out as RSS or iCal."

Outlook 2003: For iCal import, use Gregorian instead of Lunar?!

Well, as promised, I installed Outlook 2003, but it still can't import my .ics files (generated by Apple's iCal). I guess Trumba's business model is safe even from Outlook 2003, and Microsoft's Gnomedex demo is still just a starting point for them.

At least I received an interesting error message:

"Microsoft Office Outlook cannot import vCalendar file. This error can appear if you have attempted to save a recurring Lunar appointment in iCalendar format. To avoid this error, set the appointment option to Gregorian instead of Lunar."

Huh? Can anyone explain this? After digging around the Outlook 2003 help system, as well as the Web, I could not.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Monket Calendar needs a maintainer

Stephen O'Grady and others praise Monket Calendar, a cool open source application that generates calendars for the Web, but it needs a maintainer while its creator travels the world for a year.

Friday, August 26, 2005

PHP iCalendar

PHP iCalendar is a PHP-based iCal file viewer/parser to display iCals in a Web browser. Something else I should try out.

VTCalendar: Open-source iCal server

From "This gem comes courtesy of Virginia Tech. With VTCalendar you can manage your calendar on your own server. You can even divide your calendar into sub calendars by category and subscribe to your calendar(s) via iCal."
Swampdrain factor: +1. This may fulfill the important requirement for free iCal hosting as I mentioned in a pre-Swamp IMJ post.

Mediabee: "Family Calendaring Simplified"

River found this: Mediabee is Windows software with calendaring and a lot more. Product claim includes putting appointments and reminder "on any number of cell phones." No Swampdrain factor for this until I've learned some more. Meanwhile, there's a Mediabee Weblog, The Family Calendar Blog: "Family Calendaring Simplified."

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Advice to Apple

Apple Insider reports about this Apple job posting for an iCal engineer:

"someone eager to take iCal to the next level and increase it's [sic]integration with other applications in Mac OS X"
Hey Apple, how about increasing calendar integration with the (still) dominant platform, Windows and Outlook? And hire a proofreader!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Palm and Apple refilling the swamp

Rob Pegraro in the Washington Post writes:

"Between Apple and Palm, somebody needs to put some effort into updating their synchronization software"

A combination of recent moves and/or inaction by Apple and Palm have actually made this situation worse than before Apple's Tiger OS shipped, for which I give both companies a Swampdrain factor of -2.

More on Outlook & iCalendar

Clearly even Outlook 2002 supports some form of RFC 2445, which defines the iCalendar format. But despite blanket statements like this, from Shared Plan:

"iCalendar, defined in the IETF's RFC 2455, is supported by Outlook, Apple's
iCal®, Mozilla Sunbird, and several other calendar applications."

Interoperability problems persist. As a security measure, my copy of Outlook is not configured to send mail, only to receive it. (I use other mail programs to send, and receive Outlook mail only in limited circumstances.) But Outlook 2002's inability to open an .ics file is indicative that there are still interoperability problems. And ultimately, I need to be able to sync my Pocket PC with any mail client or service, not just with Outlook.

Outlook 2002 to Outlook 2003

As readers/listeners to Calendar Swamp know, I'm running Microsoft Outlook 2002 which came with the Dell Axim Pocket PC I won in a raffle last year. After reading story after story like this and talking to lots of folks, I've decided to spend $79 to purchase Outlook 2003 solely on the asumption it can open iCal .ics files. Outlook 2002 sure can't! The upgrade is coming from Amazon with something else that's on advance order, so round about September 1, I hope to install the upgrade and get to the bottom of this once and for all.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Building the 'event sphere'

If calendar interoperability really is going to happen, it'll probably be in part because of the work of people like Brian Dear oF EVDB, a startup service that lets anyone publish event information, then subscribe to it, in a structured way. I talked with Brian last month for Opening Move. Not a solution for individual-to-individual calendar sync, but definitely a nice step in the right direction, and the price is right (free). I give EVDB a Swampdrain Factor of +2.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Yahoo! calendar API: Don't hold your breath

With Yahoo! committed to eventually opening up all its APIs to developers, I wondered when the calendar API would be published. Not very soon, apparently. At OSCON, I asked Jeffrey McManus, director of the Yahoo Developer Network, and he says Yahoo! is currently rewriting both its calendar and its mail services. After that, APIs for both will be released. So no Swampdrain rating yet here either.

Google uses Oracle Calendar

With all the rumors about Google developing its own calendaring service, I've never read what calendar the company uses internally. This morning at OSCON, I got to ask Chris DiBona of Google. He says it's called Corporate Time and works with Oracle. (Later, I Googled Corporate Time and found it had been acquired by Oracle and renamed Oracle Calendar.) No Swampdrain rating to give here; just information to balance against rumor.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Trumba and Creative Manager Pro: Two ASP solutions

This morning on IMJ I alluded to the calendar interoperability solutions that require you to pay a monthly fee to some application service provider (ASP). I give these solutions a blanket Swampdrain score of 0 (neither good nor bad). A truly drained Calendar Swamp would provide this interoperability for no money, because a widely adopted standard exists. Solutions that required a one-time payment would be less ideal, but at least they wouldn't have reoccuring charges. At any rate, if you're a home user, you should check out Trumba, and if you're a business user, particularly an advertising agency, look at Creative Manager Pro. But these iCal/Outlook calendar synchronization services will cost you: For Trumba, $39 a year; for Creative Manager Pro, cost is at a minimum, $39 per user per month with a five-user minimum (at least, according to this article).

Monday, August 01, 2005

Missing Sync for Windows Mobile 2.0 ships

Missing Sync from Mark/Space is software we considered and rejected to sync iCal to Outlook, but I think we're going to have to give it a second look. The previous version couldn't handle synching Palm devices to the Mac, but a recent Tiger update completely broke River's Palm updating anyway, so now she's carrying her schedule around on her phone only. And version 2.0 of Missing Sync for Windows Mobile 2.0 is now shipping. No Swampdrain rating until I've done a further evaluation and figured out just what all the moving parts are. Here's The Register's brief story on the new release.