Google calendar

I decided that I need to sort out the way I do my personal calendaring.

Currently I only use my phone’s built-in calendar. I nearly always have my phone with me, but it’s a bit of a pain to enter stuff on when I’m sat at a computer anyway, and carrying all that information solely on my phone presents a huge risk of loss, theft or breakage.

I need some kind of centralised store of information that is able to sync with all the devices and programs I want to use, namely:

  • Some sort of cross-platform calendar client – mainly for use on Linux but also nice to be able to use similar software if I’m on Windows or OS X.
  • Sony-Ericsson P1i (Symbian) built-in calendar
  • iPhone, for when I get one
  • Web interface, for those times when I’m borrowing a computer and can’t install a client.

Google Calendar seems to be a good choice. It’s flexible and can sync with lots of things.

Linux

So I installed Lightning on all my Fedora and Ubuntu machines. It’s a calendar extension for Thunderbird, which I already use. To install it yourself:

On Fedora:
yum install thunderbird-lightning
On Ubuntu:
apt-get thunderbird-lightning

It’s easy to set up, too. Suppose your Google account is joebloggs@gmail.com, then you would…

  • Add a new calendar to Lightning by right-clicking in the Calendar area
  • Choose On the Network
  • Select CalDAV
  • Enter your location as https://www.google.com/calendar/dav/joebloggs@gmail.com/events
  • Give the calendar a name

OS X and Windows

It’s a little more work to install Lightning on OS X. You have to download the add-on from Mozilla, and install it in Thunderbird. Same story for Windows.

It’s quite straightforward and there are instructions on the website.

When you’re done, follow the same instructions as for Linux to subscribe to your Google calendar in Lightning.

Sony Ericsson UIQ

Setting up Google Calendar on my Sony Ericsson P1i was a bit of a pain, too. The P1i can’t interact with Google natively, I had to set up an account with Goosync to enable this. Goosync talks to Google, and your phone talks to Goosync using SyncML.

But once you have a Goosync account, you can synchronise a lot of handsets with Google calendar.

So first, you will need to set up an account with Goosync. It’s free and very easy. Goosync will ask you to tie your Goosync account to your Google account.

There’s also an option to have the settings for your phone sent automatically to your handset. However this didn’t work for me so I had to enter the settings manually.

Assuming the sync task on your phone has been set up properly, do a  test run to make sure it all works.

  • If possible, connect to a wireless network first. If not, 3G will have to do.
  • Go to the Main Menu
  • Go to Tools
  • Go to Remote Sync
  • Find the profile that syncs with Goosync
  • Find the sync task called Calendar. Make sure it is ticked, and then tap Sync to start off the first synchronisation.

If that worked, you can now run the sync task whenever you like from within the calendar itself.

  • Open your phone calendar
  • Tap More
  • Tap Calendar manager
  • Tap Synchronise

That’s all there is to it! Unfortunately there’s no way of making your calendar synchronise automatically at set intervals, but that’s probably a good thing, because you can’t get stung for 3G charges!

iPhone and iPod touch

Coming soon…

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