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Posts tagged with ‘google calendar’

My New Default Meeting: 15 Minutes

I had a call with a social tools vendor the other day, getting the basic lowdown on the tool, the tool’s differentiation, and his immediate plans. I asked a few questions, agreed to getting a demo in a week or two, and we said goodbye. 17 minutes had passed.

I am not the only one who is working to get back time by making meetings dramatically shorter:

Glenn Engler, 15 Is the New 60

I’m trying my best to get rid of 60 minute meetings.  They are a crutch — if you block off 60 minutes, it will probably take 60 minutes.  My regular 1-on-1s are now 30 minutes.  If we need more time, we’ll make it — but we’ve all found that focusing on 30 minutes makes them productive.  While there are a few longer meetings on the book — client-facing, or our monthly All-Hands meeting, 30 minutes are ample time for the bulk of the other ones.

But what about 15?  If you embrace the concept of tight agendas, prepared, and solutions-focused, we can go faster.  I love it tackling a 30 minute meeting in 15. We look at each other and say “anything else?”  And the answer is “no.”  We just gained back 15 minutes.

So 15 in my new normal. 

I also noticed a feature in Google Calendar settings called ‘speedy meetings’, as I was setting the default meeting length from 60 minutes to 15. It trims time at the end of longer meetings, so that a 30 minute meeting ends 5 minutes early, and so on.

Google Alerts From Reading My Email: Next Step, Calendar Integration?

I was looking at a Google search result and I saw this alert pop up, regarding a flight:


I clicked on it and saw a second search page, where the search query was ‘My Flights’, and this popped to the top:


And the link to the confirmation email — from which the information had been pulled — was offered up.

So, I can see that Google could build a search-based competitor to TripIt relatively easy. Instead of having to forward travel confirmations from airlines, hotels, etc. to TripIt, Google could simply index them in a smart way. And Google could correlate trips with travel dates on my Google calendar. So imagine if I had a trip to Southern California on calendar as a multiday event, Google could have pulled hotel and other information together with the two flights there and back, and used the name of the event as a tag, or folder, and the calendar event could have collated all the travel information together automatically.

Look out, TripIt!

Google Rolls Out New Gmail Search

I saw a new option pop up in Gmail today, and I have opted into a field trial of a new Gmail search. Now Google will show relavant files in Google Drive and Google Calendar along with emails when searching in Gmail. Also, emails and Google Drive files  will show up in Google Searches.

Scary Milestone

A scary milestone today: things have gotten so busy — so many meetings everyday — that I changed my default view in Google Calendar from 4 weeks to 3 weeks so that I could see all the appointments for each day. Does that mean I am 4/3 more busy than before?

/Message: Pairup

Pairup is a social networking service for business travelers that I really would like to have take off (pun intended). I have always wanted to use a “ships passing in the night” service, where I could simply state my travel plans, and I would discover that an old friend was going to be in New York City the same dates as me.


There is more to Pairup than finding old friends: the service is geared to helping business travelers meet new people as well, such as people attending the same event you are traveling to, or locals with similar interests. I wonder if by trying to do so much, however, the designers have moved too far away from a simple premise, and move into conflict with larger professional social networks? On the other hand, I could make the argument that my “ships in the night” service is really just a feature than a solution like or Google Calendar could offer.

How do you plan to use Google Calendar?

So, Google has started to incorporate Calendar elements into Gmail. The obvious Outlook-ish invitations work:

I love Google calendar, and have switched over, perhaps for ever. The integration with Google Maps is a killer, and the invitation system is boss:

I couldn’t get the supposed “auto recognition” of events to work reliably, although Philipp Lenssen at Google Blogoscoped makes it seem easy, unless I specifically used the phrase “can you join me for lunch Friday at 12pm” or the like. Invitations like “can you get on a telcon at 2pm Fri” didn’t work. For the moment, that is in beta, for real.

Note over on the left side, I have partitioned my world into a bunch of different calendars, which have different kinds of visibility. I make the Family calendar accessible to my family, but private to anyone else. I will be making the Conferences calendar public, so that anyone can see where I am — although I think I will rename to something like Stowe’s Whereabouts. My pal Greg gave me access to his calendar, and I will be doing that for him, since we work together a lot and basically have no secrets. Work, Work, Work is all the scheduled work stuff, like the endless telcons and meetings. My partitioning, though, I can click various things on and off independently. I would rather have tags, though, so that events could appear in multiple calendars.

So now my desktop calendar, iCalendar, is just a repository with subscriptions to the various calendars at Google. It have set it up to sync every hour, so when I am disconnected from the web I have a working copy. In this way, this model of calendaring is more like blogging than ever. I publish my calendar on the web (perhaps with protections), and I and others subscribe using a calendar feed reader — in this case iCalendar. And of course, iSync syncs the local copy at iCalendar to my phone (which Google doesn’t do, yet), which is just like putting a podcast onto my iPod from the RSS feed reader.

Garett Rogers on Google Calendar Task

Garrett Rogers has spent some time productively poking at the javascript in Google Calendar, and surmises that completeable tasks are soon to be rolled out:

[from Google Calendar task list feature | Googling Google |]

I found some code that suggests they will be adding completable events — or “tasks”.  This would be nice because the only thing that even resembles a task is an all day event — and you can’t mark them as completed or carry them forward.

od.prototype.completable = function(a,b){ alert(“UNIMPLEMENTED completable”) };od.prototype.completions = function(a,b){ alert(“UNIMPLEMENTED completions”) };od.prototype.oncomplete = function(a,b,c,d){ }   (see how the function for “oncomplete” does nothing?)

Google really does listen to their users — a task list is a heavily requested feature of people using this service in the Google Calendar Help group.

First Look: Shiira


I am tired of Firefox losing it’s mind — must be a memory leak in there, somewhere — so I have periodically looked at alternatives. The obvious alternative, Safari, feels too clunky, somehow. I tried Camino and I might go back to using it since it is supposed to be fast, and it supports stuff I use all the time, like blummy, but I don’t like the way any of these browsers treat RSS. Even the Sage plug-in for Firefox is convoluted.

I stumbled across Shiira the other day, a browser based on Web Kit and written in Cocoa. It is insanely beautiful, and I particularly like the design used for bookmarks: a side panel slides out from the right or left — your choice — and any RSS feeds are handled as an RSS reader would:

The use of the vertical tabs is clever, too.

Awesome! But then… disaster struck when I tried to open Google Calendar, and got this message:

Not supporting gCalendar is really a show stopper for me. I guess I could try to live using multiple browsers, but the world is based on the notion of a default browser — you click a link and something must pop — so, for the moment, I can’t go with Shiira. Hopefully they will solve this problem, and I will be able to explore Shiira further.

I may try to use it as an RSS reader, but I don’t generally read that way much. I might just leave it open in the background, since the RSS feature is linked to Growl — I get notifications when my favorites have new stuff to read. Then I will browse using Firefox, or something. More to follow.

[Update: 10:30am — I discovered that Safari is not a supported browser for Googel Calendar, and it exhibits exactly the same javascript errors as Shiira. It could be that Shiira is using the Safari engine, and as soon — if ever — as Apple sorts out the issues involved, both browsers might work.

Google Calender - Sharable and Easy to Use

Got the tip off that Google had finally released the beta of it’s long-awaited Calendar fromCNET's Elinor Mills.

I took a look, and it seems a fully functional but fairly austere and clean design, and incorporates nearly everything I would want in an online calendar: multiple calendars, import and export of calendars, iCal support, alerts/notifications (including to cell phone), public/private calendar events, invitation system that is well integrated to Gmail.

There’s talk of future integration with, so that publicizing events will be easy.

But a few big things I was hoping to see are not there:

  1. Gmail style labels, or tags — I wanted to be able to label events in the calendar with the same sort of tags that Gmail supports, and, even better, I was hoping for an integrated view of events, chats, and events based on those tags. Would be killer!
  2. RSS feeds from the calendars — there is mention of XML associated with calendars, so maybe that’s code for RSS, but there is nothing about it in the help docs. More to follow.
  3. Mobile access looks to be limited to SMS notifications. I really want direct access to the calendar through my mobile web access, like the equivalent Gmail service.
  4. Gtalk presence — why not? If I am looking at an upcoming event, why not have the same Gtalk buddylist pawn for invitees that supports emailing or chatting with them?

And of course, they would release this the week that I am using my son’s Ibook. I don’t have access to my real iCal, and I can’t import my calendar in and fool with it. A First Look will have to wait until the weekend.

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