Monday, September 08, 2008

Nerdvana now: Our family calendar is working – and how Gmail parses Outlook invites

A year ago I was struggling to reach the nerdvana of family calendar integration.

Now the end is almost in sight.

Emily’s Blackberry Pearl syncs reliably and near instantly to her calendar in our family domain Google Apps suite. My iPhone syncs reliably but only once daily, via Spanning Sync and iCal to my family domain calendar. Our shared Google Calendars allow both of us to see a joint calendar.

Meanwhile, work/home calendar integration may be possible – someday, at some price. For now, however, some appointments need double entry.

I’m pleased to say there’s an easy way to do that – it works far better than expected.

When I create an Outlook appointment that I want on my personal calendar, I invite my family domain email address. Gmail processes the structured message and creates a meeting invite that moves with one click to my Google Calendar.

From my gCal, the next time I sync with iTunes, the appointment will move to my iPhone. It will immediately be visible on my wife’s Pearl.

Wow. We’re making progress … slowly, but it will happen.

Now when iPhone 2.1 comes out and Emily inherits my iPhone 2.0 ...

Update 1/6/10: We did reach Nerdvana, though Emily got the 3GS and I stuck with the old 3G. All of the family calendars are on Google (mixture of Google Apps and personal for historic reasons); we use CalDAV to sync to our iPhones. My iPhone has push sync wiht my work calendar by connecting to my corporate (Microsoft ActiveSync) server and through my iPhone I can integrate all family and my work calendar. I also do a one way reflection of my work calendar to Google using Google's calendar sync -- that's read only.

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