I signed up for Google Calendar a while back, pretty much just because I could do it without creating a new account — it's the same as my Gmail (which I love, and if you aren't on the Gmail bandwagon yet you should get on that). I know there are a ton of other online calendaring applications out there, and I have looked at some of them and thought "nah, I don't need to keep a calendar online and in my planner." But I got really busy last semester, and sometimes I wanted a more visual representation of my schedule than my planner (calendar pages are the kind where two pages comprise a week). So I did Google Calendar. And I *heart* it. Here's why:
- View your schedule by day, next 4 days, week, month or agenda-style.
- Schedule an event by drawing it into the time slot (week or day view).
- Color code to your heart's content.
- Share your calendar with particular people or the world; control whether each individual sees just that you are busy, sees event details, or can see and change event details.
- Add an event quickly by typing something like "meeting with Olivia 2pm Thursday." (The default length for events entered this way is 1 hour; if you get specific and say 2:30 – 5:45 it'll do that, too.)
- Make a PDF of your schedule in any view except "agenda" WITHOUT the need to have Acrobat Standard installed (just click the printer button at the top). I haven't printed any, but they look well-laid out on screen.
- Add events from other GCals to your own.
- Change details or cancel a single event in a repeating series.
I can't fight these things anymore: here's a set of annotated screenshots. Stop laughing. This is why you like me. (OK, maybe you just like me because you hope to someday get a warm thing made out of yarn for yourself.)Being the giant geeks that we are, the ASIS&T@Simmons chair and I immediately shared our calendars with each other since we are both so busy and are forever looking for one another. I've also shared my calendars with my bosses, so they can see when I'm available and where I am if they're looking for me. (I'm on campus so much that it's a good bet I'm somewhere nearby.) To me, this is the best thing about social software — being able to get the information you need about a person and share information about yourself, all while being able to control the level of detail.
One thing that I didn't like at first has grown on me. A calendar can only be one color. So when I wanted to differentiate between my class schedule and ASIS&T stuff, I had to make two separate calendars. (I'm now up to 5 personal calendars, plus US holidays.) I thought that was clunky and dumb at first, but now I dig it becuase it means that you can show and hide each calendar on an individual basis.
There are features I haven't played with yet. GCal is, of course, integrated with GMail, so now that I have a GCal account, anytime I get an email that has some sort of date and time in it, a link to add to GCal shows up in the GMail sidebar. In addition, you can invite people to events when you create them.
I don't think I'll give up my planner anytime soon (I carry too much other stuff in there) but I really dig Google calendar and use it just as heavily as I do my planner. (Yes, everything is entered into both of them.)