Saturday, December 12, 2009

calendar experiment

I'm looking for efficiencies and less duplication...

I presently do the following:
  • make an astronomy calendar, in list style, on my blog companion site for entire year; manually created and edited continuously...
  • for each TSTM presentation I'm asked to deliver, make a month-at-a-glance style calendar
  • for the odd NOVA lesson, make the same monthly calendar, usually twice!
  • print The Evening Sky Map once a month and put in beside my desk, so to stay abreast of upcoming events
  • look at the RASC annual month-at-a-glance calendar, hung near the coffee maker, whenever I get the chance
  • regularly monitor the Sky and Telescope's week-at-a-glance article
I'm a bit frustrated at entering data I've already input somewhere else. And I'm frustrated when I miss events that are interesting to me.
  • I don't want to repeat data entry; I should enter once and it should show up every where
  • I'd like a calendar that I can quickly look at and it shows me what's up (in the sky) today; while the list and monthly style are good, I need something that focuses on today
  • I'd like better handling of multi-day events, repeating things
And somehow, in all of this, I don't want to use my Psion Agenda. I can't put my finger on this exactly but it just doesn't seem the right place. It'd be good to have alarms or reminders in my pocket... Perhaps it is because I don't regular synch it with a PC. It is too autonomous. Maybe if I was using a smartphone and synching my calendar everyday, or online, every minute...

I've thought about coding an application on the Psion palmtop, maybe that automatically appeared each time I turned it on. But that's not a trivial undertaking. And it still doesn't solve the issue of sharing this information...

So, for some time, I've been kicking around if there is a way I could implement a public or shared calendar (read-only mind you) that would support all these features...

I used to run a public internet calendar on a Windows 2000 server from under my desk...

There's Google's calendar with iCal support.

But then it suddenly hit me.

I'm using Yahoo! Widgets now on my main PC computer. A computer I use essentially everyday. And, in particular, I've starting using widgets so I can keep an eye on a bunch of astronomical related things. At the moment, I'm using widgets for the local weather, local radar, APOD, the Moon's phase, and the Sun (from SOHO). It's actually fantastic, all these live feeders.

And wouldn't you know it, they have an included widget called Day Planner. It can connect with your Yahoo!Calendar.

So today I started an experiment. I loaded a Yahoo!Calendar with all the events I noted in my The Sky This Month presentation and handout, to the end of the month. And then I fired up the widget... Voila! All the events happening today are showing up! And tomorrow... Nice. I can add and edit entries through the widget. Cool!

Perfect. This is perfect!

Now, if I share this calendar...

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