Calendars

So, remember when I was all “Bleh, I hate that we Doodle all the time at work”? Funny story: I am not the only person at my workplace who feels that way. A group of us ended up chatting about just that subject, last week (and I promise I wasn’t the one who brought it up!). We decided that we’re going to start trying to schedule things with Outlook/Exchange, and we’re going to see how that goes. (We might also have decided something else, on top of that? I don’t remember. Ultimately, we’d like to convince everyone to join us, since, if we could get everyone on Outlook, then not only meeting scheduling, but reference desk and instruction scheduling might be easier.)

So, I had to move my Google calendar back into Exchange, to support the effort. I’ll put the techy details below, since I doubt everyone cares how that’s done. (And if all you care about is the techy details, feel free to skip to there. :)) Short story: I’m now using Exchange as my default calendar. I don’t like its feature set quite as well as Google’s, but I’ll take the hit on functionality, to (hopefully soon!) be able to work more efficiently.

But now I have the issue that calendar-sharing with my husband is going to be way trickier, unless I can figure out how to sync Exchange with Google calendar. (Techy details on that below, too.) I can see his Google calendar with my iPhone, and he can see my Google calendar with his iPhone. (He works a regular schedule, so he keeps his work meetings in his work Exchange calendar [because they use Exchange calendaring to set up meetings in his workplace, just like any sane organization with access to an Exchange server would do], which he can’t actually see with his iPhone right now; his off-work-time events go in Google.) If I can’t find a technical solution to the problem, I’ll try to separate out Exchange-for-work and Google-for-home, but I know from experience that that’s a messy road to take, doubly so when we only have one car, which makes our schedules more interdependent, and I try to be flexible and work one evening a week during the semester. The work/home separation only works for Dale because his work schedule is so regular. I can think of a couple of workarounds (set myself “out of office” on the mornings before night shifts, etc.), but none of them are super clean.

So that problem remains unsolved, unless syncing works. Fingers crossed!

Techy Details

It turns out, moving my Google calendar back into Exchange was more than a five-minute process. I had to use CalDAV to sync my Google calendar with iCal, then export my iCal to a file, and then right-click on the file to open it with Outlook. (Which only took 5 minutes to execute, but Googling for that took longer. Silly me, I thought Outlook would have a functioning “import” option.)

Although you can sync a Google calendar with an Outlook calendar on a Windows box, there’s no way to do it on a Mac. Therefore, I think I may install the syncing software on the smallest Windows/VMWare Fusion instance I can get away with on my work machine. Assuming it doesn’t bog the machine down completely, I can just leave my Windows virtual machine running, and that might be satisfactory. If it does bog down the machine, then I’ll just make syncing calendars with VMWare part of my morning email routine. And if there’s some detail to this that I’m missing, that makes syncing impossible, then I may explore other options; in my Googling, I found a couple of paid software solutions. I’m not thrilled at the idea, because they looked a little shaky, but I could live with it, if any of them work well. (I know VMWare Fusion is also “paid software,” as is Windows. But VMWare Fusion + Windows gives me more browsers to test on, which, as a web developer, I value, so I don’t feel like I’m wasting money or time, doing that.)

I’m installing Windows 7 on a 30-day trial of VMWare now. If this crazy scheme works out—and possibly even if it doesn’t—I’ll ask my department head for clearance to buy VMWare Fusion for reals. (I have a personal copy, but it isn’t working, for some reason. It’s several years old; maybe when they say “OS X 10.4.9 or later,” there’s an expiration date on that “or later” part. Or there’s some subtlety in the campus Windows disks that only a new version of Fusion can handle.) It’ll be nice to have access to IE and Windows Firefox (which renders differently than Mac Firefox) on a machine at my desk!

Fingers crossed.

About Coral Sheldon-Hess

Web librarian, Alaskan, tech teacher, feminist geek, crafter, former engineer, and Oxford comma apologist. Loves coffee and birds. "Kunoichi"=="female ninja."
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