Syncing three kinds of calendars

There are three main types of calendars that I need and use:

  1. the standard desktop calendar app (the one with the best interface, accessible also when offline)
  2. the mobile calendar (handy when making notes in the meetings, on the road etc.)
  3. the online, shared calendar (essential for groupwork, accessible from any webtop)

The challenge currently is that there is no single, seamless solution for a regular user that would (affordably) provide all these elements so that they would be automatically synchronized together. I tried to move away from MS Office and Outlook which is senseless bloatware and resource hog if the only thing you need is the calendar (I use Thunderbird as my PC mail client). And Google Calendar does nicely its job as the shared online calendar service. However, if you are using Nokia mobile phones/symbian devices, it is very difficult to do without Nokia PC Suite, and it only supports sync to Outlook (or Lotus Notes, and other MS calendars). There are workarounds where you use your phone’s GPRS data capabilities to sync the mobile phone over the air to Google Calendar, and you can integrate Thunderbird/Lightning calendar then to Google Calendar, but if you have couple of phones and no flat rate plan to some of them (like I do) then doing every sync over the air does not really make sense. For the data carrier and slow access reasons I do not prefer to load online calendar to a mobile browser and access the mobile calendar that way.

Google Mobile Sync Comic Strip
Google Mobile Sync Comic Strip

I was finally forced back to Outlook – Google Calendar Sync – PC Suite – Nokia/S60 combo, as I did not want to pay and install for extra software just for this (and we already have the MS Office licenced provided by our university to staff use). If you have found a better way to keep these three types of calendars synchronized together, please let me know.

Author: frans

Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media, esp. Digital Culture and Game Studies in the University of Tampere, Finland.

3 thoughts on “Syncing three kinds of calendars”

  1. I considered ScheduleWorld, and even tried to register. But I lost interest as it became clear that they are charging (“The first 7 days are free. $24.99 USD / year for all features except the IMAP client”…) And I would only need them as an intermediary between other services, so no thanks.

  2. Today I also tried out Nokia’s OVI service (http://www.ovi.com) — but no new options there. You need to use your online data to sync mobile device to the online calendar and contacts, you need MS Outlook as the desktop app, and finally: Nokia’s service experience is not as good as the one provided by Google Calendar and other Google apps (unfortunate for us fellow Finns…)

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s