Hey there folks. I know. It’s been awhile since my last post and I apologize for that, but salsa lessons have started again. Before any of you fellows out there start laughing at me, I only ask you to do one simple thing: ask the lady in your life if she would like to take salsa lessons with you. After the initial shock wears off, she will give you what I call that “first date” smile. That’s the smile you get because she’s crazy about you and can’t hide it. Think back to when you first started dating and how she used to light up when you did those romantic things you used to do. I could go on, but I’ll just leave it at that. But no laughing until you ask.
Last week, not too long after my last entry, I took the leap. I finally dared to do it. I’d heard about it and decided that now it was simply time to give it a shot. I’d heard podcasts about it, but I still didn’t want to bother, because I know me. Once I try something out, if I like it I’m going to have to commit to it. To learn the ins and outs about it. It’s the IT geek in me. When we learn something we try and learn it well, and if we don’t get the time, we become frustrated and tip-toe around it until we finally get some real tinkering time.
“Okay already, Harlem! What are you talking about?!?”
Oops. Sorry about that.
That would be Google Calendar.
Oh, I know some folks may have given it a shot and moved on already. That’s how it is with a lot of folks nowadays. But I’m soon 42 and have learned over time to approach things that can become time consuming more carefully. I find all this rushing and switching that others seem to do nowadyas a bit unhealthy. So I’ve been playing around with Google Calendar for over a week now and I must say I’m pretty hooked on it. What’s even more fun is that I get to share it with my wife. …woe. That sounded as corny as a 1980’s shampoo commercial. Sorry about that. But seriously, I do get to share it with both my wife, daughter, and whomever else I choose to share it with. That’s part of the beauty of it.
Before I go any further let me say to all of the Microsoft Outlook fans out there that I’m well aware of Outlook offering these very same services in Public Folders. In fact, we use Public Folders in the organization I work for. Nevertheless — and you knew this was coming — Outlook costs money. It costs money per client, and I’m not about to buy or set up an Exchange server to run and spend way too many hours monitoring, patching, and updating at home. No thanks. I see what our Exchange server folks have to go through at work. I’m not about to bring that into my home. And everyone out there who knows just a teensy weensy bit about IT security knows that my footprint on the net would go up just enough to attract more attention than the average home user wants. That would mean I’d have to buy a firewall, configure that, blah, blah, blah… Nah-uh. If I wanted all of that I wouldn’t own a Mac. 😉
And to my fellow Mac enthusiasts, for you, I know that .mac offers the same services through iCal, but I’d like for folks like my wife and daughter, who don’t have .mac accounts, to be able to access my calendar. Besides, it’s enough for me to dish out $99 a year for my .mac account alone. Yes, I love Macs, but I’m not shelling out more money for .mac accounts. Surely not in its current state!
I don’t have to worry about that in my Google Calendar life. Why? Because Google Calendar is free! It doesn’t cost a dime. (I can’t help but wonder what Microsoft, the company that brought us Internet Explorer for free (!) is thinking about Google Calendar. I bet Netscape fans know where my mind is going.) And free things tend to be more appealing, of course. I’m willing to guess that at least one of you out there is going to go and have a peek at it based on this alone.
Sooooo, I now have a calendar that the entire family can check out. Well, if I wanted, the entire world could check it out (which is kind of cool, but a bit creepy too), but I’m not likely to bore you all with my daily goings on.
“So what. You have a calendar you can share. Big deal!”
Yeah. It is a big deal. But OF COURSE that’s not it!
As I touched on just briefly, I can share it publicly, or I can choose private sharing. This means that I can share something only with my wife and daughter, or I can choose to share it with anyone I give access to my calendar. And for my friends that don’t have a Google account, I simply send them the link (I hope by some stroke of sheer luck Mr. Jobs has something like this in the work for .mac!!!). But it’s not just the sharing I like.
When one has an important event they need to remember, it’s fine and dandy having a pop-up with a sound occur on their computer you’re using. But Google is smarter than that. They take it to the next level entirely. I have Google configured so that it will send an SMS message to my mobile phone to remind me of certain events, and that’s pretty nice. And how much does it cost me to receive these messages? Not one single Swedish Crown! (Remember. I live in Sweden, folks.) It’s free! And you already know how I feel about that (lol). Unfortunately, for my fellow Americans who reside in the U.S., you may have to check with your carrier about this. For some strange reason I’ve never been able to understand, U.S. residents are sometimes charged for receiving mobile calls.
As you can see, I’m enjoying my Google Calendar experience. In fact, so is my wife! She now has her own Google calendar as well. We are currently a Google Calendar family, and it’s better than I expected. But enough for now. I get the feeling I’ll be telling you more about some of the other cool features later. In the meantime, go and have a peek. You know you want to. 😉