in Cheap Thoughts, Futurist, X-Geek

Cheap Thoughts: automating appointments

After years of constant sessions spent updating our respective calendars, Kelly and I recently began to share our calendar details directly. It’s been much easier to know who’s supposed to be where, and it all happens automatically.

Why is it that coordinating appointments is still difficult if not impossible? I subscribe to a lot of mailing lists for charities and the like, and each one has important dates that they share with me. Yet, I have to manually add the information to my electronic calendar, risking typos and errors in the process.

Why hasn’t this been automated by now? An appointment has a set number of common fields, like date, time, description, participants, etc. It should be easy to standardize, yet everyone still does things the hard way. Why?

The iCalendar format was invented to solve this problem and most mail clients now support it. Still, it’s rare that I get an iCalendar invitation in my email: usually an event is described only in plain text. Why is this?

Facebook’s events are convenient for announcing events but this is only available to Facebook users. If someone came up with a easy-to-use calendaring server that put event details into an iCalendar format reached through a shortcut link, I think it would be heavily popular.

  1. When I get an email with the text details of an event in it, Google Mail has a thing on the sidebar with the info and a link for me to add it directly to my calendar. Obviously it only works on messages where it can accurately parse the information, but it’s a lot better than nothing.

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