Thoughts & news on technology…well, mostly

How to subscribe to Google Calendars on your iPhone

Here’s a good article if you want to view other people’s Google Calendar on your iPhone:



Filed under: Calendar, Google, How-To, iPhone

Thoughts on Google Wave – Part 1

Google-Wave-logoJust got my Google Wave invite from Google this past Friday night and thought I’d share my thoughts on it over a few blog posts.  I won’t go into a lot of detail since you can get that info from all over the web (like here, here, and here).

Overall, at this very moment, I feel like a kid who got a very cool birthday gift but need batteries in order to use it.  Why?  Because you need people to wave with, which leads me to how Wave invites work: they’re not sent immediately and Google doesn’t tell you how long it’ll take for them to send the invite.

In my next post, I’ll post my thoughts after using it with some friends.  For now, here are some thoughts:

Choosing a Google Wave username:

Choosing your Google Wave username will be confusing and is a pain in the ass if you have multiple Google Accounts.  Here’s the deal: when you accept the invite and sign-up for Wave, you have to login with a Google Account. Then, you have to choose your Wave username…but here’s the catch: Wave reserves a username that is associated with a Gmail account so you can’t use the same username when signing up with a non-Gmail Google Account. Here’s an example of what happened to me:

  1. I have two Google Accounts – one is with my MobileMe email addy and the other is my Gmail account.
  2. I accept the invitation and login with my Google Account that uses my MobileMe email address.
  3. I try to choose a username that’s the same as my MobileMe username but Wave tells me it’s not available…and it doesn’t tell me why.
  4. Then, I try logging in with my Gmail account and – presto – my username was automatically set to be the same as my Gmail username.

Other thoughts:

  • As mentioned earlier, I got 20 invites with my Wave account but invites are *not* sent immediately.  Wave says, “Invitations will not be sent immediately. We have a lot of stamps to lick.”  It’d be nice if they gave me an idea of how long it’ll take for my invites to be sent!
  • Usability can be a bit wonky (which is on par for Google).  For example, when I viewed a Wave, I was trying to figure out how to add myself to that Wave so I can find it in the future.  After messing around for a few mins, I realized that once you view a Wave it’s automatically added to your Inbox.
  • You can only interact with other Wave users.  You can only send/receive emails or Waves with other Wave users (xxx@googlewave.com).  An email sent from your non-Wave account (xxx@me.com) will not be received by the Wave server.

That’s it for now.  I’ll post more thoughts as I get to use it more.



Filed under: Collaboration, Google, GoogleWave

Google will release a web-based PowerPoint application

The Web 2.0 Expo is under way (April 15 – 18) and Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, has announced that they will be adding a presentation and slide show application (i.e., PowerPoint) to Google Docs & Spreadsheets.  We now have Google’s version of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.  Nice.

Eric Schmidt said it will be “launched soon” and did not give a specific timeframe.

Docs & Spreadsheets is already hugely popular and makes collaboration soooo much easier. Adding a web-based PowerPoint-esque application is a natural extension of the Google Apps.

Google continues to create applications that enable better collaboration within teams and communities – I love it. 🙂

[via TechCrunch and CNET]

Filed under: Google, Web 2.0

18 ways to use Google Calendar

Anne Zelenka, of Web Worker Daily, has a great post titled, “Rock your Google Calendar in 18 ways.” You probably know some of them if you’re using Google Calendar but I’ll bet you don’t know all of them.

Here are some of the more interesting ones:

  • Add events to Google Calendar without being in GCal (thanks to a GCal Quick Add Firefox extension)
  • Receive event reminders via SMS
  • Get a daily agenda emailed or text messaged to you
  • Add a pop-up notifier of upcoming events to the Firefox status bar (via a Firefox extension)

I would add one to her list: GooSync. Being able to do a 2-way sync from a mobile phone or smartphone with Google Calendar is a HUGE bonus for some people. You can read more about this tool in my GooSync review.

Filed under: Calendar, Firefox Add-On, Google, How-To, Software

Daylight Savings Time bug with Google Calendar’s API

There is a bug with Google Calendar’s API – their API doesn’t account for the changes to Daylight Savings Time (DST). This is making life hell for anyone who uses 3rd party software to sync Google Calendar to their Outlook, Windows Mobile, etc. calendars. Don’t get me wrong, I love Google but they royally screwed-up on this one. According to Google Support, they’re hoping to fix this in April – April?! WTF!

I noticed this because I use GooSync to synchronize my T-Mobile Dash to Google Calendar. Things were working perfectly until the changes to Daylight Savings Time (DST) took effect on March 11. Post March 11, when I created an appointment on my Windows Mobile 5 device and synced it to Google Calendar, the time of the appointment would show up correctly. But, on a subsequent sync, it would push the appointment time forward by one hour.

If you’re a GooSync user, here’s the link to the post about the DST issue in GooSync’s support group. I gotta say, it’s nice that GooSync posted this note because I’m sure they got a lot of people bitching at them – thinking it was GooSync’s fault (at first, I thought it was their fault, too).

Filed under: Calendar, Cellphone, Daylight Savings Time, Google, Smartphone, Windows Mobile, Wireless

GooSync: Synchronize Google Calendar with your mobile phone

If you have a Google Calendar and want to synchronize it with your cell phone or PDA, then GooSync is something you should check out. GooSync does a 2-way synchronization between Google Calendar and your mobile phone. So, any appointments you make on your celly or PDA is synchronized to your Google Calendar and vice versa. Cost: free (for sync’ing 1 Google calendar). If you want to sync multiple Google calendars or shared calendars, you’ll have to pay £19.95 (GBP) for 12 months of service, which is $38.30 (USD)…too bad GooSync is a British company! 😉

To use GooSync, all you need to do is create a GooSync account and grant GooSync access to your Google Calendar (don’t worry, you can do this without giving your Google login credentials to GooSync). After you create your account, you select the type of cell phone you have and follow the instructions on how to install the GooSync software on your phone. For Windows Mobile devices, all you have to do is download and install a .CAB file. The installation varies depending on your phone type (and GooSync lists A LOT of supported phones). After the software is installed, you enter your GooSync login credentials and press the “sync” button. After 10 – 20 seconds, your calendars are synchronized.

I installed GooSync on my T-Mobile Dash (Windows Mobile 5 Smartphone) tonight and it works as advertised. Here are my pros/cons:

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Calendar, Cellphone, Google, Reviews, Smartphone, Windows Mobile, Wireless

Need to find a Starbucks on your cell phone? Send a text to “MYSBUX”

Starbucks has launched a service that allows you to get a list of the closest Starbucks by sending a text message with your zip code to “MYSBUX” (697289). After doing so, you’ll receive a text message listing the 3 nearest Starbucks locations with their address, phone number, and a link to a mobile-friendly web page that tells you if that location has WiFi and where the store is located on a Microsoft MapPoint map.

If you have a cellphone or smartphone that can browse the web, you can also navigate to their mobile-friendly site – mobile.starbucks.com – to find the nearest stores, identify which ones have Wifi, get maps, directions, etc.

I compared the text message service to Google’s 411 text message service by submitting 3 different locations (Somerville, MA, Cambridge, and Brookline, MA) to both services and got better results with Google 33% of the time (I’m sure this percentage will fluctuate depending on the city). When I say “better results,” I mean that Google returned more stores that were closer to my location. When I searched for stores nearest Brookline, MA, the Starbucks service didn’t return one store that was the second closest to my location. The response time from both services were equal – I got replies within 10 – 20 seconds. Overall, the Starbucks service is easier to use because all you have to do is enter your zip code whereas, with Google’s SMS service, you have to enter name, city, and state or zip code. The Starbucks service always returns 3 results compared to Google’s 2 – 3 results.

I also tried the Starbucks mobile site and was surprised at how fast it was. If you don’t want to use text messages, this is a very good alternative. Plus, the mobile site gives you a lot more results.

At the end of the day, I love Google SMS and will keep using it since it’s a lot easier to remember the number: “GOOGLE” (466453). Needless to say, I’m recommending Google SMS because not only can you search for Starbucks locations but you can search for anything else – it’s basically the mobile version of the 411 Directory Service.

Filed under: Cellphone, Google, Mobile Phone, Search, Text Message