01 November 2009

Adelaide Greenies on Google Calendar

Having found it very easy to lose track of all of the different events that Adelaide's environmental movement has organised, I have started a Google Calendar to remind me. It's called the Adelaide Greenies calendar, and it's an agglomeration of an array of different mailing lists that carry events that might interest fellow environmentalists. There's a little gadget (in list form) on the side of my blog that shows you what is there.

At the moment, all of this should be considered a bit of an experiment. There will be information missing because not everyone knows the length of time that their events will last. I'm also making a policy that private addresses won't be included with events without the explicit permission of the people at that address; I realise that such a policy might make it a little more difficult to advertise permablitzes, but I do want to show a bit of respect for people's privacy.

For the moment, I am treating this as a stop-gap solution. It's quite a chore to enter all of this data for everyone, even so far, and not everyone will use this to stay abreast of what's happening around South Australia. However, I'm going to have a go at keeping it up to date for a month or two and see what happens. What I hope for people to do is to start their own calendars for their own groups, so that people can subscribe to what interests them or what is going on in their local area. Besides, any calendar program worth its salt - including the HTML widget on the side of this page - can combine several calendars of events onto a single timeline.

The calendar is available in a number of different formats, so that you should be able to read it from anywhere. At the moment, I'm the only person who can edit anything (I hope). I will list the ways you can subscribe to the calendar below.
  • To view the calendar in your browser, just follow this link to the HTML version, or add it to your Bookmarks or Favourites.
  • To view the calendar as an Atom or RSS feed, add this link to the XML version to your feed subscriptions. In many browsers, you should just be able to click on the link and go from there. Otherwise, look for this logo in your browser:
  • To add the calendar using software such as iCal, Outlook 2007 or Mozilla Sunbird, add this link to the iCal version to your subscriptions or accounts. To add the calendar to Outlook 2003 or earlier, download the file from that link and import it manually. (Note that the older versions won't update iCal files automatically, so every so often, you'll have to delete the calendar and import it again.)
  • If you like the widget I've got in the blog, let me know. Google Calendar does have a tool that lets you customise this widget, but only if you have private access to the calendar - that is, only if you're me. I know WordPress doesn't like the widget I'm using (it doesn't like iframe HTML tags), but you should be able to add the RSS feed above in the meantime; I haven't looked into this yet.
Whether you find this useful or have strong criticisms of it, please let me know. As I said, it's all fairly experimental at this stage.

UPDATE 2009-11-02: You can indeed use the XML version (Atom/RSS) of a calendar in the RSS widget in WordPress, but the formatting isn't ideal. I found this tutorial on Helen's Nerdy Blog for customising RSS feeds, and I've since created a more refined version of the XML feed for WordPress users. To incorporate this into WordPress, add an RSS widget for this link on feed43.com. There's an example of this on the Permaculture Education Zone blog (which I also set up).

Thanks to everyone for their input so far. There may be another update later to address the most important questions.


Cherie Wilkinson said...

Good Idea!

What if ran in a similar way to how those yahoo group calendars run though?
So "members" could just add there own. I'm just thinking about once off or irregular events, or for groups/gathering where setting up their own calendar (to be merged into this super calendar you speak of) wouldn't be worthwhile.

Aaron Nielsen said...


Yes, it is possible to add specific people who can add or edit events. Just about everything I put in there so far has been affiliated with some existing group or other, but you're right, some events won't be.

The merged calendar concept isn't really a calendar in the same way. It's just that pretty much every calendar program I've ever seen lets you subscribe to multiple feeds, which you can then display or hide at will. At the moment, what I've done is just one big monolithic calendar, but it doesn't have to be done that way.

Thanks for your comments!

Michael Dwyer said...

Hi Aaron, really good. I will see how it goes in the use.
Michael Dwyer