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so i, along with probably others ;-), took a look at google calendar.  why?  it’s hard to argue they’ve come out with some cool stuff.  one thing that my wife and i struggle with is maintaining a calendar we can see for each other. 

yeah, i know about all the other sites, etc. — why haven’t i used them?  who knows…just haven’t.  i looked at hotmail, and while i think the Windows Live team is making great improvements (Windows Live Mail is great), i’m still frustrated with the passport authentication model.  with everything i do in software, i try (not always succeeding) to apply the MILF design principle.  no, not that one.  MILF=mother-in-law factor.  for me, passport doesn’t pass this test (and has been proven by field MILF studies ;-) — and numerous family ‘nick burns’ visits).

at any rate, i looked at google calendar.  slick design, web 2.0, ajax, etc. — <insert buzzword here> — it’s pretty slick.  i set up a calendar and shared it out to my wife with a note about my idea.  within 10 minutes, the month of april was completed with all relevant items for our family that i needed to be aware of.  seriously, this is a great user experience achievement in my book.  while my wife is progressing in the tech savvy department, some things still need some explaining.  however, this is where i think google succeeds well.  she has been using gmail for a while and loves it (she would never touch her hotmail because she said it was too ‘busy’).  google calendar was easy for her to use as well.

so i knew outlook 2007 (outlook 12 for those still fighting the naming conventions) had the ability to read iCal formats.  google calendar publishes in that format.  i figured, great! now i can see my wife/family appointments in my outlook!

here’s an example of my default outlook calendar showing one appointment:


and now with my family google calendar enabled:


nice to have side-by-side, but how about merging them into one view?:


now i have a consolidated view showing overlapping appointments, etc and i can easily (and visually) see things that make sense to me.

note: i tried this with my new windows live account (if you have hotmail you should be able to use http://calendar.msn.com/<yourhotmailaccount>) but didn’t have any results.  i may not have done the config right or hotmail calendar doesn’t support ical format…i haven’t researched but it just didn’t work for me as quickly as google calendar did.

anyhow, very interesting to see how google continues to suceed with advanced simplicity.

UPDATE: here’s how I did it…

  • Go to Google Calendar and click Settings, then click Calendars and click on the calendar you want to view, you should be at the Calendar Details screen like this
  • gcal1
  • Click on the Private Address ICAL button and copy the URL that is displayed.
  • Go to Outlook 2007, go to Tools menu, choose Account Settings, and then the Internet Calendar tab
  • gcal2
  • Click New and paste the URL you copied there (no need to change it to webcal://)

That is what worked for me, others have reported doing the same things and not working, but mine worked — it will be read-only calendar viewing.


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MSDN and TechNet are coming to a city near you (hopefully).

Here’s the MSDN topics in May:

  • Customizing web parts in ASP.NET 2.0
  • Language Enhancements for .NET 2.0
  • Enterprise Library for .NET

Here’s the TechNet topics in May

  • Security for Wireless Networks

  • Responding to computer attacks

  • What’s next for Microsoft security?

Phoenix event is May 23, for location details click the registration link(s)

MSDN Registration: register here

TechNet Registration: register here


Las Vegas event is May 25

MSDN Registration: register here

TechNet Registration: register here

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ani is hosting a pretty cool event in denver:

Next Generation -- MAY 12, 2006 9am – 5pm

What is Next Generation?
Microsoft has been working hard on the next generation of development tools and Operating System. WinFX, Office 2007 and Vista are some of the most anticipated technologies to be released by Microsoft this year. There are many changes in Office 2007, Vista and there is something new brewing WinFX. This day long developer focused event will drill down into:
The Big Picture -- Vista                                                              9:00 am– 10:30am
WinFX, the set of next-generation managed APIs provided by Microsoft, InfoCard wraps up the who of who you are while keeping your private information secure. The role of the new operating system Vista and how all these components play best together. We’ll capture these and more to give you a well rounded idea about our technology and the future.
Sparkle with WPF                                                                    10:45am – 12:00pm Microsoft Expression "Sparkle Interactive Designer" is a professional development program that allows designers and developers to work together to create streamlined, innovative and just plain beautiful applications. Combine that with Windows Presentation Foundation and Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere and how you are ready to XAML you way to utilizing media content and exploiting the full power of your computer.
Partner Pavilion & lunch                                                                 12:00 – 1:00pm
Workflow                                                                                            1:00 – 2:30pm
Workflow foundation is the programming model, engine and tools for quickly building workflow enabled applications on Windows. It consists of WinFX namespace, an in-process workflow engine, and designers for Visual Studio 2005. We’ll take a look at how we can support system and human workflow.
Office 2007                                                                                        2:45 – 4:00pm
The Microsoft Office system has evolved from a suite of personal productivity products to a more comprehensive and integrated system. Building on the familiar tools that many people already know, the Microsoft Office system includes programs, servers, services, and solutions designed.  To utilize the existing engine and expand it with VSTO and VSTA to a whole new level.
To register: http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032294333&Culture=en-US
Event location: Denver Marriott Tech Center 9am-5pm  
Directions: http://marriott.com/property/mapandnearbyairports/drivingdirections.mi?marshaCode=dentc&WT_Ref=mi_left


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the final day of mts started with some discussion around which is an identity system…but that was actually one of the points up to debate…and hearing the debate, i agree — we usually don’t provide our credit card as an identity, but rather as a set of trusted ‘tokens’ for a specific reason — i can’t remember the actual terms used, but it made more sense than an identity.  it was a good discussion around the technology, what standards are going to be put in place and the direction moving forward.

the mobility team came in to show some devices and talk about the improvements microsoft has made in our mobility platforms.  i personally think we’ve made great strides and having used blackberries (all forms) and other pda devices for quite a long time, i’m pleased with my windows mobile device.  is it the best?  no.  but i don’t think blackberry has everything i want either.  the mobile team brought a suite of devices, including some new ones i hadn’t seen.  there was some very specific feedback given about ui design (wasted screen real estate) and color usage (contrast).  i didn’t agree with these and tried to help understand that it is a matter of configuration.  of course there are defaults, but there is also the ability for a) the provider to customize their build and b) the user has ultimate control.  one attendee asked me on my treo 700w why there was so much wasted space on my contact list and why it wasn’t more streamlined like the blackberry.  i was quick to point out that i configured it that way…i added things i wanted…and quickly changed things back to show that indeed it can be whatever i want — if i wanted a shorter list like the default blackberry…i think it is a matter of education really.

jim gray came to talk to the group about escience.  for those who haven’t seen him, his pretty much a genius…and trying to describe his genius here would be a disservice…check out his site and read some things he works on within the research group.  he was an awesome guest and stayed to have lunch with the attendees and chat:

Jim Gray

after lunch, jack greenfield was here to talk about software factories and some of the work he’s worked on since coming to microsoft.  again, another super smart guy and hard to explain what the discussion was in a blog.  he (and others) literally wrote the book on factories ;-).

there was a brief, but important discussion on openxml and reasons behind making those decisions.  i thought this was intriguing and wished we had more time to talk, but a lot of attendees had to leave for the airport.  one resource i wasn’t aware of was www.openxmldeveloper.org which i thought was cool, check it out.

before he left, brian took me up on the offer that i would trade him hats.  so for a crisp, clean windows vista hat, i traded for his.  gee…i wonder what i’ll do with it ;-).


the week is over and we went to some dinner with some of the attendees and had some great conversation (i thought at least) about eclipse, vstudio extensibility, etc.  i can’t wait to see the feedback from the week.

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so, one of the guys i’ve been talking to at mts is from .  he’s got some clever marketing going on — here’s the most unique business card we saw this week.  since ‘it’s all about tagging’, his card (name/number/email blurred because to protect his spam v-mail/email) is a tag ;-)



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