Facebook removed iCal feeds quietly

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The other day a good friend mentioned a birthday invite to me. I was confused, I knew it was their birthday but it wasn’t clear what they were talking about as I asked what they were going to do in UK lockdown number 3.

I looked into what happened and realised the new Facebook redesign removed ical feeds. This was further backed up by google support and  Reddit. Worst still the facebook help page doesn’t actually exist any more.

The key seems to be getting access to the old facebook page, which I have tried and tried to get access to, but can not get anymore.

This means all my friends who invited me to events and all my volleyball events will no longer appear on my calendar, unless I see it then export it as a ical. I always thought of Facebook as a massive walled garden but this is getting stupid.

The reasons to be on Facebook just got a lot closer to zero!

Rethink work: less professionalism will get you ahead

Most of the time, I think quite a lot about how the workplace is massively changing. I got into a conversation recently about my calendaring and why I wasn’t using the company calendaring system.

Although its a bit of a pain for colleague, the opposite is hell for myself. Diving myself into work and personal is something which doesn’t work in my head. I know it works for many people but the lack of flexibility is problematic.

Some would say its unprofessional but like the video points at, the future of work isn’t about people repeating the same task again and again.

As my tag line goes… Sometimes I forget my world is not mainstream (yet)

Visual Calendar for Tablets

visual calendar

I have been looking for a way to combine calendaring, tasks and mindmaps. It just happened that I was searching around and found visual calendar for tablets.

Visually link the things you plan to do, creating logical chains. Think Mind Map for your project turned into actual tasks and dates, or events and appointments from your organizer presented in an intuitive, task-oriented way.
You can easily see all your events arranged in time, prioritized with color and categorized with icons, linked together.
Events created in Visual Calendar appear instantly in your Google Calendar. If you already have something planned in Google Calendar, Visual Calendar will import that in on first launch.

Its £3.99 but the feedback isn’t too hot. And I’ve not even considered the lock-in and portability issues

I can only assume because its a new concept and the app isn’t too mature. But I was wondering if it would be possible to take Mindmup and combine it with Google Calendar or something else?

Calendar Zero?


Kevin’s right. Oversubscribed calendars are the new overflowing inbox. Remember my email inbox after coming back from my brush with death.

You should have seen my Calendar during September and October. I would share but I would need to blur so much of it, it wasn’t worth sharing, but I did get from Google Dashboard this figure –  over the past 28 days I attended 115 events, 146 hours total,  It wasn’t even funny. Thank goodness for ical subscribe, but this did mean if it wasn’t in my calendar, it didn’t happen. (not exactly ideal for somethings)

I’m not stranger to calendaring hell of course.

Calendaring sharing joy with Outlook 2007, Amazon S3 and Jungledisk

Calendaring sharing joy with outlook 2007

Its finally working… Calendaring sharing with Sarah now works. I got fed up trying to do it with my own WebDav and CalDav servers, and downloaded Jungle Disk. Jungle disk is simply a local server which interfaces with Amazon's S3 storage and provides a webdav wrapper. So when Outlook 2007 asks for a Webdav server, me and Sarah just point it at localhost and Jungledisk takes care of syncing with Amazon S3.

Yep its not free but its certainly worth the bandwidth and storage space for a tiny calendar file, if it means I can see Sarahs Calendar and she can see mine.

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My thoughts on the 4 event clash on the 21st Feb

Yes I've seen it too.

Now I can shout and rave about how crazy it is having 4 london events on the same night (i did this before), but I'm also one of the guilty event organizers. So I should try and set the record a little straight, because people do seem to think we don't talk to each other.

Me and Sarah Blow from the girl geekdinner's did speak to see if we could avoid clashing on the same day. Now to be fair Sarah had the day first and I was planning the geekdinner for Monday 19th March (I have emails to citizen agency to prove it) but due to the Future of Webapps conference I needed to change the day.

Conferences like Fowa and @Media do have a odd relationship with the smaller events in London. On one hand small events like Geekdinners could be seen as nicking the best speakers from the conference holders, who to be fair have paid for the speakers to be in town that week. It could also be seen as taking people away from the main conference. This is something a lot more real, when you run a BarCamp next to a large conference. On the other hand (the hand I prefer) the smaller events can increase the amount of
people from out of town who come who go to a conference. For example I just booked flights to San Diego for Etech 2007 and left a good 2 days around the start and end to make way for smaller events. I see Etech as the main reason for going but the smaller events where I can actually talk with people and share ideas. If your a conference organizer, this is a bonus because you can keep both eyes on the conference and rely on a trusted small event organizer to do the social event for you. Even better is when the
conference and small event have some kind of cross linking. This was true of the @media social and now the fowa conference. So the point I'm getting at is, I respect the work which goes into fowa and they are happy to recommend geekdinner for the social event. You could say they are sponsoring the event, but I see more like supporting the event.

So with that support, it makes a lot of sense to have the social event on the last day of the conference (21st Feb).

Some would say, hey why don't you merge or partner for the 21st? Well this is difficult because of a number of reasons

  1. Girl Geekdinners and WikiWed have rules, which I would never want to break
  2. There just different kind of events. There's just different vibes and crowds
  3. Girl Geekdinner has sponsorship and we have different support. It wouldn't be fair on the sponsors to mess them around
  4. WikiWed is trying to get off the ground again, it would be unfair to try and partner on there first event for ages
  5. Difference in payment, Geekdinners costs, Girl geekdinners is sponsored. WikiWed I'm unsure about. It couldn't work without screwing someone
  6. Large venues costs a lot of money and time. Enough said really

So we're all in agreement that clashes like this will happen (much that I wanted to go to both Girl Geekdinners and WikiWed).

So the question is how do we try and stop this happening in the future?

Well last time I did propose a Google Calendar. Sarah Blow has been great using the calendar, I've not been so good. Others who I've invited have been simply rubbish. But I'm starting to wonder if a google calendar is the right way to deal with this problem? See the one place everyone uses now is Upcoming.org. I preferred Eventful.com but Upcoming is what everyone uses in London. So your at least guaranteed that event organizers will place there events up there. Maybe my biggest problem with upcoming is the lack
of a actually calendar. It was always hard to see what was on a certain day and if it was relevant enough to worry about.
Now I'm using Outlook 2007, this isn't such a problem but I'm only subscribed to the my events and my friends events. This keeps most of the crap out of my calendar but its not perfect. I'm still relying on one of my friends adding a event which I'm not aware of. Lucky I have a lot of friends on Upcoming so I can get a real idea of whats going on. But others are not so lucky,

Groups on Upcoming.org are reasonable and maybe one way forward. Although right now there not very used. But back to the main point, the fact upcoming is event driven not date driven (you can't click on a calendar anywhere and you can't navigate by dates) is a big problem when trying to pick dates for a small or large event.

So I'm now done.

Does anyone have something I've forgotten or is simply a unsolvable problem?

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Finally installed Outlook 2007 first thoughts

So I installed it and had to remove remote calendars and the syncML plugin I was using for Outlook 2003. One of those were causing Outlook 2007 to use up over 40% of my resources without doing anything. At first I thought it might have been Outlook its self but nope it pretty much idles in on my new Dell now the plugins are removed.

My main reason for the upgrade is the iCal support. And I don't mean just the ability to download iCal files, nope I mean publishing my calendars to a webdav or even caldav server and finally being able to share with Sarah my calendar. This works both ways of course, once Sarah also installs Outlook 2007 (think shes waiting for me to install it for her). This also means we can finally stop sending each other meeting requests which sounds really dorky but actually is efficient enough for generally telling the
person what your up to on a certain date. The only other solutions was use a exchange server (not cheap), not use Outlook and switch to Sunbird or another iCal client (we both use pocketpc devices so that would be a real pain) or simply dump online calendaring. The last one is simply not a option because I use my a lot otherwise I'd forget all this stuff and Sarah is very good at arranging her calendar and time, so it would be a nasty lost.

I did check out Calimanjaro but couldn't find the sync to pocketpc option so dropped it quickly.

My only problem with Outlook 2007 besides the new style (which I can live with for now) is that it won't sync with my Cocoon built WebDav server. So I really need something else which is easily deployed in a Java servlet engine like Resin and Tomcat. I can try again with Apache Webdav, but I have worries about how secure that really is and I'd prefer to keep Apache as simply a static file server and low balancer for Resin. Any thoughts? And please don't mention Apache Slide. I just can't get that thing to
work, talk about complex configuration.

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Even more complicated Calendaring setup

Calendar setup as of November 2006

Hey and you thought my last calendar setup was crazy enough. Think again, welcome to the world where 2 mobile devices, 3 computers and 3 services isn't that hard to imagine. Well welcome to my insane syncing setup for calendars, contacts and tasks. No wonder it gets so messed up without too much effort. I've also included the SVG from Inkscape if you want a better quality version.

So starting from the mobile phone (SPV M600) its got a few things on it now. I'm using the Funambol Sync plugin with Schedule world but I can't seem to get it working all the time. So I've also stuck WebIS Mobilesync on there too which I have a 30 day trial of. This sync's directly with Plaxo which does away with my problems with Activesync not syncing. I say not syncing but actually it does sync with my computer at home nicely but not my computer at work. I would also sync with my laptop but someone at Microsoft decided that syncing with 2 machines would be all anyone would need. So now on to my other mobile phone (Nokia N80). Its my work phone but I still want it to fit in the sync system otherwise theres little point in having it. So Nokia has its own communication suite which actually isn't that bad. Its bulky yes and a hog on memory but consistently works unlike Activesync. So at the moment the suite is installed on my desktop machines at work and home but I only sync at work (only got one sync cable right now, and simply can't be bothered to take it out everyday). At some point I will start syncing on both machines. I've attempted to use the build in SyncML client to talk to schedule world too but failed so far.

So the biggest addition to my sync setup is ScheduleWorld. Its basically a Funambol server with lots of custom code to keep it working and running as a service. Ideally it could be thought of as the more open source version of Plaxo as it supports everything Plaxo does and even more. It supports contacts, notes and calendaring. Its web calendar is not as nice as google calendar but is reasonable. It also has a Google Calendar Sync link built in and supports SyncML. So I would like to one day replace Plaxo with Schedule World but its still quite some time off. For example the SyncML client on Windows Mobile 5 uses Visual Basic and so requires another download to work correctly. This is a pain because Windows Mobile 5 is pretty much all written with the compact .Net framework. Yes this is not schedule worlds fault and some would say Microsoft should build SyncML into its Mobile Operating system. And I would agree but its a pain none the less. Another flaky thing is the Outlook plugins. They seem to crash a lot, so its not reliable for everyday use. This is why Plaxo is still number one for daily syncing. Once you get stuff into Schedule world its easy to get things back out again. It also makes available everything using the SyncML API and I think it supports ATOM too. Plaxo does have an API but its no where near as open as Schedule World. So yeah Plaxo do hold your data hostage from yourself.

So going forward I would switch to using Schedule world or something similar if the plugins for outlook were more stable. I would even settle for no Activesync if the Windows Mobile 5 plugin was better developed. I'm also holding out some kind of hope that I will get the SyncML client working with the Nokia. I don't think I've spent nearly enough time looking into that issue.

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Standard calendaring servers

So I was listening to a IT Conversations podcast about iCal/CalDav servers. My interest has perked up since Apple announced there own CalDav server will ship as part of the OSX 10.5 package later this year.

At its 2006 Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple Computer announced the iCal Calendar Server, an open-source implementation of a CalDAV server to be provided with the Leopard release of Mac OS X. CalDAV permits greater interoperability between calendars. This brings the number of open-source implementations of CalDAV to four, according to Dave Thewlis

So natrually I thought I'd check out the other 3 CalDav servers. Cal Connect is your standard consortium website, good information but badly architected. However before long I was off checking out the other CalDav servers.

Hula seems to be the most mature but I've had problems getting it running before, so I skipped it and looked at both UW Calendar and Bedework. From what I understand Bedework is based off UW anyway, so I skipped that one and tried out Bedework. So far I'm honestly impressed, its also worth checking out the feature list of this CalDav server or should I say Calendar framework/server. Now if I can only find the right URL for Mozilla Calendar CalDav syncing.

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Geek and Geekhag podcast number 9 – Hate crimes and We Media

Digital Assassins

Me and Sarah discuss a few things in this 1 hour podcast. I'm hoping to expand on these subjects in further entries but for now here's the basic outline.

So first up me and Sarah recieved some Racist and Homophobic propaganda/mail yesterday (3rd May), you can catch the complete image here and close up's here. Sarahs done a really good job of covering this one in the podcast and her blog entry so I'll simply point there instead.

Then we talk about the We Media and We Media Fringe events. I spend quite a lot of time on the digital assassins section of the event and I'll write up a full account of my experience soon. Oh by the way don't miss Suw's Why We Media sucked talk recored by James Cox. James also filmed a whole load of other really interesting stuff before the Digital Assassins session and afterwards at the Wemedia fringe event.

Then finally we finish with Sarah talking about her painful experience with Plaxo and we touch on Calendaring. I expect Calendaring will pop up again in the next podcast because theres tons to be said about this.

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