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Disclaimer: The entries you find in these pages are based on my individual opinions and thoughts. Some of the entries may be just plain wrong, and others harmful. Should you choose to act on, or try, anything you find on this site, you assume any and all risks associated with your actions. So there.



 


iCal Invites and Google Apps Accounts

March 11, 2011

When iCal and Google Apps finally began to support multi-calendar syncing/access, I was excited. Finally I could sync my calendars over the air with my computer, iPhone and iPad. Also, I could share/sync with my staff, and more importantly, my wife. But the bloom quickly came off the rose the first time I tried to setup a meeting and invite another user.

Confusion set in when I was not able to send invites right from iCal. I discovered that this only worked when someone was in my same domain — which seemed mostly useless, since coordinating with my staff is already far easier than with clients. More confusion set in when I realized that my staff never got an email, but the appointment just showed up in their calendar. I don't know about you, but, for me, if something just shows up in my calendar, and I didn't put it there, I will probably miss it.

There is a quick and easy work-around. Simply setup your appointment as usual, but do NOT fill-out the attendees field. When you have completed the appointment, open a new email and drag the appointment from your iCal to your email. This will attach the appointment as an ics file. Then, go back to iCal, highlight the appointment and Copy it (Edit—>Copy), go back to Mail and Paste it into the body of the email. This will paste all of the relevant info into the body of the email, so the recipient will see what it is about, without having first to add the appointment to his calendar. Next address the email and send it. The recipient will receive an email with the appointment info, and be able to click on the attachment to add it to his iCal (or other calendar, such as Outlook).

You will not get notices back regarding the status of the attendees. For me, this is not a problem. Most people don't respond to these correctly anyway, so for me the whole attendee status is useless.

As an aside, good calendar etiquette is hard to come by. If you send a calendar invitation, please do not use the recipient's name or company, as the name of the appointment. If you are arranging an appointment with Joe Smith, don't make an appointment named "Joe Smith" and then send it to him. He will end up with an appointment in his calendar titled with his own name. If I see an appointment in my calendar that is my name or my company, I'm not really sure where I'm supposed to go — since I am automatically in attendance with me at all times.

Make the name of the appointment more descriptive. So, rather than "Joe Smith," make it "Website Planning, Joe Smith and Bill Read." It is longer, but there is no ambiguity as to whom is to be in attendance. Also, you will avoid the embarrassment of the other person forgetting your name. Additionally, include contact info in the "Notes" area — BOTH your and his phone numbers, at a minimum. I usually include an address in the notes area (or the location area). Use complete addresses, including zip code — this way, if one of you has his calendar on his cellphone, the address can be used as a map-link to give directions to the location.