Weekend Productivity Tip: TripIt Calendar Feeds

I just posted my August travel over on my personal blog. If your schedule lines up, give me a shout and let’s get together and talk about WordPress, or tech world gossip, Lijit, or Technosailor.com, or anything. Doesn’t matter. I like meeting people.

But as I’m coming in to land on this Friday, I thought I’d leave you with a productivity trip. If you don’t use Tripit and travel a lot, as I do, then shame on you. Start using it. You won’t be sorry.

If you keep all your travel arrangements in Tripit, you can of course use it from the web or mobile device like a Blackberry or Treo, but you can also pull all your travel arrangements directly into iCal, Google Calendar, Outlook or any calendar you use that supports the ICS data format (almost all do).

Here’s a look at what my calendar looks like for August as I’ve subscribed to my Tripit Calendar.

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Have a great weekend.

Bonus Productivity Tip in regards to Tripit: Using Tripit is as simple as forwarding confirmation emails to plans@tripit.com. Really. That’s it. 99% of the time, Tripit can parse those confirmation emails and plot your entire trip for you.

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My Calendar Mashup

Here’s a mashup I just instituted here at Technosailor after some months of trying to figure out how to do it. First, the premise though.

I keep everything calendar related in iCal on my Mac. That is my point of origin and that is non-negotiable. I also need to have my stuff on my Blackberry as well as Google Calendar, because I share several of my calendars with my wife who uses Google Calendar. I am able to sync my Blackberry with iCal in a pretty straightforward way using PocketMac for Blackberry. The problem always came in keeping my Google Calendar automatically updated with iCal.

I tried several things. Gcalsync was a Blackberry application I tried that I hoped would sync the Blackberry Calendar with Google but I could never get it to work the way it was supposed to. There were always java libraries missing or something. Then, Scrybe looked promising but as of this date, I have yet to hear anything more on its development or when and if it will be released. I waited for awhile until Spanning Sync came around. This was sweet and the missing link in my calendar problems.

I downloaded the application and setup syncing between my FIVE calendars and five Google calendars and have been monitoring it for about two weeks now. Everything is getting sent to Google Calendar every half hour like I wanted.

Now the trick was getting my Google Calendar into my blog. Google has this obsession with Atom feeds that I can’t explain and the native WordPress feed parsing library, magpie, doesn’t have Atom ability in the version that is bundled. I could hack something together with SimplePie or some other feed parsing library but I’ll admit to being lazy and not wanting to do it. So I didn’t.

Yesterday afternoon, however, during my podcast with Rick Klau (to be released on Monday), I realized that Feedburner could supply the last little bit of magic I needed. A feature that came out of their Hack Days was the Event Feed under the Publicize tab. It could turn any calendar feed into a chronologically ordered, future-dated only event feed. Then with Buzzboost, under Publicize > Buzzboost, I could grab code necessary to display the HTML rendering of that feed on my blog.

So, using that, I am now displaying my Public Appearances calendar in the sidebar of this blog. While everything is getting a bit cluttered over there, I expect to make more prominent use of this ditty in my future theme that is being developed.

Tell me what you think and if you think this feature could be useful for you.

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