Thursday, April 13, 2006

2006-04-16 029Yet another dominion of the Googleplex.

I'm not going to pretend I'm doing breaking news here, as the BBC's already done it, and anyway, it's so yesterday.

But Google continue their world domination with the release of Google Calendar. Which is basically like every single other electronic calendar out there, or any diary, but in the case of the latter it has the added bonus of not having to transfer all the birthdays across, and not imbuing that weird vagueness which afflicts every January, because all the diaries cease (unless you've got an academic one).

One thing, ok, maybe two things, I like; it lets you chose MM/DD/YY or DD/MM/YY, which as I invariably see sequences like 4/1/06, 4/2/06, 4/3/06 and wonder why they've taken the 4th of each month... So I have a rule of thumb which is that if anything insists on using the American date format then I won't use it. Which probably explains why I have a physical rather than electronic diary.

So what was the other thing? Every fifth Friday. Ok, so that's not quite possible, but every first and third is, even if they do have to be entered separately (click on the third Friday in a month, click on repeat every month, toggle by day of week). That's one fault I've found; there's no copy and paste, so every birthday has to be entered individually as having no time, being marked as available, repeated every year and with a reminder two days early (why no four days? Have they never heard of second class post? And a week is just long enough to delay and then forget).

Oh, and I like how it lets you chose if Saturday, Sunday or Monday is the first day in a week display. But then it also asks for my timezone, which is GMT+1 now, but for the other half of the year... If it doesn't do British Summer Time/Daylight Savings, then surely all those 10 minute reminders are going to be a bit useless for half the year? I can't believe they've overlooked it, but I haven't found the right checkbox to correct it yet.

I probably ought to be worried about my response to the calendar and my perception of Google. The calendar-cum-organiser in Microsoft is unwanted wanky bloatware; with Google it's a handy add on.

Drat. I was about to get excited about the joy of text, as it can send out reminders via SMS, in TfL stylee (ok, so TfL only do it if it's bad news, and the news is invariably "STATUS ALERT: Nrthrn bggrd"). Except it can't because it's a US only entity, and just like Google Chat or Hotmail's 250 MB inbox* (read the fine print) I'm using it illegally. So I could try entering +447...** and seeing if that works, but I've got to select a network, and they don't have Orange.

*Which of course one needs to soak up all the spam which strangely gets round the spamfilter.
** I really ought to get better at not unthinkingly typing my mobile*** number into something which is public.
*** Handy, cellphone or humming bee-shoe hybrid.

Added later:
I'm not so keen on it anymore. I was busy entering birthdays, and got to July. I have to mark my birthday don't I? Click on the dropdown for repetitions. Click 1 year. The text now reads "Annually on the 25th of July" which is soon followed by the choice of "Ends: Never/Until []". Well, it's not "Ends: Never", so... I don't like this train of thought.

However it does seem like tempting fate to say ends-never. But maybe I'm just saying that having heard that someone else I knew has just died - I'm from a smallish town and news travels. Especially when he was about to be best man at the wedding between the children of two other families I know, and his sister died a few years ago in a helicopter crash. I wonder who the youngest sibling, the one I was in the same year as is coping, while trying desperately not to think that bad things come in threes. And then's there's the vague sense I should do something, while knowing there's nothing I can do. Yet it seems so callous to just ignore it.

But in an effort to elide that subject and those thoughts, should it be "the 25th of July"? I was taught that one wrote "25th July", while one read "the twenty-fifth of July", but am having one of those periods of doubt where nothing is quite certain. Of course Google might have been getting all mediaeval on our arses*, and so chose a slimmed down version of "Tuesday the 25th day of the month of July in the year of our Lord 2006", although this carefully neglects to mention the renaming of the day of the God of War to honour the Norse/Germanic god rather than the Roman god (Tyr/Tiw versus Mars: Tiw'sday vs Mardi).

* Except being Google, they'd only get medi on our arses, as they can do no aeval.

Apparently it's Duke Nukem 3D. It's amazing where curiosity leads.

And spot the snowclone in there; which came first the tiger or the mutant?

And I'm back to liking the Calendar less, as it can't do "Monday after the last weekend in May/August". It's not like I'm asking it to work out Easter here, but it can't even do the first Monday in a month; well it can, provided it happens every month.

Do you think they do an add-on for UK Bank Holidays? As you can import calendars, it shouldn't be that hard. Except we're back to the US-Eng, contiguous-states-only-ism, so I doubt it's going to be forthcoming.

Now that I've crammed enough dates into it, the Agenda view is showing it's true form. September to December are off the bottom of an unscrollable page (December continues on page two). Handy (ok, so it is scrollable, one line per click, with the bottom of the page beyond view).

And I'm not sure if it's this computer, but it does seem a bit slow to do anything.

While I think about it; Neil, where are you? You said you were coming, and you're not here. If you're going to treat me like this, I'll have to rescind my offer of hospitality.

Which gets me to: Never leave a rabbit on a windowsill, item 1 in an occasional series.

Or at least, never leave a chocolate rabbit, given to one because it purportedly looks like one (I hope those are meant to be whiskers not wrinkles), in its mini-greenhouse clear plastic packaging on an east-facing windowsill when the following morning is going to be incredibly bright and sunny. I woke up to a nightmare vision of warped rabbit-dom, like a mix of the druggier parts of Watership Down and Donny Darko, complete with half the head blown away and squishy lumps slumping away from the wound. It was only the divider between the window panes which saved it from being unfranked chocolate money (yes, I know I mean unminted; subconscious DD reference probably).

Anyway, I'd better go and get my washing out, as I've been reduced to Roger Red Pants (3 part set, cheap; what can you do? Other than think of Beautiful South lyrics).


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