Google Calendar Sync Update

As I mentioned earlier, Google came out with a sync application for Outlook 2003 and 2007. I've been using it for a couple weeks now with mixed results.

First, it is clean and simple. There isn't much to setup, and it is very unobtrusive. No errors, warnings, or interruptions. The problem was, not everything was getting sync'ed.

Apparently, it will only sync meeting invites if your email address matches the email you use in Outlook. Of course by default my email address does not match, but you can go edit your Google account settings and add additional email addresses. Once I added my work email (luckily I only have only one), and changed the email (but not password) in the Google Calendar Sync options, it sync'ed many of the appointments.

People who have different variations of their email address at work have complained that this solution doesn't work well. I have not seen a work around so far.

Now I have most everything syncing cleanly between Outlook and Google Calendar, but there are still several meetings that are not showing up. So I'm annoyed, but not quite yet annoyed to deal with reverting to gCalSync.

Self Portrait

I participate in a Weekly Photography Challenge group on Tabblo. The idea is each week there is a new challenge to take pictures that will stretch your skills and expand the way you see the world.

This week's challenge was to photograph your hobby, which is of course photography (well, I couldn't really photograph MYSELF playing soccer...)

So I decided to setup a shot where my camera took its own self portrait...


Bloggers Killed Slashdot

Well, 'killed' in the sense that I just dropped Slashdot from my RSS feed. I'm probably a bit behind the curve on this, but I continue to find that every reasonably interesting story I see on Slashdot is something I've already read about at least one or two other places.

Slashdot was a primary feed for me for a long time, long before RSS became popular. I remember the days where EVERYONE read Slashdot, and it was a marvel of internet scalability (or lack there of at times). But as time passed and I added more and more blogs to may feed reader, the value of Slashdot kept diminishing.

So mark this day as a milestone (for me). The old new internet is dead. Long live the new old internet.

Google Calendar Sync

I wrote about my process to synchronize my Google Calendar with Outlook before. I did stick with gSync it and it mostly worked.

But yesterday Google came out with its own Google Calendar Sync application. So of course I gave it a spin.

Instead of the Outlook plugin approach that gSyncit took, Google Calendar runs in the task bar (I'm sure it still 'plugs in' to Outlook, so this may be a non-difference). It does run in the background instead of the pop up window that gSyncit uses.

One annoying thing is that upon install, it automatically syncs before you can change any options other than single or bi-directional. Oh wait, there ARE NO OTHER OPTIONS. It is a very simple application with no configuration.

On the first sync, it duplicated many of my appointments because it apparently couldn't tell that all the previous appointments that were synced by gSyncit were really the same appointment. That was certainly annoying. It also took quite a while, because it appears to sync the entire calendar by default, not just a limited date range like I had gSyncit setup to do.

All in all, it appears to work, and is less obtrusive than gSyncit was. gSyncit had more options, features, etc. but for now I'm sticking with the Google version until I have a problem that drives me back to gSyncit.


I've replaced the previous canned website design with my own design created around a picture I took of the surf at sunset on Sanibel Island. My goal was to create a simple and clean look based on something I did myself.

Here is what I did:

I to took the original picture and cropped it down to size for the header. Here is the original shot:

I then created the logo header ( image). I added a gradient using two colors that I picked from the header image.

I also pulled a color out of the image to use as the header text color.

I wanted to keep it clean, so I kept simple black on white for the text, and used a simple two column CSS layout.

To manage the content on the site, I briefly looked into using a CMS tool like Drupal, etc. but decided to stick with manually edited HTML due to the small number of pages and my desire of control.

I did utilize some scripting code to modularize the common HTML. I accomplished this using simple PHP include scripts that include the common HTML code on each page. I found this very clean, easy to do, and well supported by my hosting provider (GoDaddy).

For the blog pages, I use Blogger published to my hosting provider. I was able to include the PHP include calls in the Blogger template (as this just generates HTML with is copied to my web server). The only trick here was that I had to use the fully qualified path for the include files, but that was simple enough with a quick look through the GoDaddy documentation.

I also finally went back and cleaned up some of the old pages on my site that I never even updated to the previous design. So now every page here should be consistent.

I even updated my vanity favicon.ico file to match the color of the site. Just a simple E and D using the Rockwell font color matched to the header text color.

Let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions for improvement. I'm no graphics artist, but I think the new design is a good compromise between simple and unique.


I'm ready for spring. Hopefully today will be the last chance to catch a shot like this...