The intricacies of synchronisation

(Below is a solution for getting iSync to sync iCal’s “delegate” calendars from Google Calendar onto a mobile phone.  Feel free to skip all the blurby bit at the top if you’re not interested in my life story.)

My job means sitting in front of a computer all day, playing with the internet.  There are of course times when I leave my desk, or need to use a different computer, and then it’s nice to still have the same tools to hand.  So I’ve put my diary onto Google Calendar, so that it’s available wherever I am.  Nice.

Oh no, wait a minute.  I also need that same calendar on my mobile phone.  So far there is no bridge directly between Google Calendar and my Motorola L6, unless I load up Google Calendar on my phone’s browser – but that costs me money because I’m on a PAYG tariff and I don’t get any free data, so that’s out of the question (not least because it’s far from instant, even using the incredible Opera Mini browser and its clever servers).  So, that means having the calendars on iCal as well, so that I can use iSync to copy everything across.  And here’s where it all gets rather complicated.

There are two ways to get a Google Calendar onto iCal.  One is to subscribe to it, using the address that Google Calendar gives you in the settings.  Unfortunately that’s a read-only solution, which isn’t all that useful.  The second option is to set up iCal to use Google Calendars as a WebDAV server (I’m not going to go into the details here, just search around for “iCal WebDAV Google” or similar).  That’s a much more satisfactory solution, as it means that you can make changes on iCal and have them copied across to Google Calendar.

Today I came across a slight additional problem, however.  In setting up the iCal WebDAV thingy, I had the main calendar showing up fine and then all the other calendars showing up in iCal under a folder called ‘Delegates’.  Initially I didn’t think that was going to be a problem, but when I opened up iSync it couldn’t find those delegate calendars.  Poo.

The solution (yes, here it is, eventually) was to subscribe to those other calendars using the first method above.  That makes the calendars visible to iSync, and while it doubles up the entries in iCal you can untick them so they don’t show up.  Changes you make to those calendars either on Google Calendar or iCal will be saved, and those changes filter through to the subscribed versions on iCal, which can be picked up and copied across to my phone via iSync.

In case you’re wondering about the phone end, yes it is possible to create events on the phone, but it’s a little cumbersome.  If I create an event on my phone, when it gets synced across it gets put in an ‘Unfiled’ calendar on iCal.  I then have to manually move each of those events into a Google Calendar WebDAV calendar so that it’s visible elsewhere.  Not ideal, but it works.

4 thoughts on “The intricacies of synchronisation

  1. Your next task, should you choose to accept it, is to persuade Ellie onto Google as well as onto the various toys (Reader, docs etc)
    Then create a Dawkins family calender you can share so we all know what you’re up to!

  2. Unfortunately I think the only way I can currently sync my mobile phone calendar with the PC is with the crapware known as the Samsung Mobile software. (Whatever it’s called). It will only Sync with Outlook, and nothing else.

    So I’m stuck with using Google Calendar directly from my mobile for the time being!

    And creating a Dawkins family calendar sounds like it would be perfect for stalkers such as Sarah 😉

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