Online MLA Schedule

I am sure you are all wondering why on Earth I am fussing so much with my MLA schedule and writing about the online program planner.  Well this MLA I am a little busier than others.  I am the soon to be the Section Chair for MIS, Co-chair of the NPC 2012, and I am an incoming MLA Board member.  All of it is doable, but I need a damn good schedule to keep my head on straight.

My entire personal life revolves around Google Calendar.  EVERYTHING is on it and it can be seen online by me or my husband and is synced to our smartphones.  So when I am sitting at my son’s baseball practice and the coach tells us  a game’s location and time has changed, I can easily pull up the calendar on my phone and make the edits.  The changes are saved on Google itself not on my phone.  That is important because the information is instantly updated and can be viewed on my husband’s phone or computer.  

Since my personal life is organized by Google Calendar it is natural that I would like my library life to be as well.  The online program planner in is a good idea, but it fails on a lot of common tasks that I wonder if it was tested before it went live.  There are many more events at MLA than those that are on the Official Program.  People also like to program hop.  Attend one program to see a specific speaker then dart out to see another speaker at another program scheduled at the same time.  Unfortunately you cannot add your own events to the online planner, nor can you select certain speakers to watch within programs for purpose of hopping. 

At first I thought I conquered this problem.  I uploaded my online planner to Google Calendar with the intention of adding the new programs into my calendar.  At first glance this seems to have worked but as I tried to sync to my iPhone and give the link to my schedule to friends, flaws started to appear.

The online planner imports into Google Calendar as a totally separate calendar AND doesn’t allow you to edit that calendar. (It is hard to describe so look at the photos I link to as visual references.)  If you look at this pictureyou can see that my Google Calendar and the events (that aren’t in the Official Program) I added are listed in green under my Krafty Librarian account.  The events in purple are the events that imported from the online planner under my online planner account kraftm.  The purple events are listed as “other calendars” and are not “owned” my the Krafty Librarian account, therefore I can’t alter them. 

Why is this a big deal?  Well if you sync your calendar to your smartphone (which many people do) then your phone has problems picking up your “other calendar” because it is not owned by you.  Therefore you don’t see those events in purple on your smartphone.  Also, if you are like me and need the phone to buzz you 10 min. prior to remind you of an event, you won’t get that reminder buzz.

There were a lot choice words that went through my brain when I discovered this.  However, I found out a way to add the purple events to my “owned” calendar.  Look at this picture.  If you click on the time of the purple entry you get a dialogue box with the link “copy to my calendar.” Doing that will add that event to your “owned” calendar.  Yippeee!  Now for the downside.  I haven’t figured out how you can do this en masse, the only way I have found that works is clicking on each event individually.  Yeah no more yippee.  But the process works.  If you look at this picture, you can see that I was able to successfully add all of my purple events to my “owned” calendar.

By doing all of that my calendar now syncs nicely with my phone.

However, this is a big pain in the but.  I would have given up long ago if it weren’t for how crazy busy I will be and my obession with scheduling and syncing everything through Google and my phone. 

Additionally, one of the biggest features of the MLA online planner is that your friends are able to see your schedule.  This is very helpful if you are trying to meet up with somebody.  For example Nikki Detmar plans to do some geocaching while at MLA. I have been interested in doing this because I think my boys might like it.  So tweeted back that I would be interested in going with her and she said she would check my schedule on the online planner.  Ooops, that totally isn’t going to work.  If you look at my schedule on MLA’s online planner it appears that I am much more available than I really am.  

I realize my example was not exactly a work related example, it was scheduling fun at the conference.  But all work and no fun makes Krafty a very dull girl.  Plus it was a very good example of how the online planner’s inability to add other events really makes the sharing part of it pointless.  Why am I going to share a schedule that isn’t correct?  So now I have gone into Google grabbed the URL to share my calendar so that I can post it on Twitter, my Facebook, here http://bit.ly/iOWc7x on my blog, and Crowdvine.   

When the online program planner first became live, it was never my intention to devote any more attention to it other than to say, “Hey it is live.”  However, I have to believe that I am not the only person out there who is struggling with the thing trying to add events, trying to get it to sync correctly, and trying display it properly so that easier to schedule a few fun or meeting related things in between MLA events.  I write this post so that others can benefit from my trials with the product.  Good luck, and next year I cross my fingers that my only post about the online planner will be, “Hey it is live.”

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