I’m one of those stiffs who loves his Powerbook, but is forced by necessity (and Corporate IT) to work in Windows XP and Outlook all day. Meeting requests come in and tasks are assigned, all using Outlook. However, because I rely so much on Gmail in my personal life, I store personal events online with Google Calendar.
Everything works seamlessly on my mac, as Apple’s iCal software allows subscriptions. But there is no way to get Outlook 2003 to sync or share data in the iCalendar format… in fact, I think that Outlook stores its information in some Microsoft proprietary format, by default. I think you can import/export ICS files, but there is no subscription or publish method.
Gcal allows subscriptions to iCalendar feeds
I shouldn’t forget to mention the excellent open source project RemoteCalendars, which allows you to subscribe to iCalendar feeds, with a bit of tweaking. But, this wasn’t quite what I craved – I wanted to not only subscribe to my Gcal calendar, but also allow Gcal to pick up my work appointments. That way, I can get reminders of early meetings, etc., when I’m away from my work desk.
Outlook 2007 beta 2
Enter the new Office beta. Not only is this version the Bravest Software Upgrade Ever, it also added a lot of great functionality to Outlook.
Out of the box, you can subscribe to iCalendar feeds, such as those provided by Gcal, 30Boxes, or other online apps. More impressively, you can publish your calendar to either your own WebDAV server, or to Office Online directly. Then, you can subscribe to the published iCalendar feed in any online calendars that support the standard. Outlook will periodically update the published file as you make adjustments or additions to your calendar.
Outlook 2007’s Publish to Internet feature
So, now I have access to both my personal and work calendars at all times, no matter where I am. (Hell, if I wanted to pay Cingular for bandwidth, I could use GcalSync to push everything to my RAZR.)
The only real caveat is that you have to publish your Outlook calendar with “Unrestricted Access”—because Microsoft uses their LiveID technology to grant access on a per-user basis, and Gcal (or any other service) won’t be able to authenticate unless it’s public. I’m not sure how secure this is yet, but for the moment I’m too in love with this setup to let that bother me.
Another minor caveat – you’ll have to uninstall Acrobat 6, as it causes Outlook to crash a lot.
Other than that, it’s a pretty stable beta.