Google Calendar Shortcoming: Notifications

For the most part I'm really enjoying the switch I made to Google Calendar (GCal), however there are a couple of things that are bugging me and they all stem from Google's :scare: default :/scare: calendar concept.

In your GCal, you have a default calendar that cannot be removed. Additionally, you cannot choose another calendar to be the default. This default calendar has some special features:

  • All events created via SMS are placed in this calendar.
  • You can receive notifications for events in this calendar via SMS or e-mail.
  • It is the selected calendar when creating new events.
  • It is the calendar that quick-add events are placed in.

One of the benefits to using an iCalendar system is the ability to organize events into separate calendars. For example, I have a personal calendar, work calendar, volleyball calendar, birthdays and anniversaries calendar, my Tasks Pro™ calendar, US Holidays, Denver events, etc. I can share different calendars with different people, with varying degrees of access. This segregation also allows you to look at one type of commitments at a time, all at once, or some medium of the two.

The problem I have is that if I want event reminders from GCal, I am forced to put all of my events into a single calendar, losing all of the benefits listed above.

Additionally, the iCalendars created by GCal that I can subscribe to in iCal (and sync to my BlackBerry) do not include alarms, so I can't allow iCal and the BlackBerry to handle the reminders for me.

Unfortunately, this problem has been around for a while; indicating it is not high priority to be fixed.

So the GCal system has generally been great for me. I have access from any machine and can subscribe from my desktop machines to have offline access - but not having reminders of upcoming events is a real problem. I can deal with some of the limitations imposed by the default calendar, but reminders are needed.

One solution I've thought of is to write a script that would parse the GCal iCalendar and add an alarm to each event (using a default preset). I should probably find time to do this before I miss a call or appointment. 🙂

UPDATE: Ok, this works with iCal: code removed

UPDATE #2: Code released as a mini-tool: Google Calendar Alarm-It.