Archive for February, 2009

How My Personal, Work, and iPhone Calendar Is Over The Air Synced

I recently bit the bullet and picked up an iPhone.  For the longest time I held back from doing it, not because I didn’t love the iPhone, but because I despised the AT&T network (I was on Verizon).  After some bad experiences with Verizon, I decided to give AT&T and the iPhone a try.  Now that I’ve had the phone for about a month, I absolutely love it!  I haven’t really had any problems with the AT&T network, but I also live in a pretty populated area.

One of the most powerful things I’ve managed to do with the phone is sync my personal Outlook, work Outlook (different computer), and iPhone calendar so that they are push updated automatically over the air.  This way if anything changes either at home, at work, or on the go, all of my calendars are synced up appropriately.  I’d like to share how I did this.

Just to clarify how I have everything setup before the sync, I have one computer at home running Outlook that has my personal calendar.  I also have another computer at the office running Outlook that has my work calendar.  I also have a Google Calendar (gcal) calendar that is blank, but has a personal and work calendar on it (not populated with anything).  Just recently, Google announced being able to push your Google Calendar to your iPhone.  Push essentially is an over the air update, so if something changes on one end, it will “push” that data to the synced device automatically, with no need for a manual sync.

Knowing this information, we know that we can get push updates from Google, so ultimately the goal is to obviously get our separate Outlook calendar data from Outlook to Google Calendar…but how do we do that?  This is done using two free tools, Funambol Outlook Sync Client and ScheduleWorld.  Funambol is a plug-in for Outlook which will sync your appropriate data to ScheduleWorld.  We’ll then use ScheduleWorld to connect to Google Calendar and push each calendar to the correct calendar.

First, sign up for an account on ScheduleWorld.  Then install the Funambol Outlook sync client to each Outlook machine and in your options, set it to only sync over the calendar information.  For the server information you’ll want to use http://sync.scheduleworld.com/funambol/ds as the location, and then your ScheduleWorld username and password.

You should now be able to sync each calendar into ScheduleWorld.  It’s not exactly that simple though, you’ll need to change some settings in ScheduleWorld, so go ahead and login. You’ll want to go to the calendar page, and create two calendars, one for personal, and another for work.  Then head to the settings page, under the Calendars section you should see both of your calendars.  Go in and change any settings to make it the way you want.  You’ll notice a “Google” tab.  Head over there, put in your Google username and password, and click find calendars.  It should find your personal and work calendar on gcal.  If you’re in the settings for your personal calendar, select personal as the Google Calendar…and of course do the same for work.  Then click sync, and make sure it works.  You’ll want to checkmark the AutoSync option, and go ahead and do two-way sync (this way if you change something on either place, it will update everywhere).  Save those settings, and then do the same for your other calendar.

In ScheduleWorld, you should see two devices under “SyncML Devices”.  I changed those names so I can better identify which is which.  This is where you’ll tell which Outlook calendar to sync to the appropriate calendar in ScheduleWorld…which will then update it over to Google Calendar.

Now on your iPhone, if you follow the steps from the Google Sync page, you should be all set.  If you update your calendar from anywhere, it should update Outlook/ScheduleWorld/Google Calendar/iPhone all over the air pushed to your phone.

Now that I think about it, if there’s a way to bypass ScheduleWorld, and just have Funambol update Google Calendar, that should also work…if anybody knows how to do this, post a comment.