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  1. #1
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    Looking for PC Calendar program that syncs with Android phone Calendar app

    Hi, All,

    I hope that this is not off-topic, but this seemed like the best section of the Lounge to post this in, as it absolutely relates to my productivity. For years I've used a Palm T|X which has a desktop program that allows me to quickly enter new appointments or to-do items, change them easily, and search them quickly when I'm at my desk, as I often am. Then I sync it to my Palm, and presto, I'm up-to-date, as any changes I've made on either the Palm Desktop program or the Palm itself are then registered on both devices, which is what I need.

    However the Palm is at (or more correctly, far beyond) the end of its useful life, so I've just acquired a Samsung Galaxy S2, for which I'm trying to find a desktop calendar program that will sync easily and well with some sort of Android calendar app. I use this calendar primarily for business, so I need to be able to not only enter the event name/description, but also in many cases lots of notes attached to the event, and I need the ability to set very precise event times and duration, as well as to be able to repeat an event at certain regular intervals. Ideally, the calendar program/app should allow me to see day, week, month, and year views. I use Firefox and Thunderbird, so I was wondering about the Mozilla Lightning Calendar for TB, but I don't know enough about it or how/if it would sync with some sort of Android calendar app. As an additional consideration, it would be SUPERB if I could somehow get my current Palm Desktop calendar events to be synced or loaded into the new desktop program, thus saving me hours of work.

    Knowing that WindowsSecrets members are the savviest tech group around, I thought I'd see if anyone knows of any combination of PC calendar program and Android calendar app that would meet those specs. Any and all suggestions appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Al
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  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Gmail has a calander function that syncs very well with my Android phone. When I wish to add an event in my phone, especially if I have to add numerous events, it is much easier to do it in the Gmail calander. It automatically syncs if you have the sync function enabled in the Android phone (Of course you need a Gmail account to do this)

    First screen shot is Gmail main screen.

    Second screen shot is the calander (I have chosen a month without much on it so my personal business is not broadcast all over)

    GmailCalander1.jpg


    GmailCalander2.jpg
    Last edited by Medico; 2012-06-19 at 15:35.
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  3. #3
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    Hi, Ted,

    Many thanks for the prompt reply. I do have a Gmail account, but have never used it, as I've become highly suspicious of using anything Google after learning of their intense tracking of everyone and everything that uses any of the Google services. As a result, I now use DuckDuckGo or StartPage as my search engines, use Abine's DoNotTrack+ to block Google Analytics (and all other trackers), and generally try to avoid using anything Google-related if I have a workable alternative. Maybe Google doesn't track or monitor their Calendar application, but it would be really hard to trust them, given their much-publicized record for tracking the activities of their customers.

    Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.

    Thanks again,
    Al
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  4. #4
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    H.H.,

    My wife and I both have GS2s and we use MS Outlook and the Kies software that comes with the S2 works great syncs calendar, contacts, notes, todos.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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  5. #5
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    Hi, RG,

    I appreciate the info. I'm afraid I'm a bit of a newbie on Android phones, however, as I only got it four days ago, so I hope my questions aren't too hopelessly naive.

    I don't use MS Outlook or any of the MS Office suite, having for years used the old Lotus suite, though I'm now slowly transitioning over to the Libre Office suite. As a result, I don't have a current PC calendar program to work with, other than Palm Desktop, which is so old that I have to run it in XP Mode under Windows 7. As a result, I think (someone please correct me if I'm wrong here) I need to find a new desktop calendar program, then choose an Android calendar app that can be synced with it by some means (or vice versa).

    When I first open the native "Calendar" app that comes on the Samsung GS2, it tells me that "Google Calendar cannot sync with Samsung Kies. Use My calendar to sync with Kies." I've downloaded and installed Kies, but I'm not clear on how this would work, as A) I don't have "My Calendar" and B) when I click on the Sync tab in Kies, it only gives options to sync with MS Outlook functions. Since I don't have Outlook on my computer, trying to sync through Kies doesn't appear to be my answer. As a result, it appears that I need to find an "Outlook equivalent" PC calendar program, then find a way to have it sync with some sort of Android App.

    In the absence of credible evidence that can allay my concerns about using Google Calendar (or any Google products), I'm not sure how to come up with an alternative arrangement that will sync easily and give me the ability to manage the bulk of my calendar event entry on my PC. Simply put, I'm a bit at a loss how to proceed at the moment.

    I apologize if my newness to Android has me missing something obvious, but if so, I'll be most grateful if someone can point it out to me.

    Cheers,
    Al
    Windows 7 Pro, 64-Bit, SP1 on desktop
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  6. #6
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    I know what you mean, Al. I used Palm Desktop for 10 years and loved it, finally giving up on it just two years ago. It didn't work on the newer OS's, wouldn't sync with the current phones, most current PCs no longer have the serial ports or infrared ports Hotsync was designed for, and it can't even import/export data in reasonable formats. Even if you figure out how to use Kies, nothing's going to sync with Palm Desktop's oddball database formats.

    I use a first-gen Galaxy S, on my PC I use Thunderbird with the Lightning extension, and calendar data is in a collection of google calendars. I can add or edit calendar events on either the phone, in Lightning, or in g-cal and they're automatically synced to all three places. I don't like Samsung's native android calendar so I use one called "Business Calendar Free", which comes closer to replicating the Palm display on the phone.

    Android phones seamlessly sync gmail, google calendars, and google contacts (if you put them in google), but be forewarned it doesn't really sync tasks (your to-do list).

    I've really become sold on how g-cal merges multiple calendars, and now don't think I could go back to living without that feature. (Outlook has long had that feature, but it's something Palm Desktop could never do.) This allows me, my wife, and my kids to have separate calendars as well as a common family calendar, and pick-and-choose which to merge for each person. My daughter, traveling in South America, could update her calendar for where she would be and when, and it would automatically merge into my calendar and my wife's calendar. My son, away at college, could add an item in the family calendar showing when he was planning to be home for the weekend, and it showed up on our calendars--without the need to exchange emails, texts, or phone calls and require everyone to replicate items on their own calendars.

    As for your privacy concerns, I think it's a sure bet Google is reading any gmail and calendar events. They as much as say so in their new, unified Privacy Policy. Like you, that concerns me--and my response is to avoid using gmail and google+ as much as possible. But the benefits to our family of mutual google calendars is too great, so we've accepted a little "privacy leakage" as a tradeoff.

    Some privacy leakage is inevitable. The government knows how much you earn, Amazon knows what you read, MasterCard knows where you shop, and if you use a club card Safeway knows what foods you eat. So far, each only has a piece of the puzzle, but it will be magnitudes worse when they all get together and combine the pieces. (That day is coming, I fear.)

    I see google the same way. It would be far worse if you use a lot of google products, but if you can limit your use of their products there should be less of a profile they can build on you.

    IMHO it's still not as bad as Facebook (which I also refuse to use). Google wants to invade your privacy so they can better target ads at you, while Facebook wants to invade your privacy so they can blab about you to everyone else.


    Dan

  7. #7
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Basically the only reason I have a Google account is for the calander. Gmail is a third email for me, and is almost never used. Since Android is a Google thing, to get the most out of your Android phone, you have to have a Gmail account. This naturally gives a calander if you choose to use it. I do use the Android calander app. Since I did not have a palm, I have no idea how it looks. The Android calander works well for me and syncs seamlessly with the Gmail calander.
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  8. #8
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    Hi, Dan,

    Glad to know that someone else has faced this situation and distrusts Google as much as I do. Also, like you, my wife and I absolutely refuse to use Facebook, not just because of privacy concerns (though they exist), but because it appears to be a huge timewaster, and besides, if I want "social networking," I'll call a friend or, better yet, go visit him. Facebook is "anti-social networking." But I digress.

    Though I posted this question here and on an android forum I found, I kept on digging and - dare I say it? - I think I may have found THE HOLY GRAIL! I came across a program called MyPhoneExplorer, the instructions for which can be found here. You download a desktop version, which is in many ways very much like the old Palm Desktop, then download the client app to your Android phone, after which it allows you to sync by WiFi, Bluetooth, or USB cable. It also syncs your phone calls and messages, along with all kinds of useful stuff as shown in the screenshot below:
    MyPhoneExplorer.png

    It almost made me think I was back in my Palm Desktop program, only this program does MUCH more. You may want to give it a look.

    Also, while I realize that you've long since converted any of your old Palm Calendar .dba files over to formats that would work with your new phones or other devices, for anyone who is struggling, as I was, to find a way to convert the Palm .dba format to an iCal format, I finally found another holy grail, at Palm2CSV.com, which converts Palm .dba files not only to .csv files, but now also directly into iCal format! You just select any options, upload your .csv file, and in short order, Presto! There's your iCal file, ready to download, either in iCal format (larger) or Zipped. Sweet!

    In the process, I tried following someone else's posted instructions involving a site called AirSet.com, but I wasn't keen on storing such private information in the cloud, so once I found MyPhoneExplorer, I bailed on AirSet, though some folks may prefer it.

    Hope that helps. Thanks again for your enjoyable post.

    Cheers,
    Al
    Last edited by HealingHands33; 2012-06-21 at 17:51. Reason: Corrected typo
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  9. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to HealingHands33 For This Useful Post:

    brino (2013-05-09),dg1261 (2012-06-21),FortneyJT (2012-07-05),Katsu999 (2012-07-11)

  10. #9
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    I hadn't seen that app before, but it looks interesting. I'll be sure to take a look at it. Thanks for the tip! (I hope it can merge/display multiple calendars. Some others I considered and discarded would only sync your primary calendar.)

    I did look at Palm2CSV.com when I wanted to convert my Palm calendar two years ago, but found it didn't handle recurring events properly (or at least it didn't back then). Instead of as a single recurring entry, Palm2CSV would convert a recurring event to multiple non-recurring events. That means that if I wanted to edit/update a recurring event I now had to go and edit each occurrence individually.

    In the end, I ended up just manually reentering events. To save work I only entered current/future events, so I gave up the history of all my old calendar events.

  11. #10
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    Be careful, though, if you decide to install MyPhoneExplorer. It's a great little program, but it tries to get you to load other items onto your computer as you install MPE. The first EULA screen didn't have any crapware obviously associated with it, but the second EULA screen is different. Do NOT click on anything until you have UN-checked the two choices at the top, which would load crapware onto your computer, then click DECLINE, NOT Accept at the bottom, lest you still end up with the crapware. You then get to yet another crapware screen for some sort of registry cleaner, and again you need to DECLINE (unless of course you want that stuff on your machine for some reason). After that, at least when I did my installation, there were no further bits of crapware sneakiness to worry about.

    It's a shame that such a good program is tangled up with these crapware merchants, but writing apps costs time and money, and also it is a free program, so I suppose app writers need to earn a living too.
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  13. #11
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    Thanks for the heads up. I've had a chance to look it over now... much closer to Palm Desktop than anything else I've seen, yet does indeed manage multiple calendars. Nice find, Al!

    Another plus: since it *replicates* calendar data on both devices (phone and PC), you still have access to your calendar even when not connected to a network. They won't be in sync until you're back online and press the sync button, but at least you have something to work with in the interim. In contrast, the Thunderbird/Lightning/g-cal alternative leaves you with a blank calendar if your internet connection isn't working.

  14. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dg1261 View Post
    much closer to Palm Desktop than anything else I've seen, yet does indeed manage multiple calendars.
    Hi, Dan,

    Yes, it's the closest I've seen to Palm DT, but I did run into a snag due to a misunderstanding on my part involving the use of the "Delete passed events" option in the right-click context menu. I posted about it in the English section of their otherwise German forum here. Since that forum (or at least the English section of it) doesn't appear super-active, I kept working and eventually solved the problem my own way by deleting everything from both the desktop and phone calendars and then reloading the iCal file I'd created of all my Palm Calendar entries to get a fresh start. Since I'd only just loaded up my first attempt into the MPE calendar, I didn't really lose anything but time and some of my stomach lining.

    If you decide that you want to "Delete [only some, not all] passed events" safely, you can try what I did, which is to click on the far right View icon above the calendar, which puts all your entries into a List view. You can then click on the headers of those columns to sort the entries by name, date, or whatever, then mark and delete only the entries you want to lose forever. That function could be better handled, but the rest of the program is still great. I have, however, posted two feature requests (here and here) for functions that would help this program to come closer to some of the great features from Palm DT. It would also be nice if MPE had an Undelete mechanism, as once I marked those passed events for deletion, they were doomed; I couldn't find a way to undelete them.

    Hope that helps. If you decide to keep and use the program, please post back as to how you get on with it.

    Cheers,
    Al
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  15. #13
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    You seem to have found a solution but if you want to continue using Palm Desktop this program may work http://www.companionlink.com/google/palmdesktop/. It works by syncing the Palm Desktop to Google Calendar and then to the Android phone. I think the company also supplies a Android app that let you sync direct from the PC to the phone. Not sure but it may be worth a look.

    PS. I use Google calendar and it works well for me. I not overly concerned about Google privacy issues but then I don't have anything really important in the calendar.

    Cheers
    Ultan

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    Combination of Thunderbird/Lightning/Address Book and BirdieSync works well.

    I use Thunderbird (v 13.01) with the Lightning (v 1.5.2) for email and calendar. Together with BirdiSync (v 2.4.1 at www.birdiesync.com) synchronisation between Thunderbird and Android phones for the Lightning calendar and Contacts is excellent using the BirdieSync app on the Android Play. The synchronisation is handled smoothly over a WiFi connection or by attaching the Android phone to your PC by USB cable but the former is faster and simpler. The calendar is synchronised independently of Google and if you have the Android OS 2.3, so are the Contacts/Address book but with OS 4 the address book is linked to a Gmail account. I really like the Thunderbird set up and Birdy at BirdieSync is superb, responding to questions rapidly and set to update BirdieSync in step with upgrades of Thunderbird. Hope this helps.

  17. #15
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    Recommendation for Palm Calendar to iCal export

    I too recently gave up using my Palm Lifedrive as PDA and looked at various options that would let me use an Android phone instead with a decent PC desktop client. Getting out of Palm's proprietary calendar format with as much information preserved as possible was clearly important and I eventually used palm2ical <http://hepunx.rl.ac.uk/~adye/software/palm/palm2ical/> to get my Palm calendar into iCal format. I then imported this into Google Calendar. If I were doing it again, I'd import each Palm category separately into a corresponding Google calendar (this allows you to have different colours for each calendar). There's a command-line parameter to palm2ical that allows you to process a category at a time.

    I then installed the Lightning extension for Thunderbird on my desktop and synced the calendars with Google using CalDev, which is the method Google document. The first sync took quite a while and I was plagued with hundreds of reminders for meetings that were long past. Should have turned off the option for reminding about missed meetings first. Once I got that out of the way, all was fine and I've been syncing to two PCs and an Android phone without problems for a couple of weeks now.

    I'm also syncing my contacts over the same platforms. I exported my Palm contacts by category (Friends/Neighbours/Tradespeople/etc.) in vCard format (rather than CSV) and then imported each category into Google Contacts. I also imported my email addressbook and phone no. database from my old mobile into Google Contacts. This resulted in quite a lot of overlap/duplication but there's quite a good Google tool for finding and merging duplicates, which I used extensively. I chose the gContactSync Thunderbird extension to sync my addressbook with Google (there are a few choices but I liked the look of this one).

    So far, all's going very well. Pity the Android phone has such a pathetic battery life .

    Leila

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