[kwlug-disc] Android / Google calendar - events as tasks.

Bob Jonkman bjonkman at sobac.com
Sat Dec 8 02:05:06 EST 2012

I just came across this conversation about task manager applications,
and thought of our conversation a few weeks (months!) ago:


They discuss Taskwarrior
http://taskwarrior.org/projects/show/taskwarrior (which was discussed on
the Linux Outlaws podcast a few weeks ago
http://twit.tv/show/floss-weekly/175 )

And they discuss ToDo.txt: https://github.com/ginatrapani/todo.txt-cli/wiki

I haven't used either, and probably won't get around to it in the near


On 12-10-23 04:49 PM, unsolicited wrote:
> On 12-10-23 03:38 PM, Bob Jonkman wrote:
>> I've often thought that a Project Management application could use
>> CalSch standards to store tasks and sub-tasks (nested without limit),
>> and vCards for resources.  The output could be entirely iCal and vCard
>> feeds, compatible with any calendaring software. Add some basic mail
>> functionality (Zawinski's Law for servers), and you'd have a dandy
>> Project Management/Calendar/Mail system. Haven't found any such software
>> yet..
> I don't expect this to be possible, the horsepower and complexity needs
> of PM software being too great. Consider dotProject. Consider resource
> levelling. Suppose you're building the Olympic Games. If the designer
> intends to some day get to that level, then that level of complexity has
> to be accommodated for up front in terms of design. Few need that level
> of complexity, yet it would sure be nice if things would scale and
> transition seamlessly. Such as, perhaps, switching from sqlite to mysql
> to postgresql. Add Gantt charting and other complexity not intuitively
> useful to a calendaring client ...
> Now, that is absolutely not to say that such shouldn't / wouldn't have a
> calendaring remote it syncs information with. As a task is assigned is
> sends out a message to tell the beastie responsible for the resources
> assigned's calendar. (But the PM software considers itself authoritative.)
>> I am still looking for a Free/Libre calendar/mail server. I just
>> uninstalled Zimbra Open Source; partly due to admin interface
>> shortcomings (lack of granularity in managing the non-standard,
>> out-of-date Postfix server), partly lack of full calendar integration
>> (no CalDAV; no iCal feeds for input), and partly because of a dependency
>> on Adobe Flash for admin reports.
>> About two years ago I installed Kolab, but at that time the version in
>> the Ubuntu repositories wasn't supported by kolab.org, and the version
>> distributed by kolab.org used a proprietary package manager (which I
>> think is no longer supported either).
> owncloud? (SyncML?)
> [LDAP fits into this mess somewhere, somehow.]
> eGroupware (I thinks it's changed directions though) - at one point I
> thought they had a synergy between e-mail, contacts, calendar, tasks,
> projects, and help desk. Let alone resources like documents linked
> throughout.
> Is this not what SharePoint, et al, are all about?
> CRM? Somewhere between ACT and Sugar CRM and to points beyond?
>> I've been making a list at
>> http://bob.jonkman.ca/blogs/2012/10/12/calendaring-server-software/  If
>> anyone can help fill in the blanks, or has additional recommendations
>> please let me know.
> The problem is more stupidly complex than just servers though.
> All aside from cross-platform, not just Windows / Linux ( / Java?), but
> Android / iPhone.
> The very presence of PDA's, and you won't pry them out of people's
> hands, means you need some sort of cloud solution. Cloud merely means
> non-local / sync'ed home safely. Doesn't mean the cloud isn't your own
> internal server. The presence of PDA means that the client has to be
> local to the PDA, AS DOES THE DATA, and, more insidiously, compatible
> with the cloud that that PDA understands - today, that usually means
> Google. Yet Google is broken / minor sub-set of functionality that needs
> to be present. Be it tags and contexts for tasks, or the ability to
> check off an 'event' as complete.
> So how do you sync to something 'real' via Google? (Embedded data tags
> within the notes.) And what happens when the user deletes them then
> tries to sync back to the real server? (Even if indirectly.)
> In my current hunt, I've seen two ways of PDA. Schlep files back and
> forth via Dropbox (todolist), and sqlite database / individual file
> record sync back to real sync'ing app on PC, [monolithic file, a la
> btrieve] (mlo). Or you're into a non-trivially cheap / less capable
> cloud solution (Toodledo), no-subtasks.
> With few / no desktop apps, except on Windows.
> If there were money in it, it would be done and out there by now.
> There is - it's called (apparently) Outlook, and SharePoint. (Yech!)
>> On 12-10-22 07:24 PM, unsolicited wrote:
>>> To your point(s) ...
>>> I came across yesterday somewhere that Google only just announced
>>> CardDAV support in the last few weeks.
>>> On 12-10-04 06:35 PM, Bob Jonkman wrote:
>>>> I've been using Google Calendar for events for years, even when I
>>>> was still using a paper-based appointment book (long since
>>>> abandoned). Google is one of the few calendar providers that comes
>>>> close to following the IETF CalSch standards (RFC5545 et al).
>>>> I don't use tasks much, but the calendar Web interface for tasks
>>>> does have a "completed" status and indicator (either a check mark
>>>> for complete items, or an empty checkbox for incomplete items).
>>>> I'm using
>>>> https://google.com/calendar/render?gsessionid=<SomeHexNumber> with
>>>> Chromium or Firefox.
>>> Yep. Ugly. (Web interface.) Wish there were a standalone java / Linux
>>> / Windows app. (Preferably all 3.) But I don't know of any.
>>>> The Google task list shows up as another calendar instance in the
>>>> Web calendar interface, but the tasks do not seem to appear in any
>>>> of the calendars; the tasks seem to be in some other calendar
>>>> store.  I've added my Google calendars to the Thunderbird Lightning
>>>> plugin.  I cannot see the tasks in those calendars, and it does not
>>>> seem that I can export the task list, or link to it.
>>> Lightning doesn't understand tasks / anything that isn't a calendar.
>>> [Not to say there aren't addons out there fudging it (somewhat?).
>>> e.g. Toodledo. And not to say it doesn't have (internal) tasks.] They
>>> just haven't gotten that far / sync wise. I doubt that they will any
>>> time soon. Calendars are a big enough ongoing problem, development is
>>> being scaled back on TB, ...
>>>> I've also added a bunch of external calendars to my Google
>>>> calendar list, including the .ics link from Meetup, and the iCal
>>>> link from http://sobac.com/~stopthestink/events-calendar/   That
>>>> all seems to work fine.
>>>> I'm not using the Google calendar app for Android, but the mobile
>>>> web interface for tasks:
>>>> http://mail.google.com/tasks?source=mog&gly=ca (which will redirect
>>>> to the mobile Task interface on an Android phone).
>>> Yeah, there's that, or the similar widget for calendars. Right-side
>>> loading that will also expand out, screen wise. Just like gmail
>>> version does.)
>>>> So, if you want to use Google Tasks, stick to their Web interface,
>>>> either desktop or mobile.
>>> I don't actually know of any (standalone) desktop apps that will
>>> deal with gtasks.  See TaskUnifier on sourceforge for the sort of
>>> thing I mean, vs. inclusion in an awkward user interface within
>>> korganizer, evolution, etc.
>>>> If you want tasks  integrated with events (with import/export) try
>>>> Thunderbird's Lightning plugin.  Not sure how conformant Lightning
>>>> tasks are to the CalSch standards.
>>>> I've used Evolution for event scheduling as well, but I don't
>>>> remember how well it handles tasks or how conformant it is to
>>>> standards.
>>>>  From RFC5545, a task (called a "To-Do") is an event with rollover
>>>> and completion - if a task has no completed date then it appears
>>>> the next day.  If there is a due date then it can appear as
>>>> "overdue" when it rolls past the due date.  If there is a start
>>>> date then it does not appear in the task list until that date.
>>> It's subtasks that are the real showstopper. Very few facilities
>>> have them (except for google) - which means there's little point to
>>> google having them / using them - they can't sync anywhere / lack of
>>> standalone/desktop) interface. e.g. Toodledo claims subtasks, but
>>> it's only 1 level. Beats me how they get away with such
>>> marketing-speak.
>>>> RFC5545: https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc5545
>>>> On 12-10-01 06:01 PM, unsolicited wrote:
>>>>> One of the annoying things about (Google) calendar is that it has
>>>>> no sense of tasks as events (or vice versa). [Never mind google
>>>>> tasks for the purpose of this message.]
>>>>> It just occurred to me I could create two calendars, 'mycal'
>>>>> (shown) and 'mycal-done' (not shown). When a meeting has
>>>>> happened, for example, moving the event from 'mycal' to
>>>>> 'mycal-done' would be the equivalent to marking the meeting as
>>>>> completed. (Or cancelled.) Turning the display of 'mycal-done'
>>>>> on/off would be the equivalent to ticking (or not) 'Show
>>>>> Completed'.
>>>>> It also occurs to me that if one has a regular 'project' [never
>>>>> mind that by definition a project is unique], one could export
>>>>> the (calendar) project as a .csv, edit the dates for the next
>>>>> round, and import the modified .csv.
>>>>> [<tongue in cheek> Should I be looking to apply for a software
>>>>> patent for these ideas?]
>>>>> Any reasons why approaching these these ways doesn't make sense /
>>>>> are there better ways?
>>>>> Anyone know of any good web places where such tips and 'tricks'
>>>>> are bandied about?
>>>>> [It appears to be pointless to hold one's breath that google will
>>>>> ever add the concept of 'complete' to calendar events / integrate
>>>>> tasks into calendar - a la Palm Desktop / Agendus / DateBk.]
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