Changing from Outlook to Thunderbird: Calender Export/Import

The best way I found to get your calender data from Outlook 2003 to Thunderbird/Lightning it via the google calendar (if you happen to not have an invitation, yet, ask me — if google still requires invitations that is). If you install the Provider for Google Calendar all you need to do is

in Outlook

  1. Export calendar data into a file (Comma Separated Values – Windows) for one year each, i.e. in the last step of the exporter 1.1.2007-31.12.2007, new export and choose 1.1.2008-31.12.2008, and so on. Be warned that repeating appointments will be saved as single items since the .csv format doesn’t allow reoccurring events.

in google calendar

  1. Create a new calendar (I called it Outlook)
  2. On the left hand side where it lists your calendars in that box choose the drop down menu (click “add”) and click “import” and import each file one by one
  3. Don’t forget to select the calendar Outlook
  4. Now go to the calendar view and, again on the left hand side, hit “Manage calendars”, select the calendar “Outlook” and at the very bottom copy the XML Link Private Address

in Thunderbird/Lightning

  1. Create a new network calendar
  2. For the google calendar location insert the copied XML link and move on
  3. Choose a different presentation colour to distiguish what is the Outlook later on
  4. You also might want to let Thunderbird save the required google-accout password

Now you have Thunderbird/Lightning showing your data from your google calendar in a different colour (mind you, it doesn’t work reliably with nightly builds of lighning, yet). You can, over time, select each calendar item, edit it and select your local calendar to save the appointment in if you prefer not to have everything (or anything) saved in google calendar.
References:

Update 2008/04/20: Yesterday I stumbled upon a very nice and promising looking cross-platform alternative called spicebird which has import for Outlook coming along already (it’s beta 0.4 now). They aim at giving a functionally complete replacement for Outlook. The software is based on Thunderbird/Lightning or Sunbird respectively. Watch a demo video or read their roadmap for more details. Some interesting ideas are:

  • Blogs as Email
  • Integration with a CMS (Drupal)
  • Document management
  • email tabs
  • Instant Messaging

Google alternatives

Recently I was listening to a podcast by the German radio station Bayern 5. One topic, amongst others, was google alternatives. I’d just like to list them here with a short personal description and example searches each (searching for Edgar Allan Poe).

  1. hakia.com — a semantic search engine, where one can ask complete questions or frases and hakia highlights what it thinks is the answer given per search result. You get an table of content and summary kind of view when you, for example, search for a person.
  2. seakport.com — “Founded in December 2003 the company is headquartered in Munich but truly European” (from their company site). Seams fast and has the option of preview-loading the search results.
  3. exalead.com — a Frensh one. Slower, has screen shots as previews (doesn’t actually load the sites) and seams to use ajax, let’s you narrow your search or give more general info about your search, features a categories|keywords kind of clowd. I cannot say anything about the search quality, but UI quality is very promissing.
  4. pagebull.com — shows resulting pages as images with search term highlighted
  5. searchcristal.com — actually a meta search engine, showing it’s result as a 2D cluster with distances. Interesting, but to slow for daily use (I couldn’t figure out how to get a example search link).
  6. cartoo.com — Unfortunately it wouldn’t load in my opera browser via cartoo.com, and only quite slow at first in FF. With searchportal.information.com it does load in opera, too. The strategy seams to be narrowing the search showing the top results.
  7. chacha.com — shows “related searches” to narrow and as a plus give the opportunity to call upon a human guide to help narrow the search. It integrates blinkx.com‘s video wall.
  8. suchfibel.de — List and heaps of info on search engines (German only).

How ebay Germany helps us to learn whom we buy from

Have you ever wanted to know what size of bra your opponent has you should consider buying at ebay Germany. The German radio station B5 aktuell pointed out that in their broadcast “Das Computermagazin” on April 8th this year ebay happily send address data to those whose bid was accepted. Using google earth, google maps respectively and ebays’ lists of previous bids it seamed an easy task to find out about the seller’s erotic favours and optic abilities. The best bit is the ironic manner in which the journalist talks about his findings. If you know German you should digg right into Minute 10 of B5s’ podcast and find out about the Bremen newspaper.