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October 22, 2010 12:50 PM   Subscribe

I can't seem to keep track of online events - what tool or workflow should I use?

Hi, my name is Geek Girl With Too Many Interests, and I'm an Event Addict.

The good news - I've got the paper planner thing working well for my personal life. The bad news is I have lots of trouble keeping track of my professional life digitally without technical hurdles. I'm lucky to live in an area with no shortage of events (yay Bay Area!), and lots have online listings (RSS and others). My main calendar is Google Calendar - it's useful because of the 'show multiple calendars' function, and listings who don't have Google Calendars at least have a RSS events feeds that I can subscribe to in Bloglines (sorry, Google Reader... RIP, Bloglines, you were awesome).

The problem is that not all of them use the same format for their events, and I'm drowning without a real workflow to get all of these events in one place (ideally ending up in my Google Calendar) - and it's too much of a time sink.

Here are the inputs:

- RSS event feeds or blogs: Good news: lots of them (too many of them). Bad news: I have to go through them in Google Reader and manually add them to Google Calendar. I've tried the Google Calendar hCalendar Greasemoneky script so at least I don't have to open up another window - I can 'send it to Google Calendar' from Google Reader, but often that does work because I have to still manually enter in the data. For some reason it's often wrong - the hCal implementation isn't widely adopted outside of the geek world, and I'm not holding out for it to happen soon (sadly). Eventbrite is great (you can add it straight to your Google Calendar) but not every company uses them.
- Google calendar feeds: good news is that more organizations have Google Calendars, but now I have a bunch of these, and I'd like them all in one calendar. As anyone used an RSS event aggregator combiner service or Yahoo Pipes to make this work, combining RSS feeds? I've tried MashiCal ( but once you combine several feeds, you lose some of the data, and I'd like to avoid having to do too much work here to have to 'correct' things.
- Third party event listing sites: Meetup is a generally great tool, but email is a disaster with it - don't get me started. Same thing with Facebook, Plancast. Upcoming,, SF Station and all of these other sites - great they're out there, but nothing's standardized, don't talk to each other, etc. etc.

I'd like to avoid having to check 20 event listing sites AND manually cut and paste each of these into my calendar AND have to correct events listings once they're in the calendar. Is there software that helps with this, or a way to simplify the workload? I'll pay for something that works (ideally Web based, or Mac if possible). I'd like to avoid a mobile solution as the default - that's for when I'm on the go, and NOT the main solution to aggregate. I'd like to be able to subscribe to any events matching a term ('sustainability') - lets you do that, but not everyone's on Upcoming - again, it's pretty geek centric, and I want to attend a bunch of different kinds of events. Even if something makes it to Upcoming (yay, thank God for groups) I still have to manually add it. Is it just that this problem of event aggregation is too complicated to solve, so nothing's been done yet?

Any ideas? There are a couple of other questions (how do you find good calendars? is Google Calendar the best there is?) but the main problem is aggregation. So...what do *you* use to keep track of events, and what's your workflow?
posted by rmm to Technology (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You're pretty close with the Google calendar thing. If you take the multiple calendars, you can show them all together on your personal calendar, each with a different color code. For me, Google Calendar + Android phone + CalWidget = I can always easily look up the appointments I'm forgetting.

Pipes it probably the best tool for turning the multiple RSS feeds into iCal streams for Google to digest. It takes some tinkering, but half your work is done for you if you're starting with RSS feeds. Just make sure that you use the "v1" engine. Near as I can tell, absolutely nothing works with the v2 engine - I'm not sure why they released it, to be honest.

If you want to post up an example of like 3 RSS feeds that you want to trans-merge-ify, I (or some other enterprising mefite) can take a crack at doing something with it.
posted by Citrus at 1:16 PM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for this Citrus - I might contact you about the RSS fonts. I have to believe there's SOME solution for this... are people literally spending all their time importing data into calendars? We haven't come far at all on this stuff then. Frustrating to say the least.
posted by rmm at 3:55 PM on October 29, 2010

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