Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Tweaking the Calendar

Last night I uploaded my Outlook Film Calendar onto Melbourne Film Blog. I was delighted to find it wasn't a major effort at all. Just export my data from Outlook as a CSV file, and then import into the Google Calendar I've set up there and which generates some code I plug into the blog. It's easier to edit details in Outlook than Google Calendar, so I spent a little time getting things to look right in the Microsoft environment before exporting. For now, I've just uploaded July dates, which takes us into MIFF territory, which ends mid August. I'll upload more dates as time permits.

In the calendar, opening dates for films appear as solid blocks (no time has been allocated). Where you can see start times, these are as provided by the venue, and the finish times are my approximations.

I used to update my Outlook film calendar with release dates from MyMovies or Yahoo. For various reasons, release dates change and because websites are not necessarily maintained daily, I've often found the dates on other sites to be sometimes incorrect. The same will probably be true of any dates I post.

I now receive regular bulletins (typically monthly) of release dates direct from the distributors. Ironically, the only local distributor that hasn't put me on their mailing list is 20th Century Fox, and I can't say I see many of their releases (even though it'd be nice for my listings to be complete). So, readers of Melbourne Film Blog, are you interested in seeing those dates in the Melbourne Film Blog calendar, or will you continue to get them elsewhere? And where do you currently access those dates?

Personally, I'm not happy with the look of the embedded Google calendar. I got the idea of a Calendar of Film Events by seeing something similar on the about-to-be-launched Mirror/Stage, the new site by Andy Horbal and others. Ideally, I'd like the MFB calendar to look like that one, but is only available to users of WordPress (this site is hosted by Blogger). So, I'm on the lookout for other free online calendars and still wondering if any MFB readers have any suggestions.


Jay said...

I would just like to thank you for the film calendar. I love it and have added it to my google calendar.

Surely there must be a way to do an agenda calendar. You can also use any ics capable calendar widget and point it at your gcal.

I'll see what I can find for you.

Paul Martin said...

Many thanks for the feedback, Jay, and any pointers are appreciated. I simply don't have the time to look further myself (for a better calendar widget).

I've set the default view of the calendar as 'Month', but there's an 'Agenda' tab there. I don't think that the width of the sidebar is really suited for this view. When I get around to it, I'm going to make the sidebar wider, so that might make some difference.