Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Thing 31: Plaxo - Stylish Organization

I will say that I was really impressed with this discovery exercise. Before Plaxo I had all but given up on trying to update my yearly calendar with important dates and anniversaries. Now I'll never have to
1-buy another day planner or
2-add another reoccuring date again!

Signing up was easy enough, Plaxo walked you right through the process and gave you suggestions on what to explore next. The trick with calendars is to create your different calendar categories first (work, home, etc). Then when you add an event select the calendar you want to add it to first--then add the rest of the data. If you don't remember to select the correct calendar then the event will have to be deleted and added again to the correct calendar. There were some quirks with the calendar, I couldn't set an event for every two weeks or three weeks, etc. Those I had to put in each event manually. But most every other sort of reoccurance was available. Viewing each of the different calendar categories and overlaying them onto the same calendar was straight forward. Countdowns were easy to do, just click on the event and check off the countdown box. Task lists were easy to create, and I'm glad that they didn't force you to put a deadline on them. When you check items off, Plaxo marks them out and deletes them.

iCalShare took me the longest to pick up on, simply because I didn't know where to look on Plaxo to find where to add the iCal calendars. It's not visible from the main calendar screen, you have to click on the 'Calendars' tab at the bottom of the screen and click on 'Share & Manage'. Then click on 'Subscribe to iCal'. iCalShare had some interesting calendars but I just wanted a simple astronomy calendar so I chose 'Science' category and then chose the Eclipse Calendar. Now here is what stumped me for a while. When I clicked on the word 'Subscribe' in iCalShare it would try to add the calendar to the default Outlook calendar. I didn't want to use that so finally I noticed that if I rested my mouse over the little calendar icon next to the word 'Subscribe' the calendar address would pop up in the marquee at the bottom of the browser. So I jotted that down and then directly added it to Plaxo and Presto! the iCal calendar worked without having to sync it with an outside calendar.

I tried printing the Plaxo calendar in both Firefox and Internet Explorer. It works best in landscape view and I had more space in the calendar if I used Internet Explorer. Your results may vary depending on what web browser and version you have.

I'll certainly be using my Plaxo calendar, not only for important birthdays and anniversaries, but also for work. This will certainly replace my print outs of the 'Systemwide Meeting & Important Dates Calendar' from the staff intranet. I'll be able to more effectively plan going to library conferences and continuing education workshops. You could use it for the staff desk schedule, although getting everything to fit in a small space for printing might be a challenge. You could also use it to advertise in-house library events and outreach activities if your library doesn't already have a calendar for that on their website. You probably would want to create a separate Plaxo account for that so that it is dedicated for that purpose. Here's a little library events calendar that I made public for sharing.



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