Sunday 1 March 2009

Conference Calendar

NB: I've fixed some problems with the file encoding. It now works with Thunderbird.

At conference, I like to have the conference calendar on my iPhone, to save me carrying bits of paper around. So, having done the work of entering all the events into Apple iCal, I've exported them into an iCalendar standard file. You should be able to import into your electronic diary if it supports the iCalendar standard.

The calendar contains separate entries for every event in the main programme, consultation sessions, opening times for the conference exhibition, and combined entries for training events and for fringe events.

click to download calendar

I've rolled all the "invitation only" training events in a given time slot into a single calendar event. Where there's only one public training event, I've given it an entry of its own. Otherwise, I've combined training events into single entries for the time slot. As far as I can see, all the training events are in the Harrogate International Centre's Queen's Suite

I've created separate entries each for the four "HQ fringe events", but the remaining fringe events I've bundled into two entries per time slot. One entry for events in HIC, and the other for events in the conference hotel.

All these conference events make for quite a crowded diary, but by combining fringe and training events, there's usually not more than two parallel calendar entries - except during the Friday consultative sessions. So, after importing the calendar, delete the events that you aren't interested in, and perhaps the exhibition hours.

If you spot any problems in the calendar (nobody has proof-read it), please post a comment here, and I'll try to update it as soon as possible.

Wikipedia has a list of applications with iCalendar support

Edited to add. I've fixed a couple of things on the calendar. One item had a duplicated UID, and I've converted it to iso-latin1 which Thunderbird seems to prefer, and removed some curly quotes and ligatures. The old version is at


Niles said...

Hmm. Brilliant idea, but Windows Calendar, the free thing that comes with Vista, that I can sync with my Nokia phone, is a bit sniffy about your file and says it doesn't comply with RFC something-or-other.

How did you create your file? I've often wondered if there's an easier way of doing these than most calendar apps which have an irritating combination of clicking and typing, particularly if you're doing, eg, a year's worth of committees at once.

Niles said...

Exact error message is -

Unable to import file. Make sure this is a valid iCalendar file and try again. Bad file formatting encountered. Only iCalendar files that conform to the RFC2445 specifications are supported.