When Nokia first released the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet, many Linux geeks could not resist a hackable handheld computer, even if they had no use for it. With the subsequent releases of the N800 and N810 versions, the devices gained even wider appeal. One of the problems I have always had with it, however, is that it has no default PIM (personal information management) software, and the free options available for it were always rather slim.
Nokia advertises it as an “Internet Tablet” rather than a PDA, so perhaps they expect you to rely on cloud services, such as Google Calendar. Very well, we will, but we will do it with style. mCalendar is a small application for the Maemo operating system that allows you to have an appointment calendar on your tablet and also sync it with your Google Calendar. It is finger-friendly and easy to use. It is available for Maemo/Tablet OS2007 and OS2008 and should work on Nokia 770, N800, N810, and N810 WiMax models.
The easiest way to install mCalendar is to go to maemo.org and click the big green “Install” button next to mCalendar. This will add the extras software repository and also install the application. If you prefer to add the software repository yourself, simply open your Application Manager, open the menu, click on Tools and click “Application catalog…”. Click the “New” button and add this repository:
Catalog name = maemo Extras
Web address = http://repository.maemo.org/extras/
Components = free non-free
1. Start mCalendar.
2. Open the menu and click “Preferences”.
3. Click on the “Google Syncronization” tab.
4. Enter your Google login (usually your email address) and password.
5. Click on the “General” tab.
6. Optional: You can select “google popup reminder” to receive notices of appointments and “auto sync” if you want to keep mCalendar automatically in sync with your Google calendar.
You should test synchronization to make sure it works.
1. Add an appointment to your calendar and save it.
2. Open the menu and click “Synchro”.
3. Open a browser and login to Google Calendar.
4. Check the appointment to make sure that it is the right day and time.
5. Edit the appointment and re-sync to make sure two-way communication is working.
While mCalendar is quick and easy, it is hardly robust. If you prefer a calendar with a few more options, such as GPE Calendar, you can use a third party application called Erminig to sync it with your Google calendar.
Erminig is in the maemo extras repository and is configured in roughly the same way as mCalendar’s sync function. One advantage is that you can sync with a specific calender from your Google account and a specific GPE calendar, if you have more than one. You can then setup multiple entries and sync all of them at once. Furthermore, it has a “read-only” feature, if you prefer not to make changes on the tablet side.
Beyond the tablet
Once you have your tablet synced with your Google calendar, you might also want to sync with your desktop calendar. I have not found an easy way to sync directly from the Nokia internet tablet to the desktop. Instead, you can sync it with your Google calendar and then sync Google with your desktop, using GCALDaemon.
KDE4’s data backend, Akonadi, currently only supports read-only functionality with Google Calendar. If that is all you need, you will not need GCALDaemon. There are plans to add read-write functionality in KDE 4.3
Now you have the ability to wirelessly sync your calendars on the move. This certainly does not come close to full PIM synchronization, but you will at least have your important appointments in order.