Friday, April 14, 2006

Google Hindu Calendar

Update on 12/30/2009:
The Google Hindu Calendar linked and described in this post has been renamed as Google Hindu Calendar - MST, for Mountain Standard Timezone of USA.

If you have a Google account, you can add this Google Hindu Calendar - MST to your Google account using this link: Add Google Hindu Calendar.

To simply view the calendar in your web browser use this link: View Google Hindu Calendar. After viewing, if you want to add this Google Hindu Calendar - MST to your Google account, there is a button at the bottom-right corner of the screen.

For calendars of other timezones, visit this link: Google Hindu Calendar with Timezones.

Original Post below:

Google Calendar was released on April 13th, 2006. This is a few days later than April 1st, on which date Google traditionally launches new products. More information: Google Calendar Overview.

I have created a Hindu Calendar on Google Calendar. This calendar is publicly shared. Just search for "Hindu Calendar" in Google's public calendar search and look for Hindu Calendar / Panchangam by A S. Click on the "Add Calendar" button to access it.

With this, you can easily access the important Hindu calendar information about each day. As of today, the calendar has only information about important Hindu festivals from April to December 2006. There is a little more information for the month of April (such as amAvAsya, pUrNima, ekAdashi, sankatahara chaturthi, etc.). In the coming days, I will be adding as much information as I can from the Hindu Panchangam.

This will be an ongoing effort. Until some professional Panchangam maker like Kalnirnay publishes in the iCal format, updating the Google Hindu Calendar will be a manual effort. As such, I need help in entering information into this calendar. If you would like to help, please write to my Google mail id libranlover.

Hope this calendar will be useful for everyone, all over the world. As the Google Calendar application grows rich with additional functionality, this Hindu Calendar will grow in tandem, with more features and lots of useful information.

I wish Google would provide an easy link / URL for the calendar, by which it could be shared and accessed by everyone. Until Google provides such an easy URL, the easy ways to access a particular calendar is to be invited by the calendar's owner or to search for public calendars. Meanwhile, here are a couple of links to the Hindu Calendar, if you can figure out how to use them:

Hindu Calendar iCal address
Hindu Calendar XML feed.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Web Feeds & Feed Readers

Do you browse a number of blogs on a regular basis? Do you regularly visit news websites and wade through the scores of articles? If you answered yes to either or both questions, and you are not using a web feed reader, you should continue reading this post. If you are already using a feed reader, you don't have to read further.

What is a web feed?

A web feed is a special file which lists the headline and summary of content posted to a website. The headlines and summaries are usually listed in chronological order of the posting.

More information: Web Feed on Wikipedia.

What is a feed reader?

The raw web feed looks something like this on your browser: Desi Tech Blog's Web Feed.

A feed reader is a software application which reads the web feed and displays it in a way that you can read easily. A feed reader has a few nifty features including the ability to "subscribe" to a large number of webfeeds and keeping track of what items you have read and have not read. Feed readers are also called as aggregators.

More information: Aggregator on Wikipedia.

Web Feeds and Emails - A Comparison

Suppose every time new content is posted to your favorite blog or news website, an email was sent to you. Suppose the subject of the mail is the title of the blog post or news item, and the content of the mail is the summary (usually the top few lines) or the entire contents of the blog post or news item. Would this not make it much easier for you to know of updates to your favorite websites? It is certainly easier than visiting every website and checking for updated material... especially if you are a person who regularly visits a dozen or more websites. A web feed of a website is a file which contains a list of such emails about content posted on that site.

Suppose you had half a dozen web-based email accounts, and you had to log on to a different website to access each email account. Would that not be a pain? This is exactly what you do when you visit a different website to check each one of your favorite blogs and news sites.

Suppose it was possible to have emails from all your email accounts routed to one place, to one website. This is exactly what a web feed reader does with content from your favorite websites. You can access and browse through a large number of web feeds on one website or screen.

There are web-based feed readers (Eg: Google Reader) as well as feed reader software that you can download and install on your computer (Eg: RSS Bandit). The difference between a web-based feed reader and a feed reader application you install on the computer is similar to the difference between web-based email and an email application (like Microsoft Outlook). The latter is much better than the former (as of now).

The feed reader I use right now is a free installed-application called RSS Bandit. It has really made my life easier. Click here for screenshots of the application and decide for yourself if it might be of use for you.

More feed readers: List of Feed Readers on Wikipedia.