Alarms+Google Calendar

Nov 3, 2011 at 9:32 PM

I did read a previous discussion where you said it wouldn't be possible to have the alarm function of this gadget work with Google Calendar, but would it be possible to add an option to have the alarm system go off whenever any of your google calendar events/reminders was coming up? Obviously it has that data (Or it wouldn't be able to display the events in the list), so even if it isn't getting any data from google about whether there's an alarm set with it, it could just have an alarm go off for all of them, if you had an option for it.

 

That would work well for me, since the only reason I ever put anything into my calendar is if I want a reminder/alarm.

Coordinator
Dec 4, 2011 at 9:59 AM

The Google apparently doesn’t include the information about alarms in its ics file anymore. That’s a shame. I see your need for alarms, but unfortunately I’m not able to add the feature you’ve requested. It would invoke a need for whole bunch of other options like for example setting of the interval prior the event when the alarm should to be raised and so on. I don’t want to push you to change your calendar provider, but I would recommend you to switch to windows live calendar, which is in terms of ics code reliability much better – Google makes quite often changes in its ics structure and sometimes even Google calendar services are not mutually compatible, it’s a mess… Anyway thanks for your comment, I appreciate it!

Dec 6, 2011 at 3:21 AM
Edited Dec 6, 2011 at 3:26 AM

I believe Google's ICS file does still have the alarm information. Viewing my ICS file from Google just now, the 0-minute test reminder event I mentioned in the 4 Dec beta: One big item fixed, one not discussion topic I just created looks like this. I wonder if GammaPaladin is also using "0 minutes before", which, as I mentioned in that other discussion, WLCG does not do correctly.

BEGIN:VEVENT
DTSTART:20111206T034300Z
DTEND:20111206T044300Z
DTSTAMP:20111206T041429Z
UID: [removed by me]
CREATED:20111206T033654Z
DESCRIPTION:
LAST-MODIFIED:20111206T033654Z
LOCATION:
SEQUENCE:0
STATUS:CONFIRMED
SUMMARY:Test 0-min
TRANSP:OPAQUE
BEGIN:VALARM
ACTION:DISPLAY
DESCRIPTION:This is an event reminder
TRIGGER:P0D
END:VALARM
END:VEVENT
BEGIN:VEVENT
DTSTART;TZID=America/New_York:20111205T223000
DTEND;TZID=America/New_York:20111205T233000
RRULE:FREQ=DAILY
EXDATE;TZID=America/New_York:20111205T223000
DTSTAMP:20111206T041429Z
UID: [removed by me]
CREATED:20111206T032126Z
DESCRIPTION:
LAST-MODIFIED:20111206T032126Z
LOCATION:
SEQUENCE:0
STATUS:CONFIRMED
SUMMARY:Test recurring deletion
TRANSP:OPAQUE
BEGIN:VALARM
ACTION:DISPLAY
DESCRIPTION:This is an event reminder
TRIGGER:-P0DT0H3M0S
END:VALARM
END:VEVENT

Coordinator
Dec 6, 2011 at 7:15 AM

Hi, thanks for this sample, based on it I'll be able to fix the bug... But anyway this is another nice example showing, how Google's ICS files may differ. I did similar test and Google really didn't include the information about the alarm...

Dec 6, 2011 at 3:19 PM
Edited Dec 6, 2011 at 3:21 PM

I just realized that I pasted two events from the ICS in there. I mean to paste in just the "Test 0-min" event at the top and bold its VALARM section. The bolded one is not the 0-minute reminder even;, the one above at the top whose VALARM specifies says "TRIGGER:P0D" is, as I'm sure you've already noticed.

Coordinator
Dec 11, 2011 at 9:57 AM

Hi, I've found a bug and I've just released a version where it should be fixed. Please let me know in case the problem still remains... Thanks!

Dec 11, 2011 at 3:46 PM
Edited Dec 11, 2011 at 3:49 PM

If you're speaking of the 0-minute reminder problem as opposed to Google reminders in general, the 11 December version just released still will not remind for events with 0-minute reminders. After installing today's release, I tested with two events again, one with a 1-minute reminder set and the other with a 0-minute reminder. The 1-minute reminder fired but the 0-minute one did not.

As I previously mentioned, the WLCG flyout for the event with a 0-minute reminder looks correct; it just never does the reminder. I uploaded a screenshot showing the test event's flyout on ImageShack here.

From Google's ICS file for this calendar, here's the 1-minute reminder event whose reminder fired correctly:

BEGIN:VEVENT
DTSTART:20111211T161000Z
DTEND:20111211T171000Z
DTSTAMP:20111211T160454Z
UID:[event id removed by me]@google.com
CREATED:20111211T160349Z
DESCRIPTION:
LAST-MODIFIED:20111211T160349Z
LOCATION:
SEQUENCE:0
STATUS:CONFIRMED
SUMMARY:Test 2 of 1-minute reminder
TRANSP:OPAQUE
BEGIN:VALARM
ACTION:DISPLAY
DESCRIPTION:This is an event reminder
TRIGGER:-P0DT0H1M0S
END:VALARM
END:VEVENT

Here's the 0-minute reminder event whose reminder did not fire at all:

BEGIN:VEVENT
DTSTART:20111211T160500Z
DTEND:20111211T170500Z
DTSTAMP:20111211T160454Z
UID:[event id removed by me]@google.com
CREATED:20111211T155524Z
DESCRIPTION:
LAST-MODIFIED:20111211T155524Z
LOCATION:
SEQUENCE:0
STATUS:CONFIRMED
SUMMARY:Test 2 of 0-minute reminder
TRANSP:OPAQUE
BEGIN:VALARM
ACTION:DISPLAY
DESCRIPTION:This is an event reminder
TRIGGER:P0D
END:VALARM
END:VEVENT

In case it has any bearing, here's the ICS header segment for the Google calendar where I added the above events:

BEGIN:VCALENDAR
PRODID:-//Google Inc//Google Calendar 70.9054//EN
VERSION:2.0
CALSCALE:GREGORIAN
METHOD:PUBLISH
X-WR-CALNAME:[email removed by me]@gmail.com
X-WR-TIMEZONE:America/New_York
BEGIN:VTIMEZONE
TZID:America/New_York
X-LIC-LOCATION:America/New_York
BEGIN:DAYLIGHT
TZOFFSETFROM:-0500
TZOFFSETTO:-0400
TZNAME:EDT
DTSTART:19700308T020000
RRULE:FREQ=YEARLY;BYMONTH=3;BYDAY=2SU
END:DAYLIGHT
BEGIN:STANDARD
TZOFFSETFROM:-0400
TZOFFSETTO:-0500
TZNAME:EST
DTSTART:19701101T020000
RRULE:FREQ=YEARLY;BYMONTH=11;BYDAY=1SU
END:STANDARD
END:VTIMEZONE

Let me know if I can provide any further information to help debug.

Coordinator
Dec 11, 2011 at 7:21 PM

I've tried again to create an event in my Google calendar but unfortunately still I cannot make the Google to export the information about alarm as you've submitted. I suppose it is because of the new version of the Google Calendar which supports different kinds of alarms but it does not include information about them in the ics anymore. So, in order to fix the bug in the gadget, could you please provide me with a complete ics code (ics file or link)? I very appreciate your help!

Dec 12, 2011 at 1:27 AM

After much fiddling with Google Calendar, I've figured out why you're not seeing alarm entries in the ICS file from Google: Google will only place alarm segments in the private-link ICS if the calendar in question is the primary calendar associated with your Google account. In more than an hour of testing, I absolutely could not get it to include the VALARM segments in its private-link ICS file for non-primary calendars.

There's too much private information in my primary Google Calendar for me to share its ICS (which is also huge at over 200kb), so I went back to my first gmail account from years ago (where I had never set a calendar up) to create a brand new primary calendar and some test entries. I abandoned this gmail account years ago due to the massive amount of email spam that started within weeks of setting the account up (despite the fact that I had never published the email address anywhere and had never even given it to anyone).

Anyway, I created test events in the default calendar for this old account with 0- and 1-minute reminders, and the reminders do generate VALARM blocks in the private-link ICS file (hooray!). When I added this calendar's private link address into WLCG, once again WLCG correctly displayed a reminder for the event with a 1-minute reminder and did not display any reminder for the event with a 0-minute reminder.

Here is the complete ICS file for my old account's primary calendar. I've changed the email address here from the actual one to obscured@gmail.com, but otherwise this is complete, with no other edits or omissions. I did not add the line breaks you can see in the two VEVENT DESCRIPTION fields here; they are in the ICS file as downloaded from Google.

BEGIN:VCALENDAR
PRODID:-//Google Inc//Google Calendar 70.9054//EN
VERSION:2.0
CALSCALE:GREGORIAN
METHOD:PUBLISH
X-WR-CALNAME:obscured@gmail.com
X-WR-TIMEZONE:America/New_York
BEGIN:VEVENT
DTSTART:20111212T022500Z
DTEND:20111212T032500Z
DTSTAMP:20111212T021814Z
UID:6vbfvag72g1pa3g2pedc24ov1c@google.com
CREATED:20111212T014214Z
DESCRIPTION:This event has a 1-minute pop-up reminder. WLCG will correctly
 display a reminder for this event.
LAST-MODIFIED:20111212T021751Z
LOCATION:
SEQUENCE:1
STATUS:CONFIRMED
SUMMARY:Event with 1-minute reminder
TRANSP:OPAQUE
BEGIN:VALARM
ACTION:DISPLAY
DESCRIPTION:This is an event reminder
TRIGGER:-P0DT0H1M0S
END:VALARM
END:VEVENT
BEGIN:VEVENT
DTSTART:20111212T023000Z
DTEND:20111212T033000Z
DTSTAMP:20111212T021814Z
UID:g0eajc5sbtf4qske9juoksjfps@google.com
CREATED:20111212T014409Z
DESCRIPTION:This event has a 0-minute pop-up reminder. WLCG will not displa
 y a reminder for this event.
LAST-MODIFIED:20111212T021728Z
LOCATION:
SEQUENCE:1
STATUS:CONFIRMED
SUMMARY:Event with 0-minute reminder
TRANSP:OPAQUE
BEGIN:VALARM
ACTION:DISPLAY
DESCRIPTION:This is an event reminder
TRIGGER:P0D
END:VALARM
END:VEVENT
END:VCALENDAR

Coordinator
Dec 13, 2011 at 6:44 PM

Hey, I've just released a new version where the bug should be fixed. Thank you so much for your help!

Dec 13, 2011 at 11:14 PM

I retested just now and it works just fine. Thank you for fixing this -- it's much appreciated.

Dec 16, 2011 at 3:56 AM
Edited Dec 16, 2011 at 11:14 AM

I just found something else about events with alarms when I shut off alarms (or tried to) tonight while I was recording something: If you uncheck "Use the reminder application" checkbox, it does not display the graphical reminder but does display a reminder in a standard Windows dialog box, also playing a WAV file -- in fact, I think it actually played two different WAVs. Is this behavior intended, or perhaps just a leftover from debugging? I would have expected no popup and no sound when the box is unchecked.

Edited to add these screenshots of the settings and the non-graphical popup:

http://img201.imageshack.us/img201/3171/wlcg2.jpg

http://img812.imageshack.us/img812/8400/wlcg3.jpg

Testing this morning, I found that when the "Use reminder application" checkbox is unchecked, it reminds with the above Windows-style popup and is indeed playing two WAV files, one the Office14 reminder sound I had selected for the reminder app and a second one that appears to be the current Windows sound setting for an Asterisk program event.

Interestingly, I tried unchecking "Use reminder application" on the same version of WLCG installed on my office system (the above is occurring on my home system) and it appears to have stopped reminders there. I double-checked and both Windows 7 systems have the exact same WLCG settings and calendar URLs, but there must be something different about the home system that has a bearing. Is there perhaps a local WLCG disk cache of some sort that I could try clearing on the home system?

Dec 16, 2011 at 12:28 PM

I was at least partially wrong about my office system. With "Use reminder application" was unchecked, it did not present a reminder for an event at 7am this morning, but it did just now for a different event at 8:15. Like my home system, it played the two different reminder sounds on top of each other when that Windows dialog popped up.

Coordinator
Dec 23, 2011 at 4:04 PM

Hi, this is actually a desired behaviour. The checbox there lets the users to choose whether they want to be informed about events by the reminder application. I decided to put there this option because the reminder app can be annoying for someone and he would rather use the simple windows message box. I think I can reconsider the behaviour of the checkbox in  order to allow it to stop alarms, thank you for your comments

Dec 23, 2011 at 5:21 PM

I understand. Thanks for the explanation. There are times -- like the one I described above -- when perhaps a dropdown choice of Use reminder application, Use Windows dialog, or No reminders might be more generally useful. At those times when you don't want (or can't have) any interruptions, the only option now is to close the gadget entirely.

Is the use of two different reminder sounds simultaneously on the simple message box also intended? That part seems a little odd.

Coordinator
Dec 24, 2011 at 7:13 AM

Hm, actually the double sound may really be a bug. Now I realize, that I have standardly disabled all the system sounds and thus I've added the sound for the alert message. I didn't consider that someone, who has system sounds turned on may then hear such noise :-) I'll take a look at this, thanks...

Coordinator
Apr 1, 2012 at 9:06 AM

Hey, I just commited a new version fixing the double sound during the alarm. Feel free to download from the source code section and use it or wait a little while for a new official version...