Lotus Notes 8.5 introduced the ability to overlay other calendars onto your own. The ‘other calendars’ can come from a variety of sources:

  • Other users’ Notes calendars
  • Notes TeamRoom calendars
  • Notes application calendars (e.g. an application for managing events or a workflow application with milestones and deadlines)
  • Google calendars
  • Open standard iCalendar feeds
  • Lotus Connections Activities

Lotus collaboration advocate Chris Crummey talks about the idea that work / life balance is a myth, and what you’re left with is work / life integration. So, while it’s important to be able to overlay the calendars of colleagues and applications onto your own calendar, it’s also important to be able to add some personal things, such as:

  • The calendar of a relative (I have the current Mrs Adams’ Google calendar available)
  • The Arsenal fixtures, so I can see when they’re going to scrape a 2-1 win or a disappointing draw
  • The birthdays of my Facebook friends

So what about the weather? We love talking about the weather in Great Britain, so wouldn’t it be good to have a forecast readily-available?

A couple of days ago I was watching a presentation by my frolleague Jon Mell, and one of the screenshots contained a calendar (not a Notes calendar, but that’s not important) with information from a number of sources… one of them being a weather forecast. A light-bulb lit up just above my head (not sure if anyone else in the room noticed) and I thought “that’s a good idea”. Notes supports calendar overlays provided by the iCalendar format, and after a brief search I found a site providing for weather feeds for UK towns (wunderground.com). Camberley wasn’t an option, but Bracknell was and that’s near enough to give an idea of the weather conditions in my home town.

If only they could predict the weather more accurately…

Click on the image below for a larger view.

Update…

There were a number of requests for more information about this so I wanted to add a basic how-to.

Go to http://www.wunderground.com and search for your home town (or the nearest place). When your place has been found, you’ll see a green iCal indicator on the right. Do a right-click on this and copy the link location.

Now go to the Notes calendar and click the ‘Add a Calendar’ link. In the resulting dialog box you’ll need to select an iCalendar feed, set it to a public calendar, add a label (such as ‘Local weather’) and then paste the iCal feed URL into the URL field (click on the image to see how it should look). Select some tasteful colours and press OK.

That should be it. Please note that the feed only shows weather for week ahead, but bear in mind that most weather forecasters can’t accurately predict what the weather will do tomorrow, let alone in six days time.

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