Exchange Calendar to iCal to gCal Blues...

Let's set-up this problem... I am on a Mac desktop.  I have iCal up and running which pulls calendars down from both my (soon to be expired) .me account, and from work's exchange server.

Side note -- explaining how to set-up iCal to sync with exchange is not part of this article as I've no wish to re-live the pain of interacting with (any) Microsoft product unless absolutely necessary.

Since I've nearly completed by migration from .me to Google, the last element of the move was to get my calendars in-sync with each other.

Under my gMail account, I have a calendar linked to my gMail address.  However, I cannot sync my iCal from my desktop up to Google in a way that the calendars that I've subscribed to on iCal are automagically transferred to gCal.

I can, however, sync my gMail calendar down to my iCal but it seems that the transfer is only one-way -- I can get stuff down from gCal but I can't send calendars (created outside the mshallop@gmail.com account) up to gCal.

I googled the issue -- and I see where Google does offer a sync-tool for exchange to gCal -- but you have to be on Windows to use it.  There's also some middleware that your IT office can install on the exchange side -- but the chances of IT installing anything "outside the box" on the corporate servers are pretty much nil.

I read through several Android forums -- (I've got another article coming out in a day or two about the experiences of dumping my iPhone-4 for the Thunderbolt) -- where I discovered that I'm far from being the only person to have this issue.  One of the recommended solutions I did see on the forums was the integration/installation/use of a Mac-based application called BusyCal.

I initially downloaded and installed the trial versions of both BusyCal and BusySync - and that was because I didn't immediately understand that BusyCal is a superset of BusySync by providing the same functionality as BusySync along with a desktop application designed to replace iCal on the desktop.

Using the trial version - which limits you to 30-days of unrestricted use - I pretty much immediately got the sync results I desired once I plugged in my gMail account information.  The application grabbed my calendar from .me, exchange and gCal and synced it so that everything now appears on gCal, and in the desktop application.

If I log into gCal through the web interface, I see everything which is nice for when I'm not at my work desktop where BusyCal is installed.  And, bonus, since my new Android  phone is linked to my gMail account, getting all my calendars down to my phone's calendar application was automatically accomplished.

One of the features I really like on the BusyCal desktop is that they show you the weather for the day for your area.  It's a very nice add-on feature when you're working in San Francisco where the weather is, at best, flaky.

As you can see from the screenie, the BusyCal application also tracks to-do lists - a feature I don't personally use: I have Bugzilla for that - but I know a lot of folks rely on.

Well worth the $50 for the application to have something that simply works -- no more duplicate entries, no more alt-tab'ing between applications to see pieces of calendar -- everything is consolidated into a unified view via a solid and intuitive UX.