James O'Neill's Blog

May 24, 2008

Top travel tip. Use the calendar. Properly

Filed under: Events,General musings,Working at Microsoft — jamesone111 @ 4:53 pm

One of the things that we noticed on the roadshow was the *much* better system for getting us feedback (see here and here oh and here ) and – always looking for ways to improve our processes – a couple of us noted that there’s a big document mailed out with the event information for the presenters, but when we pull out our phones the calendar appointment doesn’t have the location of the event in it. Each of the presenters has to copy the information out of the document and paste it into the calendar. None does. We try not to print stuff which we can see on a laptop, and we don’t want to get a laptop out to program the sat-nav. So next time hopefully we’ll get two appointments, one with the Hotel and it’s address, and one with the venue and it’s address.

Putting data in the Calendar has two advantages. (1) It’s sync’d and always with me (2) Everyone has read access to my Calendar. So anyone can find where I am in an Emergency.

In July I’m off to Seattle and I booked my flights on Friday, a year ago I wrote about the stupidity of our Travel booking process and things haven’t got any better. Our Travel agent send the itinerary as a copy-protected PDF. Why on earth they can’t send me flight details in ICS / VCS format beats me. So the process is print PDF to XPS, Open XPS, select, copy , paste, reformat.

Clearing out my Inbox I came to the mail marked "Save the date". Now when I meet the person who sent this I’m going to give them the verbal equivalent of a gentle Slap. For 10 years Microsoft has used outlook. For 5 years before that we had 5 years of Schedule+, I can only assume he’s new and doesn’t know that to save a date you send a calendar request. The sender compounds the offence by putting the date and venue details in as a bitmap – not text – so its not sync’d to a phone and not read by Outlook Voice Access. So 350 people have to take a couple of minutes each typing all their own calendar requests: that adds up to a working day wasted. Or maybe they won’t bother and will be wandering round Seattle looking lost.

In all 3 cases I’m left asking – why am I the one doing this ?

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

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