Derailment dates in your Google calendar

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Paul Crowley

May 11, 2014, 2:57:29 PM5/11/14
This is just wonderful:

Follow the instructions, and the dates on which you are scheduled to derail on your Beeminder goals will show up in your Google Calendar. You can just see at a glance "oh, I need to exercise on or before Friday, but I won't be able to do it Friday so I'd best do it on Thursday".

By a former colleague of mind and all round lovely guy Tom Parker.

Daniel Reeves

May 11, 2014, 7:51:07 PM5/11/14
to akratics
Wow, genius! Though for some of us every day is a beemergency on
everything, making this possibly superfluous. :) There are a few
Beeminder goals where some advance warning is valuable for me (for my
personal beeminding, I mean). We actually have an obscure feature
called the Panic Threshold that you can adjust for each goal so, for
example, your blog post graph can show up at the top of your goal
gallery despite being 7 days from derailing. But this is much nicer,
or will be when you can choose which goals have their deadlines

Paul, do you know if this automatically stays up to date and if so,
how often it polls?

PS: At first I thought it broke and barfed all over the page but
that's just the ical link. You grab that URL and add it as a new
calendar in google calendar. The instructions are perfectly clear, I
was just being a typical user and didn't read them. :)

[repeated a version of this in the comments of Tom's blog]
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Goal tracking + Commitment contracts ==

Paul Crowley

May 12, 2014, 3:53:22 AM5/12/14
My guess would be that it polls every time you load that URL, so the real question is how often Google Calendar polls...

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Daniel Reeves

May 12, 2014, 8:22:37 PM5/12/14
to akratics
The author has confirmed that in the comments. I'd love to hear what
others' experiences are with this. Should we build it in to Beeminder?

Philip Hellyer

May 13, 2014, 6:37:51 AM5/13/14
I've set this up. I'm delighted to see that something like this can be built using the existing api. (Thanks Tom!)

Despite having dozens of active goals, it turns out that the end dates are more spread out than I expected. Which makes this a good counterbalance to the feeling that everything is always on an emergency day. It's also a good counterbalance to email fatigue; I've turned off email reminders altogether on most of my goals.

I've subscribed to this in my iCloud calendar, and the client-side settings let me specify the refresh frequency. Non-intuitively, this is on the 'Get Info', rather than on the calendar's 'Subscription Settings'.

I think there is some benefit to building this into Beeminder. It would make it easier to implement filters, so that goals could be explicitly included or excluded from the calendar feed. More importantly, making goals visible in the tools that people already use sounds super-important. One of the hurdles for newbees seems to be checking their graphs regularly; the current methods of making goals visible don't work for everyone, or don't scale to many goals.



May 14, 2014, 4:32:40 AM5/14/14
This is *absolutely outstanding*!

My fail days are all shown on my google calendar now, makes it more real for me and easier to plan the week rather than waiting for the emails and panicking. I may turn off some of the email reminders as Philip suggested.

Daniel Reeves

May 16, 2014, 7:39:57 PM5/16/14
to akratics
People are telling me that google polls the URL once every 24 hours
and there seems to be no reasonable way to get it to check more
frequently. What do people think? I guess that's ok for goals where
you normally keep multiple days of safety buffer.
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