At the top of my wishlist: a good RSS calendaring tool that would let me share my whereabouts with friends, family and well-wishers. (If anyone has a technology that can specifically exclude ill-wishers, so much the better.) The absolute minimum that I need is something that outputs my upcoming travels and conferences as an RSS feed that I can stick in a “where’s Alex?” section of my sidebar.

That’s what I thought I’d get from (Hell, they’ve got the URL right, and that’s a start.) RSS Calendar is what it says it is: a calendar that lets you add events, share them with friends (it lets you set different privacy levels for different events — good idea!) and then (so the site promises) add the resulting RSS output to your web site via a single line of code.

But I never got that far because I reached the point of exasperation way before then.

No, it wasn’t when I realized that the site was based on categories instead of tags (d’oh!). Here’s one place I’d think tagging would be a no-brainer: after all, I don’t want to have to put BlogHer in either conferences OR travel OR technology: I want it in all three. But RSS Calendar lets you pick only one — not a great move, but believe it or not I actually found it within myself to pardon this shortcoming and plow ahead.

Which is how I had the opportunity to discover that RSS Calendar limits events to a single day! That’s just madness. I want to mark down our upcoming two-week trip to San Francisco as a single event — not as fourteen day-long events. So that’s when I gave up.

The upside of that downside is that it now leaves me free to troll for a better option. What would RSS calendaring look like if it were done right? Well ideally it would include:

  • multiple privacy levels, customizable by event
  • option of e-mailing people to invite them to events if they’re not RSS users (even I have yet to break off social relations with the non-RSS world)
  • integration with (cough cough) Entourage or Outlook for those of us who are weak-minded followers of the leading desktop calendaring options
  • tagging of events (including options for multiple tags)
  • RSS feeds for all scheduled events or for specific tags (so that I could post on my blog only events I tag “public”)
  • inbound aggregation of other RSS feeds so I can subscribe to my husband’s, colleagues’, and friends’ calendars and see when we can potentially intersect.

Does anyone have a tool or tools to nominate that could — singly or in combination — do the job? Other candidates I’m investigating: PHP iCalendar (which works with iCal) and (which turns out to be for scheduling public events, not tracking personal whereabouts.)

I’m also going to poke into some of the options listed on the evnt wiki. Trumba looks promising but is non-free.