No More Pocket Calendar


Two weeks ago I left my pocket calendar on my desk at the Academy of Letters where I only work one day a week. This was inconvenient as I rely entirely on the calendar to remember what I’m supposed to do apart from my weekly routine. When I finally got my hands on it again last Thursday, it calmly informed me that I was due to give a talk that same evening.

The mishap made me decide to switch to an on-line calendar instead. I spend hours every day using on-line computers, and my smartphone allows me to call the site up when I’m moving about. So, though the new year is approaching, I’m discontinuing a habit I’ve had for about a quarter of a century. No 2009 pocket calendar for me!

This means I won’t have to copy people’s birthdays from one calendar to another at the end of the year. It also means I will have a very hazy idea of what days are Swedish holidays. To add Swedish holidays, search for “Svenska helgdagar 2008 – 2012” among the public calendars!

Dear Reader, do you really need a paper-based calendar?


  1. #1 kai
    December 9, 2008

    When I got my first Palm more than ten years ago I ran off and never looked back. I’ve used up four or five by now, but I couldn’t survive without it and its insistent beeping when it’s time for me to leave for some event or start preparing for another. There are perhaps fancier gadgets today, but it has the right size, weight and functionality for me.

  2. #2 Hans Persson
    December 9, 2008

    Actually, after being a reasonably early adopter (and satisfied user) of a Palm Pilot, I’ve moved back to a paper calendar. The problem was that I moved from the Palm (which is a dedicated device) to a smartphone. Or perhaps “smart”phone, since neither of the two I’ve had are very smart. Having yet another device (a Palm) along with the phone is too clunky. I’m away from the net a little too often to want to rely entirely on a web-based calendar.

  3. #3 Dunc
    December 9, 2008

    I was a fairly early Palm adopter too – until the damn thing’s backup capacitor died, so you’d have to completely re-install and re-configure it every time you changed the batteries. These days, I use paper for stuff I wouldn’t want to lose.

  4. #4 uqbar
    December 9, 2008

    I gave up using a paper calendar many years ago – at the time I used a Palm to make my calendar portable.

    Currently, I use a Blackberry synchronized with an on-line calendar (Google). This is a grate combination as I can always get to my calendar if for some reason my phone is not handy, and my calendar is also backed up. The Google calendar also provides additional benefits for sharing, scheduling, etc.

    Two essential elements: An online calendar, and a portable “viewing device.”

  5. #5 Dave S
    December 9, 2008

    Swedish Holidays?

    Just enter “swedish holidays” in the search field of Google Calendar, click “search public calendars,” and then select the appropriate calendar to add and you’ll now see Swedish Holidays in your calendar, all thanks to someone elses hard work.

    My University has all its holidays and seminar/talk schedules as public google calendars (in typical Uni fashion it did this without telling anyone that it had done something so sensible and useful, so I have no idea how long it had all this info available until I just chanced upon it one day).

  6. #6 Martin R
    December 9, 2008

    Woah Dave, that is extremely cool! Thanks!

  7. #7 Feathers
    December 9, 2008

    I gave up a paper calendar a couple years ago for an online version. It’s the only way I can remember where I’m supposed to be! I don’t want a Palm, too many electronic gizmos to tote around.

  8. #8 Mikael HafO
    December 9, 2008

    I have been using the add-on Lightning with my e-mail client Mozilla Thunderbird. It does the same thing as Google Calendar, and can be synchronised with online calendars. I even have added the Swedish Holidays calendar you mention 🙂

    The upside is that it provides an alert function, which is needed in my present state, and that you can add funky colouring to your calendar 🙂

  9. #9 DianaGainer
    December 10, 2008

    In case you ever play “Trivial Pursuit,” the correct spelling for that crazy word that you use to slow down a horse is “Whoa,” my dear. And if you want to get him to start up again, you can spell that “Gee up,” or “Giddyap,” but don’t bother saying either one, just make a click on the side of your mouth, using your tongue. If you make a click against the back of your upper front teeth, “tsk,” then you are scolding someone. But you must do that more than once for it to be effective and it should be accompanied by a gesture of right hand index finger rapidly scraping from bottom of left hand index finger toward the tip, as if scraping the skin off carrots. Now you’re prepared to scold kids and talk to horses properly in English. How do you do it in Swedish?

  10. #10 Mikael HafO
    December 10, 2008

    Well, we rarely engage in conversations with horses in Sweden. Mainly due to that horses in general are badly educated in any language really. But if you feel the urge to use any onomatopoetic Swedish words to let us say a kid riding a horse, the two words directed towards the horse would be “ptro” (exhale while flapping your lips) for “whoa” and “hoppla” or a smacking sound with your lips for “giddyap”. The “tsk” sound is the same in Swedish, but we don’t have a word for it. Maybe “voj voj” (“but really now, my dear”) or “suck” (“sigh”) would suffice?

  11. #11 DianaGainer
    December 10, 2008

    Thank you very much (tusen takk) for the horsie education. How about pigs now? One calls them hither for feeding in the U.S. by shouting at the top of one’s lungs (preferably in falsetto voice): “Sooey!” and my 104-year-old granny informs me that this will also work for cows, but I think she’s a little off there. When we lived in England, where the cows are more civilized than in Texas (they tend to run more or less wild around here), the local cowherd just waved his arms at the kine and they halted when we needed to cross the road. He waved again and they carried on after we’d passed. My granny probably would have fainted with surprise. Are Swedish cows or pigs of the civilized sort or the wild and angry sort?

  12. #12 Martin R
    December 10, 2008

    Swedish heifers are incredibly curious but also shy. They’ll come up and snuffle the bottom of your pants, but when you turn around they’ll back off. I once excavated a grave in a pasture full of heifers, and every morning we found them standing around in our little trench looking puzzled.

  13. #13 ArchAsa
    December 11, 2008

    I switched to the google calender in september, after finally getting fed up with missing appointments and deadlines. Only problem is I dont have a cell phone with internet connection (my darn Nokia won’t break down so I can have an excuse to buy a new one), so I must remember to save a cached version if I travel off line.

    My paper calender for 2008 is still languishing at the bottom of my ruck sack – for the first time ever I won’t buy a new one this winter…

    Dave’s mention of a public calender for university events is brilliant. I will suggest we start with one for the department so we finally can get a good overview of the seminars.

  14. #14 Mikael HafO
    December 11, 2008

    Diana: In the Scandinavian countries, we have been calling for the domesticated animals either by calling them from a short distance, using e.g. “kom, kossera kossera kossera” (“come, cowsie cowsie cowsie”) for cattle, or by the long distance calling song technique “kulning” (

    Listen to a herding call here:

    And by the way, it’s “tusen tack” in Swedish. “takk” is Icelandic, Norwegian and Danish. It’s pronounced the same though, so no sweat. Thinking of it, I don’t really know why we don’t double “k” in Swedish, other than in ligations like “kyrkkaffe” (“church coffee”) 🙂

  15. #15 Martin R
    December 11, 2008

    I’d really like to know how the och/ock distinction came about. Och is a really old spelling too. Daft.

  16. #16 Mikael HafO
    December 11, 2008

    Just sent an e-mail to SR SprĂĄket with our questions. From the both of us (I hope you don’t mind).

  17. #17 Jonathan Jarrett
    December 11, 2008

    After various people I’m close to had got justifiably annoyed with me forgetting things I’d promised to be at until nearly too late, I decided to formalise my scribbled-bits-of-paper reminder strategy by going here. It works for me, doesn’t need power and has some strange kind of geek value still.

  18. #18 Martin R
    December 11, 2008

    Anecdotal evidence, Jon. We expect you to test this with a sample of hundreds, half of them randomly issued with blank placebo pocket calendars. d-;

  19. #19 Jonathan Jarrett
    December 12, 2008

    No way! I’m saving my learned strategies against the day the energy crisis means you lot no longer have power to charge your reminder devices with and I finally get a job on the strength of my more survivable organisation skills!

  20. #20 Martin R
    December 12, 2008

    I could help set you up as an apprentice runestone carver.

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