MyCalendarAlerts


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Welcome to
`MyCalendarAlerts!`





Table of Contents:


INTRODUCTION:

 The My Calendar Alerts® app is not itself a calendar, but extends the functionalty of all your existing calendars. My Calendar Alerts lets you create extremely simple yet powerful rules to trigger actions for all your calendar events. The tiggered actions can be as simple as email and text alerts to your group of friends, family or colleagues, or it can trigger a sophisticated automation on a remote computer system.

Alert Flow

So how is this different from your calendar's notifications? Here are a few features that we include:
  • Unlike most calendars that require you to create an alert for each event, My Calendar Alerts allows you to create Alert Policies (alerting rules) that apply to ALL events.
  • Also unlike many calendars, My Calendar Alerts enables SMS text-alerts (in addition to email-alerts) for notifications that require extra attention.
  • With My Calendar Alerts, you can add contacts to receive alerts based on their own subscribed Alert Policies.
  • My Calendar Alerts allows you to send calendar-summaries as texts to your contacts as well as group emails and texts.
  • Configure My Calendar Alerts to recieve automatic notifications anytime your calendar changes. This is very helpful for those who have calendars in which customers self-schedule appoinments or rentals.
  • The ability to trigger other actions on other computers.


Here are some ways My Calendar Alerts can make your life easier.

  • BUSINESS:
    • If you run a rental business, this app will help you with turnovers.
    • Whether a chiropractor, tax-preparer, therapist/counselor, workout/life-coach, or anyone else who takes appointments, My Calendar Alerts will keep you up to date.
    • Have My Calendar Alerts monitor your work-place calendar and send you alerts for meetings etc.
    • Add contacts for your business' service providers such as cleaners and maintenance to get notifications on your changing schedule.
    • Use REST-API, Webhooks, or RPC calls to launch actions from updating websites and databases to activating business-transactions.
    • Trigger Zapier® actions.

  • PERSONAL:
    • If you need help keeping track of your personal appointments, My Calendar Alerts can help.
    • Create a Birthday+Anniversary calendar for your extended family and set up policies for each person to get the announcements they're interested in.
    • Receive early notifications for holidays and other events.
    • Keep your group up to date with text reminders on social media sites like Meetup.com®
    • Send group emails and texts. Emails can include HTML for highly customized formatting.

My Calendar Alerts was especially designed with individuals and businesses in mind who handle rentals such as Airbnb® and VRBO®. These business-proprietors have a need to receive timely alerts for customer arrivals, vacating customers, trash day, property cleanup, etc. My Calendar Alerts makes it simple. My Calendar Alerts can be used for most any calendar that provides a URL to download & sync their calendar including Google, Yahoo, AirBnB, Meetup, etc.




PRICING:

 MyCalendarAlerts services are provided through subscriptions based on the needs of the individual or business. Below is the account subscription pricing. The limited FREE Trial account allows you to try the service indefinitely before signing up for a paid-subscription.

Available subscriptions:

Feature Trial (Free) Basic Account Basic+ Account Prem/Bus Account
Monthly Fee FREE!
$3/Mo
$5/Mo
$10/Mo
Max Contacts
Max Contacts 2 10 25 50
Max Alerts/Mo
Max Alerts/Mo 10 100 200 500
Max Group Messages/Mo 10 20 50 100
Max Calendars 1 2 5 10
Direct Texting (Twilio)
Direct Texting (Twilio) None None None 200
Customer Support
Customer Support Online, Emails Online, Emails Online, Emails Emails, Ltd.Ph


 Subscription options are presented when creating a new account or when pressing the "Upgrade Account" button (for Trial accounts) from the Account Configuration. Once subscribed, the "Upgrade Account" changes to an "Unsubscribe" button in the Account Configuration.
The "Unsubscribe" button can be used to cancel subscriptions and must also be used before upgrading or downgrading subscriptions.

Note that MyCalendarAlerts does NOT maintain the subscriptions nor billing of payments.
MyCalendarAlerts simply provides a button to navigates to PayPal where payments and subscriptions are handled.



GETTING STARTED:

 To get started, you will simply do the following by first creating a My Calendar Alerts account:

  1. Create your account
  2. Configure the account by providing the URL to your online-calendar & your time-zone
  3. Add contacts (alert recipients), their email address, cell phone, and cell carrier (needed for text alerts with no additional charges)
  4. Create alert policies which define the rules of when alerts are sent to contacts

Create New Account
Configuration Setup
Add_Alert Policy
Add Contacts
  Done!  

 See below details for each of these steps. Links for each of these activities are at the top of the web page.



ACCOUNT CONFIGURATION:

The account configuration requires the following information:
  1. Calendar-sync URLs (These URLs are required for importing your calendars to MyCalendarAlerts). Where & how to obtain this URL depends on the calendar web-app. Instructions are usually easy to find with a quick search for "How to sync [google|airbnb|yahoo|...] iCalendar ICS file with other programs").
    Below are list to instructions for getting the sync URL for some popular calendars: Other things to note:
    • Once you obtain the URL, you can do a quick test by pasting it in your browser's URL address field and ensure the ICS file is downloaded. Open the file and confirm it has "BEGIN:VCALENDAR" on the first line.
    • Any web app that provides a URL for downloading the calendar ICS file is acceptable, but procedures sometimes vary even from the official help pages of the app service documentation.
    • Once the URL is provided, My Calendar Alerts will automatically keep your calendar in sync
    • My Calendar Alerts frequently checks for calendar updates
    • For more details on Calendar-sync URLs and how to obtain them for these calendars go to this help section for Calendar-sync URLs

  2. Your time-zone (This is crucial for getting alerts at the expected time)

  3. Texting option(Specify if using free email2text or paid Twilio® service; Twilio® is only available on Premium accounts). The options include:
    • NEVER use paid service. Only using the free email2text which requires properly configuring each contact's cell-service provider.
    • SOMETIMES use paid service. Only use Twilio® for specified contacts, otherwise use the free email2text option.
    • ALWAYS use paid service.* Note that Twilio must be used for international texts outside the USA, so a premium account is required.

  4. The Webhooks and XML-RPC options are for triggering automations.

  5. Zapier® triggering is configured from the Zapier® account and requires our staff to assist in enabling.

  6. Alert Subject(Specify customized text & email subject)

  7. Text-Subject Options(Specify whether to use default, customized or no subject)

  8. Use default email address(Optional email server & password config ignored when selected and calendar.alerts.host@gmail.com address is used)

  9. [OPTIONAL Configs]:
     An account email configuration is only required if you wish emails to display from your own email address. Otherwise a Calendar Alerts email will be utilized at no extra charge:
    • Your 'FROM' email address.
    • Your 'FROM' email password. Warning! Your regular email-login password may not work! You may need to follow the instructions from your email provider on how to create a 3rd-party app passwords. Below are links to some examples:
    • Your 'FROM' email SMTP server. (Your email service provider should have this documented online and easily found with quick search)
    • Your 'FROM' email SMTP server PORT.
    • Alert Exclusion Keywords - Comma-separated list of summary-event keywords to exclude from alerts. The events will still show in the upcoming events but not in the scheduled alerts.

  10. Pause Monitoring(This option will pause all activity including email and text alerts as well triggering automations)


ADDING ALERT POLICIES:

   My Calendar Alerts "Alert Policies" define the alerting rules. Although you can customize them with filters, by default they are 'applied' to all scheduled calendar-events to generate a list of scheduled alerts. The website monitors these scheduled alerts and sends texts or emails to the subscribed contacts when the date and time are reached.
It is best to create alert-policies before adding contacts who will receive the alerts, because you will subscribe each contact to their own set of alert-policies.

"Alert Policies" allow you to make rules such as the following examples:

  • Notify me the day of (or N days before) each customer's arrival (so I can send them instructions)
  • For any event that includes a time, send me a notifications X minutes before the start of the event.
  • Alert me when each customer leaves (so I can send a cleaning crew)
  • Text my cleaning crew the day before each customer leaves so they can plan to go clean
  • Give us a an email-warning 2 days before each customer leaves
  • Send me an alert for every event that INCLUDEs this string or EXCLUDEs that string.

Detailed Description of Alert Policies

Note that Alert Policies apply to ALL calendar-events (except when filters are included). When you create these rules, scheduled alerts are generated where the rules are applied to each upcoming event. For example, if you have a rule to notify yourself the day of the event (e.g. the beginning of a rental) and a 2nd rule to notify you the last day of the event (e.g the end of a rental period) and you have 10 future calendar-events (e.g. scheduled guests), 2 x 10 = 20 scheduled alerts will be generated. The alerts list will be automatically regenerated each time you modify the policy's timing fields or anytime the calendar is updated.

 Excluded Events: There is an exception to the above comment that policies apply to ALL calendar-events. The Configuration Setup includes fields for "Event Exclusion Keywords" & "Event Inclusion Keywords" that allows you to add a comma-separated list of event-keywords to exclude or include. Therefore, for example, if you have events you don't want alerts for, you can add their keywords to the Exclusion Keywords field. These fields will configure all policies you create. However, you can override this setting with the same fields inside the individual policies.

 The below image shows a typical calendar event and depicts the different date-related characteristics you will utilize when creating Alerting Policies/Rules. Note that it has the following date-related characteristics which are common to all calendar events:
  • START date
  • END date
  • Days relative (BEFORE and AFTER) the START date
  • Days relative (BEFORE and AFTER) the END date
Below depicts the days relative to a calendar event
Alert Policy Help

Besides these date-related fields and characteristics, Alert Policies include a few time-related fields and characteristics:

  • "Alert Minutes Prior" - This field only applies to events that included a start time (e.g. not all day)
  • "Use Start-Time Based alerts" - You must check this flag to use the above "Alert Minutes Prior" option.
  • "Default Time of day to send alert" - This field only applies to events that DON'T included a start time (e.g. not all day), or if "Use Start-Time Based alerts" flag is not checked.

Alert policy rules are based on these characteristics. In order to setup alerts to handle the previous mentioned examples, you will setup your policies to fire alerts based on the days relative to the event. Below are some examples of Alert policy settings and what they mean.


Alert Policy Examples
Alert_Policy_Name/Title Alert Relative Days Count Alert Days Relative BEFORE? Alert Days Relative To START? Alert Time To Fire Description:
Guest arrives today! 0 True True 9am Alerts will be sent the morning of the START of the event (guest-arrival) at 9am.
Guest leaving tomorrow 1 True False 9am Alerts will be sent the day BEFORE of the END of the event (guest-leaving) at 9am.
2 Days past since the end of the Event 2 False False 12pm Alerts will be sent 2 days AFTER of the END of the event (guest-left 2 days ago) at Noon.

  • Note that when "Alert Relative Days Count" is set to zero '0', it means "the day of" (i.e. the day of the start of event or the day of the end of the event). For any value N > 0 for "Alert Relative Days Count", the alert will be fired N days BEFORE or AFTER the START or END of the event depending on the other settings.


  • Scheduled Alerts will be regenerated when either of the following occurs:
    • Alert policies are added, deleted, modified
    • The calendar has been updated (e.g. new events added)
    Other notes:
    • Changing time-zones will NOT force the scheduled-alerts to be regenerated, but will of course affect the time in which the alerts are fired.
    • No contacts will not receive alerts on policies that have not been subscribed; even if a generated alert show in the Scheduled Alerts. You must add contacts and subscribe them to the policies to receive the alerts.

    ADDING CONTACTS:
      
      
      
      
      

    Adding contacts is required in order to receive alerts. This is best done AFTER adding alert-policies, so that you can subscribe each contact to the policies they need to receive. Note that you will NOT automatically receive alerts with the registered account contact information; You MUST first add contacts! Adding contacts is as simple as providing the following:
    • Contact's First and Last Name
    • Country Code (Used only for International numbers. Can also include extra prefix digits if the Cell Phone number field is not long enough. If this CC is included, the cell-carrier gateway information is not used for texting)
    • Cell Phone number (If you want to send SMS text alerts to the contact)
    • Cell Phone Service Carrier (Also required if you want to send free SMS text alerts to this contact)
      • This field will allow the app to send FREE SMS text messages to your contacts. Without this option, a paid service that includes Twilio® is required in order to send SMS text messages.
      • Note: The app will try to determine your the Cell Phone Service Carrier automatically. You can also try to determine the Cell-Carrier by either asking your contact, or trying this site or this site.
    • Cell service provide: "Other (Use list below)" (Use the drop-down list if using one of the primary service providers)
    • Cell service provide: "Other (Use input field below)" (Use the input field to manually type in the cell-service provider's email-2-text gateway starting with the '@' at-character.)
    • NOTE! All Cell service provider fields are ignored when a Country Code is specified as the app will instead send an international text using Twilio®)
    • Enable text alerts(Uncheck to disable text alerts for this contact)
    • Enable paid text service(Check if this contact will receive texts using the paid Twilio services. Only for premiums accounts. Also see related configuration settings.)
    • Email Address (If you want to send email alerts to the contact)
    • Calendar Summary Notification Frequency(Select "Every time calendar changes" to receive automatic calendar updates)
    • Available Alert Policies to subscribe (Click the checkbox for each policy this contact should be subscribed to for alerts)
    • Don't forget to press save after entering all of the above data.
    Other features and tips:
    • SUBSCRIBED POLICIES:Remember that you will not receive alerts on any policies that have not been subscribed even though they show in the Scheduled Alerts. Subscribe each contact to their policies as mentioned above in order to receive those alerts.
    • CALENDAR SUMMARIES:The [Send Calendar] button will send a summary of the calendar (Max 30 days!). This button can be used to test the email2text feature for this contact. However, you MUST first save the contact information BEFORE testing. If you make changes (e.g. cell-number or cell-carrier) without saving, that information will be ignored and the last saved information will be tested.
    • GROUP MESSAGES: Once you enter all your contacts, go to the Contacts List and you will see a link for sending group messages. From here you can compose a message and select texting and/or email options for each contact. For emails, you can include HTML for highly customized messages.


    READY TO GO!

    At this point you are ready to go! You should now be able to see your:
  • Examine the scheduled alerts to ensure they are as expected and if not, make the necessary adjustments to the alert-policies.
  • Note that you will not receive alerts on any policies that have not been subscribed; even if they show in the Scheduled Alerts
  • To make sure everything is good, try this test:
    1. Go to contacts and click on one of the contact links.
    2. Ensure the contact has an email and cell phone number and that they are enabled for receiving emails and texts
    3. Ensure the contact has a subscribed policy and click on that link
    4. Set the values START|END, BEFORE|AFTER, Relative-Days, and Time to fire, so that it is just a couple of minutes into the future then press SAVE.
    5. Click on the Scheduled Alerts link to ensure your expected alerts are about to fire.
    6. If all above was setup correctly, your contact will receive an email and text when the scheduled alert time is reached.
    7. When confident all is working ok, don't forget to set the policy back to the normal settings.

    YouTube Video
     In addition to below help, we have this YouTube Video to take you through account creation and setup, step-by-step.


    MyCalendarAlerts API (Automations):
    • Zapier®: Go to the Zapier configuration help section to learn how to use MyCalendarAlerts to trigger Zaps.
      Zapier.com is web service that acts as a hub for many other web applications including MyCalendarAlerts. Zapier® allows interactions between web applications that might not normally communicate. Think of the Zapier hub as a train station junction where web apps like Google®, Facebook® and MyCalendarAlerts® are the trains brining information into the junction that other trains (web apps) can now access and take action on.

      For example, a calendar alert can trigger MyCalendarAlerts to post data to Zapier that is then sent to Facebook® to create a post. Zapier® hosts thousands of apps allowing inumerable interactions and ways to drive automations based on your calendar events.

      Zapier.com offers free accounts to make it easy to get started. For more information on configuring MyCalendarAlerts with Zapier®, please go to the Zapier configuration help page.
    • WebHooks (REST-API): WebHooks are internet APIs that allow websites/webapps of different companies to pass information between them and trigger actions on remote sites. As a matter of fact, this is how Zapier® works; creating simple to use interfaces that allow the APIs to be easily configured for "trigger-action" interactions. MyCalendarAlerts allows you to configure a WebHooks API URL in the account configuration page which would be called any time an alert is fired due to your policies.
    • XML-RPC: XML-RPC has similarities to Webhooks in that they are APIs to call functions that perform functionality on a remote system. For example, let's say you need a local program run on your home or office computer every time certain calendar events fire. XML-RPC calls can execute those programs on your computer. XML-RPC calls are configured in the account configuration.


    ACCOUNT MAINTENANCE:

    Note that MyCalendarAlerts does NOT maintain the subscriptions nor billing of payments.
    MyCalendarAlerts simply provides a button to navigates to PayPal where payments and subscriptions are handled.

    How to Upgrade or Downgrade Account Subscriptions:
     When first created, an account starts off as type Trial. With this type of an account, the Account Configuration will show an "Upgrade Account" button to change to a paid-subscription.
    Once subscribed, the "Upgrade Account" changes to an "Unsubscribe" button which is used to cancel subscriptions which will downgrade back to a Trial account.
    The "Unsubscribe" button will then return to a "Unsubscribe" button which can be used to subscribe to a new paid-subscription.

    How To Cancel An Account Subscription:
    If there is a need to cancel your subscription, you use the unsubscribe button from the Account Configuration which will take you to your PayPal account to cancel the subscription.
    MyCalendarAlerts is not able to directly add or remove subscriptions from your PayPal account.
    Cancelling a subscription will downgrade the account to a FREE Trial account.

    How To Cancel An Account:
    If there is a need to completely cancel your account and you have a paid-subscription you must first unsubscribe (cancel your subscription) as described above. This will downgrade your account to a Trial account. At this point, you will see a button that will allow you to cancel the account.

    How To Reactivate A Cancelled Account:
    In the event you cancelled an account, but wish to reactivate it, you will still have your credentials and config files kept intact for a period of time. You will simply need to go back to the configuration settings and click the button to Re-activate the account.
    However, you will likely need to subscribe to a paid-subscription to restart calendar monitoring and alerting.

    Contact us:
     Having problems you just can't figure out? We invite you to submit questions here.