I use Google Calendar to manage my calendars, and I really missed something to warn me whenever I have an appointment with an alert set.

So here is an example of a Python program to do such a thing. It is written using the Google Data APIs Python client library and pynotify.

I'll detail the code here, so you can build your own and adapt it to your needs.

First, we need to import GTK+ and pynotify, and initialize it.

import gtk
import pynotify

Then, we need to import gdata Calendar API and connect to the calendar. I'll use the simple email/password way to login, which is clearly not the best, but it's also the simplest. Feel free to use OAuth 2.0. :-)

calendar_service = gdata.calendar.service.CalendarService()
calendar_service.email = 'mygooglelogin'
calendar_service.password = 'mygooglepassword'

Now we're ready to request stuff and notify! First, request the events from the default calendar.

feed = calendar_service.GetCalendarEventFeed()

Now we can iterate over feed and do various checks.

for event in feed.entry:
    # If the event status is not confirmed, go to the next event.
    if event.event_status.value != "CONFIRMED":
    # Now iterate over all the event dates (usually it has one)
    for when in event.when:
        # Parse start and end time
            start_time = datetime.datetime.strptime(when.start_time.split(".")[0], "%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S")
            end_time = datetime.datetime.strptime(when.end_time.split(".")[0], "%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S")
        except ValueError:
            # ValueError happens on parsing error. Parsing errors
            # usually happen for "all day" events since they have
            # not time, but we do not care about this events.
        now = datetime.datetime.now()
        # Check that the event hasn't already ended
        if end_time > now:
            # Check each alert
            for reminder in when.reminder:
                # We handle only reminders with method "alert"
                # and whose start time minus the reminder delay has passed
                if reminder.method == "alert" \
                        and start_time - datetime.timedelta(0, 60 * int(reminder.minutes)) < now:
                    # Build the notification
                    notification = pynotify.Notification(summary=event.title.text,
                    # Set an icon from the GTK+ stock icons
                    # Show the notification

Running this program, you should see a notification if an appointment has an alert to be raised at that time.

This should be enough to start to build something.

If you don't want to program this into Python, you might want to take a look at gcalcli.