Saturday, June 25, 2005

MindManager demo

I'm revising Swampdrain Factor to use 0 as a neutral score, 5 as a good score and -5 as a bad score. Yesterday's score of 6 for the Microsoft RSS calendar demo is hereby revised to a score of +1.

MindManager, demoed this morning at Gnomedex, may be a cool way to design projects visually, but it introduces Yet Another Calendar that doesn't seem to interoperate with any other calendars. It shares tasks with Outlook, but it doesn't appear to share meetings? I hope this isn't true. But if it is, I give MindManager a Swampfactor of -5. (+5-good, -5-not good)

Friday, June 24, 2005

Microsoft RSS calendar demo

With this post I'll introduce a new rating system: The Swampdrain Factor. A Swampdrain Factor of +5 means the particular development means the Swamp is being drained a bit through some innovation or best practice. A Swampdrain Factor of 0 means the Swamp is staying about the same level. And a Swamp Factor of -5 means the Swamp is rising through FUD or some innovation that doesn't lend itself to interoperability.

The Microsoft RSS calendar demo at Gnomedex has a Swampdrain Factor of +1. It opens interoperability a crack, provided Microsoft makes freely available the 200 lines of C# code they just showed that let Outlook users view an .ics calendar file, delivered as an RSS enclosure, side by side with an Outlook 2003 calendar. If this code doesn't become freely available, I'll lower the rating to a 0 until someone provides it in open-source form. (Microsoft releasing some of its RSS extension work under a Creative Commons license is a promising move.)

How would a technology get a Swampdrain Factor of 5? It would have to provide a true sync between two or more heterogenous calendars, automatically adding, moving, and changing appointments in a single calendar, presenting users with conflicts for resolutions, and all users to subscribe to these adds, moves and changes...using RSS or another syndication service.

OPML editor + RSS = Interoperable calendars?

At Gnomedex, Dave Winer says RSS could be used to build interoperable calendars, and that OPML could do it a bit more richly. Looking at his demo of The OPML Editor this morning, I had the thought: Hmm, calendars are lists of appointments and people. Maybe it wouldn't be that hard to get any calendar into a outline or even a simple list. Of course, once you have people and appointments, you quickly get into relational database development, so maybe it's not that simple. Still, it's amazing what's been done with the simplest tools, such as HTML.

Now Up-To-Date 5.0 for Macintosh released

June 21 press release: "Now Software today introduced Now Up-to-Date & Contact 5 for Macintosh, a major update to its cross platform calendar and contact management solutions." The Windows version is still at version 4.5.2.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Instant Calendar Swamp podcasts

If you're listening to the first four Calendar Swamp podcasts, just posted here, and wonder why they're titled The Gray Box, that's because I originally published all four podcasts under that name. Going forward, it's all about the Calendar Swamp. But the anime reviews and other tech digressions will continue on future podcasts.

Calendar Swamp podcast #4, 6/6/05

The calendars proliferate on River's iCal; searching for the Windows iCal client; trying to synch up the two; Now Up-To-Date; Meeting Maker; Plucker changes name to Sunrise, drops Mac version. Anime reviews: Haibane-Renmei, Read or Die, and R.O.D. the TV Series. Listen.

Calendar swamp podcast #3, 5/27/05

Synchronizing contacts on a Motorola V180 mobile phone with the Macintosh address book; the small set of USB connectors that made it possible; why not to do calendaring on the V180; exporting iCal calendars to the iPod when synching doesn't work; success with using the Plucker offline Web page reader/RSS aggregator with a Macintosh; who's really making money from podcasting. Scott grumbles about Norton Internet Security shutting off access from a new PC to the rest of his home network's workgroup. Listen.

Calendar Swamp podcast #2, 5/20/05

Ditching Safari for Firefox on the Macintosh. In search of a nice, small Bluetooth trackball. The Logitech cordless trackball that wasn't entirely cordless. The mystery of the new HP Pavilion that stopped recognizing Scott's Windows workgroup. Listen.

Calendar swamp podcast #1, 5/18/05

Interoperability headaches with iCal, the iPod, Palm Desktop OS for the Mac, and the Sony Clie. Anime review: Haibane-Renmei. Listen.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Calendar swamp is born

When you're up to your necks in appointment alligators, it's hard to remember the original job was to drain the calendar swamp.