Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Discovering SchoolBell

SchoolTool is a project to develop a common global school administration infrastructure that is freely available under an Open Source licence. Today I discovered that one component of SchoolTool is SchoolBell, a free, open source web application to allow groups and organizations to coordinate the sharing of calendars, including iCal support. I found out about SchoolBell by listening to this IT Conversations podcast.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Microsoft's own calendars don't sync

Ex-Microsoft employee Mark Jen, quoted by Forbes: "MSN e-mail should talk to Office Calendar contacts and share appointments from Office with friends and family on the Web. But then MSN could cannibalize Office."

When Microsoft's own calendars don't sync with each other, we've got a long way to go.

Mysterious iCal success

Inexplicably, my copy of Outlook 2003 now exports iCal .ics files correctly. Maybe I had to be surrounded by a critical mass of Microsoft employees to solve this problem; it started working while I was in the press room at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference.

Zimbra: More open-source calendaring

Kevin Yank writes: "Zimbra, an extensible open-source client/server system for managing email, contacts, and calendaring...is Microsoft Exchange and Gmail rewritten in Java using open source technology… all free, cross-browser, and cross-platform." It runs on top of various open source software such as MySQL. This project will be worth watching.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

iTunes 5 lets iPod sync with Outlook

Apple: "iTunes 5 now also supports contacts syncing via Outlook or contacts and calendar syncing via Outlook Express for the PC." My copy of Outlook Express doesn't have calendaring at all. Is this a mix-up?

Take the CalConnect survey

Quoting CalConnect:

"The Calendaring and Scheduling Consortium has identified a need for more interoperability and data exchange between event calendars in the future. This survey is an initial effort to categorize the current state of event calendaring. It endeavors to find out what types of event calendars are in use, the features that are important and what type of systems are used to host and run event calendars. Once collected, the Calendaring and Scheduling Consortium will aggregate and analyze the responses. This information will then be used to help establish more event calendar technical standards as well as further clarify interoperability needs."

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

All about vCal

The top result for a "vCal" search on Google is the page "vCard and vCalendar." It's owned by The Internet Mail Consortium, which has a snail-mail address in Santa Cruz, California. What brought this to mind was a page I found today that describes FreeConference.com, a free conference call service. Here's the interesting part:

"After you've configured your conference call, you can invite people directly from within FreeConference.com's interface, at which point FreeConference.com generates an email invitation to each person you've entered...the email invitations come with vCal file attached that the recipient can drop into iCal or Outlook to add to her calendar."

Hmm, if only I could create vCal files. But from within Outlook 2003, trying to save an appointment as vCal or iCal yields the message, "The operation failed."

I still have Palm Desktop, but the "export vCal" option is grayed out. I'm happy for FreeConference though, if in fact what they have works as described.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Good news: AirSet adds Palm sync support

Walt Mossberg this week reviewed Trumba and AirSet. Of the two, only AirSet supports synching calendars with the Palm OS as well as Outlook and iCal. The Palm support is new so I'll give AirSet a Swampdrain factor of +2. Why not a higher score? After all, AirSet is a free service. It's because calendar synchonization should not require any of us to store all our calendars on an intermediary computer. The end-to-end nature of the Internet demands nothing less. But the new feature set of AirSet is another step forward.