Tuesday, January 24, 2006

IBM Workplace now supports iCal

IBM gets a SwampDrain factor of +3 this morning by announcing yesterday that they've added "iCal support for calendar interoperability with IBM Lotus Notes" within a product now shipping called Workplace Collaboration Services 2.6. This move isolates Microsoft as the last major provider of calendar software not to support iCal directly.

Boo to the technology trade press for ignoring this announcement! Wake up over there.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Why I prefer ifreebusy.com to AirSet

Over the past two weeks, I've praised ifreebusy.com on several occasions, but I haven't mentioned another free calendar synchronization service, AirSet. I know I've criticized AirSet in the past, so why didn't I level the same criticism at ifreebusy.com?

The simple answer is, ifreebusy.com only stores free/busy information. AirSet stores all of my calendar information. If I have to use a Web service to synchronize calendars, I'd like to store as little personal information as possible. Ideally, I wouldn't have to use a service at all. (I call this "peer to peer" calendar synchronization.)

And yes, I do use other free Web services such as Gmail, despite my privacy concerns. No other email user has to use the same email provider as I do. and if enough people objected, I might move off Gmail as well. By keeping my calendar off the Web, I'm reducing the "attack surface" for bad things to happen to my family's personal data.

Also, check out Neil Jensen's next set of plans for ifreebusy.com, triggered in part by our conversation.

Dana Gardner and I talk about calendaring

Dana Gardner of invited me to talk with him about calendaring on his Briefings Direct podcast. Listen to the podcast here and read Dana's further thoughts here. It's a newsy chat: I discuss the longstanding bug in Apple's iPod calendar synchronization, as well as the Firefox 1.5 problem (upgrading to 1.5 makes Mozilla Calendar go away!). Dana also got me to speculate on Google's future calendaring moves.

(Apologies to Steve Gillmor for putting words into his brother Dan's mouth on the Gillmor Gang. Steve's the Gillmor I meant to name on this podcast. It must be because I saw both of them in different places on the same day last week!)

Monday, January 16, 2006

Adobe wants to help drain the swamp a bit

I just stumbled across Adobe's demo of a Flash-powered Web page that a hypothetical travel site could offer in the future, allowing visitors to view free/busy information from their personal calendars, along with possible flight times, in a single calendar. Cool stuff. A description of the demo, given at the Macromedia MAX 2005 conference last fall, is on this page. I found video of the demo here, on Day One, starting at around the 1:05:00 mark. (Grumble: I couldn't download the video, but had to view it as a Flash presentation.)

Saturday, January 14, 2006

MightyPhone guesstimate

Ever wonder how much data you'd be transferring when synchronizing your mobile phone calendar with a PC? Sync service provider MightyPhone has this to say:

"Depending on the amount of data you plan to actively manage, the required level of data service subscription varies. For business users that synchronize business contacts and office calendar frequently, we recommend a data plan of up to 2MB to avoid additional data charges. For those using MightyPhone to manage their phone book only, a data plan with up to 1MB should be sufficient. Both examples assume an average address book of less 500 contact entries and a calendar with 4 scheduled appointments per business day."

BlackBerry draining its Mac swamp

Information Week: "BlackBerry maker Research in Motion said Thursday that it will give away free synchronization software to Mac owners so that they can square personal assistants with Mac applications, including Microsoft's Entourage e-mail client."

If you already own a BlackBerry and a Macintosh, this is great news. SwampDrain factor: +2.

(At least BlackBerry users are already acclimated to data usage fees, unlike the rest of us.)

Monday, January 09, 2006

Calendar Swamp podcast #6, 1/6/06

The free/busy show. What are free/busy calendars? How can they be shared? Evaluating (and improving) ifreebusy.com, which allows free/busy calendars from Microsoft Outlook 2003 and iCal-based software to be shared and viewed together on a single Web page. Privacy controls needed. The curious case of the discontinued Microsoft Free/Busy service. Imagining smarter free/busy calendars. Listen. (16:25)

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