Saturday, December 22, 2007

Tasks inside calendars: How do they make one's time "busy"?

How many of you manage your tasks inside your calendar? As of Office 2007, Bill Gates now does:
"Before the 2007 Office release, I never used the Outlook task feature, but now that tasks are automatically added to my calendar, it makes it much easier to stay on top of the important things I need to do."
What I'd like to know is, when Outlook adds a task to a calendar, does it create "busy" time so the task can be completed? Or does it depend? Can any Outlook users reading this explain how this works?

Windows Live Calendar to get FeedSync?

Kip Kniskern: "It looks like Calendar will be one of the first Windows Live applications to use FeedSync."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sync between Windows Live Calendar and Outlook available -- for a price

A commenter to an earlier post pointed out that Microsoft does offer sync between Windows Live Calendar and Outlook, but it will cost you the price of a paid subscription to Outlook Connector. I hunted around and think Outlook Connector comes with Outlook Live, which costs $59.95 a year according to this.

As I was searching, I also found The Open Source Outlook Connector Project, a five-year-old effort which looks like another possibility for Outlook swamp draining.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Forrester Research makes iPhone improvements inevitable

Nice to see Forrester Research listing lack of over-the-air calendar sync as part of the #1 reason IT departments won't adopt the iPhone yet. I'm sure Apple hears this loud and clear and will resolve the issue in 2008.

Apple hiring a Swamp Drainer?

A few days ago on some blog I posted a comment suggesting that Apple use some of its vast cash hoarde to improve iCal calendar sharing. Lo and behold today I found out Apple might be hiring someone to do it.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Darwin Calendar Server anyone?

I read for the first time of someone who downloaded and installed the Darwin Calendar Server. I've thought about buying a Mac Mini to run 24x7 and serve up the family calendar for just this purpose. I still prefer to carry a non-iPhone mobile device running CalDAV, and I'd have to get WebDAV working from the Net into our home network to get back to the Darwin server, so there would be more work to do than is listed in this report; but for now my question is, has anyone wired up a Windows calendar client (i.e. Chandler) to Darwin Calendar Server?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

SyncMate enters beta

Another way for Windows Mobile users to give desktop Outlook the heave-ho is now in beta.

Spotted at Software synchronizes Macs with Windows Mobile devices. SyncMate includes "an 'iCal' plugin synchronizes appointments and events stored in the mobile device's calendar with the Macintosh's iCal application."

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Killer Microsoft calendar sharing tech is MIA

As I noted earlier today here, Microsoft has published the final 1.0 spec for what is now FeedSync, and what used to be called Simple Sharing Extensions. But what's striking visiting the FeedSync site is how it makes no mention of what had been SSE's killer app, calendar synchronization. Don't believe that it was touted as a killer app? Check this eWeek story from two years ago.

Stay at Home Servers: funny, but...

Microsoft is on to something with its funny video series, "Stay at Home Servers." I can't wait until the episode where they explain how the Windows server connects all the Macs and Linux-based devices together!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

How iPhone can drain my calendar swamp

As we get closer to the date of the iPhone SDK release, I've been thinking about just exactly what I'd like to see the iPhone be able to do to solve my family's calendar sharing problem.

I don't require full two-way syncing of iPhone calendar data with another calendar. My requirements aren't that strict, or complicated. Syncing is nice but technically it's more challenging than publish-and-subscribe, the very tech that lets most of you easily read Calendar Swamp.

Simply put, I would like to be able to have an iPhone publish its calendar -- securely, over the Internet -- to a private server. Virtual private network technology could do the job. The private server I want to have under my control. I'd even be willing to buy a Mac Mini to host this. But I don't want to store the published calendar on the Web. Such servers are vulnerable to data breaches, or Facebook-style privacy erosion and terms-of-service shenanigans.

I want to be able to query River's calendar to see her free/busy time. In return, River should be able to see my free/busy time. And no one else should ever be able to see any of it, for any reason, if we so choose.

I may have other, more public calendars, but they can wait. But at a time when I still wade through a lot of email to arrange meetings and such, it's worth a minute to discuss how I would prefer to invite and be invited by others to events in the scenario I'm describing.

The iPhone is the first handset I know of that can generate a calendar entry based on details it finds in an email. I've raved about this in the past as provided by Zimbra, and Google Calendar does it too. Calendars must be able to generate invitations that recipients can use in an automated fashion to begin entering the info in their own calendar. Requiring 100 percent manual reentry of info from an email into a calendar is a non-starter.

Sometimes, an iCal .ics file attached to the email does the job. Otherwise, if my calendar can generate an email that your email can then understand (like the iPhone, Zimbra, or Gmail) to generate the calendar entry with correct date, time and even location already filled out, that would be sufficient.

River isn't giving up her iPhone, so that has to be a part of the solution. If Apple and some combination of products and services can deliver what I need, I'll be happy to invest in the appropriate gear and services on my end.

Friday, November 23, 2007

How about a 2008 Calendar Swamp calendar?

Would anyone out there like to design the 2008 Calendar Swamp calendar? What better way to spread the gospel of interoperable calendars than to have our own. I'm thinking of offering a PDF through this blog that anyone could print out for free and display. If you have a knack for design and would like your work to be admired by the worldwide community of calendar swampers, please drop me a line at calendarswamp at gmail dot com.

Monday, November 19, 2007

My first calendar spam

I knew this day was coming. It's here. I just logged into my Yahoo Calendar and some spammer (on the BitTorrent_help Yahoo Group) figured out a way to place a spam calendar entry in my Yahoo calendar. Better yet, Bram Cohen, Mr. BitTorrent himself, announced in May 2005 that he was "shutting down this list" and that no further posting would be allowed! But I note that as of this morning, there are still 11,761 members of this group. Presumably every one of them could have received the same calendar spam. I unsubscribed from the group and advise others to do likewise.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Pocket Outlook APIs found

I came across a blog post by Randy Byrne, Outlook Program Manager at Microsoft, and he answered my question about where to find the Pocket Outlook APIs. It's the Pocket Outlook Object Model, described on MSDN. So now I'm curious to know what sorts of software programmers have built with these hooks into Pocket Outlook. They employ COM, which as I understand it is the kind of programming that's not for the faint of heart.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Windows Live Calendar: No synch to Outlook or Windows Mobile, for now

Kip Kniskern, writing in a review of the new Windows Live Calendar:
"There's no synch feature, of any kind, except for shared calendars. Not being able to synch to Outlook or mobile devices is a showstopper. However we've heard they are working on this, so stay tuned."

If my phone could do anything

About 1:43 into this new video, Nick Sears, the co-founder of Android, the company Google bought to build its mobile phone platform, has this to say:
"If my phone could do anything, it would be that we would have a shared family calendar."
To which I would add the following: through the service provider of my choice, or even without requiring a service provider, and supporting instant over-the-air updating with calendars on any other mobile device, including the iPhone.

Meanwhile, there's the Open Handset Alliance, another puzzle piece.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Evolution, Sunbird, Samsung tales of woe

TumTumblr writes:
"How is it possible that Evolution and Sunbird, which are regularly called 'Outlook replacements', are not able to export their files into things like the .VCS format which Outlook recognize, or even into some (why-would-I-care) perhaps non-standard erroneous but Outlook-compatible file format? How is someone supposed to sync between the two, short of setting up Microsoft Exchange crap?"
and also has this to say:
"Samsung seems to utterly and utterly fail at usability, interopability (even with the standard of Contacts/Calendering/e-mail, Microsoft Outlook). Shame. They do the rest so well."
Let the drumbeats roll...

Which Microsoft APIs access Pocket Outlook?

Say a developer wanted to access Pocket Outlook on Windows Mobile to create something new, like an app that shares calendar data with other calendars. Where do they look?

I don't think much about this question not only because I'm not a developer, but also because I never heard anyone say they avail themselves of such a thing. However...

If Windows Mobile is an open platform, such an API has to be available. Steve Ballmer, of all people, made me rethink this during his October 23 speech at CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment in San Francisco. Quoting Steve (my emphasis in bold):
"We're investing very heavily in the device itself, and in the services around them as a platform. If you want to write a rich application, we have a version of .NET that runs on Windows Mobile phones that supports rich application development. If you want to write a thin client application, HTML, or AJAX, or eventually with our Silverlight technology which provides for rich media and video, those things will be available on this platform. We have rich APIs for things like forms and Web services, for location, for contact, calendar, messaging, maps, sound, graphics, all of that is available for third party innovation."
I attempted to learn more after Steve's speech from Microsoft's PR agency, but they didn't respond to my inquiry. Anyone reading this know what he's talking about?

Update: See my later post for the answer.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

OpenSocial: Yep, another puzzle piece

I've read a fair amount already about OpenSocial without needing to comment on it here, but this comment by Brian Kellner of NewsGator caught my eye:
"OpenSocial will be able to answer other questions, such as what kind of activities have been done on a platform or it may know about calendar events and be able to pass on that intelligence."

Monday, October 15, 2007

GroupDAV: Another puzzle piece

From the home page of
"GroupDAV is an effort to create a 'down-to-the-earth' protocol to connect OpenSource groupware clients with OpenSource groupware servers... GroupDAV has a very specific focus which is connecting the three popular OpenSource clients - Kontact, Evolution and Sunbird - with the broad range of OpenSource 'groupware' servers."
Work on GroupDAV started in 2004, so it's proceeding slowly. But there is a mailing list with a bit of activity on it. But it's not clear to me what its relationship is to CalDAV. This post, dating from 2005, sheds precious little light on that question.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Vista sync problems prompt some to retreat to XP

Jason Dunn: "Some people are having so many problems with Windows Mobile Device Center (WMDC) that they're actually leaving Windows Vista and and going back to Windows XP."

Thursday, October 04, 2007

More Mac iCal liberation news

Yesterday Ben Brown clued me into NotMac, "a free, open-source utility for using the client-side dotMac services provided by Apple." Interesting that Dave Winer (or someone claiming to be him) contributed $100 toward its development.

This could be the thin end of a wedge that turns Apple's iCal calendaring services into an open standard that could be moved to any non-Apple platform. This might all happen much faster than the prospect of Apple reaching out to sync with non-Apple calendars.

In fairness to Apple, the next release of Mac OS X, called Leopard, will also help open up iCal to wider use. Quoting from this Apple developer Web page:
"The Calendar Store lets any application display, create, and edit iCal data."

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

BusySync gets a SwampDrain point

Gus Mueller, quoting from the BusySync Web site:
"BusySync lets you share iCal calendars with family and coworkers on a local area network without a dedicated server and with full read/write access."
I haven't given any SwampDrain points for a while. BusySync gets +1 SwampDrain point. Now if they could make it work with something on the Windows side, that would be peachy. MonoCalendar might be a good place to start.

The iPhone sync process could be simpler

Apple gets lots of flak for not syncing with non-Apple calendars, but even those who live entirely within the Apple world need simpler sync. Ben Brown writes:
"I don’t like that the iTunes sync does not fire off a chain of child-syncs for related applications. As it is, before I can even connect my iPhone, I have to open iCal and have it refresh all of my calendar subscriptions, then do a manual refresh on my Podcast subscriptions within iTunes. Then, after I connect the phone, I have to do a manual import in iPhoto for my photos. Why can’t that be one step?"

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The curious case of Remember the Milk

Lots of folks -- myself included -- mistakenly described Remember the Milk as another online calendar. In fact, it only manages tasks. For calendaring, it syncs with Google Calendar. There's no conventional way in Remember the Milk to express events with start and end time. It's possible to express tasks of a certain duration that are due at a certain time. But it's not clear at all how you would do something as conventional as inviting someone else to the same "task" (event) unless, perhaps, that event originated in Gcal. Maybe I just need to play with it some more. And now I have a reason to do it. Remember the Milk just announced the ability to sync with Windows Mobile, for $25 a year. It's another tantalizing quarter-step forward for those of us who want to sync and publish our calendars sans Outlook or Google Calendar. (And Remember the Milk already works offline, so there's another thing in its favor.)

Oy vey: SyncML is now OMA DS

Never mind that synchronization has never been more popular, or more marketable to businesses. The fine folks at the Open Mobile Alliance renamed SyncML (Synchronization Markup Language) to this unmemorable alphabet soup: OMA DS (Open Mobile Alliance Data Synchronization). As if we don't have enough standards, we have to deal with old and new names! I will spell out the "DS" or no one will know what I'm talking about!

Monday, September 17, 2007

iPod Touch: Update contacts, not calendar?

I was surprised to learn (via Bill Palmer) that iPod Touch owners can add contacts, even though they can't add calendar entries. Why does Apple allow contacts updates but not calendar updates?

Everybody Has a Share

Calendar Swamp readers may find my new project worth following. Everybody Has a Share: Myth, Madness and Momentum in the Digital Decade is my book in progress about the historic impact of open source, open standards, security, and privacy on all of us. And yes, calendar sharing will be highlighted as a textbook example of the myth, madness and momentum. Join me there for the fun, starting today; but stay tuned for more reports from the swamp here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Chandler hits preview release

News from Chandler, the open-source calendar software effort:
"The Chandler project has hit our Preview milestone! We now have public-beta quality releases of our products; we believe them to be full featured enough and stable enough for daily use."
Congratulations to the Chandler team. It's been a long time coming.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Apple iPod Touch: Opportunity lost

Apple continues to treat its iCal calendar poorly. The new iPod Touch calendar is read-only, even though the iPod Touch would seem like a great way to update your calendar. Apple wants to sell more iPhones instead.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Location and calendar sharing

James McGovern:
"One of the things that I would love to see the folks over at Microsoft and Zimbra address is how calendaring works in enterprises that have multiple locations."
Not to mention making such a solution work between Outlook and Zimbra, and other calendars. I wonder if meeting location is part of existing or planned iCal/CalDAV standards work?

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Listening to a podcast about the Mono project, I began wondering if there's a calendar built on top of Mono. Viola, there is. MonoCalendar runs Windows with the .Net framework installed, but more interestingly also on Linux. MonoCalendar may represent a fresh alternative for owners of portable Linux devices such as Nokia's Internet tablets. If anyone reading this has used MonoCalendar, please drop me a line. It's billed as .ics compatible.

Monday, August 06, 2007

WSJ on calendar sharing

From Saturday's Wall Street Journal:
"Marriage often requires coping with the loss of some individuality, whether it's adopting a spouse's last name or setting up a joint bank account. Now, some couples say it can be equally tricky to navigate intimacy in the digital sides of their lives. They are running into thorny questions regarding how much to share and how much to keep separate in areas ranging from email addresses to online calendars."
The story doesn't return to calendaring, but that's worth a whole 'nother story. Or even a blog! If your family has figured out just how much calendar to share and how, send me your stories. I'll print 'em here.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Offline mobile calendars: Now what?

In InformationWeek, Mitch Wagner writes:

"I had a terrible time synching [Mac OSX ] iCal to my Palm Treo. Other people report the process goes quite smoothly, especially using Missing Sync software from Mark/Space, but it didn't work for me. I ended up permanently scrambling my calendar, and needing to re-enter appointments by hand, which was no fun. (Ultimately, I bought an iPhone, but since this is a rather expensive workaround, it's one that I don't recommend to most people.)

I was at Fry's in Concord, California last night. Windows Mobile PDAs are not to be found. (There was one unidentified, non-operating HP iPaq.) A few pathetic-looking Palm PDAs were there as well. Sony's Mylo was there, but remember, it has no calendar, just a Web browser. Next week, at LinuxWorld, I'm meeting with PalmSource (now Access) as well as the Windows Mobile folks, Motorola, and the LiMo Foundation (working on mobile Linux). I really want to understand where offline mobile calendars head from here. The iPhone is forcing that conversation.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Local calendars are dead, he says

Paul Thurott: "The email application is dead. So, too, is the local calendar application."

Someone needs to notify the mobile phone companies, who will ship maybe a billion "local calendar applications" this year.

But I know what Paul's talking about. It looks like the writing is on the wall for calendar applications that don't live in the browser. But we don't know exactly what the date of death will be -- yet.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Any hosted Exchange customers out there?

Today I read a post from Matt Hartley about DSLExtreme's hosted Exchange service, and wondered if anyone was using it to sync their calendars. I'm particularly interested to know if anyone has done this to sync two or more non-Outlook calendars without requiring an Outlook client. Feel free to email me or post a comment here, if you have a story to tell.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Stewart Alsop's solution doesn't work for most

Stewart Alsop (full disclosure: former boss of mine) is sick of the sorry state of calendar and contact sync. Unfortunately, his solution -- designed around Microsoft Exchange -- isn't practical for the average calendar user. lists Exchange Server at $1,299.99, which doesn't include the PC with Windows Server 2003 you need to run it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

iPhone calendar sync woes

Paul Thurott: "It's clear that, on Windows at least (Apple's biggest market), iPhone sync is horribly broken. Regardless of the supported Windows or Office version you use, the iPhone will only sync with the single default local calendar in Outlook, and not with any other calendars, be they local or Internet-based. This is a problem for a number of reasons, but the most damning is that calendar sync with multiple calendars (local, Internet, whatever) actually works fine with a normal iPod." I don't own an iPhone (River does) but the fact that I don't have a Mac (and she does) was a factor in my decision. As for what Paul considers superior performance on the iPod, remember that you can't update the calendar on an iPod. I'm not surprised that Apple's one-way sync works better or is more capable. Two-way sync is hard (though necessary).

Another Outlook/Google Calendar horror story

I'm sure Microsoft Outlook works fine for lots of folks, but stories like this keep me looking for alternatives.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Vista Calendar/Windows Mobile: Microsoft's Web site is no help

Did Microsoft drop the ball on providing sync between Vista Calendar and Windows Mobile 6?

From the current Windows Mobile Device Center page:
"Microsoft® Outlook® XP, Microsoft® Outlook® 2003, and Microsoft® Outlook® 2007 messaging and collaboration clients are required for synchronization of e-mail, contacts, tasks and notes to a Personal Computer."
The Vista Calendar page still makes no mention of syncing with any version of Windows Mobile.

Since Outlook still doesn't sync with Vista Calendar, does this leave those who own both Windows Mobile devices and Vista Calendar up a creek without a paddle?

Windows Mobile 6: How does it stack up?

In my never-ending quest to sync my Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PC calendar to anything other than Outlook, I came across LapLink Software's PDASync, which works with a variety of PC-based calendars, including Notes, Groupwise, Lotus Organizer, and ACT! 2000. For me, none of those are viable alternatives to Outlook. But what about Vista Calendar, I wondered? Would PDASync support Vista Calendar? I dropped a note to LapLink Software and received this reply from Aarti Vaid:
"Unfortunately, Laplink is not currently looking to build a version of PDAsync that works between Windows Mobile 5.x and Vista's Calendar. However, I will forward this enquiry to the developers for consideration. Thank you for writing in. If there's anything else I can help with, please let me know."
I notice some Windows Mobile 6 devices are already shipping. Does anyone reading this have one? Which calendars does it work with on the PC side?

Friday, June 29, 2007

iPhone day: Calendar interop picture to brighten soon?

Steve Jobs, quoted by John Markoff: "There’s already corporations who have been running pilots hooking up to Exchange servers and other kinds of mail servers, and they have gone very well." Exchange is also a calendar server. I would love to see a way to wire up one's own calendar server to talk to the iPhone calendar over the air. I will even buy a copy of Leopard if I can do this with the CalDAV server built into Leopard. Then, I would be the master of my own families' calendar sharing, because (hopefully) starting today, that will include at least one iPhone.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Windows Mobile problem persists

While a new generation of Windows Mobile devices heads for release, the current generation is mired in the calendar swamp.

That is, if you don't want to sync to other calendars via Outlook, which I don't.

Oh, and if your Windows Mobile device is just a PDA, better trade it for a Windows SmartPhone, an iPhone or something else. Otherwise, you're going to have one disappointment after another. Plaxo Mobile Plus is just the latest. (what do you mean, you don't have a carrier associated with your Windows Mobile device?)

No new negative SwampDrain points here for Plaxo. It's just a well-worn path of disappointment.

Meanwhile, River is ready for her iPhone! Like so many others.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

iPhone, Google Gears a match made in heaven?

Graeme Mathison: "Here’s my prediction (which isn’t exactly too far fetched, I don’t think): the iPhone and Google Gears are a match made in heaven. The iPhone will ship with Google Gears built in."

No way Apple would ship something now that Google still admits is early, buggy code. But even when Gears goes 1.0, I doubt that all iPhone users will abandon the iPhone's iCal interface for a reduced, AJAX-style user interface. Some will, many won't.

iPhone + AJAX good, Spanning Sync would be better

With Apple announcing that the iPhone will run AJAX apps, it seems clear that Apple expects a number of iPhone users to rely on Web calendaring, rather than the built-in iCal. The next step would be up to the folks at Spanning Sync, if only they had a true iPhone API.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Simple Sharing Extensions update

Remember Simple Sharing Extensions, Microsoft's proposed technology that, among other things, would let us easily cut and paste events between different Web calendars? After months of silence, Sam Ruby found the latest scoop.

Remember the Milk becomes first free Web calendar to go offline

Jumping on the Google Gears announcement on May 31, Ajaxian reports that online calendar site Remember the Milk has become the first such free site to provide offline calendar access. Gears is still early code, so your results may vary. More details at the Remember the Milk blog.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Messaging News puts calendar interop on its cover

Kudos to Messaging News for making calendar interoperability the cover story of its May/June 2007 issue. Recommended reading. And to those of you who found Calendar Swamp through this story, welcome. We have several hundred FeedBurner subscribers, and the number is growing. I also like the Messaging News headline -- Calendaring: Why Isn't It Just Like Email?

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Shared tags are a good idea, how do we agree on them?

Earlier this month Brad Templeton posted an interesting list of possible tags that could add rich meaning to the events entered in one's calendar:

Here are some levels I think one might set on tagging an external event (or even a personal one) into your day.

  • I will not attend this event (usually means it will not be shown.)
  • I will not attend but need to keep track of this event.
  • The event is canceled.
  • I have not made any decision (default behaviour.)
  • There is some chance I will attend (perhaps a percentage can be applied.)
  • I want to attend, but something may change my mind.
  • I plan to attend. (A typical default.)
  • I am central to this event (speaking, leading meeting etc.)

This is a neat list. Is anyone working anywhere to standardize such a set of tags, so they may have shared meaning between people?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Musings on Palm and Google

The Palm Foleo, announced today, and Google Gears, being announced tomorrow, both have impacts on the calendar landscape. The Foleo offers a "large screen" cell phone experience, but the initial product doesn't bring cell phones' calendars to the large screen unless they're Web-based. Google Gears will, in time, make Google Calendar truly an "always-on" app by allowing easy offline access.

Palm missed an opportunity to lure back some customers lost to other calendars, or even paper, since using a calendar on a typical cell phone is cumbersome at best, and adoption of Web-based calendars over cell phones is just beginning.

Google still has yet to address growing privacy concerns. For instance, when will Google Calendar users be able to store encrypted calendars? Simply storing them with a secure HTTP connection (https) would be an improvement, wouldn't it?

Google missed an opportunity to address this, but since taking Web applications offline represents such a large step from the state of the art, the world will forgive Google for now.

None of which has much to do with improving calendar interoperability. Generally, I avoid commenting on calendar tech in itself here. But I've been thinking of tweaking the mission of Calendar Swamp from plain "interoperability" to "security and interoperability." Let me know if you support the idea, or if you consider it mission creep.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Whoomp! There it is

Turns out Google Calendar for Mobile Phones was announced a couple of days ago. Thanks to my commenters for quickly pointing this out. I'll have to try it out.

The pressure will be on Google now to provide some kind of true sync to certain phones, particularly the iPhone.

Google Calendar for mobile devices?

Maybe this sync-with-my-native-calendar stuff is a blind alley. Maybe the best way forward is to put Google Calendar everywhere and just finish figuring out how to sync everything else to it. (That is, if you don't mind Google knowing where you are going to be from hour to hour.)

However, listen to Dave Taylor, writing back in January: "Google Calendar, however, is completely incompatible with the [Blackberry] Pearl and any other mobile device."

Gmail has worked fine on my Pocket PC for a while now. I wonder when we'll see Google Calendar on mobile devices?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Any DeskNow users out there?

DeskNow has calendar-sharing server software for Mac, Windows and Linux. It requires Java and MySQL, and before I install all this as well as the trial version, I would be interested in feedback from anyone out there who has tried DeskNow. Better yet, if you've successfully integrated Apple iCal with a Windows Mobile calendar using DeskNow, let me know. Its ability to share calendars behind a firewall is what caught my attention.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Java mobile reboot: Where's the calendar?

I'm not at JavaOne -- too much else to do -- but on first blush, Sun's reboot of mobile Java doesn't talk about calendaring on Java mobile devices, other than an vague reference to "PIM and phone apps." I was hoping there would be a more coherent calendaring (and calendar sharing) story coming out of JavaOne.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Mylo on trial: $349 and no offline calendar?

I'm curious what folks out there think of Sony's new Mylo, a "personal communicator" that draws much of its usefulness through Skype and the Web. Why would anyone pay $349 for a device that doesn't contain an offline calendar? Even the cheapest iPod Nano, at $149, includes an offline calendar. (Okay, yeah, so it's read-only. But that's good enough for now.)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The evening after

So much for the great Daylight Savings Time brouhaha. Now, back to improving calendar interoperability. Too bad the latter didn't get any kind of boost from the former.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Extended DST on Windows? No worries, mate

Just the thing to liven up a Saturday night after the wife and kid are in bed: running the Extended Daylight Savings Time update on my Windows XP and Windows Mobile 5.0 computers. Boy that was fun...not! And according to this Microsoft page, some Windows Mobile 5.0 for Pocket PC users weren't able to download the update until February 26. ("We apologize for the inconvenience" says Microsoft.)

Anyway, my update's all done. Now if only it works without a hitch one week from tonight. Good thing I don't demand proof ahead of time. Also a good thing I don't mind changing my time zone twice at the end to make the update "stick" on my Pocket PC, updating my Mobile software, updating my copy of Outlook, updating my Windows XP, and creating a System Restore Point at the very start, because after all the fix messes with my Windows Registry. Sheesh!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Microsoft gets daylight savings act together

There's now a central Web page at Microsoft with detailed instructions on updating Microsoft operating systems to deal with Extended Daylight Savings Time, which begins March 11. About time, so to speak.

Monday, February 12, 2007

USB cables = primitive synch

Dave Winer: "USB cables are very primitive channels for synchronization. Way too limiting." Amen.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Windows Mobile patch for Daylight Savings Time change

Network World has a story this week about the newly-early arrival of Daylight Savings Time on March 11. Over on the microsoft.public.pocketpc news group, they're talking about Microsoft's fix for Windows Mobile smartphones and PDAs. According to Bill Dougherty, the Microsoft registry fix was intended to be pushed out by carriers: "Most of the carriers, in their infinite wisdom, have neglected to do so. If you rely on your Windows smartphone, you need this fix. Microsoft published the registry fix here. This fix requires you to build a CAB file and then install it. To save you the trouble, I have bundled the CAB file for you." If, like me, you have a Windows Mobile PDA not provided by a carrier, this fix may be your only bet.

Sign the Calendar Swamp Frappr map

I've created a Frappr Map for Calendar Swamp. Sign in and give us a shout-out. Be sure to pick from the appropriate map pin, so we can see what you use for your primary calendar.

Monday, January 29, 2007 is being hammered

I tried to get more information tonight about Windows Vista Calendar, but is being hammered, so instead of reaching the Vista Productivity page, the Web site told me: "We’re sorry, but we were unable to service your request."

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Hey Vista Calendar users! Are you able to sync with Windows Mobile?

There's enough Windows Vista out there now for me to ask if Vista Calendar syncs with Windows Mobile calendars. Tonight I published an anonymous comment from a Vista user who couldn't figure out how to do it.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Calendar Swamp in Dreaming in Code

Scott Rosenberg's new book, Dreaming in Code, gives Calendar Swamp a mention on 335. Since I started this blog in June 2005, interest in calendar interoperability has been on a steady growth path. Thanks to all you who are commenting, emailing suggestions, and passing the word about Calendar Swamp. I couldn't do it without you. Meanwhile, check out my new Opening Move conversation with Scott Rosenberg, and buy his book via the Amazon link there, which helps support my podcast.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

SyncMyCal works better than GooSync

This morning I have a new favorite: SyncMyCal. Thanks to whoever commented here and clued me in.

SyncMyCal does everything GooSync does and more. It lets me not sync private events. Instead they show up as "busy" on my Google Calendar. This is a good step forward. SyncMyCal is awarded +2 SwampDrain points of their own.

The only reason you'd want to still use GooSync is if you don't like to sync Outlook to Google Calendar; GooSync (and OggSync) sync directly from Windows Mobile to Google. A Windows Mobile version of SyncMyCal is in development.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Will the iPhone kill Internet sync, or will lack of Internet sync kill the iPhone?

Ed Bott: "The biggest missing piece in the iPhone is its ability to sync calendars and e-mail effortlessly."

I also liked Bott's additional comment in the voluminous comments to his post: "That cool phone is not so cool when you miss an urgent notification of a change in a meeting because you weren't able to sync up your calendar or get an e-mail message pushed to your phone. That's how business works in 2007."

Let the drumbeats of discontent grow. You can bet calendar sync over Cingular's network was something Cingular would love to have provided, because it would have consumed so many uber-profitable data minutes. Certainly Cingular has other phones it would like to sell you if you need that essential feature. Maybe it's just a way to get more customers in the store?

(Note: Apple's "push" email through Yahoo! indicates the email situation may not be as bad as the calendaring. Thus Apple's guilty of the general crime of not treating calendaring as seriously as email, which is why so many of us still arrange our calendars via grossly inefficient email.)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Jewish calendar home automation

Time It Right, home automation for the Jewish home:
Never set another Shabbos clock! Time It Right™- the ultimate in home automation for the Shomer Shabbos family. Time It Right™ is the only home automation system with a built in Jewish calendar. Time It Right™ is custom scheduled around YOUR Zemanim and lifestyle, controlling your home according to your specific needs . Unlike other home automation systems, Time It Right™ adjusts your schedule for Shabbos and Yom Tov week by week, with no action from you, making it the ideal system for the Jewish home, Shul, or institution.
I don't see any way to exchange info with other calendars however.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Want to sync your Apple iPhone? Looks like you'll need to own Outlook or a Mac as well

Gizmodo reports that "there won't be any WiFi or cellular data syncing, only sync-via-docking" for the iPhone. That will put the Apple iPhone behind the surge of Windows Mobile sync-with-Google Calendar solutions out there that cut Outlook out of the picture entirely. Yep, that's right, to sync to other calendars, you'll either need to own Outlook or a Mac running iCal.

Gizmodo's Brian Lam holds out hope that there will be iPhone syncing outside of iTunes, but now that I understand how iTunes is the software that syncs calendars to the iPod today, I hold out 0% hope that there will be another way to do it with the Apple iPhone.

I'll give the Apple iPhone a SwampDrain score of -1 for that boneheaded move.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

iPhone calendar-sharing questions

My original wish on this blog was for a handheld, updatable calendar that could sync with my wife's iCal calendar. The Apple iPhone will deliver on that wish, provided I'm willing to shell out the $ for an iPhone.

But there are still questions. I don't own a Mac, and am not planning to buy one. Will iPhone users be able to plug directly into .Mac? Then I could publish my iPhone calendars to .Mac. Even then, I'm not sure I want to pay for a .Mac account. Does it really make sense to pay for .Mac if you're using so little of that service? How about an a-la-carte .Mac calendar sharing service for less money?

Another option for existing iCal users to share calendar info is to set up a private WebDAV server to share. I've previously checked with my ISP, who says he doesn't provide private WebDAV servers. Maybe I could set up one on my own home network, but it sounds like a lot of work, and could I update that WebDAV server from the road, and most importantly, from the iPhone instead of a Mac running iCal?

Questions and more questions.

OggSync works, too

OggSync also gets a SwampDrain score of +2 for doing what GooSync can do, plus apparently it can also sync one Google Calendar to another. I haven't tried this particular feature, but it's not something I'm likely to use. However, just today "jonboy" was looking for this particular feature, so there you go.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

GooSync works

I'm pleased to report my first successful PocketPC-to-Google Calendar sync experience. I'm giving GooSync a SwampDrain score of +2. I'm also finding that when my wife generates an iCal invite I read via Gmail, Gmail provide a simple way to RSVP back to my wife's iCal. I simply click "yes" within the Gmail, and the confirmation somehow finds its way into both my Google Calendar and my desktop Outlook (and then into Pocket Outlook via regular sync), and sends my wife an email she can click on to tell her Mac iCal calendar that I've confirmed. (My Gmail, though, doesn't seem to keep a record of the email message it's sending to her. Is there a way to configure Gmail to show that record?)

Now I'm looking for a service that will sync only a few categories of events from Pocket Outlook to Google Calendar. Not sure if GooSync or its competitors can do this, or if the limitation is in Pocket Outlook itself.

But it's the most progress here at the Swamp in some time!