Thursday, August 28, 2008

Managing those recurring events

Jon Udell can't find calendar software that makes exceptions to recurring events easy to manage. Second memo to Palm: Want to get back into the game? This is what you should be doing.

PostPath hits the big time

Could a Cisco-powered calendar server be in your future? I hadn't even heard of PostPath, but now it's Cisco's alternative to Exchange. Has anyone used PostPath's free 12-user version? Is it free as in beer?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

How will calendar beaming return?

Looking at this demo of Tapulous FriendBook, I can well imagine, but have no knowledge of, a similar app coming for calendar sharing directly between iPhones.

I think of the possibilities here like reviving the old Palm-style calendar-event beaming ritual that River and I found so useful, with the added benefit of automatically syncing the ritual with calendars in the cloud. [Memo to Palm: This is what you should be doing.]

The Tapulous perspective is the right one. Sync the personal devices with each other. Web sites tend to be headed the other way: Give subscribers to the event an ever-increasing list of calendar platforms (Outlook, Google, iCal, etc. etc.) to export the event to (or subscribe in). This perpetuates the calendar swamp (or silos, if you will) and creates a confusing user experience because who wants to scan that growing list of calendar platforms every time you want to add an event?

The Tapulous scenario represents one type of sharing -- between two individuals. The Web 2.0 calendar scenario is another type of sharing -- getting calendar data out of the Web 2.0 site and into some other calendar. We somehow need to integrate both scenarios in as simple a manner as possible, without locking ourselves into any one calendar platform. If the Web 2.0 sites don't agree upon a standard, then something like Tapulous will probably become a default platform in the long run. But then we're locked into the iPhone. Wouldn't Apple love that.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

How the swamp is getting swampier

Without naming names, I'm going to hurl a brick in the general direction of any or all Web 2.0 startups whose purpose is to let you schedule an appointment with someone else. This is not going to drain the swamp! In fact, quite the opposite.

Why? Because each one of those new services requires you to create a new account on some Web site somewhere, and each of these accounts has to be kept in sync with your own calendar somehow. Many people will simply not bother, and instead will have a new flood of reminder emails landing in their inboxes. The average person has, maybe, two or three online calendars today. When we have all these new services for your kid's teacher/mechanic/doctor/yoga instructor etc. etc. then the average person may have six or seven online calendars. I think that's a problem.

(I'm not even counting another whole class of Web 2.0 services that allow you or someone else to send you reminders, whether it's to do something, or take medicine, or pay taxes, move your car, or remember something else. These services also emit emails and text messages which probably don't end up displaying on your calendar. Maybe that's fine, but if like me you'd like it all to appear on your calendar, maybe it's not fine.)

Now, do I have a solution? I'm not sure. I'd like to see federation of these calendars, that's for sure. Something like Open ID for calendars. That way, these online calendars could all confer with each other without requiring customers to perform lots of syncs or manual import/exports. I'm not sure what's on the drawing board that would allow this, and I haven't been super impressed with Open ID both for its features and its adoption curve, so I'm afraid things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. And it's been hard enough to get calendars to simply publish and subscribe to each other, so what I'm asking for may be another exponential engineering effort.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Acer Linux laptop looks swampy

How can Acer ship a great-looking Linux-based notebook and load their own proprietary calendar on it? I got a look at this last week at LinuxWorld, and I don't get it. Not even iCal support! Why not use Sunbird? Does Mozilla want too much money for the binary version? I understand that customers can load their own applications, but calendars don't get widely deployed or standardized in consumer products that way. Acer gets -1 SwampDrain point.

Chandler 1.0 ships

Chandler 1.0 ships. Naturally, Scott Rosenberg has the details.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Google Calendar CalDAV shortcomings

Over at the SpanningSync blog, you can explore the various shortcomings of Google Calendar's new CalDAV calendar-sync feature.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Is MobileMe eating your calendar data?

Robert Scoble reports that MobileMe erased all his Outlook calendar data, but since he had done a separate sync between Outlook and Google Calendar, he was able to recover it.