Wednesday, January 28, 2009

iPhone calendar sync without iTunes, or a Mac

Some time ago Calendar Swamp reader Jeff Widman asked if I had heard of Nuevasync. I hadn't, but I subscribed to the Nuevasync blog and began educating myself about this free service for syncing iPhone info, including the calendar, with Google Calendar and Google Contacts/Gmail. Now Widman has written a positive review of Nuevasync at TechCrunch IT, and I've started recommending it for those cases where someone has an iPhone but is running iTunes for Windows. I run iTunes for Windows, but only for music; I've always found its sync abilities lacking compared to iTunes for Mac and many other solutions. And this morning David Strom contacted me for a New York Times story he's writing on calendar interop for small businesses. For you iPhone-with-Windows folks out there, this is the deal.

For you Mac folks, I'd certainly recommend Nuevasync over MobileMe -- I can't believe Apple's still charging for it! Meanwhile, Nuevasync appears to have the jump on Spanning Sync and BusySync, because only Nuevasync takes the desktop Mac out of the equation in getting from the iPhone to Google and possibly other places in the future. +1 SwampDrain point for NuevaSync.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New year, new agenda

This year is already 20 days old, but since its start I've had a new agenda for this blog. The problems of calendars not working together are now well-documented, here and elsewhere. New calendars continue to appear and continue not to interoperate with other calendars. Interoperability continues to mean different things to different people:
  • Can I read my calendar without being at my computer?*
  • Can I read your calendar without being at your computer?
  • Can I receive updates easily from other calendars, public and private?
  • Can I update any such calendar remotely?
  • Can I "sync" two calendars such that all changes made on one calendar are made on the other calendar, and that conflicts are resolved in a straightforward manner?
  • Can I easily combine two calendars into one, or separate one calendar into two, and route them accordingly?
  • If the calendar is maintained in the "cloud," do I have trust in that image of my calendar, such that the security and privacy of that information is assured?
This year, in 2009, I am dedicated to a systematic exploration of these questions. It's more than giving out SwampDrain points for jobs well or poorly done, though that may still happen from time to time.

Lastly, how can these questions be made part of a national dialogue about the productivity of America? It's all well and good to expand the use of broadband Internet communications to more parts of the country, but I remain convinced that providing a solid, interoperable calendaring infrastructure could raise our productivity more than any mere DSL, cable or WiMax hookup. Is anyone from the Obama administration listening?

* - "Computer" is any device where you enter your calendar info. That could be a phone, an iPod Touch, or some other calendar-enabled appliance.