Tuesday, June 30, 2009

VueMinder: Another route around Outlook calendaring?

What the Windows world needs is for a good, modern, interoperable and share-friendly calendar program to challenge Outlook successfully enough that emerging calendar-sync services support it. This will also provide a credible threat to Outlook since Outlook has no competition to speak of. Courtesy of Calendar Review, VueMinder is my latest candidate.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bump: Watch it and weep

Calendar sharing used to be a lot easier when River and I both had Palm-based PDAs. We would beam events back and forth with abandon! Then we both left Palm behind and our own calendar swamp was born.

Now, for reasons I explain elsewhere, I am buying an iPhone. If you read my top 10 list of reasons, you won't see "calendar sharing" as one of them. Yes, Apple is improving the iPhone calendar, allowing users to initiate meeting requests from the phone itself. But seeing someone else's calendar still requires a third-party Web service, and if like us you want to keep a local copy of the calendar (not on Google Gears), you'll need Apple iCal or Microsoft Outlook on a Mac or PC respectively.

Here's the weepy part: for iPhone users, contact sharing is now as simple as the old Palm PDA beaming was, thanks to Bump Technologies:

Bump is free, so it will probably be ubiquitous on iPhones.

But the makers of Bump cannot add calendar sharing to the service because, unlike what is possible with iPhone contacts, Apple has not published the APIs to allow such sharing when it comes to calendars. Here's the official statement from David Lieb, co-founder and president of Bump Technologies, responding to an email from me:

"We'd love to support calendar event sharing with Bump, but, at least right now with OS 2.2.1, Apple doesn't give apps access to calendar events. We could create a web interface and hack our way around it, but we like to keep things simple and intuitive for our users. Perhaps things will change in future Apple OS releases. As we port Bump to other platforms, this is definitely something we'll want to support."

As I reported earlier here, the iPhone OS 3.0 -- which Bump and all developers are under NDA and cannot disclose details about -- does not include the calendar APIs. Which is a damn shame.

Maybe a groundswell of demand for calendar bumping will follow the widespread adoption of Bump for contact sharing.

May it be so!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Outlook now syncs to Google Apps

Apple and Google, Apple and Google...will Microsoft ever have another innovative calendar-sharing announcement to make?

Meanwhile, here's Google's latest: create events in Outlook and instantly sync them to Google Apps. (If you pay for Google Apps Premier or have a corporate license.)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Spanning Sync announces Spanning Tools for Mac

Today Spanning Sync, the Google Calendar/Apple iCal calendar (and contacts) sync tool, announced the public beta of Spanning Tools for Mac, "a suite of utilities that analyzes, reports, and fixes dozens of problems with iCal, Address Book, and Apple Sync Services — problems ranging from the obvious, such as duplicated calendar events, to the subtle, such as invalid calendar dates."

It's great to see such a utility, one which may be required at varous intersections between different makes of calendar.

Fedora to promote calendar sharing with Exchange

Dana Blankenhorn reports that Red Hat's Fedora 11 will support calendar sharing with Microsoft Exchange.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Tool to Meet

From Calendar Review: "I found a calendar website for making appointments in a new way. People do not need any accounts and passwords, and still it is completely private. See www.ToolToMeet.com."

Because it doesn't integrate with existing calendars, I wonder how useful this is. Probably it depends upon whether your calendar can detect meetings being proposed or scheduled inside your email. iCal for Mac does this, as does Zimbra.