Thursday, December 08, 2011

Google Calendar's Mac sync woes

Via the Spanning Sync blog, I learned that deleting an event on the Mac OS X calendar no longer can automatically delete a synced event on Google Calendar -- unless you have Spanning Sync's software. Another giant step backward for calendar sharing on the Mac!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

iCloud: Not worth any more of my time

I'm simply going to ignore iCloud as another inadequate calendar-sharing solution for now -- even between iPhones. My results have been inconsistent and frustrating. If any iCloud fans out there wish to defend it, contact me directly or comment here. For now, I don't recommend it. And I'm not alone.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Lighting 1.0 arrives -- is it in time?

Lightning, a Mozilla calendar now incorporated into its email program, is now shipping. We'll have to see if it's adopted in sufficient numbers to help tip the scales back to open (and truly private) calendar sharing.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

The U.S. is out of sync with Europe (more than usual)

Executive Road Warrior reports on the increasingly erratic fluctuations between the U.S. and Europe in when they implement and remove Daylight Savings Time. Check those calendars carefully!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

iCloud and Windows Outlook woes reported

I'm still working through my use of iCloud -- my corner case involved making my Apple ID password more secure and getting River to upgrade to OS X Lion to get around a bug in the way iCloud and OS X Snow Leopard interacted -- but the much more common scenario of Outlook for Windows and iCloud has produced its first major report of woe at Office Watch.

I've always thought Apple makes its iStuff for Windows just barely usable to help drive sales of Mac computers. Perhaps in the case of iCloud, it's even less barely usable, especially for the MS Office crowd.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Time Zone Database back up at new ICANN home

The Associated Press reports that ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is now hosting the Time Zone Database which had been shut down due to a federal lawsuit. The lawsuit continues, but with ICANN prepared to "deal with any legal matters," it should be possible to keep this database up and running for the foreseeable future.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

iCloud Day 1: First steps

I couldn't let this day end without weighing in on iCloud, since it could drain a portion of the Swamp. I avoided the installation problems that others reported, but I will need to decouple my iPhone calendar from Google Calendar before I can hook it up to iCloud. Fortunately I found a way to this. I'll report on my progress in the next day or two.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

CalConnect: Time zone database outage "will cause significant harm"

The time zone database crisis grows as CalConnect, the Calendaring and Scheduling Consortium, calls for reinstating the database. Key quote:

"Disruption to the publication and availability of the Timezone database will cause significant harm to individuals and organizations using computer systems, either directly or indirectly. This harm will get worse over time as changes to timezones and daylight savings time rules fail to be tracked by the database. Computer systems will continue to use the last available database, or perhaps even splinter into groups who manage their own updates separately. The later situation will cause even more confusion as different systems may have different times even though they are in the same location."

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Time zone database is down

Via Stephen Colebourne, there's word that the maintainer of an important database of worldwide time zones took it down based on a copyright dispute. Someone is bound to replicate it, because no one can possibly own a list of worldwide time zones -- right?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Will HTML 5 make calendar sharing even swampier?

With all the attention on HTML 5 as a future software development platform, this critique by SD Times columnist Al Hilwa is cause for concern:

"The limitations of the browser sandbox model make it difficult for HTML5 apps to access device data such as contacts or calendar elements, or participate in inter-application communication."

Any HTML 5 wizards out there reading this? How serious a swamp-filler are these HTML 5 limits? Or are they there for good reason, as many "software sandboxes" are?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Mobaganda: Giving Evite the slip

Evite has the same problem lots of different Web services have. You have to register with the service and log in to use it. Then it spams your friends who've signed up to use it (and probably you too). But there is an alternative: Mobaganda. No registration required. You can create event pages up to 60 days in advance. There's also an RSS feed to see who else is coming to the event, or just go back to the event page you've created. Until we have totally interoperable calendars, Mobaganda is probably the best, simplest event planner out there. (Kudos to video podcast Epic Fu for clueing me into this.)

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Why don't Facebook and Google share event and calendar info?

With all the hoopla about how you can or can't take your friend list from one social network to another, I'd like to know when or if it will be possible to view your events across social networks. This is definitely a part of the new cloud-based Calendar Swamp we swim in. For instance, why can't I show my Facebook friends the calendar I've created in Google Calendar? If I accept an event invitation in Facebook, why can't I view that event in my Google Calendar? Assuming there's good access control in each direction, wouldn't this sharing mutually benefit both social networks, and move calendar sharing and its economic benefits forward?

If this is simply a case of each competitor not wanting to give the other a break, we should put the same pressure on them that got both services to support Open ID. In other words, we the customers need to demand it.

As for moving that friend list around, after all this time, I still don't know the right answer. It's one person's data versus another person's privacy. Maybe the same debate will trip up cross-social network calendar sharing. I hope not.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Power grid test could disrupt some clocks

Time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking, into the future. Except when it won't, according to this proposal. As if we don't have enough synchronization problems!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I just learned of this page at Could be helpful to someone reading this.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Calamander acquired & shuttered

Easy come, easy go. One of the most recent calendar-sharing service startups, Calamander, has been acquired and the service halted.

Producers of calendar-sync silos such as MobileMe, Windows 7 and Google Android had no comment.

Monday, June 06, 2011

MobileMe reboot to ship for free this fall

If I read this live blog of this morning's WWDC keynote, Apple MobileMe will return, totally rewritten, this fall, for free. I stand ready to award SwampDrain points closer to shipping.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Tell Salesforce to improve its Outlook sync

Currently "under consideration" at Supporting sync of recurring events with Microsoft Outlook. Salesforce will implement it, if enough people ask for it. This issue has been public on Salesforce's Web site at least since September of last year. Too many recurring events fill up our calendars, but that's no excuse not to support them.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Facebook now supports hCalendar microformat

Last month Facebook added support for the hCalendar microformat to all events created inside Facebook. This will help calendar interoperability and sharing between the Facebook world and the rest of the world, so I'm awarding +1 SwampDrain point to Facebook...but remember to check those privacy settings!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Old Sidekick calendars to hit sharing brick wall May 31

On May 31, the troubled T-Mobile Sidekick phones based on the Danger platform will no longer be able to share calendars with the cloud or anything else. Vague plans exist to offer upgrades to new Android-based Sidekicks, but that may be cold comfort to those of you Calendar Swamp readers fond of your original Sidekicks. SwampDrain points to T-Mobile: -2.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Podcast #11: Calamander

Calamander is the first innovation in calendar synchronization I've seen in a long time. Listen to Calendar Swamp podcast #11 (34:15, 64MB) with Calamander co-founders Scott Sikora and Derek Robbecke. And check out the Calamander beta. (Unless you have an iPad. The Calamander beta currently requires Flash, which the iPad doesn't support.)

My conversation with Scott and Derek arose out of my previous post here, which concerned Dipity, as Calamander implements its own innovative and welcome timeline view of multiple schedules.

After a long drought of no progress on calendar sharing, a flood may be coming. On Friday I attended the intriguing Inbox Love conference, where calendaring came up several times, most notably during a presentation on AwayFind.

Also, this week rumor has it that Apple will announce a refresh of MobileMe. When I talked with Scott and Derek on February 10, little was known of this so we were mostly bemoaning the continuing lack of a MobileMe API. Perhaps that is about to change.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Dipity makes me want timeline views in calendars

While the winter of my calendar-sharing discontent continues, I am inspired by a service called Dipity, which lets anyone create timelines on a Web page. It suggests to me that all calendars might benefit from adding a timeline view. So when sharing becomes as easy as we want it to be, there will be cooler ways to view our shared calendars than simply replicating daily/weekly/monthly views on paper. For now, Dipity also offers an interesting way to scan developments in the Middle East.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Apple sharing problems again

At CES I acquired the sinking feeling that my problems sharing data between my PCs and River's Mac can be attributed to poor standards support by the Apple AirPort that links the Mac to the rest of my network. I haven't proven it yet, but here's a story that lends fuel to the fire, at least by implication.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Funambol offers free syncing for life

mobile Funambol's mobile calendar sync service is now free for life. I don't use Funambol, but if you do, check this out.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Share everything -- except schedules? -- at CES

I walked around the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) halls today and found many, many booths talking about how much families can share using consumer electronics. Photos, videos, music, documents...the list goes on and on. And then it stops. It never includes schedules.

Here's Samsung's "Allshare" display:

Here's Microsoft's booth:

I could also post similar big banners found at the TV and mobile phone manufacturers' booths, but you get the idea.

Only Casio talked about sharing schedules, but basically it was vaporware to help promote a low-energy reboot of Bluetooth radio technology (including the return of the smart watch!):

To further epitomize the pathetic progress being made on calendar sharing, the Consumer Electronics Association, which puts on the CES show, added its own calendar to the FollowMe MyCES iPhone app, but if you want to sync anything you selected or scheduled in that iPhone to your iPhone's own calendar, you had to individually select each event one at a time rather than having a way to sync all selected events at once. Arrgh!

Once again, the consumer electronics industry ignores calendar sharing, and arguably, with the withdrawal of Microsoft's Home Server last year, has taken a step backward. Perhaps only a massive data breach of Google, exposing the personal appointments of millions of people, could wake people up.

Meanwhile, the Microsoft Windows 7 booth focuses on this "gallery" of form factors rather than focusing on helping people simplify their schedules or anything less abstract:

(Standard disclaimer: Yes, go ahead and use Google Calendar, Microsoft Live or Apple MobileMe to share schedules. If others who you want to share schedules with don't have problems with that. A lot of people do.)

(Second standard disclaimer: Yes, home consumer electronics represent a single point of failure. But there are ways to back up critical data securely to the cloud without resorting to Google, or even to just securely back up data to some of your other devices.)