Friday, February 24, 2012

iCloud embraced. But it's still a silo

A commenter to Calendar Swamp notes great success with iCloud, and so, after a rough start, do I. First, the comment on my earlier post, from Lady K:

"I am cross platform (windows 7, iPhone, iPad) and I must say I am thrilled with iCloud. I run 3 businesses, go to school and manage a household schedule using it. The key to being successful with iCloud is to understand how each device interacts with it. The idevices (fortunately) won't let you do things you shouldn't be able to do. Windows, however, doesn't "check for duplicates" the same way so if you create a subgroup (in your contacts folder for example) you can't just drag and drop contacts to add them to other subgroups or they will get deleted. I log into the iCloud webapp directly if I have to manage anything like that. The only other thing to note is that iCloud manages reminders completely separately from the tasks or calendar items. If you need to be reminded of something, you set it up under reminders, which in Outlook comes up under tasks. Other than that I have had resounding success with all of my iCloud products including calendars (a total of 5), contacts (managed using 3 subgroups), tasks (which even set off reminders properly), reminders and even online backups."

I agree with these comments, although I'm not using Outlook currently (more on that in a minute). I now believe my initial problem with iCloud had to do with events my wife had created in iCal prior to iCloud's release and our subsequent installation of it. For some reason (possibly related to the fact that she had created those pre-iCloud events on a Mac running Snow Leopard, not Lion) those older events never showed up on iCloud. But, as time passed, those events rolled from the future into the past, and newer events (created on the Mac calendar post-iCloud install) appeared just fine on my iCloud as well as hers.

This development is particularly timely, as next Monday I begin a full-time gig with HealthLeaders Media as their senior technology editor. Leaving the freelance medical writing/journalism ranks for a high-profile full-time gig will tax my calendar in ways it hasn't been taxed since I was last working full time nearly a decade ago. Also, HealthLeaders employs Outlook, so like Lady K, I will have events on that calendar that I hope can be shared with my personal iCloud. How that will work may be the topic of my next post.

But anyway, iCloud is redeemed in my mind. I would still like to see it support every device out there, not just  iPods, iPhones and iPads, and until it does, iCloud is its own kind of calendar silo. But at least the industry has something to shoot for if and when it finally creates...wait for it...iCloud for the rest of us.