MacBitz Calender 2.0

I’ll get there one day – a seamless instantly updated calendar on whatever platform I’m using, and with no duplicates!

Calendar v1.0Right now I’m doing a reasonably good job at keeping four calendars in step by using Google Calendar as a central hub and then running various bits of synchronization software to get it talking to the various platforms I use. It’s good but it’s not without its problems. CompanionLink for Google works beautifully, it sits there and just works which is what you want software to do (it’s a shame the same can’t be said for Lotus Notes 8.0 that it connects to, but that’s another story). Likewise, Google Calendar Sync lets Outlook 2007 chat to Google every two hours and it all works.

The fly in the ointment at the moment is iCal. For some strange reason it chooses to duplicate certain ‘All Day’ events when replicating with Google Calendar using Calgoo Connect. Calgoo itself seems to be working fine because those duplicate events don’t appear in either Google or in Entourage 2008 which syncs automatically in the background via its preferences. When I get a bit more time I’ll dig deeper and try to see why iCal is being difficult.

However, things are going to change as I am thinking about a new plan for my unified calendar and it’s based around the newly announced MobileMe service and the 3G iPhone.

As an existing .Mac user, I’ll be getting the free upgrade to MobileMe some time in July this year. I’ve watched the Guided Tour and have to say that it looks promising, particularly if the synchronization between MobileMe and Outlook 2007 works like they say it will. The other thing is Apple has finally seen the light and is allowing mobile operators to offer the iPhone at a much more realistic price. Whereas before the old iPhone was an eye-watering £259 with an 18 month contract starting at £35 from O2 (meaning the iPhone would cost you a minimum of £889), you’ll now be able to get it for just £99 plus £30 over 18 months. That’s still £639 over 18 months, but for what the iPhone can do that seems like a more reasonable price.

In my favour is the fact that I don’t change my mobile that often so maybe 18 months won’t seem too long. Calendar v2.0My trusty Orange SPV C500 is around 3 years old and is showing it’s age, with keys that work when they feel like it and a heavily scarred case. I had thought about staying with Orange UK and perhaps getting an HTC Touch Dual or maybe the Diamond or Touch Pro if Orange take them up, but as various commentators have pointed out – the touch screen while pretty good, is still an afterthought for the current Windows Mobile platform, plus the iPhone is largely navigable with just your finger while the Touch quickly has you using a stylus… something small and pointy that’s just begging to be lost!

The final link in my new calendar system is CompanionLink who have kindly pointed out that they are planning a version that will allow you to sync Lotus Notes with your iPhone. I can’t wait for this, and if it’s as easy and reliable as their current Notes to Google offering, then I’ll be, well… truly organized for a change.

What remains to be seen is whether switching to the MobileMe service lets iCal play nice with Entourage 2008, rather than duplicating birthdays and the like. The only other dealbreaker would be if I can’t get an O2 signal at home, in which case I’ll have to stick with MacBitz Calendar v1.0 for longer than I’d hoped.