Even more complicated Calendaring setup

Calendar setup as of November 2006

Hey and you thought my last calendar setup was crazy enough. Think again, welcome to the world where 2 mobile devices, 3 computers and 3 services isn't that hard to imagine. Well welcome to my insane syncing setup for calendars, contacts and tasks. No wonder it gets so messed up without too much effort. I've also included the SVG from Inkscape if you want a better quality version.

So starting from the mobile phone (SPV M600) its got a few things on it now. I'm using the Funambol Sync plugin with Schedule world but I can't seem to get it working all the time. So I've also stuck WebIS Mobilesync on there too which I have a 30 day trial of. This sync's directly with Plaxo which does away with my problems with Activesync not syncing. I say not syncing but actually it does sync with my computer at home nicely but not my computer at work. I would also sync with my laptop but someone at Microsoft decided that syncing with 2 machines would be all anyone would need. So now on to my other mobile phone (Nokia N80). Its my work phone but I still want it to fit in the sync system otherwise theres little point in having it. So Nokia has its own communication suite which actually isn't that bad. Its bulky yes and a hog on memory but consistently works unlike Activesync. So at the moment the suite is installed on my desktop machines at work and home but I only sync at work (only got one sync cable right now, and simply can't be bothered to take it out everyday). At some point I will start syncing on both machines. I've attempted to use the build in SyncML client to talk to schedule world too but failed so far.

So the biggest addition to my sync setup is ScheduleWorld. Its basically a Funambol server with lots of custom code to keep it working and running as a service. Ideally it could be thought of as the more open source version of Plaxo as it supports everything Plaxo does and even more. It supports contacts, notes and calendaring. Its web calendar is not as nice as google calendar but is reasonable. It also has a Google Calendar Sync link built in and supports SyncML. So I would like to one day replace Plaxo with Schedule World but its still quite some time off. For example the SyncML client on Windows Mobile 5 uses Visual Basic and so requires another download to work correctly. This is a pain because Windows Mobile 5 is pretty much all written with the compact .Net framework. Yes this is not schedule worlds fault and some would say Microsoft should build SyncML into its Mobile Operating system. And I would agree but its a pain none the less. Another flaky thing is the Outlook plugins. They seem to crash a lot, so its not reliable for everyday use. This is why Plaxo is still number one for daily syncing. Once you get stuff into Schedule world its easy to get things back out again. It also makes available everything using the SyncML API and I think it supports ATOM too. Plaxo does have an API but its no where near as open as Schedule World. So yeah Plaxo do hold your data hostage from yourself.

So going forward I would switch to using Schedule world or something similar if the plugins for outlook were more stable. I would even settle for no Activesync if the Windows Mobile 5 plugin was better developed. I'm also holding out some kind of hope that I will get the SyncML client working with the Nokia. I don't think I've spent nearly enough time looking into that issue.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.