Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Neverending Calendar Review Post

Google Calendar

I heart you, G-cal, I really do, but, like my first high school boyfriend, you just can't give me what I need. I am, however, happy to report that at least you do not cry every time I try to break up with you like the afore-mentioned boyfriend. While it took me over 18 months (and the threat of a restraining order) to get rid of him, your sync uninstalled in mere moments!

See below, under Thunderbird + Lightning, for all the gory details.

Lotus Notes

I've used this at a couple of workplaces and it's OK. The mail features are decent, but the calendar kind of blows. Even if you decide you really really really like it, it's pretty much impossible to get a copy for home use.

Home users are NOT IBM/Lotus' target market. I know, I looked. It was a brief but torrid affair, and there was really only one reason for it.

Flexibility in changing repeating events. I like being able to change a repeating event (like, oh, "Mom: Work --am to --pm" that comes up M-F) without having to create a new event.

Case in point: In April of this year my hours were cut. This meant I got to leave work 30min earlier every day. In Outlook, in order to accurately reflect my old schedule in past events (because I'm nitpicky about things like that) AND show my new one, I had to create an end date for the old series and create a new series to reflect my new schedule.

In Notes I could make the changes starting with the effective date and tell it to adjust "This and all future occurrences." One step. I know, I know, it's stupid, but I am that lazy particular.

Okay, so this is really the only thing I like about Notes Calendar.

There's no good way to color code; you can only do it by event TYPE i.e. Reminders/Meetings/Appointments. For people not interconnected to a bunch of other people also using Notes those last two are the same thing.

It takes for-ever to load. Like longer than Outlook. Yea, really, THAT long.

Thunderbird with Lightning Add-On

(I wrote this one WHILE I was experimenting over the past days, so the tone & frustration levels are all over the map.)

I admit it. I haven't used Thunderbird since my Outlook Switch to make my phone work in May 08. I, dedicated blogger that I am, downloaded it and attached my gmail (the email I am least attached to, lol) and the Lightning plugin since Sunbird has apparently, largely, gone the way of the dodo from what I read on the Mozilla Messaging press release from last year.

Looks alright so far. I exported all my Gcals. I haven't deleted them yet...Now that I'm looking at TBird w/ Lightning I want to play with it a little before I go all Outlook. Import was easy, even let me import a calendar shared with me by someone else with no problems.

I'm off to explore the syncing options and will have to re-write when I'm done playing with it. I'd hoped to get this up in a day or two after the other calendar post, but now that I'm actually doing the research... Yea.

I hope you appreciate this Justin & Crystal. You two open source junkies are the main reason I decided to give TBird another try--so no one would accuse me of not looking at the OS option ;-) The things I do for my friends!

Well shit. Apparently Sunbird is still kicking cuz Google supports some kind of sync to it that used a lot of jargon I'm too tired to track to explain it (dunno when I'll post this, but it's 11pm on a Thursday night when I'm writing it, lol).


Okay, so if I'm reading this right--understand I applaud open source, I don't actually comprehend it a lot of the time (despite working with it daily, lol)--I can subscribe to my multiple Google calendars using Thunderbird/Lightning and they will sync up on their own. This solves half my problem. That is, the whole local computer calendar not syncing to ALL Gcals (one for me, one for my freelance stuff, one for the kid, one for the hubs, one to keep track of bdays & anniversaries, etc) since Google's sync protocol for Outlook only supports syncing the main calendar.

Now... Google also only syncs the main calendar to my phone, as I recall. So how can I get the Gcals (all of them!) on my phone and in my local Tbird?

More mozilla forums in my future. Yay fun. Not.

Now up to 3 add ons & another util:
  • Lightning add on
  • Provider for Google Calendar
  • Google Contact Sync
  • and Nueva Sync to get it all on my phone

Many more wasted hours later...

Thunderbird won't DL the main calendar properly & every time it does it doubles up entries in Google. Half my cals won't sync w/ Tbird, the other half create duplicate events, and none of it was easy. I can't speak to how the air-sync works because, well, I've kept my phone out of this so far & it is fine---I want it to stay that way.

Google --- let people color code & build a sync for TBird that carries the color-coding over & you'll have me. Til then, it's back to the ole Outlook.


Looked at the page and decided to skip since it is basically a bigger standalone version of the Lightning add-on I already grabbed. And I do want my cal and email in one place. I'm a picky bitch like that.

Having said that, apparently Google does have a special process to sync with Sunbird, but I'm too annoyed with the whole damn thing to care at this point.

Microsoft Outlook

It's possible I keep coming back to this because it was my first mail client, and you know how they say you never forget your first...

More importantly, this works with my phone. Knowing what I know now I'm not sure I would by a Windows Mobile Smartphone again, but it's what I've got and it's paid for... Live 'n learn, ya know.

After all my adventures in Google and open source the last couple of days, I realized the only thing I like with Google that I can't get with Outlook is over-the-air synchronization. I'd love to ditch the cable, and am working on a tentative (and blessedly simple!) solution for that. Sure, Outlook is a monster processor hog, but it's a hog that does the job I need done and, after the initial set up and expense, which I already went through a year+ ago, it's pretty idiot proof. The last few days have left me feeling like an idiot, so idiot-proof is looking pretty darn good.

PS - While dissing the calendar, Google, I totally wrote this post over the course of 4 days and 3 computers, courtesy of the awesomeness that is Google docs :-D Thanks!

1 comment:

Lanel said...

I could have written that said exactly what I think but better because mine would have said:

Sunbird, you're annoying me.
Lightning, you're annoying me.
etc, etc. etc.

Cause that's how I write.