Day: February 24, 2005

  • Connected Calendar Tipping Point

    It’s becoming quite obvious that the connected calendar is reaching a sort of tipping point. There have been all kinds of blips on the radar about calendars, calendar programs, calendar servers, calendar services, and just about anything that has to do with calendars. Frank lists the attributes of a perfect calendar in reaction to Jeremy Zawodny’s post on the subject. They’re both spot on. The world is in desperate need for calendars that sync to and on multiple paltforms, allow easy sharing, public and private events, access anywhere, and interop nicely. To put it bluntly we really need a calendaring system that doesn’t suck.

    There are a lot of calendars out there, many of them quite good. But when you get down to it they all suck in one regard or another. Some are paltform specific. Others work well as long as you stay within walls of their system. Others sync with half the platforms that you’d like but not the other half. Heck, I even hear that Hula is getting some people laid.

    I’ve looked at a lot of different calendaring systems and would rather not laundry list them. Some have been very close to being ideal. I set up calendar sharing over WebDav with Sunbird after its first public release. I tried Hula the day it came out. I tried unsuccessfully to compile and install Open-Xchange. Webcalendar is a solid webapp written in PHP, but it’s lacking in sync.

    Like I said, we’re at a tipping point. We could go over the edge if Google really is working on a rich-web UI calendaring system that rocks. I doubt that they would be able to work in the synchronization that I’d really kill to have, but you never know.

    Until the killer calendar comes along and slaps me in the face, I’ll be trying each one that has promise in hopes that it’s “the one.”

  • Perfectly Spherical Holographic Cow

    While I was in middle school, I spent a fair amount of time on CapAccess (the local Freenet. Yes I had to get my parents to sign the application form that I printed on the Okidata) and ViBES, The Virtual Interactive Blair Environment System. I was going to Sligo at the time and was nowhere near as cool as the Redland middle schoolers. I went by the name Prometheus. I had an office with some useless stuff in it that you had to teleport to. I wandered the virtual halls of Blair and vaguely remember something about a Perfectly Spherical Holographic Cow. I could be hallucinating though.

    How did I get here? Oh right. Go North.

    The whole ViBES mention is a tangent on a tangent on a tangent. It all started when I refreshed the Hack the Planet tab in Firefox (on my Debian box). I finally clicked on the PDF about peer to peer event notification which I had been meaning to do since yesterday. After glancing it a name near the top stuck out: Dan Sandler. Where the heck have I heard that name before? Reference the first paragraph of this post in which I rememberd ViBES and two of the god-like admins: Dan Sandler and Danny Gould.

    I was curious what Dan had been up to since I vaguely knew him (virtually) in middle school. All is well aparently. He’s working on his PhD in Computer Science at Rice and working on the FeedTree project [pdf] that got me started with all of this googling in the first place. He’s also got a weblog which I’ve subscribed to via RSS. I wasn’t sure that he was the same guy I knew years ago, but this reference to ViBES confirmed it for me.

    It was nice to stumble across old names and remember the good old times when we used to surf via gopher. It’s great to know that some of the kids I hung out with online when I was a kid are doing well. It also makes me realize that I’m still working on my BS in Computer Science while others from my childhood are working on their Masters and PhDs. I really need to slack less and code more.

    My apologies for the trip down virtual memory lane. Don’t even get me started on green CRTs and 1200BPS modems, I could go on for days.

  • Is The Series 60 Brand Becoming too Diluted?

    The other week I was glued to the monitor during the first day of 3GSM. Lots and lots of stuff was going on. One of the highlights for me was the announcement of the Nokia 6680, 6681, and 6682. They are compact, state of the art Series 60 devices. There’s full-on UMTS for the parts of the world that do that sort of thing, and EDGE for us in the mobile backwater better known as the United States. Even better, the release date for the US variety should be sometime during 2H 2005.

    After the initial excitement I dove in to the tech specs a little bit. I then realized that Series 60 can mean quite a range of things. At the low end you’ve got the 7650 and my 3650 which I’ve never been able to clear out enough memory to actually run Opera. (I’ve managed to misplace my 3650 somewhere too and probably haven’t seen it in a few weeks.) On the other end of the spectrum we’ve got devies like the 6630 and now the 6680, with newer versions of Series 60 and with additional Feature Packs. Somewhere in the middle there are devices like the taco and 6600/6620.

    Yes, there’s a lowest common denominator in there somewhere that you can refer to when you say that something is Series 60. After that you have to think to yourself What version does that run? and Is that Feature Pack 2 or Feature Pack 3?

    At the same time I think that most of this confusion is inevitable. Series 60 has grown up quite a bit in the last few years, from the 7650 slider with no external memory capability to the latest devices with lots of on-board memory sporting the latest in low voltage RS-MMC cards.

    What really worries me is the confusion that will come when the Series 90 technology is rolled in to Series 60. Then Series 60 might mean anything from the classic 7650 to the latest bleeding edge stylus input or QWERTY device in addition to whatever the latest single-handed unit may be.

    What can be done about this brand dilution? Off the top of my head I can’ think of anything. Nokia could try sub-branding the different variants: Series 60 Classic for the old stuff, Series 60 One-Handed for the main stuff, Series 60 Stylus for pen-based stuff and Series 60 Keyboard for the QWERTY stuff. Of course that would probably just cause more confusion than If it looks like Series 60, walks like Series 60, and talks like Series 60, call it Series 60.