I’m looking for a nice, useful and usable web-based calendar-organizer application for organizing my ever increasing crazy life. I’m already a happy Mozilla user of Firefox and Thuderbird so checked to see what the Mozilla team had for me. It turns out, not much. Lightning and Sunbird, while they have nice names, are still too much in development for me to take my chances. I’m okay with bugs like “data loss” when I’m just playing around but when there are important meetings with important people to keep organized, I need something a little more reliable. (This as of June 2006).
So I looked around to see what else I could find and found nothing I really liked. Of what I did find I decided to give Yahoo’s calendar a try. What’s lacking in Yahoo though is a way to sort through what’s on there. Sometimes I need to see only what I have going on at the University. Sometimes I need to see where the kids need to be. Sometimes I want to see my scheduled travels. I’d like to be able to tag and sort the items on my calendar.
I also don’t like the placement of the “update” and “delete” buttons on the edit entry page. They are reversed compared to other applications I use and so more than once I’ve clicked “delete” when I meant “update”. Grrr. I know now and don’t think I’ll make that mistake again but I wish there were more space between buttons that hold such conflicting actions.
I’m also playing with the Google calendar a bit – it has a feature where I can create multiple calendars (for example my own, one for my kids, etc) that is lacking in Yahoo, but the options for marking events repeatable is too limited for my use. Yahoo lets me mark something to repeat every-other-weekend (which I have a lot of) but I can’t do that with Google. Google lets me turn on or off the different calendars, which is a nice feature – just what I want from Yahoo and also lets me colour code them so that all fun stuff is in one colour, all kid stuff in another, all paying-gigs in another.
Google has hidden the reminder option, I actually thought they were missing that feature (a shock since the whole calendar is tied to having a gmail account) but after digging around a little bit I found it. I don’t think I’ll actually use this but if Yahoo has it then so should Google, right?
The thing that really really really irritated me about Yahoo (and had I discovered more quickly some of the better features of Google’s calendar I might never have even started with Yahoo) was stuff on my calendar that I never put there. I belong to a couple of Yahoo group mailing lists and there were events on my calendar when I logged in. No, let me rephrase that – they weren’t events because events can be deleted. They weren’t reminders either because there is a setting to turn off reminders. I could not remove these notices from my calendar. My life is busy enough without things on it that I don’t want. If I was an active member instead of a bystander-member I might appreciate this but I’m not and I didn’t. After an hour of reading Yahoo’s help and searching the Web for help I gave up and created (yet another) Yahoo id and started my calendar with a fresh clean plate.
I’m not sure whether I’ll end up keeping up the Google Calendar or the Yahoo. We shall see.
Agreed about Sunbird. I tried it about a month ago and found about 10 bugs in about as many minutes testing. I haven’t bothered to try Google or Yahoo simply because I use my work computer every day and I have Outlook on there – it does everything I need.
Yahoo calendar has served me well in the past, but I wanted something simple a little while ago to make a plain printable calendar for just this summer. The one I’m trying is PHP-Calendar. It’s low on features but that also made for a really low learning curve. I wouldn’t use it for heavy-duty life management but definitely good for a club or event planner.
But what do you do to coordinate the schedules of 4 people? (or what do you plan to do when the wee ones get bigger?) I’d imagine that both grown-ups are going to want to know what’s going on.
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