My blog has been inaccessible today, first due to a failure in ZoneEdit’s DNS records, then to me changing DNS host to GoDaddy, where I host the domain for the blog. Several years ago, when I set up the this blog, GoDaddy didn’t have the required functionality for subdomains, as I wrote about back then, but now I realized that this wasn’t a problem anymore. So things should be up and running again!
After using OggSync for ten days, as reported in my previous post, I believe I can say that my complete PIM syncing solution works pretty well. I haven’t had any problems with OggSync, actually, even though I’m using the beta version. It’s installed on home computer, work computer, and on my Windows Mobile 6 phone, and all of them sync to Google Calendar, using two different calendars; one for private and one for work. Both are synced to the home computer and the phone. Have a look at my previous post for the complete syncing solution, using LapLink PDAsync and Windows Mobile Device Center (the ActiveSync of Vista). As a bonus, I can sync my contact list with Gmail, too!
In a previous post, I suggested that I’ve found a syncing solution that works for syncing tasks, calendar and contacts involving a PDA, a work computer and a home computer, so that I can filter out what items are synced to my work computer, while all items exist on my PDA and home computer. Unfortunately, today I ran into the same problem that I had initially, when I tried to use LapLink PDAsync for syncing to both computers, although now I use it only between the work computer and the PDA (for the filtering functionality).
So unfortunately, I can’t recommend that solution anymore. I’ll be back when I find something better, or a manageable workaround.
When you’ve got a setup with a home computer, a work computer and a PDA, you’ve got a syncing challenge, at least if you’re using some GTD-like methodology for organizing your life. After fiddling around with various non-working solutions, I’ve finally arrived at one that works for me. My system setup is one home computer with Windows Vista SP1 and Outlook 2007, one work laptop with Windows XP SP3 and Outlook 2007 and Exchange, and a mobile phone with HTC Touch with Windows Mobile 6.0.
My basic requirement is that private tasks, calendar and contact entries shouldn’t appear on the work computer (or Exchange Server) at all. Marking them “private” isn’t good enough for me (I know what a computer administrator can do… 🙂 ). So now, I’m setting a category “Work” on all items that I want synced to my work laptop. In addition to those, I also make the category “@Office” sync to that computer. This way, I turn the security situation around too, by requiring things to be marked in order to exist on the work computer, insted of marking them private if the aren’t to be shown on the work computer.
So, what’s the technical solution? The basis is the well tested synchronization mechanism represented by Windows Mobile Device Center. It syncs between my home computer and my PDA (Windows Mobile 6.0). For syncing between the PDA and the work computer, I use the software PDAsync from Laplink. It didn’t work for syncing from two sources, despite many rounds with their very helpful support organization. Events and tasks weren’t synced correctly, and I had to do “full synchronization” now and then having to deal with lots of duplicate events (none were lost at least). From PDAsync I get the ability to sync based on a filter, such as on the category “Work” and “@Office”, so only those events, tasks and contacts get onto the work computer. Problem solved!
Making sure that work events, tasks and contacs are marked “Work” is of course a bit annoying, but it’s manageable: now and then, I visit the category view on the work computer, and check if something isn’t marked.
Using my Outlook 2007 macros for GTD helps a lot, too.
Update 2008-10-29: You can get into trouble using this solution, too. Now I did. I’ll be back when I’ve got something better!
Today I attended a very cool event; a demonstration at Enköping of a real-time experiment of information sharing between NATO and the Swedish civil and military actors. The Swedish actors could get a operational picture based on data from a NATO AWACS when their own radar system wasn’t good enough. That’s a splendid example of interoperability based on SOA and lots of standards.
The demo got a little too real, since the place where all hostile activities and accidents took place was in Gothenburg, very close to where my children live. So when I saw the live picture (slightly simulated) of a tram slamming into a truck with poisonous gas just a hundred meters from their school, I almost got too scared…
Finally, Google has taken a step towards enabling offline access to online web applications, by launching Google Gears. The web application has to be prepared for that, of course. For a start, Google Reader works very well offline now. When you go offline, items are downloaded, and when you go back online, what you’ve read is synchronized back again. Just waiting for it to work with Windows Mobile, too!
Another proof for the saying that AI (Artificial Intelligence) never works: because when it works, it stops being AI. Just look at this self-driving Golf GTI! Not a word about AI in the article. But I have to admit that they actually refer to the car’s brain!