This was meant to be a happy post. Unfortunately OggSync gets to bear the brunt of my frustrations over standards and portability. But first some background:

I run a pretty busy schedule – to give you an idea of what that means in real terms I have 12 separate calendars – my manufacturing business alone has half a dozen calendars I need to keep an eye on (marketing, production, board stuff and operations). Add in my personal calendar and that of my wife, the calendar feeds from both myself and my wife generated by my favorite little web app of all time, TripIt, school term dates and the like and you see that my calendar feed gets kind of busy.

Add to this the fact that I’m travelling more and more (half a dozen international trips before May) and have to work mobile and you have a recipe for disaster. Until now I’ve made do with the single calendar sync that Google provides for in its Google cal to win mobile sync. That’s fine… until I need to check on the time for a flight that is trapped within TripIt.

Roll up my lifesaver, OggSync. OggSync provides a lovely little synchronization service that allows users of the pro version to sync multiple calendars with multiple clients, both desktop and mobile. It’s a full, two-way synchronization and backup application that also performs these tasks on contact data.

outlook

Or so I thought….

I’m sitting in a hotel room in Sydney, looking at eight or so Google calendars that have become almost completely useless. You see it happened like this…

I installed OggSync and set it up and was stoked to see all the events from my different calendars appear on my Windows Mobile device. So far so good… Yesterday however I flew to Sydney which is in a different timezone from home. I turned my device on at the airport and saw that Windows Mobile, as it’s designed to do, picked up the new timezone from the mobile carrier I was roaming on.

OggSync sprang into life and synchronized all my events… but… Unfortunately OggSync doesn’t know that Windows Mobile changed my timezones – so every single event in every single calendar I synch now appears two hours early – great if you’re anally retentive, terrible if you’re busy.

OggSync were really supportive, I need to point out this isn’t a failing of theirs per se, they told me it was a new issue with the latest version of WinMob and that they’d help me restore from backup once I got back to my home timezone – but this isn’t really the issue. Fundamentally this is an example of why using a third party to integrate different applications is a dangerous and fraught thing. Roll on open standards and open data…

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Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

1 Comment
  • I think standards would help here, but the reality is that since no accepted standard exists, 3rd party vendors are the ones ready to innovate despite the lack of standards. Its a shame that OggSync did not handle your time-zone-shift scenario, but I’m hoping they have a temporary work-around. I would also wonder if Microsoft had built OggSync, they might have the exact same bug – since its quite complex when you look at the technical details (time zone shifting, clocks changing, DST effects, events changing, yikes that is tough to test).

    The truth is that small 3rd party software products help CREATE the standard and they are the ones helping users find all of these tricky scenarios. And if you are willing to contribute this scenario back to the community (as you are doing now with this blog), you will help vendors (and even Microsoft) to solve this problem with confidence later.

    If you waited for a standard, how would you solve your multi-calendar problem? You would have to live with no solution at all. Instead you tried this solution and you are helping every future user by pushing software vendors to get better.

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