Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Outlook as your desktop

Another from the long line of "why the hell didn't this get thought of before?" Outlook is still the most used Calendar/Email/Contacts program (at least, until Gmail/Google Calendar gets sync down pat). However, it suffers from single window problems: you can look at your email, but you can't see your schedule without clicking into Calendar. And, if your Outlook is as bloated as mine, this can be a 5 second delay between click to display.

No more. Enter Outlook on the Desktop. As Download Squad describes it, "It allows you to pick any one of the main Outlook views (Inbox, Calendar, Tasks, etc), and display it directly on your desktop." If you use multiple monitors, like I do, you can always see your schedule open without diverting from your email.

Years ago, Berkeley Systems (venerable makers of the legendary After Dark screensaver) made a PIM program that did a similar thing: it turned your desktop into your calendar. Way before its time, it didn't make it, but not a day goes by that I don't pine for it (it was Mac only, and WAY long ago...so long, I forget the name! Expresso, and it's Star Trek brother, StarDate). Sure you can get similar functionality with Yahoo Widgets or Google Gadgets (probably Vista, too), but I find the Yahoo Widget to be extremely memory intensive, and the Google Gadget is part of Google Desktop: a massive memory hog for my office laptop. This clean, elegant and simple solution does just what I wanted.

2 comments:

Vaibhav said...

Well you can have the best of both worlds (Google Calendar and Outlook) with SyncMyCal (http://www.syncmycal.com), which allows full sync between the two.

Cheers.

Josh Tretakoff said...

Wow, this looks great! However, I have been burned in the past by using Outlook sync tools. Here's my setup:

Outlook syncs with Salesforce. Salesforce overwrites Outlook. It's critical that nothing I do in Outlook, especially in the Calendar overwrites Salesforce. All of my Salesforce entries are tagged with a "Salesforce.com" category.

I sync my Palm with Outlook. That's a full 2 way sync.

Given the above, will SyncMyCal still work for me?