Wednesday, February 13, 2008

letting .mac go

I decided to let my .Mac account go. I basically used it to sync my iCal and Address Book on my home and work machines. To replace or improve upon .Mac, I wanted:
  • Synchronize calendars between two or more Macs
  • Share calendar with selected family members
  • Synchronize Address Book between two or more Macs
  • Mail is not an issue, I use my work account for work mail and Gmail for personal mail.
  • Web storage for files would be a plus
A co-worker suggested using to publish my calendar. (I understand that also has webDAV support but I haven't tried them.) I can use their webDAV to publish my calendar from one machine and view it on another. That works but I'd like to be able to write to the calendar as well. I'm looking for synchronization rather than replication. Additionally, it seems that Apple isn't all that into supporting the publish to private server feature in iCal since every time there is an OS update, I end up having to republish by selecting "Change Location" in iCal. That being said, is very nice and I like using webDAV for file copying via Filer's Go -> Connect to Server. Very handy.

I've tried Plaxo for this and it's only so-so. It grabs updates from both machines and puts it on the web but not onto iCal. It also seems to be bit flaky. Plaxo works fine for Address Book, it's just flaky on the calendar side.

GCALDameon - I tried this and I really really wanted it to work but I had not luck with it. I think that the problem has to do with the changes to iCal behavior when going from Tiger to Leopard. It may have worked fine under Tiger. It doesn't work fine under Leopard. iSynCal seems to be in the same boat.

Spanning Sync seems like a pricy solution at $65 for iCal <-> gCal. I downloaded the trial and give it a whirl. Not only was it very slow, I ended up with a ton of duplicate events on gCal -- so many that I deleted the test calendar that I used. I was very thankful that I had backed up iCal before starting!

gSync is $20 for up to two computers. I download the trial for this as well and it has worked really well. It was slow synching one of my large calendars the first time but since then, it's been great.

BusySync is a third option but a I'm not going there. It's more expensive that gSync and I don't see any value added for what I am trying to do. gSync seems to be working and I'm betting that Google will come out with CalDav support because if iPhone since it already has fairly robust CrackBerry support.

Google Tutor discusses setting up a one way "sync." Since I really wanted a two way sync involving two computers and multiple family members, that doesn't work for me.

30Boxes is very nice and I do think that it has it's place but it doesn't support what I want to do in this case.

I'd be interested in hearing about other tools that people are using.


  1. What version of Spanning Sync did you use? We haven't gotten any reports of duplicated events since the release of version 1.1 in October.

    Version 1.2, now in beta testing (and available for download at is dramatically faster--up to 5x faster for most operations.

    I hope you'll give Spanning Sync another try. Just drop us an email at and we'll reset your trial period.

    Spanning Sync

  2. I used Spanning Sync v1.2 Beta (217)

  3. I went low-tech to share a calendar with the woman who books my appointments for me. We're simply using Google calendar. Since I hate gmail, I hesitated to even look at it, but it's a nice utility - access to my calendar from any machine, and sharing capabilities with my assistant.

  4. I have all my mail going to my gMail account - this solved the Address Book syncing problem.

    I've also been very happy using Google Calendar as a great way to share calendars and have access from any internet connected computer. No need to sync. Plus 6GB of space for free.

    Most of my 'documents' are going into Google Docs. Sharing, access, storage, what else do I need?

    For better or worse, for now, Google owns me.

  5. I like to have address book and calendar sync so that I can easily get that data to a PDA device. For that reason, the syncing is important to me.