What one feature of Mac OS X and a new Mac is far and away different and better than Windows PCs? Stability? Security?
Those are good choices but they hide in the background. Run up front and in our face is the Mac’s ability to share. iTunes. iPhoto. Mail. Whatever. The Mac is superb at sharing files with other Mac users.
One of the benefits of being a Mac user is all the little extras that Apple builds in to OS X. One of the most important is Bonjour networking. On a local network, all Mac users have to do is look for the other Mac users, and click to connect.
iTunes shares music playlists with other Mac users on a local network. iPhoto shares photo albums the same way. What about iCal? If you have a .Mac account, you can publish your calendars, but that’s an extra $99 a year for an arguably dubious service.
BusySync is a nifty little Mac utility which lets you share iCal calendars with family members or coworkers on a local network. There’s no server needed, and full read/write access is available. All thanks to Bonjour networking and some lever Mac software developers.
Synchronizing calendars is the bain of office workers through the world. Microsoft charges a mint and a half for the privilege of using Exchange for email and calendaring. BusySync is not much different minus the headaches and the expense.
Users can share and edit calendars, make changes on each other’s calendars, and everything gets synchronized between each user on each Mac.
Calendars can be password protected so only the expected people can view the calendar, and only the appropriate people can edit the calendar.
What about if you’re not connected to your local network? After all, over half the Macs sold these days are notebooks, and most of those head home at the end of the day, or travel elsewhere.
Not to worry. BusySync lets you edit your calendars while you’re on the road and then syncs back up once you’re connected again.
Why have we not seen this kind of functionality before? Will we see it in OS X in the future? As to the former, I don’t know. It’s one of those features you’d expect from an operating system and applications that share so well. As to the latter, perhaps. Let’s see what Leopard brings.
Caveat emptor? Yes. I’m only on day one of the 30 day free trial of BusySync. Our office is a mixture of Macs and Windows PCs; about 50-50. So, automatically, half the staff isn’t included in the iCal sync and edit process. But now the other half can be. I’ve got it up and running between my Mac and Wil’s Mac and my cubicle buddy. We’ll expand as we have time.
More caveats? Yes. The Mac publisher, BusyMac, gives you a 30-day trial. That’s nice. There’s no price tag or a way to buy BusySync, so consider this totally beta software. Not so nice. That indicates a work in progress, so, as always—your mileage may vary. Still, BusySync is an idea whose time has come. Finally.
More questions? Why didn’t Apple include this in iCal long ago?