If there’s a set of drums that Apple is beating hard these days, it’s the integration and synchronization drums in every product.
Everything about Apple’s products sings the praises of integrate this, synchronize that, make it drop-dead easy, Mac or Windows.
Apple provides easy integration between iTunes and iMovie and iPhoto and iWeb and Garageband in iLife. There’s easy integration between iPhoto and Mail, and Mail and AddressBook.
As to synchronization, who does it better for the average music lover? All that’s required to sync an iPod to a Mac or Windows PC is to plug it in. The battery gets recharged, playlists are updated, new music, videos, TV shows, movies all get synchronized between computer and player.
Apple carries the integration and synchronization a step beyond the computer and connects it to a .Mac account. $99 a year lets you store files, upload photos, and sync important files like Safari bookmarks and keychain information between Macs.
Even Apple’s iPhone gets the easy sync and integrate routine. Plug it in, the iPhone gets updated with new applications and data gets synced. Apple even promises integration and synchronization between the iPhone and Microsoft Exchange in a future version.
Synchronize and integrate. Except for iCal. That’s where BusySync comes in.
BusySync is a nifty Mac utility which lets users share iCal calendars with coworkers or family members on a local area network at the office, or your home network.
Mac users love iCal. It’s simple, straightforward interface makes it easy to use, and easy to publish if you have a .Mac account, but not if you don’t, and most Mac users don’t. So, how can you publish a calendar for all to see and make it easy to update?
BusySync does two things very well. First, it publishes your iCal calendar on your network. When you make an update, the changes are reflected everywhere—to other users who have access to your iCal calendar.
Second, BusySync synchronizes your iCal calendar with Google Calendar. Make a change on one, and it gets updated on the other. You can make changes to iCal on your Mac when you’re not online, and BusySync will sync up once you’re back online.
View and change your Google Calendar and your Mac will sync up to the changes. Sync between home and work. Sync between Macs.
Wait. There’s more. BusySync allows for multi-user editing. Share and edit calendars between users. Changes made by each user are synced with all others on the network. That’s perfect for a busy office environment.
Calendars are password protected by user and by group. Any changes you make to your calendar offline, while you’re traveling, for example, get updated as soon as you connect again.
For home and office users, BusySync uses Apple’s Bonjour networking to find users to connect, so there’s no need for a complicated and expensive back end server such as Microsoft Exchange Server.
If synchronization and integration are all the rage, then Apple still has a few regions to conquer, including iCal and Mail. For example, the upcoming release of Apple’s iPhone 2.0 software will integrate and sync with Exchange, but not with your Mac’s Mail.
Still, for calendar users who need flexibility and low price, BusySync is a handy way to stay in touch and stay connected, online, offline, Mac to Mac.
Where else would you like to see Apple add synchronization and integration? Mail? Calendar? AddressBook? Google and Yahoo? Share your frustration and experience in the Mac360 Comments section below.