Lotus Notes Sync to Google

I’m getting ready for life after the Palm OS. My Centro has a lot of life left in it and more importantly, over 9 months until I can upgrade so I need to figure out how to get my enterprise Lotus Notes calendar (version 7) onto whatever my next smartphone will be. The good news it will be either a webOS or Android phone so the obvious solution to me was getting my Notes calendar onto my google calendar since both phone OS play nice with the google apps over the air. Yesterday I dove into CompanionLink for Google. The app advertises to connect to your google apps via the google API and sync your enterprise or local calendar to your google account. Here’s my first impression of the software:

The good:

  • Easy to configure. The wizard picked out all the arcane Lotus Notes file locations both locally and on the domino server.
  • Has a purge/reload function for the inevitable duplicates that will be generated on google.com as you’re fiddling around with getting the right configuration for you.
  • No need for a wired sync. Just a live internet connection. I like that.
  • You can schedule syncs with quite a bit of flexibility. Not quite a push but pretty close.
  • Relatively inexpensive at $39.95. They also seem to roll out new builds fairly frequently. I wish they’d use incremental version numbers rather than build numbers to identify updates. Version 3.0 has been out for a couple of years with a ton of new builds but no move to version 3.1.
  • The address book/contacts sync worked really well.
  • You can sync multiple google calendars to your PIM. I would like to have the ability to select how I want to transfer the events (ie pull from my personal calendar, push or sync from my work calendar, pull from my family calendar, etc) but that’s not supported. If you choose to sync, you sync all the selected google calendars.

The Bad:

  • Windows only.
  • If you are trying to sync an existing google calendar with and existing PIM, you’re going to get duplicates. Get ready to spend some time culling. Use the purge/reload function to clean your google calendar before you sync if you can afford to purge the google calendar.
  • Kind of hit or miss when you have meetings when you are not the organizer. I have a monthly meeting that the organizer sets up once for the year that doesn’t show up on my google calendar no matter how far back I go in the sync date range.
  • Syncing repeat appointments can create duplicates on the first day of the appointment.

Recommendations:

The software is ok. Not great. Not bad. I’ve finally settled on having my google calendar mirror my Lotus Notes calendar which isn’t a sync but a push to google. I didn’t feel like dealing with the duplicates for the amount of times I will create an appointment on google (none). If you can live with your google calendar/smartphone being a mirror, I’d recommend the software. I’m sure the sync works ok, too but I got turned off on the first round of duplicate culling.

Apple drops Palm OS HotSync conduit from Snow Leopard

So I’m all ready to upgrade my little mini from Tiger to Snow Leopard and then I get wind of this. Yes, I’m still very happy with my Centro, thank you. Truth is, I should have been running Missing Link all the time but I never got around to it. While Missing Link is reporting some problems with Snow Leopard compatibility, I’m sure they’ll fix that stuff. Even if they don’t, I don’t use the compromised features.

AppleInsider | Apple drops Palm OS HotSync conduit from Snow Leopard.

Blackberry OS 4.5 for My 8830WE

Full marks to Sprint for finally releasing a supported version of OS 4.5 for my BB 8830WE. The only downside of the upgrade was having to have my enterprise settings reactivated. I don’t think the tech support folks were too bent out of shape.

The device is now quite usable with a UI that looks quite modern. HTML email renders nicely. The browser is just about usable. Best part is the OS has been rock solid. I still prefer my Centro for personal use but this is a nice upgrade.

Forward to the Past; My Palm Centro

When last I left off, the Treo 700P I used for work had to be  turned in for a Blackberry 8830WE. I still use the BB but my personal phone was out of contract and it was time for me to upgrade. As an avid Mac user, I thought long and hard about going over to AT&T for an iPhone. After doing some due diligence work, I couldn’t find an easy solution to port my calendar and contacts on our office enterprise email and time management software (Lotus Notes on  a Domino server) over to an iPhone. So I went back to the old reliable Palm OS, this time a Palm Centro on Verizon Wireless. After about a week or so, here are my impressions.

The Centro is small. Really small. The qwerty keyboard is also small. I have small hands and have always been a ‘fingernail’ typer, even on the larger Treo and BB. I have no problem using the keyboard but I can see how it could be problematic for some. Personally, I love the small form factor. I can manipulate it very easy with a single hand. Something I can’t do with the much wider BB and the Treo. The screen is also small but the resolution and quality is very clear and legible. Then again, I have pretty good eyesight so I can also understand how it could be another problem for some.

One of my beefs with the Palm OS was not having Voice Dialing out of the box. Well, the Centro has it except it doesn’t seem to work for me over a BT headset. Since I live in a hands-free driving state, I really need to have Voice Dialing over bluetooth. The Centro also doesn’t support Mass Storage mode for the microSD card. I was used to both of these shortcomings with my Treo but it doesn’t make it any better that the Palm OS still doesn’t support these issues. I understand the OS is quite old now and Palm’s moving to the Pre but I’ll have the Centro for another couple of years having to work around this stuff.

Now the good stuff. Web browsing is so much faster than my BB. It could be the hardware or it could be the different 3G provider (Sprint for the BB) but I really prefer Blazer on the Centro to the BB browser. Versamail is an excellent little app for email and renders html which my BB still doesn’t do. The best part of the Centro is the outstanding PIM apps, specifically Datebk6. I never look at my BB anymore for my calendar if the Centro’s within arm’s reach.

I understand the Palm is running on a 4 year old operating system but I still prefer it to the RIM OS. As a personal organizer and for light surfing, texting and email, I think the Centro’s terrific.

SplashID Version 4 for Mac

My favorite (at least it used to be my favorite) password management software has been updated as a universal binary for the Mac. The good news is that it runs in Leopard (requires Tiger as a minimum) and still syncs with the Palm OS. The bad news is I now use a Blackberry which doesn’t play at all with the Mac desktop.

The Blackberry version of SplashID is horrid but I’m going to pin that on the OS rather than the software. I have no real basis for this claim other than SplashID is/was awesome on the Palm OS and ran superbly on both Windows and Mac OS. There is no way to even export the database from the Blackberry. I figure the only way to keep everything updated is to use SplashID version 4’s ability to sync local files natively so theoretically, since I have a Windows box on my home network, I could sync my Blackberry’s SplashID with it using the Blackberry sync function (Windows only) and then have the two desktop version sync over the network. That should be a good way to waste an afternoon trying to get that to work. I’ll report back if I have any luck or any desire to do this.

Update: May 28, 2008 – Guess what? The Mac’s SplashID database is not compatible with the Windows SplashID database so you can not sync a Mac file with a Windows file. Best you can do is export either one as a vID file and import it into the other application. Essentially having a master and clone but no syncing. About a -100 for this ‘feature.’ Thankfully you only have to by one license and you get all the Operating Systems.

Password Management Software – Password Vault Manager – SplashID