Calendar and contact sharing on OS X

For about a year the combination of .Mac and Apple's iCal and Address Book applications worked passably for sharing home and club calendars. However, with my disappointing satellite connection to the internet, the number of connections is limited. This means that more often than not, .Mac synchronization fails. With dogged attention to the matter it seems to sync properly once a month or so.

This leads me back to the other gripes I have about iCal for this use anyway. What we need and the same goes for many small business people and professional couples, is a good way of tracking contacts, calendars and notes. It must be a hers, mine and ours type of arrangement. What I mean by this is I need to have easy access when buying concert tickets to see both of our schedules. My work appointments need to show up but not to everybody else, though if they want to look at them they can.

So far I've looked at several possibilities without much satisfaction. These include:

  • Now-Up-To-Date and Contact
  • DayLite
  • Group Organizer
  • Apple's iCal and Address Book with .Mac

A few more requirements factor in as well. The following traits for the solution are desired:

  • Easily share and add calendar and contacts for each other
  • Sync with 2 Powerbooks, 2iMacs and 1 Desktop G5
  • Sync with Palm and ideally iPods as well
  • Work both on-line and offline

Of course none of the solutions seems to do it all. The matrix below attempts to score each one and then provide some comments on the strengths and weaknesses of each.

 DayLite 1.8iCal/Address BookNow SoftwareGroup Organizer
Palm Sync(1)NoYesYesNo
Offline ModeYesYesYesYes
Shares contacts with Mail
Share info on webNoYesYesNo

(1) Palm Sync refers to the ability to synchronize a Palm device on a computer running OS X 10.4. Both DayLite and Group Organizer have the ability to sync with earlier version of Pam and Mac OS X.


1 Comment

Another solution

You can also use Address Book and Calendar server to share contacts and events between networked macs. The server allows you to host your contacts in your own environment without the need for subscription. All you need is a dedicated server on which you can install the server component and connect your clients to. You still use your Address Book and iCal to maintain your own records, but now they can be distributed to all your colleagues and friends.

Cost of Address Book and Calendar Servers starts at £25.00 ($30.00) for a 2 user license key. A trial evaluation is also available.>