The New York Times, Thursday, July 11, 2002
Now the Synchronized Family
By Peter Meyers
Moving the Schedule From the Refrigerator Door to the PC
The hardest part of moving a family schedule off the refrigerator door and onto some kind of digital system is picking tools that enough family members will actually use. Solutions exist for users with a wide range of computer skills.
YAHOO Yahoo Calendar (calendar.yahoo.com) is a free Web-based calendar that individuals can maintain and share, if they choose, with others who have Web access. Yahoo Groups (groups.yahoo.com) allows multiple users to edit and view the same calendar but first requires the creation of a Yahoo Group. A free Yahoo account is required for either option.
MSN Microsoft's MSN.com portal offers a free shared calendar similar to Yahoo's. An MSN Group (groups.msn.com) must first be created, and all participants must have an MSN.com account.
WESYNC WeSync (www.wesync.com) is a free downloadable program that lets users of Palm-based hand-held computers share calendar events and contacts. WeSync users whose devices have wireless Internet connections (like the Palm i705 or the Handspring Treo) can instantly share data. Others must first synchronize their devices with an Internet-connected PC to send data, and must reverse the procedure for the receiving Palm. WeSync is not available for Macintosh or PocketPC users.
NOW-UP-TO-DATE & CONTACT This is a Macintosh-only calendar and contact management program ($129.95 at www.poweronsoftware.com). Sharing information between multiple Now users requires one computer to act as a server and to maintain an always-on Internet connection. The server must have a static IP address, which is the Internet equivalent of a permanent phone number. Static IP addresses can be obtained from some Internet Service providers for an extra monthly fee. Another solution is to use a program called DynIP (www.dynip.com), which costs $35.95 for one year.