30Boxes Review: It’s My Life Online

Time is something no one ever has enough of. Even more so in today's world of super fast food, fast cars, fast internet connections, fast money transfers etc. etc. Time Management is one lesson almost everyone should learn. Of course, how better to manage your time than with with a calendar. No I don't mean the old paper and pen affairs, I mean the new, slick Web 2.0 calendars. So here's a look at what I consider is the best calendar app out there: 30Boxes.

I've been looking for a good calendar program for quite some time now, and in the course of my searches, I've looked through a good few, both offline and online. But I never could use any of them for more than a few days due to one simple reason: usability. You see, the old pen and paper planner and calendar may not look too cool, but it's hard to get something that beats it at it's own job: keeping your schedule organized. Face it: why click half a dozen times to add an appointment, when I can scribble it into my pocket calendar in a fraction of the time? None of the desktop calendars I tried including Microsoft Outlook had quite the simplicity that I wanted. I wasn't a corporate executive who had a secretary to keep track of my appointments, I was just a student who wanted to get my homework and projects in on time. Many of the online calendars I tried weren't really that much better.

Enter 30boxes. In my opinion, 30boxes has everything right from the word Go!. When you visit their site you're presented with a sample calendar, which you can play around with and get a feel for the whole thing. Signup is easy, with just a name, password and email address required (though there are ample customization opportunities available). The whole page is dominated by, yes you guessed it 30 boxes. The centre piece is one big calendar. Though it may not look too inspiring at first, you'll soon realize how great it is to be able to skim through all your plans without the distraction of a dozen different buttons. Usability is the forte of this little service, and it will deliver you a smile. Unlike most calendars, 30Boxes doesn't need you click a dozen times to add a tiny entry and doesn't clutter the interface with useless buttons. New events can be added by just typing the name of the event and the date and time, one after the other into the "Add" box at the top. Just type and hit Enter and that's it, your calendar now has a new event added. You can even add colours or tags like "work" and "play" and anything else you might want to add, right in the Add box itself. Once added, changing or adding other information about an event is just a click away.

30Boxes uses AJAX and other Web 2.0 technologies to deliver a superb product. The interface is fast and snappy and almost everything can be accessed with a simple mouseover of the appropriate button. And since your calendar is on the net, it's a snap to share it with others. You have a choice of a variety of technologies to choose from including RSS, iCal and JavaScript or HTML buttons for your website or blog. You can assign colors and tags to your events and can search your calendar for tags or other keywords. There's also a nice to-do list which is quick and easy to manage, with the same Add box interface as the calendar itself. Students as well as busy professionals will find it very helpful, although I wish you could drag and drop from the calendar to the list and vice-versa.

    Now it would only be fair to say that there a number of other online calendas and to-do lists out there, the most popular would probably be Google Calendar and Kiko. They are good products, but Google Calendar simple lacks the slickness and Kiko's default is certainly colorful, but is a bit too cluttered for me. If you can recommend a good calendar app other than the ones mentioned, drop a comment and I'll give it a look. But if you're no-nonsense type of person who likes something that gets the job done quick without unnecessary frills, I think you'll enjoy your 30Boxes a lot. Have fun!

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Published by

Shrutarshi Basu

Programmer, writer and engineer, currently working out of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

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