Gather round boys and girls, and let me tell you a tale of frustration, anger, moments of joy and a great journey in search of the perfect time-management tool. Let me tell you a tale of online calendars.
I’ve been looking for the perect calendar for quite a while. My first round of searching took me to HipCal, Kiko and Google Calendar. But I didn’t like them. HipCal had too few features, Kiko was cluttered, Google Calendar had just been released and was horrendously simple. I tried using to-do lists like Remember the Milk instead, but I realized that I needn’t a calendar. Being a full-time student, I need a way to divide the day into portions for various subjects. I needed something that focussed on the time and the day, not just on the task. I needed something with color coding, which allowed easy grouping (preferably with tags) but could show multiple groups together. So I went back to my search and finally settled with 30boxes. It was a really nice product. Adding things was extremely simple using natural language in the Add bar, you could use colors and tags and the user interface was sleek, efficient and good looking. I was happy.
Along the way, I heard about a new startup called Scrybe. I signed up to be added to their private beta and promptly forgot about them in a few weeks. I stayed with 30boxes for about 3 months before something unexpected happened. A few days ago I suddenly got an email from Scrybe informing me about their progress. Like I said, I had forgotten all about them, but the email made me remember. I decided to check out Scrybe again, and I liked what I saw. The only real source of information about what Scrybe offered was a movie on their site. I watched the movie (I hadn’t seen it before) and it hooked me. Scrybe had everything that I had gradually felt missing in 30Boxes: Drag and drop reordering of events, a smart day view, and a proper to-do-list that integrated perfectly with the calendar. Over the last few months I had gradually become dissatisfied with 30Boxes. The ease of adding an event to the calendar was in sharp contrast with all the trouble one had to take to reschedule or reorder an event. The trouble with only one view was that it was hard to concentrate on events for a single day. And there seemed to be almost no co-ordination between the to-do list and calendar.
So I started searching again. This time my general requirements were the same as before. But with that I needed simple drag and drop reordering of events. Anything that needed me to manually change the times was out. I looked at HipCal and Kiko again. Kiko had drag and drop, but it was buggy. HipCal didn’t. I took a look at Planzo, it’s use of drag and drop were what I had been looking for, but it lacked in other more important ways: color coding was done by using groups, but I found no way to add new groups or to change the old ones. I checked out SpongeCell and to my great horror it said that my Firefox 2.0 was unsupported. At this point I was seriously thinking about going back to 30Boxes and making do with what it had, until Scrybe finally came out of private beta.
Upto that point I hadn’t really considered Google Calendar. I remembered having rejected it the first time, but for some reason, I couldn’t quite remember exactly why. Finally I decided to give it try. After all, I had once rejected Google Reader and now I use it exclusively for all my feeds. So I went back to Google Calendar, and behold! it was just what I was looking for! It had matured quite a bit. There was kinkless drag and drop functionality, the individual day view was awesome and the interface on the whole was the definition of sleekness. Although it didn’t quite support tags, the multiple calendars feature, each with it’s own color, combined with the option of showing all or only a few of them at a time was enough for my needs. Once again, after a long time, I was happy.
And that it is where the tale ends. Google Calendar is my schedule organizer and I love it. I am still waiting for Scrybe to be released and when it does, I will give it a try. But it will have to be incredibly good to lure me away.