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Windows Live Calendar Rolling Out

Windows Live Calendar, which has been developing in secret for at least two years now, is finally rolling out, with everyone seemingly getting it, just in stages. I don’t have it yet on any of my accounts, but someone at LiveSide has access, and posted screenshots and some thoughts. When I have access, I’ll do a nice review, but until then, here are the things you need to know:

  • The interface is clean, very clean. It’s great, but some users will want to skin it.
  • You can have multiple calendars, and color them differently.
  • You can get reminders for events, with different types of reminders for each calendar. Reminders can be customized and even sent through Live Alerts.
  • You can share access and editing of the calendar.
  • XML and ICS feeds for calendars.
  • ICS importing, including from Outlook and Google Calendar.
  • No syncing of private calendars, just shared ones, so you can’t sync your desktop Outlook with Live Calendar to access on the go.
  • No interaction with MSN Calendar, no importing or easy way to switch/upgrade.

November 5th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Live, Hotmail, Windows | no comments

Microsoft Starts Test Of Web Sync Framework

Microsoft has started a beta test of the new Microsoft Sync Framework, technology that, like Google Gears, will let users keeps using web applications when they are offline. Google introduced Gears in June, five months ago, but has only enabled it in Google Reader (and with few third parties taking advantage of it), leaving the market wide open for someone else to come in with a competing product.

Microsoft’s Sync Framework allows developers to build a sync operation into their web applications, syncing the important data to your computer so you can run that application later without a collection to the internet. Relational databases can be synced to your local filesystem, as well NTFS/FAT file systems and RSS/Atom Simple Sharing Extension.

Offline access to web applications is an important next step in the rise of those web apps, removing one of (if not the biggest) obstacle to adoption by serious computers users. As is, no one has a successful product here, so anyone can come in and at least try to compete, but its the developer partners that are most important, not the strength of the framework.

Microsoft doesn’t want Google’s framework to succeed, because Google’s web apps will one day be big competition for Microsoft Office, and if Google owns this successful framework, that just makes Google Apps that much stronger. If Microsoft owns the framework, it can better position its own future web apps and Windows Live offline, and at least keeps Google from owning the “operating system” of the offline web.

WinBeta published links to these Sync Framework downloads:

- Microsoft Sync Framework CTP1
- Introduction to the Microsoft Sync Framework
- Sync Services for File Systems Whitepaper
- Microsoft Synchronization Services for ADO.NET v2.0 CTP1
- Introduction to Occasionally Connected Applications using Sync Services for ADO.NET
- Sync Framework CTP Books Online

(via Mary Jo Foley)

November 5th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Live, Google, Windows | no comments