Friday, July 25, 2008

Keeping all my data up-to-date

I was reading this article today (here) about the different types of calendars available for use, and how different people use them, back them up, etc. To summarize, three different types per the article:
  • Paper based calendars
  • Electronic calendars (on your computer - outlook, etc.)
  • Online calendars
  • (and a task list, which could possible be categorized the same way again)
At the end of the article, the author asks about what people use and how they back it up and synchronize things, etc... So, I got to really think about it and the different things I use. Here are the electronics I have and use on a regular basis:
  • Work laptop
  • Home laptop #1 (at home)
  • Home laptop #2 (with my girlfriend currently located in a different city)
  • Apple iPhone
  • Nokia N82
  • Blackberry Pearl
  • (Google Calendar - not really electronics..but still)
So, it got me thinking.. how exactly do I put all of this together... well, here it is:

All the laptops sync together in two ways:
  1. Mobileme
  2. Backup/sync hard drive big enough to hold all of this data and sync it all as well
Now come the phones:
  1. iPhone synced to laptop #1 and mobile me
  2. Gcal to sync laptop #1 and laptop #2 to gcal
  3. mobileme syncs all laptops (including the work laptop) and the iPhone
  4. Blackberry pearl used for local backup of contacts and calendars
  5. iPhone and N82 sync'd through laptop #1
  6. N82 also backed up on laptop #2 and work laptop
So, with all of this, the only thing missing for me is syncing google contacts to my local contacts (and possibly facebook/linkedin). So, you are probably thinking.. this guy is a nutcase.. he does all of this just to keep his stuff together (well, one thing I forgot to mention - the N82 and iPhone are ALWAYS on me).

So, how does all of this happen? Do I sit and sync it one-by-one... obviously not! I have it set up such that if I connect my phones to my computer, everything starts synchronizing automatically, and its setup to do so only between 1 and 4AM. Thus, every morning, all of this is synced. The last part of this is that if I need to change anything in my calendar, its typically done on google calendar .. this way, I can access it on all my devices until everything is sync'd.

Now, the last part - my task list .. I am still struggling with this... not sure how to handle this .. so here are my issues:
  • iPhone has a task list application (downloadable) but needs to be sync'd with its own web server (completely isolated)
  • N82 syncs with Outlook, BB Pearl (through Outloook) & mobileme - this is good.. but still cant get my tasks on the iPhone or on google calendar (or gmail for that matter)
So, for a while, I started using todoist. It worked well because I could add tasks on the move, etc... but then, I gave up.. It involved me going to a website, logging in (every time), and then going through menus, etc. This was too much of a pain. So, now, it has become something very simple - I write an email to myself with the task list and save it in my drafts folder on gmail, and now, I can access it from gmail, iphone, n82 and all my laptops. This seems to have worked the best so far.

Hit me up on the comments and let me know what you guys use and if you have anything as complex as this.

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