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First Look: BusySync, iCal syncing app

updated 08:05 pm EST, Mon December 31, 2007

First Look: BusySync

Apple's .Mac is a service based on a paid yearly subscription of $100. It offers users many different functions, such as calendar and mail syncing, backup, email, online storage, among others. Many users only require one portion of the service, however, and can not justify the yearly cost for things that they feel they have no use for. BusyMac looks to address one of those needs with BusySync, an application that is designed to synchronize iCal calendars across a local area network. This makes it an idea candidate for office situations, since the one-time cost of the application (minus any major version upgrades in the future) is more manageable than maintaining several yearly subscriptions.

BusySync is simply a preference pane for the Mac OS X System Preferences, requiring only a double-click to install. If multiple users exist on the computer, it will ask whether to install for the current user, or to install for all users. Once the pane is installed, BusySync can immediately begin synchronizing iCal information, unless you wish to first create a specific calendar in iCal to distribute shared items.

The Publish tab in BusySync's preference pane allows you to enable sharing on one or more calendars. The selected calendar can be password protected for both read/write access, and can use a distinct password for each so that editing or viewing responsibilities are properly delegated.


Selecting calendars to publish


Once the calendars have been published, users on your network can access the available content through the preference pane's Subscribe tab. If a password is required to access the calendar in any way, BusySync will prompt the user for one and allow them to have whatever access to which they are entitled. If an employee's circumstances require them to work from outside the office, they can click the Add Remote Server button, and enter the IP address and port information for the computer that is hosting the shared calendars. In either circumstance, iCal will add the appropriate calendars to the source list, and display relevant data in the usual manner.


Published calendars available to share


BusySync automatically backs up the iCal database, and stores the last 10 daily backups. Under the Reset tab in the BusySync preference pane, you can click the Restore iCal From Backup button and choose the appropriate restore point.

BusyMac's iCal synchronizing application is a solid alternative to .Mac for those who aren't interested in the rest of the service's features. For the most part, it uses a set-and-forget approach, requiring input only through iCal once calendars have been chosen. BusySync's backups add to its usefulness, and make its current $20 price point very attractive. BusyMac also offers a volume discount of 10- to 30-percent for organizations with 5+ computers.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. randombob

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    What I'd like to see....

    is a company like this add WEB syncing, too. LAN is great as long as you're there, but... what if I'm here & my Fiancé is there? sort of useless to us then, no?

    But I DO have a web page. I could dedicate a hidden page there to store the database file or whatever. I just need it to go there instead of .Mac. I WISH that someone would do this for me. Because yes, the $99 is hard to justify when in reality I just need it to sync calendars & address book contacts between two mobile macs.

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    please be accurate

    "Apple's .Mac is a service based on a paid yearly subscription of $100."

    No it's not. It's priced at $99. Yes, that might be nitpicking. But accuracy should be worth something in journalism.

  1. leamanc

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: What I'd like to see

    randombob,

    I'm sure this could publish over the Internet also; not sure why the MacNN article says "local area network." Using the Remote Server button in the screenshots, the app should be able to publish to anywhere with an IP address and appropriate firewall access.

    On another topic, the price is not too bad for this, although I think Apple really should provide this functionality for free, with Google Calendar, Yahoo! and other services doing so. Still, a lot of shareware goes for $20, and this is one of the few I'd see being worth it.

  1. DareninAtl

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    re: What i'd like to see

    If you're looking for shared ical function on the web without .mac, try spanning sync. It syncs ical to google calendars and works well. You can check your google calendars anywhere, of course.

  1. Chris Hutcheson

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Networking

    If I read what they're saying on their web page right, this also syncs over the net.

  1. mrturtle

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    It works 'net

    check their site:

    Wide area networking — Sync calendars between your home and office Mac over the internet. Or take your laptop on the road and automatically switch between Bonjour and internet syncing.

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