I first started synchronizing my desktop calendar with my PDA when I bought my first Palm Pilot (The Palm IIIc) over 10 years ago. Back then, I was thrilled that I could create an event on the Palm, plug it in to my computer with a SERIAL cable, and 5-7 minutes later, it would be all synchronized.


Today, our options for PDA’s and calendars are much wider, and the type of functionality that was revolutionary with my first Palm is now antiquated and old school. Anyone with a great device (such as an iPhone or Blackberry) can seamlessly synchronize not only their contacts & calendar, but their e-mail as well. While Blackberry users on corporate Microsoft Exchange networks have had these features for a few years, most of us had to wait for the iPhone to experience this type of freedom.

For now, I’m just going to cover synchronizing your calendar. I may touch on e-mail and contacts in a later article. First, I want to give credit to the central calendaring system for many of us: Google Calendar (GCal). Like many of Google’s services, GCal is very open and extremely robust. It’s easy to use, has an extremely large feature set, and supports many different standards. I use my GCal every single day. My wife & I use it to keep track of each other’s activities, I track all of my volunteer, professional, military, consulting, and personal appointments using different personal calendars. I even include Denver Broncos and Detroit Red Wings appointments, as well as US National holidays. My GCal is extremely useful and almost overwhelming at the same time:

When I got my iPhone a few months ago, I immediately “Googled” for ways to sync my calendar. I wanted a real 2 way sync, preferably over the air, and I wanted all the features (such as repeating events, time zone support, etc) to work. It didn’t take long to find a little service called “NuevaSync”. This currently free service is the holy grail of sync services for my iPhone. Not only does it sync my GCal, but it will also sync contacts, and eventually will do e-mail. It support GCal, Google Contacts, and Plaxo for contacts. The site is currently in beta, so use at your own discretion. I’ve not had any problems at all.

NuevaSync basically emulates an Exchange server that allows you to synchronize your information. I guess it’s similar to Apple’s MobileMe, but with out the $99/year fee. I’d gladly pay for NuevaSync, and will likely do so if they offer a premium version, but for now I’m thrilled that it’s free. Setting up the service is as simple as creating an account, allowing NuevaSync access to your Google Account, and setting up your phone. It literally takes about 10 minutes to set up.

I can’t begin to illustrate how useful this is. I get access to every calendar I have write permissions on. Public calendars like holidays & sport schedules do not sync to the phone, but those are not critical items. The only other small issue is that when I create an event on the phone, it syncs only to my primary calendar, again, not a big deal. I’ve even used the calendar feature on the iPhone to take notes at conferences, since my notes automatically synch to the web.

If you’re an iPhone user, you should seriously consider using Google Calendar and NuevaSync to keep track of your appointments. If you don’t have an iPhone yet and would like to be more productive, it’s definitely worth taking a look at.