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VueMinder calendar at 50% discount - Bits du Jour

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Okay, let me preface this with "I have not tried any of these types of calandars yet".  Keep this in mind as I mention my must have's and desires of any calandar application since some may fit all of these.

Currently I use Outlook 2007 at home (part of the Office suite I got) and Lotus Notes at work (blech, but I don't have a choice).  What I am looking for from an application like this is not really just a calandar, but a full featured PIM.  That said, the calandar portion is what I will focus on due to the jist of the post.

First and foremost, the application should work on/with a variety of handheld devices including Blackberries, iPhone, and Windows Mobile (I only use the last, but the other two are where the money is now, so if you are doing it, you might as well make it work for all). However, I do not want it to be a web only app, as I am not web connected 24/7 (data plans are way too much for personal use!), though a web synch option may be desirable for some.

Now for the application details.
1.  It should be able to read Outlook, Lotus, Groupwise, Yahoo Mail, Live Mail, and GMail options at a minimum.  I know these are all email apps, but they all have calandars associated with them.  These calandars should be able to synchronize with the program.

2.  Any unsupported features should not be discarded, but rather ignored, so as the data moves, the unused parts could still be accessed when brought back into the originating program.  (This should be standard for ALL collaboration software that claims to work with any other system!)

3.  It should support multiple calandars per person, and multiple people independently while associating the groupings if appropriate.  For example, I have a home calandar and a work calandar that I can turn on or off separately.  Joe has the same.  If I want to turn on all his appointments and only my work appointments, I should be able to do so while knowing which appointment belongs to which person and which calandar for that person.  I would suggest color coding the calandars, then grouping by user with a faded background color per user.  Maybe there is something that does this already, but it is just one idea for an implimentation.
4.  It should also support alarms.  What good is a calandar that doesn't remind you of your appointments?  I have seen some good implimentations of calandars that don't support alarms.  Useless to me....

There are several more, but I can't think of them at the moment, and I don't have my compiled checklist here.  I will look into it later and hopefully post back with more.  Anyone have any suggestions so far?   :D

Now, to be fair, it is time to look at VueMinder to see how close they come to these requirements....

I'm very sad that I missed out on this deal. VueMinder looks like a calendar I'd like to support, although my funds are too limited at the moment to impulse-buy at full price.

I'll use my trial, and see if I find it worth continuing. Maybe I'll get lucky and it'll go back on Bits Du Jour in the near future :)

Oh, what's my problem with Outlook given these requirement (it does almost all of them after all)?

1.  It doesn't work well with Lotus (or anything else really) unless I connect to the server via POP or IMAP and download it - I can't just move a file and have it read it.  Not a major limitation, unless you are not authorized to connect that way like at work.  Well that and to my knowledge there is no direct way to connect Outlook to Domino servers...

2.  It is expensive.  Right now I can get one copy cheap through the military, but once I retire, I have to pay whatever price I can find, which is going to be expensive no matter what.  Add to that, I still have to pay full price for any additional copies to share my family's schedule unless we all use one computer.  Not happen'n.

3.  It is big, bloated, and offers a lot of useless features that I can not turn off easily if at all.  That said, I do like having integrated contact lists with my email and calendar, and to a lesser extent to-do lists.  I just wish some of the fields could be changed and/or removed to speed it up a bit, especially for contact lists.  But now I go off on a tangent away from the calendar again.

While I continue dreaming, I want a car that creates power while I am driving, fixes all relationships, and solve world hunger.  Is that too much to ask... :P

Steven Avery:
Hi Folks,

Thanks, John for the info on integrating Rainlendar, Lightning and Google Calender and Remember the Milk.  I may work with some of those, especially since I picked up Rainlendar on the Bits special.

John, VueSoft is relatively new, only about a year, the new few months will tell a lot, if they begin putting in the features we are talking about, saved categories for sure and better integration with at least one web tool I will be ready to give it an extensive try. While now it is more play. Kirby is the other one I am really checking.

Questions for Dan.  

"VueMinder Calendar is free to try and fully functional for up to 30 days. After 30 days, it will no longer run, but any events or reminders that you defined during the trial period will be waiting for you to view after you've purchased a license."

Really you should simply prevent new entries.  I hesitate to put in real data if it will become totally invisible after the trial.  Too much pressure.  I want to be able to at least screen view or print what I had without counting days or having to request a special extension.  Nobody is going to continue to *use* a calendar long on stale entries, so you will not lose anything.

"A single-user license can be used by a single user on up to 5 computers ...."
- Excellent (separate users on one puter - separate licenses though)

Dan, you have gone to release 4 from release 1 in about a year.  Has this required a paid upgrade ?  What is your policy.  I would hope that with a new software you would give something like 2-years (at least 1-year or 18 months) of free upgrades.  Have the release 1 folks been hit with 3 upgrades ?  You clearly go version to version much quicker than most softwares.

As for the Outlook PIM replacement ..steeladept .. hmmm .. very tuff, especially with your list of requirements.  Outlook is so fragile and strange, a lot of the folks at work use it (some use Outlook Express, I have Thunderbird loaded at work with Eudora at home being my main email.).  For PIM functionality Outlook is clearly kewl, but having one kitchen sink data file with email attachments and calendar and this and that is an architectural train-wreck. Have you looked at Lightning or Sunbird (with or without Thunderbird) and various add-ons ?  It is the most likely to have a lot of integration resources with a cadre of open source developers doing this and that. A lot of people like Essential PIM as an Outlook replacement, but you would probably have to give up most of your integration requirements. How is Chaos32 (formerly the better-named Time & Chaos) these days ?  Might be worth a check.

broken, be not too sad.  Dan is here, maybe he will whisper about future discount plans and maybe consider a DonationCoder connection.  (Although DC would probably like to know his upgrade policy very clearly as well.)

Steven Avery

Hi.  I purchased the VueMinder when it was on sale with Bits du Jour.  I received an email from the developer stating that I would receive updates for life.  However, with the next major version upgrade, version 5, the developer will be going to a '1year service contract' for new customers.  I'm glad I purchased this product when I did for I received my lifetime license! I was informed in the email, that the new version would be coming out shortly. I am impressed with it's functions and, being a fairly new product, it can only improve.  I went to the website this morning and noticed that the lifetime licensing is still in effect.  Based upon other calender software I have used, this one is the most comprehensive for my needs and I heartily recommend it.


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