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  • Alternatives to Outlook for Organising task etc

    Hi everyone,

    At the risk of sounding like some upstart I have an alternative approach to using folders in Outlook to organising your catagories according to GTD.

    This approach uses the open source Mozilla Calander Sunbird and an ICal based remote calander at icalx.com.

    The great thing is you can customize the catagories in accordance with GTD. Moreover if you're on the move or use multiple computers you can set up a remote calander via Sunbird on IcalX.com.

    The approach I took was to create seperate calanders for Projects, @home etc. Because I use a PC and an Apple Powerbook I can access these remote calanders with all my tasks and events wherever and whenever I want. Even if you're off-line you can still upload your updates tasks when you get online.

    At the moment Mozilla haven't been able to fully integrate their opensource email reader Thunderbird with Sunbird so that you can for example move an email message into sunbird and into your catagories. However there is Mozilla 'Lightning' project which will integrate the email/calander/and web browser into one, and hopefully should be out in the next year.

  • #2
    Will Sunbird work with Exchange 2003?

    Comment


    • #3
      I found this article which answers your question:

      Although Sunbird is unable to communicate with a Microsoft Exchange server for calendar sharing, it does offer an interesting open alternative with its use of the webDAV server. The webDAV server allows users “to collaboratively edit and manage files on remote web servers.�? The calendar is hosted on the webDAV server and is simply accessed remotely with the use of Sunbird as a client. Since webDAV is able to be run from an Apache web server with the use of the module mod_dav, it allows for a fair degree of flexibility for work groups. Users will be able to use existing Apache web servers to host their calendars and will not need additional hardware, additionally they will be able to access it from anywhere that is connected to the Internet. It will certainly be interesting to see how this feature develops in future builds of Sunbird, as it could become a pure open alternative to an Exchange server.

      On top of the webDAV server support Sunbird saves its files to Apple's open iCal standard which allows for a degree of interoperability between the two applications and platforms. As of yet there is no support for Outlook's closed standard but files can be imported into Sunbird once they've been exported from Outlook as an .ics file.

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      • #4
        Sunbird

        I don't need any collaboration functionality, and I've been using Sunbird for a few days. As I understand, it only has very basic calendar functionality, where you can place appointments and tasks, and a primitive todo list. I don't see any Project / Subproject / NextAction and other GTD-specific functionality. Perhaps I haven't looked closely enough.

        Also, the software itself is not very polished yet: there are bugs / misfeatures. For example, copying-and-pasting a 2-hour task "automatically" reduces it to 1-hour. Dragging stuff around the calendar doesn't work properly sometimes.

        I'm sticking with it for now, because I need something cross-platform, and Sunbird runs on everything (because it runs on top of Firefox). But I'm forced to manage my "projects", "buckets", etc. manually, using text files. I'd like to find something more convenient.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by slacker
          I don't need any collaboration functionality, and I've been using Sunbird for a few days. As I understand, it only has very basic calendar functionality, where you can place appointments and tasks, and a primitive todo list. I don't see any Project / Subproject / NextAction and other GTD-specific functionality. Perhaps I haven't looked closely enough.
          You aren't missing anything. Most OSS calendar and productivity apps are total disappointments for a very specific reason - geeks, by and large, don't know how to use them or understand them. This isn't necessarily a geek-only problem because there are lots of dysfunctional productivity systems out there but geeks are the only ones building the software at this point.

          MS gets it. The next version of Outlook is VERY HEAVILY influenced by GTD. Unfortunately, that means windows-only, pst file format lock-in. Heck, even now Outlook supports dragging of almost any object to another context. Emails can easily be dragged to tasks or calendars to create entries. How hard can this be to implement elsewhere? Not terribly, I imagine, but, again, we're at the mercy of geeks who don't understand these tools.

          And before I get flamed by the geeks on this board, of course there are those that understand productivity systems. In fact, GTD has a lot of cred among geeks (search for GTD on Slashdot sometime). But most OSS developers are still clueless or are not interested in adding this type of polish to a system.

          Of course I will be very happy to be proven wrong.

          Comment


          • #6
            I agree that sunbird/calendar is not the polished article and there are some bugs that need ironing out (a curse and I guess a strength in terms of the fact that anyone can submit there own patches/amendments to open source software).

            In terms of your problem with creating buckets using Sunbird I found the best solution is to create the buckets as seperate calendars on icalx.com that way tasks and events can be sorted according to projects list, actions, etc. Then you just need to connect your calendar to icalx.com.

            Originally posted by slacker
            I don't need any collaboration functionality, and I've been using Sunbird for a few days. As I understand, it only has very basic calendar functionality, where you can place appointments and tasks, and a primitive todo list. I don't see any Project / Subproject / NextAction and other GTD-specific functionality. Perhaps I haven't looked closely enough.

            Also, the software itself is not very polished yet: there are bugs / misfeatures. For example, copying-and-pasting a 2-hour task "automatically" reduces it to 1-hour. Dragging stuff around the calendar doesn't work properly sometimes.

            I'm sticking with it for now, because I need something cross-platform, and Sunbird runs on everything (because it runs on top of Firefox). But I'm forced to manage my "projects", "buckets", etc. manually, using text files. I'd like to find something more convenient.

            Comment

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