Hi-Tech Calendars

I am always on the lookout for the perfect calendar utility. A fact of life at work is that, on the job, we are all hopelessly tied to the MS Outlook Calendar. Appointments, meetings, walkthroughs, vacation days — all must be scheduled in Outlook Calendar; reminders must be turned on, and planned meeting attendance and in-office times must be visible to others on the WAN.

At home, I finally discovered and installed Now Calendars and Now Contact for Windows, passable ports of the old 1900’s Macintosh Now Utilities calendars I used to depend on everywhere. Now I load in birthdays, other recurring dates and days off, but oddly, I don’t really attempt to keep it so organized I could ever use it as a planner.

File synchronization is always a problem and always will be. Oh, sure, I could use Outlook at home too, and then my work and home calendars might have a better chance of learning how to talk to each other. But I don’t use Outlook at home. At home I switch e-mail apps like Imelda Marcos switched shoes.

I know there are web calendars and in fact I have one installed on this site. I even have a second, private, password-protected personal calendar up there. Do you think I’m going to upload all my doctors appointments to the web? I can protect them, but, the truth is, I’m not going to bother.

I even looked at Blackberrys and Samsung PDA-phones and the latest HP technology. All very interesting. I am a gadget freak who somehow never bought a PDA of any kind. And, you know what, I am on a program to simplify life instead of making it more complicated. So here is what I did.

I finally went down to my dentist in June and asked them if they still had the pocket calendars they hand out every year. They did. These are the ones that have one page per month and that’s it. You write anything you want into the little day squares in the month page. Mine has the little cartoon picture of Mr. Molar, and his bright smile, holding a toothbrush. His hands are the Disney style cartoon gloves, with three fingers and an opposable thumb.

And I love my new high-tech calendar. I’ve filled July out entirely, so that it looks like the Classifieds section. August and the balance of 2004 have all the important dates. My handwriting is still better than I suspected, too. To synchronize my Hillsdale Dental calendar with mycalender in Phoenix (where we are located now), I put it in my backpack and open it up down here. Gosh, all of the information is already loaded!

So that is my high-tech calendar synch solution. After 15 years of trying every scheme known to cyberkind, the elegance of simplicity comes at the end of the search, not the beginning.

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