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MobileMe maimed my calendar

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Jul. 24th, 2008 | 02:47 pm
mood: angryangry

I keep a lot of information on iCal, appointments and reminders in the calendar part, and most importantly my task and project lists in the to-do part. I decided to do this because:

1. Local calendar apps are almost always quicker and easier to use than online ones, and certainly are in this case;
2. The system-wide integration of iCal is great - in particular, between Mail and iCal using both the built-in functions and also MailTags;
3. It's even Applescriptable so I have even more options, say, turning Yojimbo notes into iCal to-dos automatically;
4. It syncs to different machines, and even though I have a 3G modem and work from home a lot of the time anyway I don't always have reliable net access. Sometimes I actually turn the modem off so that I can get some work done without being tempted to go on the net or check my email every couple of minutes. (This also saves the battery.)

The syncing part is pretty essential, really, if I'm going to use it properly, but I've not really had problems before syncing. Well, that's not really true. I've had times when it just wouldn't sync because .Mac was down, but in the end it synced. I might have a few duplicated items due to having added the same ones on different machines but that's easily correctable. I have even, a couple of times, had some old items from my Palm turn up when syncing with that, which need to be removed, or perhaps I rename an item and syncing it changes it back. No huge deal, irritating but I sometimes do some odd stuff with syncing (like doing it between Tiger and Leopard machines as well as Palms and a phone).

What certainly hasn't happened to me before is that a whole bunch of calendars changed back to how they were the previous day - or actually a couple of days in some cases. I've been reorganising things and moving calendars about and ticking off things that I had done and so on; housekeeping. I then took my laptop out yesterday afternoon/evening, after syncing, and lo and behold, something didn't look right. I'm sure I didn't put that there. Surely I ticked that item off on Monday? Where is the "GTD" calendar group that I created? And so on.

Yes, it's dumped a load of my tasks, and the thing is, part of the whole point of the pseudo-GTD system that I use is that you have to have confidence in it. If you try to keep all of the details in your head of everything you are doing, that's what drives you mad, the "open loops" in your mind which you are constantly worrying about. Therefore, you need to be able to put the details down somewhere secure, to clear them out of your head. If you are not confident that where you are putting them is secure, they stay in your head, and you've achieved nothing.

At this rate I may just move back to using TaskPaper to store tasks (which has lots of "context" and "project" support) and maybe even just keeping all my calendar items in text files in folders. Yeah, why not do that? It's compatible with everything, I can mess with it with anything, I could set up daemons to send reminders of events...

calendar folders

Okay, it's unlikely that I will go that far but I am really hacked off today, partly as a result of all the usual anxiety caused by not knowing what the hell is going on, that had been staved off by being organised and thinking that I could at least trust bloody tasks and events to stay where they were, coming back. All this bloody time I spend working out my system and deciding between tools, all the procrastination that seemed finally to have come to a useful and productive end, even if I'm still vacillating between using NoteBook and Yojimbo, and *bam* one of the central tools folds under me.

I'm now going to have to (a) go through all of my projects and tasks to make sure that things are up to date, and (b) make sure I check that my calendars are actually the same after syncing, which will mean I can't actually sync remotely and have to make sure it happens when I'm at home. Jobs. You suck, Jobs.

Still, I can count myself lucky, loads of people still can't even get their mail, a problem I am not affected by since I don't use my .mac / MobileMe addresses, having a reliable third-party do it for me. Really, if there was somebody who would offer that sort of thing with the above criteria fulfilled I would be with them like a shot.

Update 25th July 08: it’s only bloody gone and done it again. At least I have backups, somewhere, and the information on MobileMe seems to be okay. This is definitely something to do with syncing with a Tiger machine. I am just going to turn off Calendar sync, and possibly avoid using the iBook at all now, at least for anything serious.

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