simmel
Hi,

I am new to this software (in the final phase of evaluating it), but a veteran of using information representation software. I am quite impressed with what I've seen so far.

One area is of concern, and perhaps I have not discovered it yet: Is there a way to synchronize or connect PB's calendar feature with Outlook's calendar? Either two-way synchronization or even one-way export of PB's calendar items to Outlook?

Since I use MS Outlook as the central point for integrating my contacts/email/tasks/calendar, I would like to be able to have any calendar items I'd generate in PB to make their way to my Outlook calendar. Is this possible? If yes, how? If not (and THAT would be disappointing), then is this a feature expected in the near future?

Any help|suggestions|thoughts about this topic would be much appreciated.

Thank you,

SSS

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Tracy
Hi SSS,
Outlook calendar integration is a highly requested feature that is on our feature request list. PB4 is our first edition with calendar functionality, so I would expect to see more advancements in future releases.
Tracy
Tracy Barr
TheBrain Technologies
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simmel
Thank you, Tracy, for your response. I must say that I was surprised that the PB product management decided for a built-in solution on this topic: calendar functionality is pervasive today, everybody uses something, most people use Outlook, no one wants to keep more than one calendar (I have problems keeping one of them straight so it makes little commercial and practical sense to build another calendar functionality.

While I understand that you cannot commit to anything right this moment, but I would strongly suggest that your team take a VERY hard look at this, scrap the built-in one, and instead create a high quality synch feature with Outlook (and others, perhaps) -- consistent with the rest of the phylosophy of this marvelous piece of software (PB I mean).

As they say in some circles: "Just do it!"  :-))

SSS

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Axla
Simmel,

Thanks for taking this topic seriously! I've been using PB for approx 1.5 years, and I really like it!!

Your conclusion is provocative, but correct!

I agree that PB should scrap its current development of the Calendar. As you correctly point out "most people use Outlook, no one wants to keep more than one calendar". My suggestion is to start some form of 'mash up' with the Outlook database, and represent the data in Outlook in the familiar PB format.

As several on this forum have requested, a multiplex view is required where Contacts and Calendar (Tasks are normal thoughts) are in separate plexes, with a main Plex where it all is linked together. Maybe Contacts and Calendar items could just be separated by Categories?

Thanks for concluding so bluntly, and looking forward to future posts.

Good luck with your further testing!
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agnor
Not Outlook, though.  Please, anything but outlook.

Something open and standards-based (ie., an iCal [standard, not Apple program] implementation)  would be great.

Building it atop one application alone isn't a good idea.


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Axla
agnor,

Yes, you are right!

Open standards are obviously better than Outlook! I can't belive I didn't think about that.

If you have some good iCal calendar suggestions which supports drag and drop into PB, please share.
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zenrain
Bump on the open standard. Outlook is nice but...
Oh, who am I kidding? No it's not.
Windows 7
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tcahill
I'd like to respectfully disagree with the suggestion that PB discontinue its Calendar functionality. I very strongly support an evolving time-sense for PB as a model of our own thinking.

Who of us isn't preoccupied with time in one way or another? To any extent that PB can capture the essence of time is to the same extent a valid representation of a key component of our minds.

More practically speaking, as I use PB daily in my work, I'd like PB to track the time I spend on different projects.

Of course, I've always wanted PB to be a handy conduit of data to other applications I use. After all, it is one of the primary places where I keep my "stuff". If PB could talk ical, that would be swell
Be vewy quiet. I'm hunting wabbit.
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Spacenexus
Hi

I agree with Tim here and can also apprecaite Simmel's comments very much.

There are two separate issues which are currently being confused as one:

a) PB time function capability
b) Integration of that time function capability with Outlook and other applications

So b) is a function of the wider issue of a).

In my view PB needs its own deeply comprehensive time function capability in the form of full internal calendar features. However, I use Outlook very deeply and integrate contacts and emails by linking into PB4. If my Outlook were not available the content value of PB4 would drop since the links point to outlook folders.

My integration into outlook is a choice. I could choose to add contacts in PB4 notes and repeat the data, or drag the outlook contact field into PB4 but i choose to link dynamically so both PB4 and Outlook work in unison on the same computer.

In the same way i want that choice with calendar. I want to be able to either add calendar items in PB4 or add items in Outlook and be able to link the outlook calendar item to the PB4 calendar. In that case the outlook calendar item would be integrated by linking with the appropriate thought via the PB4 calendar. My description may sound complex but the approach is simple and fits with other PB4/Outlook behavour.

Like other Outlook items, i can drag a calendar item to PB4 plex but there is currently no auto linking with PB4 calendar because PB4 does not specifically recognise an Outlook calendar item. Having that capability would be the most appropriate behaviour map for this i beleive.

We as users should scope out the requested requirements so that both the issues a) and b) can be defined and we can provide some clear feedback to the development team.

Comments?

cheers

Jim


@200229:
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jostber
I'm with you on the open standards. I like the built-in calendar functionality too, and hope it is further developed with a timeline functionality for PB.
TheBrain 8.0.2.2 Slackware 14.2 KDE 4.10.3 Java 1.8 / (Windows 7)
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Axla

Hi,

After having posted the provocative "scrap the calendar function in PB", I've reflected over my preferred use of a calendar function in PB.

YES, we need a calendar in PB! I just don't like it the way it is today. Why can't every hour/day/week/month/year be a thought? If we agree that we can have every time 'increment' presented to us as a thought, then why not in a tabular format, as thoughts? The step further into Project Management is obvious, and should be considered! This has been commented several times by myself and several other members of this community. I'm sure Harlan and his team have noted this request.

Outlook, is it good or evil? Yes, it is!
(Just to be clear, I'm using 'Outlook' as a general term for all PIMs)

We have to acknowledge that Outlook is virtually omnipresent (and therefore evil ), and we need to find ways to work with it, rather than fight it like Don Quijote and his windmills.

Outlook is a good piece of software that tries to be what PB is (and can be), but never will achieve. Building PB on top of the Outlook database is not the way to go because it is proprietary, although a form of sync function would be great! Or as Spacenexus suggests above, to link certain metadata from Outlook to PB.

Should email be sync'ed too? Yes, and no! Emails can be synced, but only to be linked to the Contacts and Calendar in PB. This is similar to Spacenexus suggestion. I don't want PB to be an email client, there are many other much better packages that can do that. But I would like to choose contacts in PB and send mass emails to them. (This is my biggest problem when using PB as a Contacts database)

By adding some form of back-end search function, metadata can be extracted and inserted into the PB database, such as time stamp of email sent or recieved, contacts sent to & recieving, contact names. The same information can be extracted from Calendar and Tasks. Using this data, PB could link all the information together and form a knowledge network presented in a slightly modified PB GUI we all know.

So what is my conclusion and vision of PB?
PB needs to encompass more metadata (due to the added presentation functionality), sync'ing and 'mashing', all presented slightly better. Since PB is (to me) a thought reservoar where ALL forms of software, files, and relationships are placed, I want to see the GUI taken a step closer to my analog brain, with relationship, time lines, and logical trains of thought. Technically speaking, I want front end (GUI) improvements with the necessary back-end additions.

I guess I just reiterated what Spacenexus wrote above, but in more detail, but I just wanted to clarify my position on the Calender issue.

Edit: below -> above
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