Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Integrating Personal Information Manager accross Devices

I like to have integrated Personal Information Manager (Calendar, Task, Contacts, Notes, Files) across my devices. It just does not make sense for me to have different set of tasks, calendar, contacts, etc.. on different devices that I used.

On the pre-Cloud days I used BirdieSync at the core of my synching (I am a happy Thunderbird user). It worked well until I updated my mobile ecosystem to Apple (iPhone and iPad). It was the time when I switched my system to Cloud-based since trying to keep device-to-device synching was no longer practical. So, below are my current setup in general.

Backend : Google, Toodledo and Dropbox

After some searching I settle with Google, Toodledo and Dropbox  as backend :
  • Google : Calendar, Contacts, Email
  • Toodledo : Task, Support Notes
  • Dropbox : Files
They form a powerful combination to support all my data need.  Also, with a high availability of clients on virtually all devices I have great flexibility on forming the setup on the Frontend

Desktop : Thunderbird+Lightning and Addons

 On the desktop I manged to have one conveniently integrated setup below
  • Thunderbird + Lightning Calendar Addon. I only used the calendar on Lightning since the task on Toodledo does not support bidirectional synching to it
  • There are Google Providers Addon that helps sync contact and calendar with Thunderbird
  • For Toodledo, I mount it to Thunderbird using WepApp Tabs Addon
Apart from the above, Dropbox pretty much handle the rest of the data i.e: various files.

Mobile : Pocket Informant, Toodledo App 

It's quite flexible on the mobile side these days since lot of various options available to connect to the above backends. Here are just the highlights of what I used currently
  • Pocket Informant. It synched all calendar, task, contacts and notes to Google and Toodledo, so it's almost a one-stop solution for it
  • Dropbox client. The mobile version support file viewing to some extent.

Having a reliably integrated Information Manager is essential to have us really using it. Otherwise, on this time of multiple devices, we'll just play around with the system on the beginning and potentially discard it later on when the data become scattered and unusable.

I find the above setup working for me personally. You might find other setup more align with your usage and the level of integration that you think is acceptable.

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