Backpack Calendar? A disappointment so far….

July 27, 2006

Backpackit, by 37 Signals, is a site I use a lot for my tasks and projects. It’s a great little task and project planner, and when combined with their Writeboard, makes for a nice little package. One thing it’s been missing for a while though is a calendar. Customers like me have been patiently waiting for what we anticipated would be a stellar calendar program.

Well. It just came out today and so far, I’m way disappointed. I realize it’s a work in progress and yes, has only been released for less than a day, but right now there are bugs and weird nuances, and not just the IE problems the developers mentioned before the release of the calendar.

Like Google Calendar, it’s an Ajax driven project, and like Google you cannot synchronize with Outlook. But unlike Google you can’t even import an i-Cal export, at least, not yet. [Note: I stand corrected. Apparently you CAN import i-Cal but only via sharing such a calendar from another site].

It’s also presented on a smaller page than Google, which is annoying as hell. They’ve wasted 2–3 inches of space at the bottom of my laptop screen, and at least 4 inches on the right side of the screen. That’s a lot of wasted screen space and it’s hard to see all your appointments easily.

Worse, adding events is quirky at the moment. If I try to enter a simple “8” for example, tracking kayleigh’s work hours, it makes it 8am. If I put “8 hrs” it simply says “hrs,” with no 8 at all. And while I can edit the “hrs” event, it won’t let me edit or even delete the “8” event. I have gibberish I can’t remove on my calendar for next Monday.

I could say, come on guys, we paying customers have been waiting a long time, but 37 Signals seems to do things their own way and with some occasionally weird priorities. While a customer priority was the calendar that most customers wanted to compare with Google Calendar, 30 Boxes, or even Airset, what module did 37 Signals toss out prior to the calendar? A way to send a voice mail to your Backpack. Huh?

While I’m using Google Calendar for some things, I’ll be sticking with Airset as my main calendar for a while. It synchronizes with Outlook and my Axim and just looks clean on the page. Now if Airset will update their mobile version for use with my new Verizon LG8300…..


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