iPad, ICS Meeting Invites, Outlook, Blackberry Sync Solution
I have been struggling trying to keep 3 copies of Outlook (non Exchange) Calendars and Contacts in sync for a long time. There are lots of manual kludgy ways to do this. But when I add my iPad and a need to be able to accept meeting invites (not to mention a Blackberry), I’ve been pretty frustrated.
My second problem: Apple for whatever (probably business) reason, can’t read Outlook ICS meeting requests files (and apparently won’t let any third party app to update the iPad Calendar). And third, there is RIM, whose Blackberry Desktop Manager doesn’t even support Outlook 2010 yet.
I’m happy to report that I’ve solved problems one and two. And still using Outlook 2007.
Microsoft, I hope you are listening..
I’ve started a 60 day trial with MobileMe. After a couple of hours of doing some backups of my Contacts and Calendars and installing iTunes and the MobileMe Windows Control Panel, I’m happy to say that all three computers are marching to the same drummer and are in sync. I’ve added my iPad and yep, 4 devices all with the same data. I’m still using the Blackberry Desktop Manager via USB to sync that device to Outlook on one of my computers.
My remaining issue was what to do with meeting invites while away from the computers. Enter a nifty app called RDP Lite from the iTunes store that I’d already been using for some time. This app will work with all versions of Windows that support being a RDP host. Since I’m using W7 Ultimate on everything, I’m covered. While it is a little kludgy, if I get a meeting invite via email on the iPad, I’ll just use RDP Lite to a computer at home (and BTW, RDP Lite supports port specification so if you have multiple computers on your network and change the RFDP port for other computers, you are covered).
I open Outlook (if not already running) and retrieve mail, click the ICS and add to the Calendar on that computer.MobileMe takes over from there and syncs with the other computers and the iPad. And if I schedule something on the iPad manually, MobileMe syncs with the three computers.
Here is a screen shot of RDP Lite on my iPad. You can see the MobileMe icon in the system tray (clouds on a blue background). It’s really working!
I still have to jump through some hoops to sync Notes and Tasks, but I’ll figure something out for that.
Is MobileMe worth $99 a year? Well, 59 days left in my trial period before I get charged. I’ll post an update when I decide.