Phillip Smith

Daylite adventures: Migrating from MobileMe to Spanning Sync

30-second summary:

  • Apple is forcing an upgrade to their new MobileMe calendar on May 5, 2011
  • The new MobileMe calendars are not CalDav compatible and break calendar synchronization for some third-party applications like Daylite CRM
  • I use Daylite with MobileMe calendar syncing & needed a solution before May 5th
  • After some investigation & experimentation, I implemented to Spanning Sync 3 (referral link) to replace MobileMe
  • Now, thanks to Spanning Sync, I can continue to use Daylite and also enjoy Google calendar and contacts syncing (that syncs to both my Android phone and iPad)

If you want the nitty-gritty, read on...

Back in February, I got an e-mail from Apple's MobileMe department informing me that I would need to upgrade to the new MobileMe calendar by May 5th. The new calendar promised "calendar sharing with friends and family," a "beautiful new Web application," and "event invitations with 1-click RSVP" -- what could be better, right?

Sadly, MobileMe's new calendar is a bust, and has left many people like me looking for other solutions to keep our various calendars in sync. Specifically, I used MobileMe as a hub for calendar data, various applications would create calendar events and MobileMe would keep those events in sync across my Macs, iOS devices, and also provided a Web-based calendar. The new calendar breaks this functionality for third-party applications -- coming from Apple, this is no big surprise.

Since 2005, I've been using Daylite to keep my life organized. You know: appointments, contact information, projects and to-do lists, and so on. Back then, it was pretty much the only game in town for Outlook-like functionality on a Mac, i.e., something that integrated with my e-mail-centric workflow.

I've paid for Daylite maybe two or three times over the years -- the initial purchase, the mail integration plug-in, and maybe one upgrade -- so, overall, I'm pretty happy with the cost-benefit analysis. However, the company that makes Daylite (Marketcirle) is moving toward a software rental business model -- a model that I'm not super-fond of -- and that means it's probably time to think about moving on.

Alas, I've not had the time to find a replacement yet, so the looming date of May 5th to migrate from MobileMe was starting to feel ominous.

There was a feisty thread over on the Marketcircle forums about the issue. Long story short, the choices appeared to be: migrate to a Daylite-only solution for syncing (requiring a hefty investment in software licenses and ongoing annual fees), or implement a third-party sync solution like BusyMac or Spanning Sync.

I had some free time this weekend and decided not to delay the inevitable. Conclusion: after a decent amount of reading and experimenting, I migrated to Spanning Sync 3 (referral link).

So, basically, my system works like so:

  • I'm still using Daylite on my main laptop (where I create most appointments and contacts) * Daylite synchronizes to my local iCal and Address Book
  • Spanning Sync now synchronizes appointments and contacts to Google
  • My Google Nexus One (Android) phone syncs with Google calendar and contacts
  • My iPad also syncs with Google calendar and contacts using the Exchange sync option 
  • Spanning sync also runs on my Dell Mini 10v "Hackintosh" to keep iCal and Address Book synced over there too

So, after a couple hours of mucking about, I've now got the same functionality that I had before, plus I can see and edit my appointments & contacts on my Android phone and share calendars with other people -- both are big bonuses. More than that, now that I'm migrated to Google calendar and contacts, I feel like I'm one step less dependent on Daylite.

Maybe one of these days I'll be able to migrate completely. (If you have suggestions, please let me know. Extra points if it runs on Linux too.)

UPDATE: I haven't tried it, but the folks at Eltima e-mailed me after I wrote this post about their SyncMate software. Looks interesting if you have a whole whack of devices to sync, and want to sync more than just calendars and contacts. 

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Hi, I'm Phillip Smith, a veteran digital publishing consultant, online advocacy specialist, and strategic convener. If you enjoyed reading this, find me on Twitter and I'll keep you updated.


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