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View Full Version : Back to Google Thanks To Companion Link



Hook
05-31-2012, 06:37 PM
I'm going to still hang out in the Deja Office for Android forum because I suspect I'm going to get too lonely in this forum, but I wanted to elaborate on some of the changes reflected in my signature for anyone else who might have similar needs. I am no longer using Deja Office. I am very much still using Companion Link. This has not come about because of a problem with Deja Office.

Let me explain (it's a little long winded).

I have for some time now been looking for the best solution for the fact that my personal life and my business life are walled off in certain ways. I am not allowed to sync anything to Outlook at work. The best solution to this seemed to be to use Google Calendar to reflect what was in both home Outlook and Work Outlook (I would not put complete work information in Google, but could put in just enough to understand at a glance how my time was blocked). The trouble was, work insisted on using very old versions of IE that were not suffered well by Google Calendar's web technology. I could do the same with home Outlook, but it wasn't very convenient not being able to see both programs side-by-side. So I adopted Deja Office for my personal calender and was very happy, but had to rely on much less convenient adding of work schedule indicators to my handheld.At least Deja Office gave me a great personal Calendar experience.

Now, when I got my first Android device in March of 2010, I used Google calendar for awhile. One of the things I discovered while doing so was a wonderful widget called Pure calendar widget. I've often thought that PIM makers should not be wasting development on widgets because widgets come out so much better when they are the focus of development and as data source neutral as possible. Widgets are not trivial. PCW is one of the best examples of this. I lost use of it when I lost use of Google calendar at work and I went to DJO, but I really missed it. With PCW, I can have a 30-day scrolling agenda on my home screen that only takes up 2 columns by 3 rows, allowing other widgets to co-exist. I tried to get the developer to enable reading from DJOs data base, but although he was interested, I failed to get anyone using DJO to vote for that feature. Thus the developer saw no reason to put in the work to make that happen.So, reluctantly, I gave up on it. Otherwise, DJO was a great experience.

Then, In mid April, something changed. I was allowed to have FireFox 11 at work. Suddenly, I had access to Google Calendar again. Further, a number of things had changed that made it more usable for my purposes. I tried it and realized again why it was such a convenient way to marry my personal and business PIM data. The question was, could I make it work with Outlook at home.

Let me just note that, unlike many, I don't have a problem with my data being in Google. Since I do most of my data entry on a computer with a full sized keyboard,it is convenient to pull it up anywhere. I don't worry much about the security of my data-- I suspect Google is better with it than some-- but I really like using Outlook and I must have my data stored locally. It must never be the case that not having Internet cuts me off from my data. I also must have everything easily synced to all devices. That means I need Outlook and Google to talk to each other which, in my previous experience, hasn't worked out that well.

So, with some trepidation, I put Companion Link 5 to the test and it worked beautifully. I did have to do some manual setting up of my data in Google Calendar to match what I had in Outlook in terms of categories to calendars, although I can't be sure I didn't miss an easier way to do this with Companion Link settings. Still, it was not that much effort and now Outlook and Google sync up very nicely. I should note that I am a PIM lightweight and that may make success easier. I track maybe 30 appointments a week, a small number of tasks, maybe 100 contacts and 50 notes at any one time. I have recurring stuff, but it's not complicated by exceptions and I don't have multiple time zones. Nonetheless, having everything available and reliably synced across devices is very important to me. Companion Link has allowed me to set up what to me is ideal involving multiple solutions and reliable syncing. If this sounds like a testimonial for Companion Link, it is. It is easily as valuable for cloud syncing as it is for conventional device to device syncing and is much easier to use than any other solution I have played with.

So here is my setup for anyone who is interested. The only reason I don't use DJO is because this setup makes using the conventional Android data bases and syncing through Google easier than any other arrangement.

Calendar: Data Entry in Google Calendar, syncs OTA to both my Samsung Player and my Nexus One, One-Way CL sync to Outlook Calendar every night when I get home from work.

Contacts: Data Entry in Outlook, One-way CL sync to Gmail contacts, OTA sync to both handhelds.

Tasks: Data Entry in Google Tasks, One way CL sync to Outlook.

What I like best: The easiest Syncing I have ever experienced, going back to my Palms. And I have Pure Calendar Widget back.

Notes is, of course, the odd man out. There is no good solution for syncing Outlook notes to Android without Deja Office, so I have stopped using Outlook notes and use Windows and Android programs that sync OTA with the excellent Simplenotes. (I don't want an Evernote everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach to notes-- I want plain text and full and easy sync).

This has now been working reliably for 30 days.

Sorry to be so verbose, but I wanted to be clear about what I am doing now. I especially wanted to be clear about how important Companion Link is to making this work the way I want it to work. :) Thank God they included this option and not just direct sync.

Again, thanks for giving us such great options, folks! :D

Kaena
06-04-2012, 11:20 AM
Hook - thanks so much for the great writeup! It's always nice to hear about how our customers use the software.

Cheers!

Thomas
06-06-2012, 07:26 AM
I'm going to still hang out in the Deja Office for Android forum because I suspect I'm going to get too lonely in this forum, but I wanted to elaborate on some of the changes reflected in my signature for anyone else who might have similar needs. I am no longer using Deja Office. I am very much still using Companion Link. This has not come about because of a problem with Deja Office.

Let me explain (it's a little long winded).

I have for some time now been looking for the best solution for the fact that my personal life and my business life are walled off in certain ways. I am not allowed to sync anything to Outlook at work. The best solution to this seemed to be to use Google Calendar to reflect what was in both home Outlook and Work Outlook (I would not put complete work information in Google, but could put in just enough to understand at a glance how my time was blocked). The trouble was, work insisted on using very old versions of IE that were not suffered well by Google Calendar's web technology. I could do the same with home Outlook, but it wasn't very convenient not being able to see both programs side-by-side. So I adopted Deja Office for my personal calender and was very happy, but had to rely on much less convenient adding of work schedule indicators to my handheld.At least Deja Office gave me a great personal Calendar experience.

Now, when I got my first Android device in March of 2010, I used Google calendar for awhile. One of the things I discovered while doing so was a wonderful widget called Pure calendar widget. I've often thought that PIM makers should not be wasting development on widgets because widgets come out so much better when they are the focus of development and as data source neutral as possible. Widgets are not trivial. PCW is one of the best examples of this. I lost use of it when I lost use of Google calendar at work and I went to DJO, but I really missed it. With PCW, I can have a 30-day scrolling agenda on my home screen that only takes up 2 columns by 3 rows, allowing other widgets to co-exist. I tried to get the developer to enable reading from DJOs data base, but although he was interested, I failed to get anyone using DJO to vote for that feature. Thus the developer saw no reason to put in the work to make that happen.So, reluctantly, I gave up on it. Otherwise, DJO was a great experience.

Then, In mid April, something changed. I was allowed to have FireFox 11 at work. Suddenly, I had access to Google Calendar again. Further, a number of things had changed that made it more usable for my purposes. I tried it and realized again why it was such a convenient way to marry my personal and business PIM data. The question was, could I make it work with Outlook at home.

Let me just note that, unlike many, I don't have a problem with my data being in Google. Since I do most of my data entry on a computer with a full sized keyboard,it is convenient to pull it up anywhere. I don't worry much about the security of my data-- I suspect Google is better with it than some-- but I really like using Outlook and I must have my data stored locally. It must never be the case that not having Internet cuts me off from my data. I also must have everything easily synced to all devices. That means I need Outlook and Google to talk to each other which, in my previous experience, hasn't worked out that well.

So, with some trepidation, I put Companion Link 5 to the test and it worked beautifully. I did have to do some manual setting up of my data in Google Calendar to match what I had in Outlook in terms of categories to calendars, although I can't be sure I didn't miss an easier way to do this with Companion Link settings. Still, it was not that much effort and now Outlook and Google sync up very nicely. I should note that I am a PIM lightweight and that may make success easier. I track maybe 30 appointments a week, a small number of tasks, maybe 100 contacts and 50 notes at any one time. I have recurring stuff, but it's not complicated by exceptions and I don't have multiple time zones. Nonetheless, having everything available and reliably synced across devices is very important to me. Companion Link has allowed me to set up what to me is ideal involving multiple solutions and reliable syncing. If this sounds like a testimonial for Companion Link, it is. It is easily as valuable for cloud syncing as it is for conventional device to device syncing and is much easier to use than any other solution I have played with.

So here is my setup for anyone who is interested. The only reason I don't use DJO is because this setup makes using the conventional Android data bases and syncing through Google easier than any other arrangement.

Calendar: Data Entry in Google Calendar, syncs OTA to both my Samsung Player and my Nexus One, One-Way CL sync to Outlook Calendar every night when I get home from work.

Contacts: Data Entry in Outlook, One-way CL sync to Gmail contacts, OTA sync to both handhelds.

Tasks: Data Entry in Google Tasks, One way CL sync to Outlook.

What I like best: The easiest Syncing I have ever experienced, going back to my Palms. And I have Pure Calendar Widget back.

Notes is, of course, the odd man out. There is no good solution for syncing Outlook notes to Android without Deja Office, so I have stopped using Outlook notes and use Windows and Android programs that sync OTA with the excellent Simplenotes. (I don't want an Evernote everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach to notes-- I want plain text and full and easy sync).

This has now been working reliably for 30 days.

Sorry to be so verbose, but I wanted to be clear about what I am doing now. I especially wanted to be clear about how important Companion Link is to making this work the way I want it to work. :) Thank God they included this option and not just direct sync.

Again, thanks for giving us such great options, folks! :D

Hook,

This is great feedback. Thanks.
Keep us posted on any new discoveries.

Hook
08-09-2012, 07:45 PM
I'm kind of splitting the difference now as, over the months, the uses for my two devices have evolved. My Samsung Galaxy Player 5 has become more and more my PDA, used very much like my Old Palm TX. I have been discovering the Player's big 5" screen easier and easier to enter data on and decided to use it that way more. I decided to put DejaOffice back on, party out of curiosity about the changes you have been making.

My phone which is used much more for quick look-up, especially while talking and so I still sync it with Google, still using CL to keep Google synced to Outlook.

I'm particularly interested in the Cloud Sync you are developing. I am hoping it is a version of the old secure wireless sync with a secure web interface. If so, I can't wait.

Hook
08-16-2012, 07:44 AM
And, now, I've shifted completely back to DJO (See sig, although who knows what will be down there a couple of months form now ;) ). I admit it, I'm always shifting things around trying to find the perfect PIM sync setup. The new version of Deja Office (2.2.7) and, particularly DejaOffice Cloud Sync, has completely won me over. Being able to keep both my devices and my computer all in sync OTA using a secure server rather than a web service is wonderful. Also, similar to the old secure wireless sync (which only handled one device), it is the most trouble free syncing I have ever experienced. And, as I've gotten more and more used to having a 5" screen, I've found it easier and easier to do data entry on my handheld.

So, I'm back and Google is out of the picture again. (at least until the next time I change my mind :rolleyes:)

Thanks for a great and continually improving product that allows me to keep using Outlook with my Android(s). :)