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The Syndicate

 Author:  matt
 Dated:  Wednesday, September 12 2007 @ 03:43 PM PDT
 Viewed:  1366 times  
TechnologyAs I'm sure my regular readers (both of you) know, I love my phone. Lately, I've been playing around with some new mobile applications, and thus far they've been pretty good.

Goosync is a service that lets you synchronize the calendar on your mobile phone (which on mine is fairly robust and useful) with your Google calendar. The free version is great for most people, but it has a couple of limitations.

It will only look at your primary calendar, so if you maintain more than one calendar (holidays, work, personal, etc.) or if you subscribe to other people's calendars, those events won't be synchronized. Also, the free version will only look at events thirty days in advance, so your upcoming vacation won't make it to your phone until you're within a month. The paid version does not have these limitations, and adds options for controlling whether or not reminder notifications should occur, and a couple other bells and whistles. Both versions support Google Apps domains, though the set up for these is not intuitive.

Overall, it's a great application, and I think they struck a good balance between the features they give away and those that cost money, with the majority of users comfortably covered in the free offering. Don't be afraid to upgrade if you need it though, because it's only 20 per year for the advanced account.

Also in the realm of synchronization is an application called Shozu. This little app has a few different functions. The first, and primary in my mind, is 'Share-It', which gives you the ability to push pictures and video from your cameraphone to damn near anywhere on the Internet. I've got mine set up with links to Flickr and YouTube, but the list of available services goes far beyond that, including one called simply 'Email' that will let you send the picture as an attachment to whatever e-mail address you want. You can probably already do that from your phone, but Shozu certainly makes it easier.

Another function it has, called 'ZuCasts' is basically a video podcast reader with ready made subscriptions for some different news sites and such. It's not altogether that exciting to me, but I can see how some people would enjoy this feature.

The last trick that Shozu has is the ability to back up your contacts. My particular phone lets me do this already in a myriad of ways (SIM card, MicroSD, USB link to a computer), but I know a lot of people with more traditional phones might find this to be a life saver, and it will supposedly work when moving from one kind of phone to another.

Lest you think that I'm a fawning fanboy, I have to say that there are a couple of drawbacks with Shozu. The first one is simultaneously minor and annoying. When using Share-It, your files show up on the other end with a few more tags and description information than they left with, all of it indicating that the sync was done via Shozu. This annoys the piss out of me, but I'm not dealing with a very high volume, so it's manageable for me to go back and remove the tags, etc.

The other problem, and one that could be a dealbreaker for people, is that different phones have different levels of compatability with the application. A lot of phones will only do the Share-It part, and some will only do Share-It and ZuCasts. The irony is that, in general, the phones that could most benefit from the ability to back up contacts are the ones on which that function isn't supported.

I like the utility that the Shozu application provides, and the software itself runs beautifully on my S60v3 device. I'd probably be willing to pay ten bucks a year or something in order to get rid of that incessant tagging, if only they offered that as an option.

Now, if only I could get a web browser that worked well enough that I wouldn't have to have three different ones installed...

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