MS Exchange & me (as a user)

Why do ppl use the calendar on Microsoft (Office) Outlook? – Because it runs on their place of work and syncs with their PDAs.

In my case: I use MS Outlook under WinXP (at home) to sync the address book on my mobile phone (despite of online service as mentioned earlier). I could just as well use an alternative e-mail client, but I am using MS Outlook (under XP, that is).

There’s this colleague of mine who uses an MS Excel sheet to manage his appointments. Needles to say that these sheets are on his computer only and remain there.
We requested him to open up his calendar to the whole team but he hasn’t done so since then.
I am not the one to complain about this because I am also hardly ever using that MS Outlook calendar at work.

outlook2003 preview 07
screenshot of a calendar @ MS Outlook 2003

The other day an old friend of mine (who happens to work in the same organization) asked me if I’d like to have lunch with him. Now, instead of just accepting my “OK”, he then proceeded and sent me a request for the Outlook calendar. Since we both work at the same company, since we’re both using Outlook to organize our schedules, since he has a company phone that syncs with our MS Exchange server – all of this makes sense (for him).

However – I am not using a company phone. And I do prefer running a paper version of my calendar. If it had to be an electronical version, I would love to have one that:

  • syncs with just about any phone / PDA / etc.
  • syncs with any corporate IT structure & their regulations (!!!!)
  • is an all-in-one solution for private and professional contacts
  • has a public and private section

Google Calendar…is it a suitable alternative for my needs?

And: a request for an open synchronisation – is that due to MS Exchange or the inability / unwillingness of our IT dept. to unlock this special mode due to security reasons & co? What is MS Exchange capable of and what kind of services are used? What is required so that users from different organisations can have one tool online that manages their schedules and still syncs with all different systems? Which system doesn’t require one single server but instead just syncs different servers & user data to a global network? Which system (mabye Zimbra?) enables me to sent a request for an appointment to a user that isn’t connected to our MS Exchange server?

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