Thu, 17 Dec 2009 BusyMac BusyCal 1.0 review
Calendar program provides iCal’s missing features
- Manufacturer: BusyMac
- Pros: Familiar interface; syncing between users; nonmodal info panel; flexible calendar views; repeating to do items; snooze button.
- Cons: No write support for CalDAV or Exchange calendars; limited AppleScript support.
- Min specs: Mac OS X 10.5, or Mac OS X 10.6, Universal.
- Price: $40 (£24) per computer; upgrade from BusySync $10 per computer; 20 percent discount for 2 or more units
- Star rating:
Favourite improvement on iCal
My favourite improvement on iCal, however, is the alert window that appears when an alarm sounds. You can snooze an alarm (with a user-selectable delay) or dismiss it - and you can do all this, even for multiple events at a time, by using the keyboard if you prefer.
BusyCal’s core syncing features work just as well as in BusySync, keeping events in sync with other Macs, Google Calendar, or both, and letting you optionally set passwords for others to read or write to any shared calendar. (Because BusyCal uses the same underlying technology as BusySync, you can freely mix and match the two, although only one or the other can run on any given Mac.)
BusyCal uses iCal’s storage mechanism for calendar data, so BusyCal and iCal remain automatically in sync, and BusyCal events can synchronize with an iPhone or iPod touch by way of MobileMe or iTunes.
Unfortunately, because iCal doesn’t support BusyCal’s novel event types (such as sticky notes and banners), such events won’t sync from one computer to another on the same account via MobileMe, making it potentially awkward to find a configuration that works as well for one person with multiple Macs as for two or more people with a single Mac each.
As much of an improvement as it is on iCal, BusyCal can do better in some areas. For example, it offers read-only access to CalDAV and Exchange calendars (whereas iCal lets you write to them too), has minimal AppleScript support compared with iCal, and does not offer calendar groups.
It also lacks the kind of mini-month view iCal has. (BusyMac says calendar groups and mini-month views will be available soon in a free upgrade, that improved AppleScript support is planned, and that write support for CalDAV and Exchange is under consideration.) But considering how much better BusyCal is in virtually every other area, these are minor complaints.