I really wanted to like Spanning Sync, I bought a lifetime copy and tried it for over a month. However, I’d had to give it up and go back to my old solution: subscribing to my Google Calendars in iCal.
Here are the reasons I’m turning Spanning Sync off (for now):
- It would somehow decide not to do scheduled syncs for long periods of time (8+ hours, sometimes days) with no notification to me. I’d have to go look for issues when I realized things were out of sync.
- Every time I upgraded it would forget which calendars to sync. This meant I’d have to reselect all of the calendars on every machine and it would take a very long time to do the first sync again.
- When an upgrade was required, the app would just stop working. It wouldn’t tell you this – you had to open the preference pane to discover the reason why.
- Event alarms did not sync, and there was no setting (that I could find) to set default alarms for items being synced in to iCal. This resulted in me being late for things because I rely on those reminders.
I’m hopeful that this will be a temporary departure from Spanning Sync, and that in a couple of months when I try it again I’ll be able to rely on it. It was a very handy service when it was working and now that we have over-the-air sync between Google Calendar and the BlackBerry, this would really make a nice solution.
I’m not a Blackberry guy, so I don’t know how that would play in, but my hope is that Google adds CalDAV support, both as a client and as server. As I understand it, Google acting as a CalDAV server would allow editing both in GCal and iCal. Acting as a client would let people serve their own calendars (assuming we’re running CalDAV servers, of course).
I’m not opposed to paying for good software, of course, but I love the idea of this stuff becoming part of the standard, expected feature set.
I hope it’s a temporary departure too! We’re constantly working to make Spanning Sync better, and very much appreciate feedback from our customers about what we’re doing right and wrong. Of course, I’d prefer to hear about those things before they leave, but we’re eager to get feedback in whatever form.
I’m more than happy to look at the specific issues you’ve run into. If you’re willing, please create a problem report (“Advanced…”, “Create report”) and send it to us at email@example.com. That will help us diagnose and fix any bugs.
We’d also like your input on design issues like how to best notify users of new mandatry versions, and how to reconcile the different alarm/reminder models of iCal and Google Calendar. iCal supports at most two alarms (of type message, email, open file, or run script), and Google Calendar supports up to three reminders (of type SMS, email, and popup), it’s not immediately clear what “sync alarms” means.
Anyway, I’m sorry to see you go and hope we can earn you back as a user.
I did have opportunity to report issues once or twice, but on balance I found that there were too many issues and I didn’t have the time or energy to pursue getting them reported and fixed.
Syncing alarms is a dead easy problem to throw a bandaid on – just have a “iCal alarm setting for events created in Google Calendar” option in your prefs.
I’m generally pretty responsive with the apps that I beta test, but I didn’t sign up to beta test here and I feel like there are too many issues right now for me to trust the product in its current state.
End of the day, I need it to sync. When it doesn’t do that reliably I can’t use it.
I look forward to future releases and will check back again in a few months – or if I have some time to properly report the issues I was running in to.
Thanks for the response. There are issues with Leopard iCal that prevent it from being a reliable sync client (Google for “stuck iCal problem”), which we’re optimistic will be fixed in 10.5.2. But those are the only known issues that would prevent Spanning Sync from being reliable. The other things you mentioned are design issues, which I’d love to get your input on. I’ll contact you via email.
hey guys – I am happy to see a very recent post of what sounds like a committed customer and Spanning Sync staff!
I just completed my evaluation and will also put in my comment that lack of synchronization of reminders is one of the missing links for me.
My 2 cents on the matter is imagine “most” people have a “primary” reminder. Speaking for myself, I use only 1 reminder for 90% of my events. for the remaining 10%, I have started to use 2 due in part to the iPhone’s “create event” interface. I cannot see myself using 3 reminders and in general, I imagine those who use 3 reminders on Google Calendar are willing to workaround the issue short-term to get alarms synced.
I am currently looking at alternative solutions right now and certainly intend to stay abreast of Spanning Sync developments!
We’ve just released Spanning Sync v1.2 Beta, which includes our solution for alarms/reminders: when you sync an event from Google Calendar to iCal, that event inherits your default alarm settings, so it’s just as if you had created it in iCal manually. Similarly, when you sync an event from iCal to Google Calendar, it inherits your default reminders settings on Google Calendar.
I hope you’ll try it out. You can download the beta at spanningsync.com/beta-download. If you need your trial period extended, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and be sure to include your Google account name.
Good news for those wanting an alternative to spanning sync: Busy-sync 2.0 is coming soon including bi-dir google sync + ical sync between macs on local network or internet.
No in betweens
one time very reasonable price (no yearly subscription)
This is one product I will buy, having decided to pass on spanning sync due to the financial implications and in between server limitation.
Check it out:
Another vote for Busysync. There’s no middle server as far as I know, and it’s $20 at the moment (until out of beta). Also, If you use the coupon code “DARINGFIREBALL”, you’ll get another $4 off.
A sweet deal, in my opinion.
I’m with you. I followed you on to GooSync and had so much grief, I could not rely on it. I’m back to just subscribing and I never ever think about it.
I have now switched to the iphone from the blackberry and am now once again looking for a proper sync solution OTA and am once again stuck but in reviewing the Goosync site, I see lots of ongoing issues, bugs, and “it will be working really soon now” comments. Sorry GooSync team. I’m with Alex. You’re working on a difficult problem but if you can’t fix it and make it reliable, then we can’t stay there. My job as a client is to buy your product and then happily forget about it, not have to manage it update it, tweak it, reconfigure it, just to keep going.
Best of luck though.
Thanks for the post Alex.
I just tried Busysync and it was very easy to use. All my iCal calendars easily synched with Google calendars.
[…] directly with Google Calendar with no intermediary service. It does not suffer from any of the issues I had with SpanningSync (forgetting to sync, forgetting which calendars to sync after an upgrade, stopping working when an […]
The software worked perfectly for a few days – then it told me (every few minutes) that I had THOUSANDS of conflicts in my calendars – even though they seemed to be working perfectly. Plus I don’t have thousands of events in iCal. Then I started to get duplicates, triplicates, quadruplicates! Suddenly everything in Google calendar disappeared. That is until I uninstalled Spanning Sync and everything returned to normal. Looks like there’s some work to be done!
Yes I have 10.5.3.
Have you guys tried the newest version of Spanning Sync, or even the Spanning Sync Beta 2.0? They have some really great new features including contact synchronization, and the beta version should be going public soon.
Find out more about Spanning Sync at my site: http://www.sync-my-c[...]ng-sync.html
New Spanning Sync works better than busysync, 5 shared calendars with 3 Macs, suddenly conflict. used Spanning Sync for 4 months.
Not a single problem.
5$ off if you use that voucher : ETHN7C
I guess everyone knows that this functionality is free with Google Sync.
I bought a one-year license to Spanning Sync. Needless to say, I won’t be renewing it.
spanning sync is completely useless and expensive, ‘GCALDaemon’ is free/open-source, and does not require a server in between. Charlie… you’re a total self promoting weasel.. why are you posting comments on someone’s blog because they did an honest review of your software ? Fix it, rather than offering out of band (ie. controlled/private/google won’t cache) “file a support ticket”.. what a joke. say what the problem is here, something like “my software has bugs and is not reliable ” ?
I agree – it worked for a fortnight and stopped without a warning – to charge money for it is akin to fraud