Syncing PIMs Without Google:2014

Discussion in 'Android OS' started by Hook, Sep 20, 2014.

  1. Hook

    Hook Have keyboard, will travel

    Messages:
    20,239
    Likes Received:
    13,564
    Trophy Points:
    288
    First, let me get something out of the way. There is nothing wrong with using Google or other cloud PIMs and, for many people, it is a very practical solution. There is no attempt here to talk anyone out of that nor do I claim this is a better solution. I also don't want to get into too much of a discussion of why one would or would not want to go that route. I'm a little gun shy because the last time I entered into a discussion like that here, someone I thought of as a helpful friend on the forum got rather angry at me. It still confuses me, but would just as soon not have a repeat. Take this as information for anyone who shares any part of my preference for having PIMs with both local data and local sync. Like many of my longer posts, even though there are probably only a few people who would share my interest, I am providing information I wish I had when I started out.

    There are two main solutions for maintaining PIMs with local data and local sync (a la Palm). One is Outlook based (or desktop PIM based as it will work with other PIMs/CRMs) and one not. I have talked about both in the past, but both have matured significantly in the past year, especially the last 6 months, and increased their functionality. Thus I thought it worthwhile to have an updated discussion and to provide some insight on what my current solution is and why. They are Outlook paired with both Companion Link (CL) and Deja Office (DJO), and Pimlical from CESD, who created Datebook6.

    Syncing Outlook with Companion Link and Deja Office

    The first method is syncing Outlook without using Google or any cloud. There are actually reasonable ways to sync Outlook with Google, including the software discussed here and an excellent program called Gsyncit. However, If you want to accurately sync Outlook with Android directly, without Google, the best and most reliable method I have found is Companion Link (paid) and Deja Office.

    Companion Link, the part you pay for, is essentially a conduit and control panel. It is very similar to what Chapura used to sell for Syncing Palms with Outlook. It actually provides conduits for a large array of Desktop PIMs (they call them CRMs for Customer Relationship Managers) including Palm Desktop, ACT!, Salesforce, etc, but I'm focusing on Outlook. It also offers a large array of syncing methods-- two kinds of USB sync (one uses Android's ADB methods), Wi-Fi, encrypted wireless sync through their servers, Bluetooth and their own web-based cloud service with push sync. I use direct USB sync (no ADB) which works well over the MTP connection forced by newer versions of Android. Finally, this is a very cross-platform solution. Although my experience is limited to Windows-Outlook-Android, it is available for both Windows and Mac and syncs with Android, iOS (iPhone and iPad), BlackBerry (not sure which versions) and Windows Phone. However, everything I have to say concerns syncing with and using the PIM information on Android.

    On the device you use a free (no ads) PIM called Deja Office. It uses it's own data base, as many good PIMs on Android do because the native android data bases are very limited and Google is not even good about providing full APIs. For instance, Calengoo, an excellent PIM for using Google, offers the option of a more fully featured data base. Deja Office does provide tools for getting particularly their contacts data base information to show up in the native Android contacts data base so you can use your contacts for caller ID. They now also offer a method to do that with contacts directly, but I haven't tried it.

    Deja Office is a very capable PIM and will even sync Outlook's Journal (which I never use). It has a simple, clean interface, and, sometimes to a fault, is uncluttered. However, it is easy to read and simple to set up. It is a full PIM suite: Calendar, Tasks, Contacts, Notes and Journal, all or any synced with Outlook. They do a good job of managing to port most of Outlook's key features into the Android App. I have been using this solution since 2011 and the only time it messed up was when I foolishly tried to sync Outlook with both Android and Google. As far as I'm concerned multidirectional syncs are just asking for trouble with any software. On the other hand, CL does offer multiple syncing profiles if you want to sync, say Outlook, to multiple devices, including cloud services. Having more than one profile costs more, but it does a very clean job of keeping all the syncing flags sorted.

    Like any method of syncing with Outlook, going back to my Palms, the information sync is not always perfect (usually because of strange ways that Outlook marks things) and it often takes a few attempts to figure out what exactly works best. They have a plethora of web based references and set-up tutorials to help you out and if you have real problems, you can phone them for help. However, once it is set up, it is very reliable and the developers are responsive and quick to try to fix things. They will even provide in-house versions to a customer to see if it fixes their problem before incorporating it into a beta or release version.

    This *is* a pricey solution. It is $50 for a single CRM - single device solution (you can install on up to 3 computers however and upgrades are free for something like 2 years, although I don't think the number is set in stone) or $15/3 months by subscription. There is a 14 Day free trial. They offer Web, email and phone support. Despite the price, if syncing your Android with Outlook without using a cloud server is a priority, this is the way to go as far as I'm concerned. And if you want to have the same solution over many platforms and not just Android, this may well be the only choice.

    Pimlical Desktop and Pimlical for Android by Pimlico Software (CESD)

    This has been in development for a very long time, but it only, finally, became a complete solution-- including having all 4 PIMs in a local database and direct sync between the desktop and Android-- this past year. This solution truly mimics how people used their Palms. It features a desktop that is very much like Palm Desktop (Pimlical Desktop, henceforth called Pimlical/D) and an Android App that is very much like Datebook6 (Pimlical for Android, henceforth called Pimlical/A). Both will sync with Google, but I am ignoring that. I am looking at Direct sync with local data bases.

    Pimlical is a much more complex program than CL/DJO in that it has a very deep and customizable set of preferences. Like any program that has more functions and settings than you can possibly manage, you keep everything at default and figure out the 5 or 10 things you need. There are online manuals and FAQs, Youtube videos and a Yahoo Group Listserv to get help from. On the one hand, this complexity allows you to get Pimlical to do almost anything you want. On the other hand, if something goes wrong, trouble shooting can take some doing. I, frankly, have had no troubles I couldn't figure out with a little help from the Listserv (particularly one tireless fellow who is also a beta tester). I really like the UI of Pimlical/A as it manages to allow a great deal of information to be displayed in spite of having to be finger friendly. Other programs are sparse and cartoony in comparison. I've always liked the UI of Pimlical/ A for this reason, but it has vastly improved over the past year. It used to have a lot of non-standard Android gestures which I found mostly annoying, but in the past year, most have been modified, made optional or changed to something far more intuitive and the UI is now silky smooth. I never used Datebk6 on my Palm, but I'm led to believe it is very similar in experience now.

    Pimlical/ D is very much a Palm Desktop replacement and, if you are using Palm Desktop, there is a version that will pull in all your data from Palm desktop. It even let you keep using Palm Desktop with a Palm and keep everything in sync. I never used Palm Desktop either-- I always used Outlook with my Palms-- but this is a very complete desktop. Again, a lot of preference settings, so it is more complex than Palm Desktop was, but gives you more control than Outlook does. It does both syncing with Google and a local database that can be synced directly to Pimlical /A on your Android. And you can have as many Android devices with Pimlical /A as you want with the one license. And, yes, you can even do both-- sync some calendars to Google, some local sync only. I don't do anything with Google so my experience is with local sync only. The method of syncing, HTTP wireless, a recent addition, is superb. It is exactly like wifi sync on the TX. You do have to make sure the IP on your computer and the IP on your Android match, just as you did with the TX. It is fast and very smooth.

    There are a few minor complaints I have with Pimlical /D. I wish it weren't a Java program if only because it is the only reason I have for keeping Java on my computer. It never resulted in being able to make Pimlical /D cross-platform. It is still Windows Only, though obviously folks with Macs have several options for running it including a virtual machine. I also wish all the PIMs were tabbed full size windows. Only the Calendar is. Tasks,Memos and Contacts are pop-up windows.

    The one serious flaw is that Pimlical/D still cannot print anything but Calendars. It just never occurred to CESD that people would want to print the other PIMs. I have made it clear to him that someone does and I think it may be coming. This is always the problem with a one person shop-- the programs reflect his biases. It is a simple matter to cut and paste info if you really need to have hard copy for now.

    Both Pimlical /A and DJO have a widget (DJO has 2), but you pay an extra $0.99 for Pimlical's widget. Some folks get bent out of shape about that. It really doesn't bother me. I sort of lose patience with folks that think a developer should never try to collect more money for a program after years of effort. The insanity of the app store culture. While I'm glad to not be paying what we used to pay for good Palm Programs, I think there is a middle ground.

    In summary, this is an excellent Desktop and Android client offering a smooth direct syncing experience very similar to Palms. It can be used in very simple ways, but offers a lot of complexity under the hood that gives you a lot of control and options. An added bonus is, any money CESD makes goes to support a Gorilla Haven he is heavily involved with.

    SO what do I use now?

    I use both.

    Anyone who has followed my posts knows I keep changing as capabilities of these programs shift. :vbrolleyes: I even used to use Google and made my peace with that for a while. However, for the longest time I used Outlook and Companion Link exclusively and only played around with Pimlical. In the early days, Pimlical was incomplete, crude and mostly worked with Google. I was very happy with Outlook and CL with DJO served well although I really wanted something that was more information rich. I paid for both because, honestly, these are the last folks developing for people who don't want to use Google for everything and I want to support that. I will continue to give money to both no matter what I use for that reason.

    However, as time went by, both Android clients improved dramatically but Pimlical /A became more and more what I wanted on my Android. Further, Outlook was becoming less and less to my liking. I get Outlook, a normally expensive option, for $10 because of work. The deal with the devil, however, is that I am forced to upgrade. Outlook 2013 has to be the ugliest program I have used in a long time and there were some horrible decisions made there. It finally convinced me to start using Pimlical /D and I love it.

    It is the case that Outlook and Pimlical each do some things better than the other program. I continue to use Outlook for email, so I also use it to manage contacts, which lets me easily print them. I use Pimlical for everything else, but also keep contacts there for syncing to Android. I still sync Outlook to DJO, but honestly am using it less and less. That isn't because DJO is not a good PIM program. It is excellent. I highly recommend it, especially if you are using a program like Outlook or ACT! and wish to have direct sync to your Android. You will be amazed at the power of the CL-DJO setup. It's just that Pimlical seems to scratch more of my itches these days, if I can just get CESD to give me printing in all modules.

    Given the normal cost of Outlook, Pimlical is a cheaper solution. You pay once for each (desktop and Android App) and get updates forever and can use the Android client on multiple devices.

    Again, this is not intended as a sales pitch. Just letting folks know what my current set-up is. Hopefully it is useful information for folks that have similar itches as mine (and if you do, see your doctor immediately ). :vbeek: :vbwink:
     
  2. lelisa13p

    lelisa13p Your Super Moderator Super Moderator

    Messages:
    23,926
    Likes Received:
    10,201
    Trophy Points:
    288
    So this was the post limited by character count? :vbwink:

    Well done! :newpalm:
     
    scjjtt likes this.
  3. Hook

    Hook Have keyboard, will travel

    Messages:
    20,239
    Likes Received:
    13,564
    Trophy Points:
    288
    Yup. :vbsmile:
     
    scjjtt and lelisa13p like this.
  4. jigwashere

    jigwashere Mobile Deity

    Messages:
    18,159
    Likes Received:
    15,753
    Trophy Points:
    288
    I'll wait for the audiobook version. :rolleyes:
     
    weegie, lelisa13p, raspabalsa and 2 others like this.
  5. Hook

    Hook Have keyboard, will travel

    Messages:
    20,239
    Likes Received:
    13,564
    Trophy Points:
    288
    I'm hoping Samuel Jackson will agree to do it. :vbwink:
     
  6. jigwashere

    jigwashere Mobile Deity

    Messages:
    18,159
    Likes Received:
    15,753
    Trophy Points:
    288
    Oh, yeah. Like this one:



    You could call it:
    Sync those D*** PIMs Without F****n' Google:2014
     
    lelisa13p, RickAgresta and Hook like this.
  7. RickAgresta

    RickAgresta General Peanut, leader of the Peanutty Forces

    Messages:
    22,507
    Likes Received:
    21,534
    Trophy Points:
    288
    rick wonders how long before the forum-shift happens…or before a video gets 'edited by moderator'

    Funny, I remember it being longer :vbrolleyes:
     
  8. lelisa13p

    lelisa13p Your Super Moderator Super Moderator

    Messages:
    23,926
    Likes Received:
    10,201
    Trophy Points:
    288
    Seeing as how it's been Sanitized for Your Protection, it can stay... for now. :vbwink: (Unless I hear otherwise from higher-ups.)
     
    RickAgresta and Hook like this.
  9. weegie

    weegie Mobile Deity

    Messages:
    1,402
    Likes Received:
    515
    Trophy Points:
    288
    Great post Hook
     
    jigwashere likes this.
  10. Hook

    Hook Have keyboard, will travel

    Messages:
    20,239
    Likes Received:
    13,564
    Trophy Points:
    288
    I thought it worthwhile to provide a bit of an update here for Pimlical. CESD has now replaced the Windows installer for Pimlical Desktop with an actual Java installer that is OS agnostic. It installs on Windows, Linux or OSX. I just installed it on Linux and was able to sync my phone over wifi with handheld overwrites desktop and now all my data is on both Linux and Windows. Even better, for those of us (like me) that do not spend enough time with Linux to know all the arcane command line stuff, CESD gives a very clear step by step instruction for installing Oracle Java 8. I have no Macs so I can't test the OSX install.

    Of course, while the desktop is cross platform finally (which is why he chose to do it in Java when he started years ago), the phone app is still for Android only. Alas. DejaOffice is still the winner in terms of being cross-platform for phones.

    Nonetheless, CESD really did a nice job with this.

    More information here:

    www.pimlicosoftware.com/PimlicalDesktopFeatures.html

    The first post still describes my situation, but now I'll be playing with Linux too.
     

Share This Page