Syncing PIMs Without Google:2014

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

  1. GoodPDAuser

    GoodPDAuser Mobile Deity

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    Just browsing the forum before posting a question of my own (in a separate thread). Saw this issue that I spectated and researched for quite some time (mostly with input from Hook). I ended up going with AkrutoSync, but I don't recall exactly why...might have been that the reviews shows less issues that nontehnical people ran into, e.g., stopped working after a short period of usage. Anyway, I am not in a position to say which is better, so I'll summarize my experience to date, which is the better part of a year. No cloud -- that's a plus, in addition to what seems to be a vendor mission that emphasizes security and robustness (no dropped items between Outlook & hand-held without you knowing it). However, it doesn't do notes. And I don't use it for email; I connect to gmail directly via the browser. So I just use it for contacts & calendar sync.

    Not doing notes is not a show stopper because I plut the handheld into the computer's USB port, then access my text files that way. My notes are just text files.

    To-do's I don't care about. I track my work to-do's a work, and my home to-do's are too simple for me to go to the trouble of tracking via an app.

    About robustness, sometimes, it fails, but it tells you. It fails for me on the calendar sync. Once every 3-4 syncs or so. I basically blow away the profile on the hand-held, recreate it, and resync with Oulook on the laptop. It's about a 5-7 minute process. I'm not sure if I can blame it on AkrutoSync, as I am running a Nightly release of CyanogenMod. I notice that this sync failure might be related to my changing the notification of calendar item reminders when they pop up. Not 100% sure.

    Anyway, it's late, so I guess I'll post my new thread 2moro.
     
  2. Hook

    Hook Have keyboard, will travel

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    I didn't want to fill up the other thread with responses as it is essentially a thread of simple reviews and not so much discussion, but feel free to do a more detailed review in this thread as that's what it is for. The history feature looks very nice and you should give more information about that and how it works as that is the big deal for you and might be for others. I'd personally be interested in what Akruto syncs with on the phone. Is it using Google Calendar (and it's database) or does it use it's own apps. If they use Android calendar database, is the calendar able to maintain more than a 90 day history and does it handle recurring appointments well?

    I was a bit surprised at the reliability problems you reported in the brief review (and, no, I don't think its your ROM) and the fact that it had such problems with the state of the Outlook database. Thank goodness for the history feature, but honestly, I really don't want to need that history feature that much. I've settled on the two programs I talk about here, but with none of the 5 different programs I've used over the years have I run into sync failures 1 out of every 3-4 syncs except when there was a problem which I then figured out. I certainly wouldn't keep using a program that maintained that rate of failure.

    I also can't help be a little suspicious of their reviews as they come fro a site that solicits reviews as a paid service to the company, which is therefore their client. They are likely to get fewer of the reviews from trolls and the beknighted that Amazon, Google Play and others get. :vbwink:

    However, this seems another good solution and I think it would help folks to have more details about it. My choices work for me, but if others have found great solutions, they should be able to read about them all. The more the merrier. :thumbsup:
     
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  3. GoodPDAuser

    GoodPDAuser Mobile Deity

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    The history seems to be just a list of what calendar items get updated in from handheld to PC (Outlook) and vice-versa. It's a log. I see its purpose as troubleshooting, but I already know what calendar items fail to synchronize even without it. The synching process reports the item that fails to sync (and the synching stops rather than proceeding with the remaining items). I don't know if the history logs more than 90 days of calendar item updates because I haven't gone that long without running into problems, which necessitates blowing away the account on the handheld, recreating it, and resyncing with Outlook on the computer.

    I suspect that the interface it presents is Microsoft Exchange Server. I base this on the fact that, in order to sync Outlook's tasks and notes with an app that provides these two functions on Android, AkrutoSync presents a Microsoft Exchange Server interface to the app.

    You said that you don't think the sync failures were due to the ROM. Perhaps -- I don't know how to quickly check, and troubleshooting it is beyond my area of expertise. However, I am *very* suspicious of Outlook's PST file. Imagine, Microsoft's *own* scan & repair app finds errors *whenever* a PST file undergoes *any* activity with Outlook. It's almost as if scan & repair actually means defragging, garbage collection, and/or database compaction. That misnomer leads me to suspect that the published standard for a PST file (which I've never seen) is problematic. I wonder whether developers who have to use such a specification bang their heads against the wall due to disparities between the document and what they empirically find.

    I do understand that AkrutoSync may not be as superior as it claims, in the same way that any self promotion may be...well, self promotional. However, I based my decision on the ratings....hmmmmm....trying to remember where....I think it was Google Play store. I was especially fearful of apps for which reviewers said that it worked for some time, then suddenly stopped. I simply do not have the time to develop new life-management routines around a new app, then have it suddently fail. Just as bad if not worse is if data is dropped or mixed up silently. So I compared the reviews for the apps, and this one seemed the most focused on robustness and security. Quite apart from the purported robustness, however, I am *very* happy that it actually lets you know when it failed. Perhaps the failure rate seems higher than other programs because of this. I would not go for a more reliable alternative if it did not announce its failures. That does much more harm than unreliability itself.
     
  4. Hook

    Hook Have keyboard, will travel

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    Actually, it was Download.com where you saw the user reviews. I found your review. :vbwink: I'm more impressed that they have good reviews there. The reviews on their site was from that review soliciting service. The new version has only 2 reviews on Download.com, yours is one of them, but that would indicate there aren't a lot of problems with the new version and the old version reviews are impressive. If things changed for the worse in the new version, you can bet there would be a lot posts about it. There is no Akurosync app in Google Play.

    You misconstrued one question I had. I wasn't asking how far back the history went. I was asking, if they are using the android calendar data base, how far back appointments in the calendar go. The Android calendar data base was designed to not keep more than 90 (I think, not sure, at one time may have only been 30) days worth of calendar appointments. Maybe that's changed, but I'm curious if Akruto manages to save the whole calendar or at least a significant range like 2 years? Do you access the calendar with the stock Calendar app?

    One of the things I like about DejaOffice is that their apps on the phone offers a reasonable sub-set of the features Outlook has. Pimlical is a whole different animal because it doesn't sync with Outlook, only with it's own desktop, and while that desktop is cross platform (Windows, Linux, Mac) it's app is Android only.
     
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  5. GoodPDAuser

    GoodPDAuser Mobile Deity

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    Ah, yes. Download.com. Hooda thunk.

    The calendar app on the phone is native to CyanogenMod 12. It goes all the way back to start of 2015, which reflects the depth of memory of the Outlook calendar on the PC. It seems to be a faithful mirror of the Outlook contents on my PC. For the latter, I try to house-clean every year and archive all commitments from the previous year. I only keep stuff from preceding years if they recur beyond last year.

    I can't speak to how my use of AkrutoSync stacks up against your solution. I only went with it because I considered the consequence of unknown corruptions, deletions, and just plain cessation of functionality to be completely untenable. Many people will *not* experience that with the other solutions out there, but I went with my perception upon reading reviews.

    Regarding whether I'd consider another PIM app on the PC/laptop, I'm tied to Outlook because I don't have the time to get to know another PC app. I have to learn the ins and outs of Outlook for work anyway, so even if another app worked better, I'd still have to roll with the warts of Outlook because many of the calendar commitments will be the same on my work and home calendars. Its preferrable to *always* have to contend with any Outlook shortcomings, both at work and home, so that one is not surprised by problems arising from these shortcomings simply because one has gotten use to a non-Outlook app without those shortcomings.

    Yes, lowest common denominator. The whole world has to be compatible with Outlook, so as long as you're practices suitably mesh with its capabilities, you won't fall on your face.
     
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  6. Hook

    Hook Have keyboard, will travel

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    I'm actually thinking of doing the 7 day trial. If nothing else, I'll know whether to recommend it to folks looking for Outlook solutions. I'll recommend stuff I don't use, but only if I have some experience with it. If it actually turns out to be significantly better than what I'm using, that would be cool too. Nothing to lose spending 7 days exploring. I love trying stuff out. :newpalm:
     
  7. GoodPDAuser

    GoodPDAuser Mobile Deity

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    I'm only guessing, but if you don't experience data loss and data mixup with you current solution, then it's hard for me to imagine what advantage you'll find. Granted, I'm trying to imagine this without a broad exposure to various offerings.
     
  8. Hook

    Hook Have keyboard, will travel

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    Actually, I was just hoping to explore, not actually thinking of switching. I'm very happy with my solution. I just wanted to learn a little more about this option just because I'm always curious. However, I ran into a big road block. As you say, it requires an Exchange Account. Android 6.0 seems to have given that functionality to Gmail which I have frozen on my device. I unfroze it to see if I could use it, but gmail seemed unhappy with the Akruto credentials and I just sort of gave up. I suspect they may have to update for Android 6.0 (in fact their instructions seem to be based on 4.4). I've primarily avoided exchange accounts, so I'm probably not going to try and learn it now.
     
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  9. GoodPDAuser

    GoodPDAuser Mobile Deity

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    Acknowledge re. you not planning to switch. However, if someone is not experiencing problems with their other solution, they probably won't find much advantage with AkrutoSync. The problem is that I read a lot of comments about other solutions simply ceasing to work, or dropping or mixing up data. I suspect that the number experiencing this is more because (just harkening back to my younger years before I became judgemental about lack of predictable or intuitive app behaviour), many people will wonder what *they* are doing wrong. So some people may not recognize a deficiency with their current solution (and hence the advantage of AkrutoSync).

    About your comment concerning Android 6.0, would I be correct in assuming that the gmail app handles access to an Exchange Server account, but that doesn't necessarily connect with gmail's servers without prior setup by the user?
     
  10. Hook

    Hook Have keyboard, will travel

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    Frankly, I don't know. Exchange server has always been rather mysterious to me. We use it at work... I assume it has to connect to a server somewhere, but I would think in this case it would be Akruto's servers. No, I don't expect it goes to a google server unless set up that way. I think they just migrated the Exchange Server functionality from the old email app to Gmail. Right now, it doesn't seem to work with the information the Akruto setup provided me. I should have contacted their customer support, but I wasn't that committed. :vbwink: I'm suspecting they may have to update their setup routine for Android 6. Given the adoption rate of new versions of Android, they probably don't need to be in a blazing hurry.
     

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