Coffeehouse Thread

32 posts

Outlook for the whole family.

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  • User profile image
    lars


    I've been using Outlook for a few years, and now I've managed to convince my wife to give up Eudora and run Outlook too. So now I'm trying to share my calendar and contacts with her. Sound simple enough. Atleast I thought so.

    The only way I've found so far is to share a .pst file, but there is no multiuser support for doing that. It seems like the kosher way to go is to run Exchange. But Exchange is not free. Nor is the server OS it requires. And so on. So it suddenly becomes very expensive. And complicated!

    Have Microsoft got a strategy for dealing with using Outlook within a family (home use)? I've read that there used to be something called Web folders" in earlier versions but that they are gone in 2003.

    /Lars.

  • User profile image
    BOFH

    If you were using Outlook Express you'd be able to share your contacts easily with Windows Address Book (WAB). Perhaps a more useful option would be tosubscribe to MSN 9; for $9.95 you can add up to 8 (I think) users to the one account, and share your various MSN 9 features cross-accounts with family members.

  • User profile image
    lars

    I forgot to mention: I've tried a few shareware programs that was supposed to solve the problem. And I don't recommend it. I ended up having to reinstall Outlook 2003.

    Thanks for the tip about MSN. I'll check that out.

    /Lars.

  • User profile image
    sbc

    BOFH wrote:
    If you were using Outlook Express you'd be able to share your contacts easily with Windows Address Book (WAB). Perhaps a more useful option would be tosubscribe to MSN 9; for $9.95 you can add up to 8 (I think) users to the one account, and share your various MSN 9 features cross-accounts with family members.

    Can't you use Yahoo Calendar as well (free)?

    There is something called Mailtraq as well that may work, there is also OpenGroupware (free).

    What is needed though is a mini-Exchange that has less features (i.e. limited to 10 users, only basic features like email, calendar, contacts, tasks). Ability to work while not connected to the Internet would be good (obviously you have to connect to send and retrieve email).

    Perhaps this page on Slipstick would be useful as well: http://www.slipstick.com/outlook/share.htm

  • User profile image
    JDanielSmith

    You can display SharePoint Contacts and Events in Outlook.

    Since SharePoint is built on HTTP using ASP.NET, it should be possible to duplicate at least this piece in a stand-alone ASP.NET application (although I haven't even thought about trying it until just now).

  • User profile image
    themaffeo

    A good way to get (1) the latest microsoft software to develop with and (2) set up your home network for testing (complete with exchange, sql, etc) is to become a Registered Microsoft partner and subscribe to the Microsoft Action Pack. For 300 bucks you get a boat load of stuff.


    Check out
    http://members.microsoft.com/partner/salesmarketing/partnermarket/actionpack/actionpackus.aspx

    or
    http://members.microsoft.com/partner/salesmarketing/partnermarket/actionpack/actionpack_standard.aspx

  • User profile image
    JDanielSmith

    "...who sell Microsoft products or provide solutions based on Microsoft products and technologies to third-party customers"

    A generous reading of that could be construed to include anybody reading Channel9, but that won't be the case of the average guy/gal on the street.

  • User profile image
    GrumpyCoder

    Another requirement, setup the PDA sync for both my wife and I that would take any "Family" category calendar/task items and put it into the same Outlook calendar.

  • User profile image
    themaffeo

    JDanielSmith wrote:
    "...who sell Microsoft products or provide solutions based on Microsoft products and technologies to third-party customers"

    A generous reading of that could be construed to include anybody reading Channel9, but that won't be the case of the average guy/gal on the street.


    =( unfortunatly thats true.  You must have a personal business that provieds solutions to customers.

    Sorry I forgot to mention that - Been a personal business so long I forgot.

  • User profile image
    redvamp128

    Does not Outlook have a backup utility you can download. Then all you have to do is after you close outlook make a backup and place it in the shared folder- then all she has to do is restore from the backup on her account- that way it will kind of maintain 2 of the same account. Unsure if it would work for what you are doing- But it is a way I worked around having multiple boot partitions and multiple outlooks so to speak for keeping all of them on the same sheet of music.

    For me since I test I save my backup to a totally different partition seperate from the operating system so that in the event I have to reinstall or crash I don't loose all my data.


  • User profile image
    DougKlippert

    See if you can find an answer here.
    Slipstick.com

  • User profile image
    mrservices

    Why not use Small Business Server 2003 Standard Edition $599.00 US?

    I find it invaluable and I use the Remote Web Workplace all the time.

    Great value for the money!

    Roger

  • User profile image
    SMac

    Agreed.. that's good advice.. you can get it off of newegg for $432 with hardware purchase..

    http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=32-102-242&depa=6

    the POP3 connector is ideal for a home/family situation.. if your want your family to be able to view contacts/schedule/mail/notes remotely, you could open up a port and use OWA also for remote access.. or RPC over HTTP for when you're on the road with your laptop..

    if you're really ambitious it would be really sweet to set up your own home/family Sharepoint 2003 site..

    there are a number of things you can also do -- for instance you could set up Streaming media services and a webcam to maybe view your backyard or checkup on your kids from work...

  • User profile image
    lars

    I think spending several 100s of dollars just to be able to sync my contacts folder with my wife's Outlook is a bit steep. I've tried a few of the apps mentioned on Slipstick but one of them left me having to reinstall Office. Ouch.
    My current solution is the path of least resistance: sending vCals and having a special .pst with the contacts in. So every once in a while we sync manually with the folder in that .pst file. If I understand the Microsoft product positioning correctly, home users are expected to run Outlook Express or Hotmail. And business users with the capacity of supporting exchange should run Office Outlook.

    SBC Did a very good job describing what I'm talking about:

    "What is needed though is a mini-Exchange that has less features (i.e. limited to 10 users, only basic features like email, calendar, contacts, tasks)."

    And I think Mailtraq looks interesting. So thanks for the tip!

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that there is room for improvement here - and there is a group of users that fall between the chairs. Users that need to sync just 2-3 Outlook installs. Maybe it sounds like whining, but it's not intended that way. I just want to communicate this problem to Microsoft somehow - hoping that a future version of Office solves the problem.



      

  • User profile image
    KW802

    lars wrote:
    I guess what I'm trying to say is that there is room for improvement here - and there is a group of users that fall between the chairs. Users that need to sync just 2-3 Outlook installs. Maybe it sounds like whining, but it's not intended that way. I just want to communicate this problem to Microsoft somehow - hoping that a future version of Office solves the problem.

    It's not whining at all.  In this day & age of 'home users' having multi-PC networks at the house it's not unreasonable for them to try to have a shared set of resources (eg: calendar) without having to pay several hundred dollars for a server product that would go mostly unused or pay to have an internet based solution (MSN).

    Just my 2 cents.  Smiley

  • User profile image
    JDanielSmith

    A "mini Exchange" is probably too much.  Do you really want Public Folders at home?  And are you going to schedule family events by creating a new Meeting Request?

    I suspect HTTP mail (Hotmail) and SharePoint-like contacts/events are probably close to sufficient.  All three of these can (in theory) be run from a home box with IIS.  Somebody just has to reverse-engineer the protocols...or get Microsoft to document them...

  • User profile image
    sbc

    JDanielSmith wrote:
    A "mini Exchange" is probably too much.  Do you really want Public Folders at home?  And are you going to schedule family events by creating a new Meeting Request?

    I suspect HTTP mail (Hotmail) and SharePoint-like contacts/events are probably close to sufficient.  All three of these can (in theory) be run from a home box with IIS.  Somebody just has to reverse-engineer the protocols...or get Microsoft to document them...

    Perhaps a mini-mini Exchange then. No scheduling meetings or public folders. As I said before only  email, calendar, contacts and tasks needed (is there's anything else a home user would want?)
    Only POP3, SMTP and IMAP (X400 and NNTP not needed)

  • User profile image
    themaffeo

    Hmm.. I'm not seeing a 'significant' market for a 'mini-exchange' that would encourage MSFT to build a product.


    I suppose there are three non-excluseive software enviornments Microsoft targets: Home Users, Professional Users and Developers. (Yes, corporate accounts too and backoffices, but that's not what we're talking about)


    Home Users would have absolutly zero use for a mini-exchange.  POP3 and SMTP?  That assumes they will be sending/recieving emails from their local network, which assumes:

    1) Static IP (or no-ip.com)
    2) Domain Name
    3) Modification of MX Record
    4) Hopefully a firewall of some sort.

    Let's work on getting the home user to run the windows update first.

    In the office enviornment this subject is a moot.  Being in an 'office' assumes the company would be willing to right off at least the 500 bucks for SBS which comes with exchange.

    For the developers: There is no real reason for any Microsoft Developer NOT to have this software, if not a full fledged copy of exchange then SBS.  If I remember correctly, my VS.net came with a developer copy of exchange.  If you're a student you can get the stuff super cheap at places like www.gradware.com.  And like I mentioned before, if you develop products for clients as a side job, you can get the Action Pack.  (If your really well off, the MSDN universal is worth its weight in gold)

    But I've blathered alot without helping lars:

    Lars, what I've done in the past is:
       1) Sign up for a yahoo mail account
       2) Download Intellisync from Yahoo to your computers
       
       Now you can run Intellisync every day (I think you might even be able to do a command line to have it execute on a schedule) Intellisync will update the yahoo('Public') calendar/contacts/tasks with your data, as well as intigrate any new added items into outlook.  The net result is your oulook contacts/calendar/tasks are universally updated.

    The down side of this is you need a separate account for each 'public calendar'.  But why would you need more than one?

    Hope that helps. 

    P.S. As for 'reverse engineering' Sharepoint/hotmail protocols, Sharepoint loads its 'outlook data' from an exchange server - but lars doesnt have exchange, if he did this thread wouldnt exist. I'm not sure what backend hotmail runs off of, but again, if he HAD that backend, he wouldn need to ask us.

    P.S.S As for hotmail http protocols, I believe they use WebDav - but don't quote me on that.



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