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UK’s Kalender; freeware calendar/to-do program

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Long-time fans of me (pauses.. buffs fingernails on shirt..) will know that I’ve always been a fan of WinDates, a shareware network-enabled calendar program which I used for a long time, on and off. Unfortunately the author of WinDates got a job working for a place that makes online calendars, which meant that continuing to develop his own program constituted a conflict of interest. He quit writing WinDates and a fantastic program winked out of existence, despite an email I wrote to him a year or two ago asking him to opensource the program since he no longer maintained it.

Now that I’ve wasted a paragraph on barely-relevant stuff, here’s the deal with UK’s Kalender (and it’s got nothing to do with the United Kingdom, although you could definitely be forgiven for thinking that at first, and no, I’m sure that the author knows how “calendar” is spelled in English *8-). It’s BETTER than WinDates, by leaps and bounds, and it’s completely free. I mean sure, the author asks for donations (and I’d say this one is definitely worth it), but that’s a heck of a lot better than getting 30 days to figure out whether to drop US$20 on a calendar tool or on clothes for your kid when you’re in the middle of a recession. But onto the features (click the link for more informative information about these features):

Automatic saving | Unlimited Undo and Redo | Minimize to the system tray | Network support | Repeating events | Forewarn time and snooze function | Multi day events | Event categories and templates | Acoustic reminders | Event driven program execution and document opening | Marking and hiding events | Four event views | Tooltips for events and todos | Alarms can be deactivated | Highly configurable display for events and todos | Configurable tray icon | Search and filter functions | Clipboard support | Export to HTML- and CSV-format | Holidays

The program appears to be tightly-coded (not sluggish/bloated-feeling, and doesn’t force you to use godawful skins, such as Rainlendar) and has a stack of very useful features. There is only one major omission preventing me from using it, and I have emailed the author in the hope that he will be able to find the time to include the feature. UK’s Kalendar does not support .ics format. Quoting the author from the “what it doesn’t do” page: “[…] has a proprietary file format. Neither does it understand the file format of other applications nor does it support the export of foreign calendar formats.” This is a big issue AFAIC. If it doesn’t support other calendar formats, you may not be able to export your existing data and migrate to this program, nor might you be able to easily migrate from it at some point in the future. Another missing feature which completely prevents me from using it is the fact that it cannot sync to an online calendar, such as Google Calendar, and it doesn’t support multiple simultaneously-open event files. My current calendar program, Mozilla Sunbird, allows syncing to Google Calendar with an add-on, and has multi-calendar support built-in. ICS and online calendar support would have given this program a definite Hot Download award since not only would you then be able to subscribe to your own calendar online but also hundreds of free online calendars. As it stands, it’s still an excellent calendar tool, both standalone and in case you need to share events with others on your local network. And like me, if you want ICS support, go ahead and email the author!

UK’S Kalender

VueMinder Calendar Pro: Hot Brownload Award!

Spent a bit of time checking out what was supposed to be one of the better calendar programs out there – VueMinder Calendar Pro. At first glance, it looks really nice, but that’s where the delight ended. It’s sluggish, so colourful that I almost blipped out in an epileptic paroxysm, kept throwing a reminder window into my face despite me cancelling it, snoozing it, you name it.. and worst of all, it failed at the primary reason I was testing it out – I wanted to be able to subscribe to my Google Calendar and then edit events from the VueMinder interface, like I currently do with Sunbird. Subscribe, yep. Edit? Warns you that any edits made to existing events in a subscribed calendar will be lost at the next sync.. BUT you can add a reminder to them if you like! FAIL.

Want a good, free calendar that enables Google Cal syncing? Get Sunbird. Want everything else? Buy Outlook 2007. Seacrest out.