Google Calendar Quietly Starts Support for CalDAV

You can now sync your Google calendar with iCal. This is great. It greatly simplifies the question of how to sync multiple computers. Now you can think of calendaring like IMAP mail. That is you can use any computer to see your stuff. If you use iCal on your Mac you can use directions from Google to set up your calendar. It works with GMail and GoogleApps accounts. It’s still a little rough and task list items are not supported.

If you are an iPhone user you are still out of luck. The iPhone’s iCalMobile does not support CalDAV like its big brother. This seems like a natural evolution of iCalMobile so I hope Apple is listening. It would give users a free alternative to MobileMe without the push abilities.

What If Apple Made a Drobo Competitor

I’ve been hearing a lot about how wonderful Drobo is. It is the prefect tool for backing up a lot of data in a safe and redundant way. If you have multiple terabytes of data that you cannot afford to loose, you have no excuse, get a Drobo. So why do I not have one? Well the answer is simple — price. The entry price is just a bit too high for me. You can get a USB Drobo for only $349. Unfortunately that Drobo has no drives in in. To really use a Drobo you have to have stocked with 2 or 4 ESATA hard drives. You really need 4 to use the redundancy features for which Drobo is now famous. By then you are up over $1000. Add another couple hundred for FireWire 800 which I am sure is well worth it.

If you are not familiar with the Drobo you must know that the basic design is brilliant. You fill the box up with 4 hard drives. The box just takes care of everything and stores the data across the drives. Each drive has a green light to tell you its status. Should the drive start to fill up you can eject one of the drives and just insert a new larger one. The drive will automatically rearrange the data to take advantage of the new space.

So we’ve established that it is a brilliant product but a bit too rich for my blood. Aside from price, what could we do to improve this product? For my part the reason that I need such a big hard drive can be directly traced back to my iTunes and AppleTV library. I have tried several approaches but in the end everything requires that I have a Mac running iTunes. What you really need is a dedicated media server. Several companies have tried this. Due to the way FairPlay is designed the only company that is going to be able to serve of iTunes is of course Apple.

So now we have this box and it is serving up my iTunes library. Since we are serving up iTunes, I’d want it to serve up iPhoto too. Now you have all your pictures and other media in a nice safe package. Basic file sharing should be easy to add. And if you have file sharing then you can easily add support for Leopard’s Time Machine and let it serve a workgroup’s backup needs.

Aside from the price the other thing that worries me about Drobo is the file system. They are using a proprietary file system that resembles ZFS. I know that several companies have played with ZFS and perhaps it is not ready to be put into a box on the shelf at Best Buy. It would take Apple to make that a reality.

So what would the right price point be? Apple is already selling their Time Capsule for $300 for half a gigabyte and $500 for a full gigabyte. The folks at MyBook are selling a 2 terabyte drive with two drives that can be configure into a 1 terabyte mirror raid for $500. So it is clear that Drobo’s pricing is actually really good. You can get a 4 terabyte Drobo for about $1300. In order to make this a consumer product it would have to be positioned right where the Time Capsule is today.

So the bottom line would be if Apple took their current Time Capsule line and improved it with multiple drives in ZFS and added iLife serving all in a box for less than $500. Once you have that then everyone in the house can buy Mac Book Airs and not worry about diskspace.

Twilight

Twilight is a wonderful novel. Stephenie Meyer definitely puts it in perspective when you read about her scary crush. Soon, not long after the first page, you fall in love with the clumsy character of Isabella Swan. Even with all her faults Edward falls deeply in love with his potential prey. In this mysterious story you will find that love itself is worth more than all the pain they went through together. Many of these difficulties start on the first day of school and they continue through to the very last sentence. It most definitely leaves you wanting more. Luckily there is more in the next book New Moon. I highly recommend this book to scary fantasy teenage girls if they are in the mood for a heart-pounding love story.