Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The missing killer calendar app

WebDAV + iCalendar + RSSSurely I'm not the only person who could use a calendaring Web app that can host my desktop calendar (iCal) for sharing, allow me subscribe to it via my desktop app, and that can publish an RSS feed so I can get updates to the calendar (particularly for group calendars when someone other than me updates it). This killer calendar app would have to have:
  1. a Web interface to manipulate the calendar from anywhere, by anyone who's authorized
  2. WebDAV support for hosting my desktop calendar file
  3. open-standard iCalendar publishing support
  4. RSS publishing (ideally sliced and diced by user or date range)
Seems plain enough — and useful to tons of people: families, small businesses, etc. And yet I can't seem to find any such app. Is this what Backpack (more here) will be, in part?
    RSSCalendar is part way there, but it's missing the WebDAV and iCalendar publishing components. Big boys like Yahoo should have this built in to their calendars, but they don't. (Yahoo doesn't provide iCalendar publishing or RSS, and they opt for a third-party tool for calendar synching. iCalendar is the open format — third-party sync tools seem out of touch with Yahoo's push towards open standards, like RSS for MyYahoo.) Maybe they're working on it — or they're fixin' to buy someone else who already built what they need.
    What about you — do you find your calendaring tools lacking, too?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A better pill bottle: good design is good for your health

Deborah Adler's redesigned pill bottle for TargetNew York Magazine has a nice little article on Deborah Adler's beautiful pill bottle redesign for Target. 29-year-old Adler has done a great job redesigning something that, in retrospect, was in dire need of a redesign. What made Adler take notice? Her grandmother was hospitalized after mistakenly taking her husband's pills. Who knows how many others have been hospitalized or have even died from making a mistake that better design could have prevented?
    Some really thoughtful design moves were the color-coded bottle caps (a different color for each member of the family) and the flat face of the bottle instead of the typical cylinder, so information printed on the label is actually readable without having to rotate the bottle.
    Target, of course, snatched up the rights to the design. Yet again, they're using good design to set themselves apart from the competition — bravo, TargĂ©. No doubt, other drugstores will be following suit before long.
    Surely there are more everyday objects like the pill bottle that could use a good redesign, and could save a life. Can you think of any?
    (As an aside, I was amused to see graphic design god Milton Glaser referenced at the bottom of the article. The author mentions that Adler now works for "graphic designer Milton Glaser" but doesn't even make a nod to the fact that Glaser was also the founder and president of the magazine for which she is writing, New York Magazine.) (Thanks to MR for this link.)