How to earn a loyal customer

Let me just say up front, GooSync rocks. They have now earned my loyalty for a very long time. Here is my story:

I love and live in Google calendars. I live a life that is complex to the point of being confusing. We have a blended household. Both my fiance and I are divorced with kids from previous marriages. Both of us have shared custody situations. I have two girls, he has two sons. Currently we are in a situation where Mon-Fri during the school year he lives in a house an hour away with his two sons and on the weekends, holidays and summers he is back here with me. This means that sometimes there are 6 people who live in this house I call home and sometimes it is just me. Because the members of our clan need to access our schedule from work, from several homes and sometimes from the road- we needed something more flexible than a paper calendar hanging on the wall ( although we still have some of those.. they have such cool pictures…). Both my fiance and I also wanted to be able to have reminders sent to our treos, to keep us in line and make sure no child got left behind. Google Calendars fit this very well. We set up a joint family calendar and began filling it up. It nicely sends text messages to my phone, but it would not sync. When my work life was more crazed and I was running around the plant all day long from meeting to meeting, I used to sync my calendar with Outlook for work( yes, Outlook sucks, but I have no control over what is used from email and calendaring at work- I work for a very large corporation) and only my work appointments were on my treo. But then work shifted, and I work from home more- and do meetings more by teleconference- sitting here in front of my computer which can nicely remind me itself. No need to go through the hoops and hassles of a bluetooth sync up several times a day ( my sync cord for my treo long ago shorted out and refused to work). Before long, I was just ignoring the calendar feature on my Treo. This irritated me some… I wanted an easy way to check my schedule on the go. Besides, having technology that almost works is a pet peeve of mine.

In the meantime, our online google calendar life exploded. My fiance and his ex have a calendar for working out visitation issues- I have read access on that one, as I manage most of the family schedule. I am active in several professional arenas and have meetings for MESA, PMI-CIC IT committee and some other activities. Having all these professional commitments on the BnG Clan calendar was cluttering it up and confusing kids.. so I set up a professional calendar that has my professional commitments only in it. Besides, if I get to the point where my consulting/writing/speech giving schedule continues to grow ( one could hope) I will need a calendar like this to share on a professional website. My daughters rotate between my home and their dad’s home.. so having their family stuff online is helpful to them. They are old enough now that I am working hard to get them to use this as a management tool. Hopefully they will be adding things themselves. But having things like my monthly book club, Curtain Call executive committee meetings and other items of the sort on the family calendar drives clutter that confuses them, as well as puts them at risk for kid learning curve screw ups. So all of my personal life appointments are on their own google calendar.
As time went on, I continued to test and trial new gizmos and services that would sync your google calendar- but they all only synced your main calendar. This is nice, but no longer sufficient in our world.

Then came GooSync. I discovered them a week or so before Christmas. Tested, loved it and imediately bought it so I could sync multiple google calendars and not just one. It was amazing! I could even use categories and have new appointments on my treo auto sync to different google calendars. Brilliant! This was what I had been looking for. Oh ! And look- I can sync with Outlook as well! Cool!! This is a stroke of brilliance. Finally I will be able to use my mobile device the way it was meant to. But wait… Crap. That outlook sync just took all my personal, intimate,family appointments and dumped them into outlook as well. Groan. Facepalm. This is bad. HeadDesk. I quickly cleaned up Outlook to delete them all and moved into the Holidays. OK, honestly I cleaned up most of them, but left some in..the less intimate ones that I did not care if work saw– time was short. No more time to play with syncing gizmos when Santa was about to arrive. But the whole thing was buzzing about in my head in a semi-random way and a couple of days ago, I got the chance to test again. “What if”, I thought, “I did a one way sync from Outlook to my handheld and then a bi directional sync from the handheld to google? Then I get the work appointments dumped into the handheld and the 2 way sync with google. I have no reason to add work appointments on the fly in the treo and then want them to sync with outlook any more… so this should work, right?

(Let me here interject a word of advice that I should have known well. Back up your calendars before experimenting)

Here is what I thought would happen:

Outlook overwrites to the Treo. Treo is now full of only Work Appointments. Bi directional sync via GooSync to google calendars. GooSync: hmm… you have a bunch of appointments in google not on your handheld- let me add those in for you. Result: my entire world schedule in the palm of my hand.

Here is what actually happens:

Outlook overwrites to the Treo. Treo is now full of only Work Appointments. Bi directional sync via GooSync to Google Calendars. GooSync: hmmm…. you have a bunch of appointments that were removed from your handheld.. here let me remove those from Google for you as well. Result: my entire world schedule, other than work? Deleted. Not just from my handheld, but from Google as well. The only things that remained were personal items that had gotten inserted into outlook before Christmas that I had not bothered to delete.

Now, is this normal behavior, or a remnant of the sync and delete in Outlook before Christmas? I do not know. I will not try it again to find out, either. I Twittered my despair. I IM’d my fiance my panic ( especially before he could go to check the calendar and be caught by surprise when things were GONE). This may not seem like a big deal, but it was a total of almost 1700 items. ( I told you I lead a busy and complicated life….). I wrote an email to tech support at GooSync that was really just a rant. I just needed to vent. I did not expect it to fix anything, really. A while later, I got a response ” no problem, we can restore from tape. Just please tell us when this happened and stop syncing in the meantime”.

Holy majoly. This was an unexpected benefit ( you can see I did not carefully read all the fine print). And you know what? They did. All of my messed up calendars have been restored. I am happy syncing again. And I came up with a new solution for getting all of everything onto my treo without risking deletions and cross contaminations. I created a new work calendar in Google. I use a free version of Syncmycal to do a one way dump of Outlook to that specific google calendar. I added the new google calendar to my list of calendars that my treo does a bi drectional sync with over the air.. and everything is in the palm of my hand again. Now that I am using my treo to manage life and events, I need to go back and re-look at RTM for my todo lists as well.

The guys at GooSync? As far as I am concerned- they rock. I will stick with them for a long time now.

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