We have discussed how to get a free Internet e-mail account, the way you get e-mail including how to get your e-mail, next it would be nice to have a calendar to keep track of when you have things to do.
There are many free options to keep your calendar, Windows has a free calendar, Mac OSx has a free calendar, if you use Outlook it has a built in calendar, but what about Thunderbird. Mozilla can see the need for a calendar, they have two options. Sunbird is a free standalone calendar program; Lightning is a free addin to Thunderbird. You can go to http://www.mozilla.org/projects/calendar/ to get started.
Now we have e-mail on our local machine using Thunderbird or Outlook or any of the e-mail clients. We can keep our calendar in Outlook, Thunderbird (using Lightning) or Sunbird. But what if you use webmail or want to share your calendar with others. What is turning into one of my favorite providers of free stuff comes to the rescue again. Google offers Google Calendar. You use your Google ID (the same thing as setting up Gmail). You can create many calendars; these calendars can be shared with anyone with a Google ID. Google also has tools to synchronize your outlook calendar and you can open your Google calendar in Thunderbird (lightning).
I have a pretty complex arrangement, but I can make it all work. I mentioned that I use Thunderbird for my e-mail. I have a Windows mobile phone that synchronizes with Outlook. I want to share my calendar with my wife. I would also like my calendar available online from any machine. I use Google Calendar to do all this.
- First I created the calendar in Google.
- I installed the plug-in for Lightning to allow it to access Google Calendar.
- Now I open my Google calendar in Thunderbird.
- I installed the Google Sync with Outlook. This will keep my Outlook calendar in sync with my Google calendar, even though I do not open Outlook. I did have to complete the installation of Outlook but I do not open outlook just set it up.
Now I can sync my phone with Outlook, which is in sync with My Google calendar and my Thunderbird calendar. I now update my calendar with Lightning, and after a few minutes I can sync my phone and it has my new appointment. I can see my calendar online and my wife can see my schedule as well.
I have not found anything to do this synchronization with contacts, but some day I hope to do the same with my contacts.