More About 30 Boxes

It would seem that our little project is generating a fair amount of interest (we’ve had more than 200 people sign up to beta test an entirely vague product!) despite a paucity of details.

We are decidedly not in “stealth mode�—it’s just that we aren’t quite finished with the product and want to get valid feedback from the get go. I thought I would try to explain a little bit more about what we are trying to do.

First, we think (apologies Redmond) that Outlook is bloated and lame. We are also not fans of porting the Outlook paradigm to AJAX. In setting out to design this product, we wanted to recreate (as best we could) the action of writing down an event on a monthly calendar stuck to the refrigerator.

If we are able to pull that off, then we hope that our new product will allow you to open a browser and easily know what you are doing and what your friends/family are doing—a social network centered on an actual application (how refreshing!)

If we err, it will be on the side of simplicity.

The good news is that we will be working through the holidays. A further update here.

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10 comments

  1. Very interesting in becoming a Beta testor.

    dnh

  2. Please sign me up. I worked on a cool little applet for awhile that imported data into outlook’s calendar so I’d love to see what you’ve got!

    Melissa

  3. Paolo Marcucci

    But it still should be completely integrated with Outlook.

  4. You’re probably down the road on your development with this solid idea, wanted to through in my two cents and give you some ideas for the rev (these are from a project/site I tried to get off the ground four years ago (maybe a little early for web 2.0)…

    1. As you mentioned above, the calendar should be about MY life and MY interests.
    2. As I look at MY life, there are things I do (all the time), there are things I plan to do, and things I would like to do some day (how would you create a calendar with an actual itinerary, and a fuzzy one?)
    3. There are events in MY life I want to share (and some I want to keep private)
    4. MY life mostly happens WHERE I live in the physical world – so there need to be a way to track those type things also (while using the power of the web to keep track of future events, maps, routes, invitations, favorite places, etc.)

    there are other things, but you get the idea…Good luck with your project (and buy the way, I found you through http://web2.0central.com/ always good to know the curious route people take to get to your site.

    OOT (one other thing)….
    Although you are focused right now on PEOPLE, understand calendars are also applicable to BUSINESSES (a store can have a sale, special event, etc.) and ORGANIZATIONS (the theatre company, church, etc.). The cool thing about thinking beyond just PEOPLE is that you begin to architect your own ecosystem…GOOD LUCK and HAPPY HUNTING!

  5. raghav

    Paolo – I think it need not be integrated into outlook. it should be accessable from every device like blackberrys/pda/web/some offline mode, but needing an outlook integration is not the end. I think a lot of people today are not connected to there outlook inbox outside of the office/home.

  6. Scott McReynolds

    I would like an open source tool that easily sychs with Web and Palm on Mac OSX. iCal web calendering for Mac OSX does not have enough functionality.

  7. What strikes me as very important (I really like the refrigator approach!) is the ability to *share* and *consume* data to/from 30boxes and other applications. Most Web2.0 apps out there seems to do this to a better or often lesser degree – look, if I can’t use something like 30boxes without feeling like it’s a silo, separate from all the data that matters to me sitting over at Gmail, Flickr, Tadalist, whathaveyou.. then there’s really no reason for me to switch from desktop based tools like Outlook, iCal or Sunbird – unless your user experience is so compelling that it just blows everything else into orbit. Anyways, keep up the good work, very much looking forward to 30boxes!

  8. calendering tools is not perfect yet both online and offline. it should be interesting when google calender came out. what that app could do. calendering impot and export whithout hitch between platform eg, windows and mac ical(apple’s ical is not best) and outlook(i don’t use this app). do you really fast enoght rapidly adopt when new calendering format is came about in the future. and of course it should be support rss. i’m using airset for just a day or so. is 30 boxes similer to that?
    and finally i think calendering is hot item in 2006. cf.
    http://tbray.org/ongoing/When/200x/2006/01/05/Calendar-Funnies

  9. Ben VonZastrow

    I’m looking forward to seeing this product. I was developing a small calendar app for myself a while back based around a web interface (but nothing like this or to this scale at all).

    One thing that I really really liked about my design was the quick data entry for appointments that I was able to set up. Most pda’s really annoy me in that they want to remind you of an appointment at the most annoying time and then they give up. My brain is really really full (because of it’s small size I suspect) and if some machine tells me at 8:00 in the morning that my friend’s birthday is a week away – well I am guaranteed to forget it by 8:15. Same with a doctor’s appointment. Notifying me an hour before is handy, but what if I had scheduled a meeting for that time the previous day because I didn’t know I would be out of the office?

    My app went like this. Click on the day. Double click to add an appointment. A full screen page would pop up with some really big buttons. Each one would be a particular type of appointment: There were a series of buttons for my various doctors. One for a generic doctor (assuming I had never seen them before). One for auto mechanics. One for birthdays and the like. One for bills/tax payments. One for street sweeping. Etc. They were customizable. The nice thing about them was that they came with their own frequency of reminders (also customizable). I would be reminded of doctor’s appointments a week in advance, two days in advance, one day in advance, the night before, the morning of, an hour before, and 15 minutes before (if I was within 15 minutes drive of the doctor’s office). Street sweeping, however, was just the night before and the morning of. Each type of appointment would have its own frequency of reminders (and again, always fully customizable).

    With this interface I could add a new appointment by 1) finding the day in the calendar, 2) double clicking, 3) clicking on an appointment type, and 4) selecting the time (done in three clicks because the hours were listed in large type down the left of the screen (12, 1, 2, 3…) and the minutes down the right side (00, 05, 10, 15, 20…) with the major minutes (00, 15, 30, 45) highlighted so they would be easy to pick out. And finally an AM or PM to the right of that. And each of these clicks was easy to do since all the interface items were HUGE (but only onscreen as long as necessary to get the job done).

    The system was supposed to send a text message to a cell phone to act as a reminder. Hitting reply and sending back a particular message would cancel or pause the reminders.

    Why am I mentioning all of this? Because I am a lousy programmer and do not have the time to make this app work. But I need its functionality! Hopefully 30B can do this or can be extended to do all of this!

    Ben

  10. Judine

    I’ve looked at them all, and read about 30 boxes. I remain convinced that http://www.Airset.com is the best way to combine all the different facets of — and people in — your life: you can have work calendars, home calendars, and a calendar for mom, dad, each kid, etc. — all through one account if you like. Each calendar comes with its own blog, contacts, and lists. You can set up calendars to be shared. Currently, I can look at all my calenders (work, home, everyone in my family) or just my calendars (work, home). Everyone in my family shares the “personal� calendar–so if I click on the “personal lists� I see all the family’s to-do lists at a glance. You can share calenders, lists, etc. even with people who are not part of Airset. One mom posting at at the Airset blog ensures that her son’s school assignments are emailed to his mobile phone every day (while he’s on the bus coming home). (I have no affiliation with the company.)

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