Sep 14 2010
A few months ago I was desperately searching for a way to keep all of our iDevices in sync. With 2 iPhones in our house (an iPhone1 and iPhone4), 2 iPod touches, an iMac and a Macbook, it was becoming a bit of a challenge making sure our calendars were sync’d across all of our devices - both me and my wife use our iPhone calendars extensively which in turn sync to different computers. We were often left with one person having an important commitment noted on one computer or iPhone but missing from another and it had started to lead to a few unexpected rush situations, or double scheduling.
The easy solution would be to subscribe to MobileMe, but really the only part of the service I wanted was the iCal syncing - the rest was of little value to me, much less $100/Year worth.
Surprisingly, at the time, I didn’t find it with a simple Google search but found a few people raving about it in a message forum somewhere. It was free, so I figured I’d give it a shot - nothing to loose, right?
Turns out it’s been excellent. Based on the what I’ve learned as a fan of the service it’s run by a few university students somewhere overseas, but in no way or form does it appears to be cobbled together or unreliable - to the contrary it’s extremely polished, integrates directly into the Mac control panel, supports Growl, and best of all…just works. Although I only use it for iCal, it will also sync Bookmarks, Contacts (!) and notes.
Yep, all the important syncing stuff MobileMe does…except free.
I installed it, set it up, and almost forgot it was “doing it’s thing” until I recently upgraded (and re-enabled) Growl and started noticing the “Fruux Sync Successful” popups on my desktop whenever it was triggering. Within a few days I was reminded exactly how important it had become to me and how reliably it had been running.
An email from the Fruux developers a few months ago outlined how important the support of the people using it really is to them;
However, as most of you know, fruux is an entirely bootstrapped student project. Our userbase has grown to a size that needs enterprise level infrastructure which requires constant monitoring and work on the systems that run our cloud (like a huge factory). Also it’s necessary to constantly add capacity to our cloud to avoid dropped syncs and downtimes. In addition to that we of course want to add new features. We’d love to get one or two more developers into the team to handle this huge workload. This would allow us to constantly work on the necessary foundation stuff and also new features at the same time. Unfortunately it costs a hell of money to run the whole infrastructure and also to get the necessary manhours into the project. Even without new developers the fruux core team is not “for free”. More fruux work results in less time in our dayjobs that help us funding fruux.
With that I threw the guys a $20 donation - not much, but enough to quality me for their “Premium” service (not yet launched) when it’s ready…and if it does make it to fruition, I’ll probably throw them another donation - with OTA iPhone syncing and a few other goodies potentially part of future updates, it stands to get even better.
I will admit when it comes to Donationware I often fail to follow up on the donation part of the deal, but I’m a big fan of Fruux and am willing to support this great service. Hopefully enough people do the same that the costs don’t see this project end before it’s time - I’d sure miss it if it went away.
Check it out if you’re looking for the same..and consider donating.