14 December 2007

Sandy hack: She's a bridge between paper and electronic calendars

Sandy [iwantsandy.com]

Update: Sadly, Sandy is no more. While she was one heck of an assistant, she decided to change careers and move on to new things. -- Asha

Sandy is an email-based "assistant" who can send you reminders (and much more). I introduced you to Sandy right around Thanksgiving and promised to write up some of my Sandy hacks; here's the first one! [Full disclosure: My husband is the CEO of Values of n, the company behind Sandy, and I have been heavily involved in product development.]

I have a theory about gender and calendar usage. In general, men like electronic calendars, and women like paper. I'm obviously painting in broad strokes here, but my unscientific survey of friends seems to bear this observation out.

I have so many friends whose spouses have bought them Palms and Treos with the seductive promise that "it'll make your life so much easier!" and "this way we can coordinate calendars!" and, well, you know. No matter how valiantly they try, my female friends (myself included) eventually default back to paper calendars. Not only does the act of writing things down and flipping pages reinforce one's memory and the conception of time, pen-and-paper is infinitely easier to use than a stylus, doesn't require batteries, and can double as a kid distraction in a pinch.

A problem occurs with spousal coordination, however. He's using iCal (or whatever), she's using her trusty datebook, and never the twain shall meet. What's more, paper calendars don't alert their owners when an appointment is about to happen (one of the advantages of an electronic system). So unless you're a regular calendar-checker, you run the risk of forgetting stuff even if it's written down.

Here's where Sandy swoops in to kill, uh, I mean render temporarily incapacitated, two birds with one stone. Email Sandy and Cc: your spouse (or whoever else you're coordinating schedules with) about shared events and appointments.

To: Sandy
Cc: MS Outlook-enabled husband
Subject: Remember Santos potluck Sat 7pm 

Hi hon, it's on again this year. I'll wear those jingle bell earrings you love. xo

Not only will Sandy take note of the event and reply with an attachment your spouse can click to pop the appointment straight into his techno-calendar, she will send you both an email reminder when the time comes. (You can get the reminders via text message on your phone if you're out and about.)

In other words:

  • You don't have to use an electronic calendar just to share appointments (you just send email)
  • He doesn't have to laboriously update his calendar each time you tell him about a shared event (he just clicks an attachment)
  • You can offload some of the "honey, don't forget about the Santos's potluck on Saturday night, ok?" chores onto Sandy.

This is a beautiful thing, especially at this time of year with all of the parties, performances and family events.

Head on over to iwantsandy.com to find out more or to sign up for free.

Related: Meet your new assistant, Sandy

Your comments

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I am not sure I am with you on thinking that there is a gender split on electronic vs paper calendar usage. But then, literally all of my friends use electronic. I don't carry a palm or anything - I have enough trouble saying no to committing to more and more things that "I'll have to check my calendar when I get home" gives me a chance to decide if I can take on another thing.

My work calendar is electronic and coordinates with my home one.

I have started using Sandy but I want to echo catmom in asking where the people making Sandy make their money. I would be more likely to use and trust it if this were more transparent.

Hi WTO!

To answer your question about just where we will be making our money...

First and foremost, we are committed to always having a free version of Sandy's services.

In addition, we are working with Sandy to provide additional services on top of her current duties. These services will be available on a combination of subscription and pay-as-you-go bases.

I thank you for your great question and do feel free to follow up with further questions or feedback.

—Rael

Thanks for answering my question.

Sounds like a great idea - we are the opposite in our house - I am the palm techie and DH is the paper guy!

Hi Kelly,

I'm pleased to say that Sandy has bridged our paper/digital divide. Asha probably couldn't tell you the last time I just didn't have something on my calendar -- and best of all, I couldn't tell you the last time I had to add anything she'd sent me by email.

Rael

I need Sandy sooo bad. I ran out of ink and have not synced my BlackBerry so I have been missing out on appts. I love the option where Sandy makes not on an event on email and sends an attachment that can loaded straight into the techno calender. That is what I have been missing.... I added it to my TechMama's Holiday Gift Guide - because being able to keep track of appts is a gift!!

Google Calendar is much better, it can send u reminders to yr emial or via SMS. On the other hand, come on, girls also like tech!

Use Sandy in combination with Jott, and you're good to go! I love being able to Jott Sandy from my cell phone while I'm in the car. I'm ALWAYS thinking of things while I'm driving! A quick Jott to Sandy, and she's got me covered!

http://jott.com/

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