This is probably old news to many, but I just discovered domain name hosting with Google Apps. (Actually my brother Mark found it on google’s site and we discovered it together…turns out it was a perfect solution to our problem)
We had a Scalix email server running for some time in a Windows Virtual Server virtual machine (SUSE 10.1 and Scalix 11.1) which was not bad…sort of a learning experience for me, but it became a hassle to maintain. Our dedicated server with godaddy ended up crashing every other day, and down goes our email. So, we considered the replacement solution, and that’s when we happened on Google Apps.
Since our domain name is registered through godaddy, and they have a nice domain control center app with complete dns control, the switch to Google Apps was painless. I can’t say the same about godaddy about their dedicated server product, but at least I will keep registering domain names with them with the ease and control the provide for managing those domains.
Anyway, the setup for Google Apps was simple, intuitive, with clear instructions to make the change-over painless and fast! Within 15 minutes I had it setup, and 15 minutes later I had the domain pointing to google servers. As the dns entries propogated to the internet I soon began to see email on my domain come trickling in to the gmail mailbox. Awesome!! Google has done it again.
The added bonus is that we get google docs, personalized start page, and google calendars all available through our hosted domain, so you type calendar.yourdomain.com and it goes to Google Calendar with sharing among your domain accounts an option.
If you sign up for the premium account (30 day free trial), Google provides an IMAP migration tool, which worked flawlessly and brought all of the existing mailbox content over to the new Google Apps email account.
All in all, it was a painless, fast switch over and I happily retired the Scalix virtual machine. What a great feeling to turn that baby off knowing I’ll never have to deal with it again.
I while back I downloaded and played with Funambol, now there is a free online Funambol server that provides the glue to many synchronization needs. For me it is:
Palm Treo650 < – > Outlook contacts/calendar < – > Gmail contacts/calendar
So I am basing my procedure on this great article.
Step 1. Sign up for an account on scheduleworld.com.
Step 2. Download funambol outlook client. Install per the instructions and configure per the information provided by scheduleworld.
Step 3. Synchronize Outlook with Palm Treo (already configured, using software that came with the Treo). This step just makes sure we have synchronized data in Outlook before proceeding.
Step 4. Run funambol plugin for Outlook.
Step 5. Log into scheduleworld and confirm you can now see the synchronized data.
Step 6. In scheduleworld.com site, click on Google Sync and setup google account info. There are also several google calendar sync options in the Preferences page that I have set so that it will sync the google calendar with each syncML session.
NOTE: so far, I’ve only been able to sync contacts with regular gmail account and not my google apps domain services account. So I’ve done a google export of contacts from scheduleworld that I loaded to my domain google apps account. I don’t suspect scheduleworld will be able to add contacts sync to google apps because of the google apps APIs, they contacts APIs seem to be available only to premium users at $50/yr.
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