CALENDARS ON THE INTERNET
More and more law firm activity is moving to the Internet. We have electronic mail, Internet searching, accessing information all over the world, Westlaw on the Internet, the West Legal Directory on the Internet and virtual law firms on the Internet, such as ALegal Anywhere@ and AHotOffice@, as we have discussed in prior issues of Computers For Lawyers.
In another article in this issue we take a look at Apple Computer=s new and exciting iMac Macintosh computer and we begin to see a vision of a lawyer=s work station. Everything is done via a World Wide Web browser (Netscape or Internet Explorer), because these browsers are so very easy to use. And, why not let commercial enterprises purchase the file servers, modem banks, hard disk storage, back-up storage facilities, buildings and staff to administer to the needs of various software capabilities, and let lawyers access those resources via their work-station?
Indeed, part of the grand theory here is that it does not matter where information is located. It can be on the hard disk drive of your work station, or on your file server, or on Westlaw or on any file server anywhere in the world.
And so, the next step was one of the missing ingredients, and that was a web-based calendaring system. Now, a vendor is offering just that, and you can try it out with your own calendar for free!
WebCal Corporation was founded in January 1996 and is privately held. The company develops and markets web-based calendaring and scheduling products and publishes the world's largest public events database and search engine.
Their philosophy is clearly stated on their Internet site and I am in full agreement with the following: AThe market for network-based organizational tools and services that allow business professionals and individuals to more effectively manage their time is growing exponentially. The main problem with PC-based calendaring applications is that they are not always and universally accessible. Transfer of an appointment schedule to a laptop can be cumbersome and time-consuming. Paper-based day timers can be inefficient and don't allow for fast and easy updating. The World Wide Web has become a powerful resource for distributing, sharing and correlating this kind of information. The inherent interactivity of the web makes it the most appropriate medium on which to base time management tools.@
Among WebCal's core technologies are tools for the dynamic aggregation, integration and distribution of events information. WebCal has developed the Standard Event Entry and Distribution architecture (SEED), which makes it easy to parse event data into appropriate formats for distribution on and off the web. The SEED architecture is used to create and maintain the EventCal database, currently the most comprehensive database of public events in the world.
Event organizers may enter and edit their events directly and securely to the EventCal database using any web browser on any computer anywhere in the world. Off-line event entry software is also available at no charge to event organizers.
WebCal's on-line calendar is offered free to individuals registering at the company's web site http://www.webcal.com Each personal WebCal calendar resides on the WebCal secure servers, allowing users to access their calendar from any browser, on any computer, at any time, from anywhere in the world. WebCal calendars are also accessible to co-workers, friends and family, who can use the service to see meeting times and places, and track other people=s activities. A private entry option protects selected calendar items form being viewed by other users.
Setting up a calendar takes less than two minutes, using simple commands. WebCal offers multiple calendar views and a reminder option that allows users to send an email reminder to any number of recipients. The power of the WebCal calendar is further enhanced by its integration with EventCal, the world=s largest database of events.
Create Your Own Internet-Based Calendar
Setting up your own calendar is a snap. Just enter your name and your chosen password at the proper prompt, and you are into the area where you may set up your calendar. You then enter a description of the appointment or to-do, click on the time and date settings, enter descriptive notes about the entry and you can also send yourself email hours or days before the event to remind yourself of what is going to take place. The process is fast, direct, easy to understand and use (no manual is needed, although there is extensive help online) and the best news of all is that all you need to use this free service is an Internet browser and access to the Internet.
Why is this company being so generous? They are very smart. The use of these free calendars is limited to individuals and not corporations or businesses. With the free, personal calendar, you get a taste of what this technology could do for your organization or business and chances are, this taste will make you a convert.
I have just started to use this product, and the first thing I did after a few experimental entries is to load in my schedule at the ATLA annual convention in Washington this month, July, 1998. Now, I can leave my paper-based appointment book at home and, further, I=ve gotten organized ahead of time for the convention. Now, all I have to do is use my laptop or one of ATLA=s computers at the ATLA annual convention to get my electronic mail reminders (going to my free email box on the Internet at Yahoo.com - I=ve written about this resource before), and to see my calendar. And, if my office calls me as a client wants to see me when I get back, I can also determine my calendar just by getting on the Internet.
This product is ideal for many lawyers and lots of law offices and bar associations. The virtual office folks should be looking into this software and licensing it, as calendaring rounds out the other excellent offerings of products like those from ALegal Anywhere@ and AHotOffice.@
How to contact WebCal
You can contact WebCal at:164 Mulberry Street New York, NY 10013 Voice 212-226-1563 Fax 212-334-5283 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org