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  • emails/contacts/calenders etc whats out there

    hi all,
    as the title mentions...
    I've recently started up an architectural practice & am looking at what i can get for free...or as close to it.
    mainly in the way of a calender/emails & contacts..
    I've the domain bought & being hosted (holding page ATM) so that should sort the email....but i need a calender, one that will sync with my phone, pc & laptop...
    does anyone have any suggestions?

    something similar to outlook as it opens when the computers start etc.

    cheers,
    steven

  • #2
    Originally posted by Dingario View Post
    hi all,
    as the title mentions...
    I've recently started up an architectural practice & am looking at what i can get for free...or as close to it.
    mainly in the way of a calender/emails & contacts..
    I've the domain bought & being hosted (holding page ATM) so that should sort the email....but i need a calender, one that will sync with my phone, pc & laptop...
    does anyone have any suggestions?

    something similar to outlook as it opens when the computers start etc.

    cheers,
    steven
    PC or MAc?

    Comment


    • #3
      PC & android tablet/phone if that helps

      Comment


      • #4
        Libre Office is worth a look - excellent (and free) alternative to MS Office.

        ...and I use Contact Office for email, contacts, calendars. There is a free version, which will be good enough to get you started, but you'll probably need to plan on upgrading to a paid plan eventually.

        ...and DropBox is an excellent file sharing tool - (use this link if you sign up and we'll both get some extra free space!)
        Last edited by john.warburton; 12-03-2012, 00:20.

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        • #5
          OpenOffice is another great free alternative to Ms Office...

          Otherwise I use Mozilla Thunderbird with the lightning plugin which adds a calender and scheduling function - just not too sure about the syncing possibilities!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by badja View Post
            OpenOffice is another great free alternative to Ms Office...
            Open Office is probably no longer being actively developed. The development team and Sun parted company and started up Libre Office - this is functionally identical to Open Office and this is where the development work is goign to continue.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for that John, never knew that was the case!

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              • #8
                I'll check out Libre Office as well, open office is good for its price but has some issues.

                As for all the rest: I use gmail and some other google services like calendar, tasks, and android apps (gtasks and calendar mainly). Works really well, gmail online for me is as good as a mail client like outlook. And you have the same interface everywhere. You can probably forward your work mail to gmail and reply mails through gmail using your work email adress. Big plus is the perfect integration with android.

                To have things clear in windows I have chrome configured to start up with 5 tabs: gmail, gcalendar, hotmail, work mail (not forwarded), work forum. All my surfing is done in opera. So I have my 'separate' application for email and planning. Requires some configuration, but it works really well for me.

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                • #9
                  If you go the google way and start working cloud-based as well, it might be a better idea to check out google docs instead of libre office. This will give you easy access to all your documents from tablet and smartphone as well.
                  And I guess the functionality offered by google docs should be enough for an architect.

                  Also, if you're looking for online storage, check sugarsync. It's less known than dropbox but beats it in features and price!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Been running my own practice for 4 years. I work from home or mobile and my ENTIRE architectural office fits into my backpack. I often travel or live in different cities for a few weeks or a month or so while completing projects. Here are the tools that let me do it. It's a little off topic but I figured you'd be interested.

                    Email: Google Apps (its free)
                    Calendar: Google Apps (syncs with email and includes tasks/to-do)
                    Contacts: In your smartphone & google apps Gmail.
                    Project management & cloud storage: Basecamp by 37 Signals. I use this because you can separate everything by job, track hourly work, set milestones and dates (and can syn with your google calendar) and its only $50/month. Cheaper than paying someone a salary to do this. www.basecamphq.com
                    Note taking / scanning / storage: Evernote. Use this app on your smartphone and it syncs automatically. Use the folders to organize notes, images, and audio recordings, etc into separate jobs. I use this while surveying and in client meetings. After misplacing notes I've taken during meetings or a sektch with VERY important field measurements, this eliminates the possibility of loss and stores it on the cloud.
                    Accounting: use wave accounting. Automatically syncs to your debit and credit cards and make organizing your expenses easy. http://waveaccounting.com/
                    Surveying: Spend the $99 and buy a laser measuring tool from Home Depot. Bosch make a good one. Saves you oodles of time if you survey often. Also clients usually haven't seen one before and think you're on top of you game because you have cool new technology.

                    Good luck, and be prepared to work much more and make less $ than you used to, but eventually that will change.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by pitrak View Post

                      Also, if you're looking for online storage, check sugarsync. It's less known than dropbox but beats it in features and price!
                      If you go the Google route with gmail, docs, etc. you should also look at Google Drive for storage backup. You get 5 gig free to start and it will create a folder on your desktop and sync any files you want to backup as well as automatically store and sync your Google Docs... I just found out about it recently and started to use it as I use G Docs for my photography invoicing, proposals, agreements, and other document related stuff.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Dingario View Post
                        hi all,
                        as the title mentions...
                        I've recently started up an architectural practice & am looking at what i can get for free...or as close to it.
                        mainly in the way of a calender/emails & contacts..
                        I've the domain bought & being hosted (holding page ATM) so that should sort the email....but i need a calender, one that will sync with my phone, pc & laptop...
                        does anyone have any suggestions?

                        something similar to outlook as it opens when the computers start etc.

                        cheers,
                        steven
                        Two years ago, I found myself asking the same exact questions. I helped start a really small firm, and we needed all of the same resources that you mentioned.

                        What we ended up doing was setting up Google Apps for the entire office. Google Apps has worked out marvelously for us. The calendar and email support has been great, and it plays well with every device we have at the office (Windows, Mac, iPhones, Android phones.. you name it).

                        As far as sharing files and such, we went ahead and got a Mac Mini server. All of the files are hosted there, and it's backed up using Carbonite. The Mac Mini is a champ.


                        Cheers,

                        Shizke

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                        • #13
                          Sorry for the double post.

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