TimeBridge web-scheduling service
- Scheduling meetings is easy no matter what type of e-mail, calendar app or browser you use, TimeBridge can automatically schedule a meeting when all of the attendees are available according to their calendar
- Limited to people within the same company, there are a few glitches
If your meeting invitees are all internal to your organisation and on the same Microsoft-based mail and calendar systems, Outlook 2007 may provide all the scheduling tools you need. But TimeBridge offers much more flexibility and time savings for people who collaborate in many environments and in various browser platforms.
Best Deals (Selling at 1 store)
TimeBridge is an effective meeting scheduler for people who don't work in Microsoft-centric organisations -- and for those who do.
Meetings may be a necessary evil, but the time required to schedule them can be a real productivity killer. Microsoft Outlook has helpful tools such as shared calendars and auto-selection of meeting times, but its usefulness is limited to people within the same company.
TimeBridge, a free Web-based service, surpasses Outlook's approach, allowing you to quickly and easily schedule meetings with anyone, no matter what e-mail service, calendaring app or browser they have -- and they don't even need to be TimeBridge users. The service is especially useful when you must schedule meetings with people outside of your organisation.
You can schedule meetings in just three steps on the TimeBridge site. You enter the e-mail addresses of your attendees, type in a meeting topic, and then choose up to five proposed meeting times. You select the proposed times from your TimeBridge calendar; if you've linked it with your calendar in Outlook (using a small, free plug-in) or Google, your existing appointments will already appear.
(If the meeting attendees are TimeBridge users who have linked their calendars, the meeting organiser can see when they're free and use that information to further narrow down the potential times.)
Since TimeBridge uses the linked calendars only to show basic availability, not details of already scheduled events, privacy is maintained.
Once you've completed these steps (and added an optional note for your attendees), you click Send to set TimeBridge in motion. Your attendees receive a well-designed e-mail form that lets them vote for their preferred time, by designating which times are 'best', which are 'acceptable', and which are 'not available'.
TimeBridge gathers and analyses the results, and uses the weighted responses to book the most convenient meeting time, greatly reducing or even eliminating the back-and-forth communication that often happens when colleagues attempt to coordinate multiple schedules.
Attendees with a calendar linked to TimeBridge will automatically see the event added to their own calendars, while others will receive a confirmation e-mail along with a link to download the meeting to their calendar platform; Google, Outlook, Yahoo, and both iCal and Entourage in Mac OS X are supported.
TimeBridge lets a meeting organiser operate almost in "fire and forget" mode -- after you enter the initial information in TimeBridge, the service takes care of the rest. For fast access you can even create or drag and drop a TimeBridge bookmark into your browser to quickly click and begin the simple scheduling process.
The service still has a glitch or two to be worked out, though: for example, choosing 10am to 11am in the interface in Apple's Safari browser created a meeting from 2pm to 3pm. Fixing the problem required only a simple drag and drop of the correct time, though.
Outlook 2007 does provide an adequate method of scheduling meetings. It can automatically pick the best possible time based on criteria you set, such as scheduling the meeting when all of the attendees are available, and it can show the free or busy schedules of potential attendees.
It works effectively, however, only when resources are on the same internal e-mail system such as Microsoft Exchange -- and that simple requirement might not be met for weeks or months out, as calendars can easily fill up with a myriad of events. The more attendees needed for a meeting, the more schedules enter the mix, so it's not unheard of for Outlook to find a time that's suitable for everyone but too far off in the future to be practical.
People in different organisations can share their calendars through another interface such as Microsoft Office Online, but even in this case the burden of scheduling still lies with the meeting organiser -- that is, the organiser has to set a single meeting time and then try to reschedule for a time acceptable to all once the inevitable decline responses come back. Another option is Outlook Web Access (OWA), a Web-based client that mimics the full Outlook desktop software; but if you don't use Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser (version 5 or better), you'll see merely a "light" version of OWA.
Scheduling a meeting in the OWA calendar with Firefox, Opera or Safari in the light version shows only a daily calendar view, with no auto-selection of time available.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Motorola Moto X (2nd Gen) review: Raising the bar
- 2 Xiaomi Mi4 review: Xiaomi's best yet
- 3 Samsung Galaxy Note Edge review: Lightly flawed, Undeniably special
- 4 Sony Xperia Z3 review: The no-frills flagship
- 5 Samsung's Galaxy Alpha review: A peek into the Galaxy S6
Best Deals on GoodGearGuide
Latest News Articles
- Google Now adds data from Lyft, Airbnb and many more apps
- Outlook app for Android and iOS boosts Microsoft's mobile comeback
- MIT randomizes tasks to speed massive multicore processors
- NEC aims at Big Data 'sweet spot' with new SAP Hana tool
- Uber will fight to keep its Boston ride data private
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.