Friday, April 13, 2007

The Calendar For The Wired Family

I keep several calendars in our house: a small one in my purse, a Fridge Grid Pad in the kitchen, etc. However, I'm usually the only one who updates them, and soon something will get missed because my husband never wrote it on the calendar.

I can't blame him entirely - he's gone from the house much of each day, so it's hard for him to remember to update the calendar. Plus, by the time he does get home, he's often forgot what it was he needed to write down. But he's usually near a computer 18 hours a day, meaning if he had a virtual calendar he could be better at writing everything down.

We were asked by the Parent Bloggers Network to try out Cozi, and once I saw what it was I could barely contain my excitement! Cozi is a software program that includes a family calendar, shopping list, and message center. You can download the software onto your computer for quick, easy access to your family calendar, but you can also use the Web login to check and update when you're away from home.

Each family member is given a color code, so you can easily sort out who is doing what. You can see the overall family calendar using the "All" tab, or look at each person's individual calendar. Adding a meeting or appointment is as easy as double clicking the day and filling out the event, time, and choosing who is involved. You can also set up recurring appointments or events, like birthdays or regular meetings.

This calendar is amazingly useful for the family that doesn't spend all day together. (And really, who does that?) Aaron can update the calendar from work via the Web, while I'm adding appointments to it from home using the downloaded software. The two versions sync up right away, so you always have the most up-to-date information.

Also useful is the shopping list that Cozi provides. I updated it from home, then pulled it up online before I left work so I could remember what I needed at the grocery. Aaron was also able to update the list with things he needed while at work. And best of all? You don't even need to write it all down before going to the grocery. You can either ask Cozi to text the list to your cell phone, or you can call the Cozi toll-free number and have a computer read the list to you. How cool is that?

Cozi has other features that I didn't play with as much, like a family photo collage screensaver, and a messaging system. And you can customize the color assigned to each family member, as well as select a family photo for your Cozi Central homepage.

But the most awesome part of all of this? It's free. Yes, you read that right: f-r-e-e.

Is there anything about Cozi that I don't like? Well, the login for the online version is sometimes very slow. And I would like to see more customization of the homepage beyond one picture - maybe different display layouts, or a selection of backgrounds. But these are minor complaints, and it's hard to complain about little things like layouts and backgrounds when the product works well and doesn't cost a penny to use.

I'd recommend Cozi for any family who has little time at home, a lot to do, and has at least one or two techno-geeks with a computer attached to them for a significant part of their day. But even the non-geeks in the house can use this simple, intuitive software to manage the family calendar.


Jenny said...

Fabulous finds!

H said...

That sounds great...I think we may have to try it out.

Violet the Verbose said...

Cool! We sync up using the Evil Empire's Outlook Calendar, but Slipshod doesn't use that at home - he's a Linux man at home, while I continue to use the EE's software because I like the contacts option. But I REALLY like the idea of an online grocery list that we can both see from different places, and he can download to his cell phone before hitting the store on his way home. Definitely going to look into this - thanks for the review!

love.boxes said...

Sounds great!