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Requirements and Wish Lists

Hand pinning a reminder to a cork board

  • Generate pop-up, email and/or SMS reminders on a flexible, per-user basis.
  • Synchronize with PDAs and smartphones.
  • Have the ability to enable remote access via the internet.
  • Share calendars and do group scheduling.
  • Print good-looking calendars in various sizes to go on the family bulletin board, in the kids’ notebooks, pocket organizers, etc.
  • Share contact files. Some are for the whole family and some are particular to one individual in the family.
  • Customizable databases of common information–medical records, clothing sizes, wish lists, gift ideas, etc.
  • Assign and monitor tasks.
  • Variable security levels so that, for instance, the children can view but not accidentally delete or change sensitive information.
  • No expensive server software required. Most families cannot afford to run Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes or similar servers—the cost, the system overhead, and the time required to do that properly are unreasonable for this application. We have a Linux server in our home. That isn’t unusual for our social circle, but I don’t honestly think it’s going to be a very common thing in your average household any time in the next decade.
  • Flexible import/export capabilities.
  • Must play well with word processors. When it’s time to print mailing labels, we don’t want to have to tediously export to CSV files and so on. We want to tell MS Word what contact manager we’re using, have it pull the relevant records, and go.
  • Preferably open source. If commercial, licenses must be reasonably priced for home users. We would be using this program on at least five PCs in the house, and we actually try to stay legal on our software licenses.

Back to Family Groupware.

Last updated June 17, 2006
Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash