An idea for an Outlook add-in
A few years ago I emailed the kind people at Sperry Software with an idea for an Outlook add-in. It was a simple idea: an add-on for my Contacts that told me what time it was in their city.
If I’m planning on phoning my cousin Zack in San Francisco, for example I want to know if I’m going to be waking him up or keeping him from going to bed. But at the moment that information isn’t available in Microsoft Outlook, even version 2010.
Which seemed to me a bit crazy because in my Contact record for him I’ve already specified that he lives in the United States of America, and the San Francisco bit of the California region of the United States of America. That really should be enough information for Outlook to work out that he’s currently 8 hours behind.
I got an email back from the president of Sperry Software thanking me for such a useful and simple idea. He said that they’d start work on it after they’d upgraded their current add-ins from Outlook 2003 to 2007 and that I’d get a free copy of it once it was completed.
Disappointingly, I never heard another word from them about it.
I now use Google and ‘Every Time Zone’
Instead, I now use two solutions.
The first is good old Google. If you type the word “time” plus a place name into Google, e.g. time san francisco it will show you the current time in that city.
The other tool is Every Time Zone: a web page that lists 12 different time zones with a movable bar that allows me to plan when to contact someone in another time zone.
What time will it be in Tokyo when it’s 4pm in London? Move the bar… it’ll be 1am. How about New York at the same time? Easy 11am.
I’d still like something integrated, by default preferably, into Outlook. That would be a very welcome addition.
What I didn’t mention yesterday was that in Outlook 2010 you can switch on a parallel timezone in the Calendar, which does help:
But you don’t want to have to switch between different time zones all the time, which is why I thought that integrating it into the Contacts was a neat idea.