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Scrybe lives up to the demo

Scrybe lives up to the demo

Scrybe opened up its online calendar beta to some folks late last night, which gave me a chance to work with the product and see if it lives up to the gorgeous video demo that's been circulating.

As a calendar, Scrybe has two big things going for it. First, the interface is almost as fluid and intuitive as it looked in the demo. As you navigate from months to weeks to days, calendar boxes zoom in and out beautifully, and days scroll by as you go forward and back. It's like using a Macintosh: these UI cues make it much easier for your brain to follow what your hands are doing with your mouse. Adding and modifying appointments is easy and intuitive. There are no awkward page loads or jarring pop-ups as there are in lesser online calendars. Everything works just as it would in a real app.

The other huge benefit: Scrybe works offline. I'll say that again: it's a Web application, but when you're not online, it still works. You can view your calendar, add things, move items around, print, and so on. This shouldn't be a big deal, but it is, since other online applications don't work at all when they're not connected. When Scrybe goes online, it synchronizes the data from your local machine to the Web.

Scrybe does all this magic by using Flash, but Scrybe doesn't feel like a Flash application. The right mouse button does context-sensitive things, and the application responds quickly. However, the Scrybe window does not scale to your browser's window, and the back button doesn't work at all.

One other great feature in Scrybe: it prints useful calendars. Two of its formats fold up (there are instructional icons printed on the pages) into nice little pocketable booklets. My only beef with the printing function is that it's accessed from a right mouse-click and bizzarely called PaperSync.

In this first beta, Scrybe doesn't have enough of its features built out yet to make it a useful calendar (there's no sharing or inviting, for instance). The Web clipping function in the video demo isn't in yet. But more importantly, I'm not convinced that Scrybe's great user interface will be enough to win over users already accustomed to the full feature sets in Outlook and Google Calendar or in upstarts like 30 Boxes. Scrybe is solving the calendar problem in a neat new way, but some of the old ways aren't all that bad. The offline function is awesome, though, and might make the difference for users who spend enough time offline to get frustrated with online applications.