I covered the 30 Boxes online calendar briefly last September (see story). But the world's changed a bit since then, and 30 Boxes has as well, so I recently took another look at this interesting (and experimental) app.
The easy part first: 30 Boxes is a nice little online calendar. It's got a special trick, in that instead of clicking on days and times to enter appointments, you can type in its single entry box something like, "Lunch, noon Friday with Frank," and it will create the appointment based on that. (Related: Stikkit.)
But 30 Boxes is more than an events calendar with a rudimentary understanding of scheduling grammar. It's also an aggregation service for time-based updates from your social sites and for those of your friends. For example, 30 Boxes will put your blog updates, Twitter messages, Upcoming.org calendar items, and Flickr photos on your calendar, as well as those from your friends. Facebook integration is coming soon. 30 Boxes reminds me Jaiku (review), another personal feed aggregator, except it's oriented around the calendar scheme rather than the discussion-based scheme Jaiku is based on.
Everyone who uses 30 Boxes, and everyone who is added into a 30 Boxes stream, gets their own profile page (here's mine). All you need to know is a person's e-mail address to add them in to your calendar. The system will find their updates on Twitter and other services, and add them to your calendar. They'll also get an invitation to join 30 Boxes, of course, and if they do they can have more control over what information that's associated with their e-mail address.
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