Q. What does the removal of multi-user capabilities from SOHO Notes 8 and SOHO Organizer 8 mean?

A. SOHO Notes 8 and SOHO Organizer 8 can no longer access a shared database containing notes, contacts, calendars or tasks. In earlier versions of these products, you could create a shared database on a server with accounts for each user in the database. This is no longer possible. All databases must now reside on each individual's own computer and cannot be shared or accessed by others. SOHO Organizer does, however, support CalDAV which means you can set up a CalDAV server that you can use to share calendar information between multiple users. At this time, we don't offer any similar solutions for sharing contacts or notes.

We are currently investigating some solutions (open source, cloud, etc.) that will provide multi-user repositories for contacts, calendars, and notes. Once we release version 8, we aim to work closer with our multi-user customers to figure out what their needs are and how they might best be met. In fact, we'll be making some announcements after the release of version 8 detailing new ways that we plan to increase communication and collaboration on these matters.

Q. Why were multi-user capabilities removed from SOHO Notes 8 and SOHO Organizer 8?

Sixteen months ago we concluded, based on lots of customer feedback, that we needed to improve the speed of SOHO Notes and SOHO Organizer. The database we were using at the time was a multi-user capable database. After much research, we discovered that the best way to achieve our speed goals was to switch to Apple's extremely-fast Core Data. The downside of this decision is that Core Data is currently single-user only meaning its databases can only be accessed locally (not over a network). In spite of this downside, we decided to go with CoreData for three reasons. First, the number one complaint about our software was speed. Second, the bulk of our customers only purchase single-user versions of our software. Third, there are other compelling and modern solutions on the horizon for sharing data that do not require the traditional client/server data model. Many of these newer solutions are more Internet-friendly and work better for both mobile devices (think iPhone )and computers. For example, CalDAV offers calendar sharing over the Internet and can easily be accessed by both iPhones and computers. This is the direction we'll be heading and we think it's a better long-term strategy for our customers and for us.

Q. Will I still be able to use SOHO Notes 8 or SOHO Organizer 8 on my laptop as well as on my desktop computer and will synchronization still be available via Apple's MobileMe?

A. Yes. You can still use SOHO Notes 8 or SOHO Organizer 8 on two computers and keep the information synchronized between the two computers using MobileMe.