KitchenHub Family Scheduler Replaces the Corkboard

KitchenHub ($40, 30-day free trial) is a family organizer designed to let every member of a family keep track of each other's appointments and schedule, calendar, to-do list, email, and more. Think of it as a replacement for the venerable refrigerator magnet locator board and notes held up by kitchen magnets. If you feel the need to ditch those things, KitchenHub may be worth a look. But otherwise it may be overkill.

Setting up and using KitchenHub is a breeze. Type in the first names of every member of your family, and everyone then has their own account. After that, creating an appointment, shopping list, and so on is just as simple. Type in the information, click OK, and you're done. Everyone can then see everyone else's lists and calendars, which can make life easy for busy families.

KitchenHub's calendars can be synced to Google Calendar, which is also useful for parents who maintain calendars on that service. And there's also an e-mail handler that can be used by people to check e-mail from various accounts, including Google, Yahoo, and POP2/IMAP accounts. Be very careful when using its e-mail capabilities, though, because it stores user names and passwords. That means that anyone with access to your computer and to KitchenHub--including your children--can read your e-mail, and send e-mail as if they were you.

Using the program makes sense only for families who share a single computer, or who want to have all of their family schedule on a single computer. And it will be far more useful for parents who need to keep track of their kids' activities, than it will be useful for the kids themselves. Teens certainly won't want to broadcast to their parents and siblings much of their doings during the week. And younger kids generally don't need to track their lives like this---that's what parents are for.

Busy parents, though, may find it useful, because it shows in one place where everyone in the family will be on any given day, and may make it easier to schedule family time together. On the other hand, for many people the "homeyness" of a kitchen board and magnets is the very symbol of a family's shared life, and they may not want to replace that with bits and bytes. At $40, KitchenHub also isn't cheap. Still, if you need help scheduling your family, it might be worth a look.

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