Posts tagged “address book”.

Random error when syncing with NewtSync

November 2nd, 2009


Get this. An attempt to sync my Address Book contacts and my iCal dates with the eMate. I’m using NewtSync with a Serial-to-USB adapter over USB on my iMac G4. And everything’s going fine (above).


Then this. What gives?

The process never finishes before this error message pops up. My eMate, though, has a lot of the information from iCal loaded from the sync, including repeating appointments. Address Book contact info, however, never makes it over to the eMate.

I’ve had issues syncing my eMate with anything on OS X. Guess I’ll keep trying.

Why I’ll be canceling my MobileMe trial account

December 4th, 2008

If first impressions are everything, then MobileMe never had a chance.

After I bought my iPhone 3G, I signed up for the trial MobileMe account. Back then, it was only a 60-day free trial, but Apple soon added 30 days onto that, and then 30 days onto that, after MobileMe’s launch arrived like a lead balloon.

The idea seemed swell enough: sync your Address Book, iCal, and Mail settings and entries with the ever-present Cloud, and your iPhone. But since July, I’ve run into more problems than solutions, and MobileMe has been a frustrating mess.

My free trial is up on Monday, Dec. 8. I’m going to cancel my account.

Looking back, I never really needed MobileMe to begin with. trashmobilemeBecause I plug my iPhone into my Mac almost every night, any new entries in either iCal or Address Book get synced each way – from the iPhone to my Mac, and from my Mac to my iPhone. I don’t need the “push” capabilities MobileMe claimed to offer because my syncing schedule was fast enough.

It’s too bad. Apple had a big uphill effort replacing the .Mac service. MobileMe seemed like a decent-enough resolution to everyone’s complaints against .Mac: not much storage, lackluster syncing, no star features that made it seem worth the $99 annual subscription. With it’s modern browser interface and over-the-air syncing, MobileMe looked great on paper. In practice, however, it failed to live up to my expectations.

Maybe it was a lack of habit, but I never found myself missing MobileMe when I wasn’t using it (which was often). If I used my iPhone and Mac for business, the cloud syncing might seem like a bigger deal. But I had a system down, and it worked just fine for me.

The one feature that did catch my eye was the photo sharing galleries. My friend’s wedding photographer put together a beautiful presentation (the subjects helped) using MobileMe’s slideshow capabilities. But again: I don’t really need it. Flickr works just fine as a photo-sharing environment for me. I can make slideshows with Flickr that look fine for my needs. I’m not a wedding photographer. I don’t need anything fancy.

Another thing that bothered me? The fact that iDisk iDisk Sync [thanks commenters!] takes up the 10 GB of space from my hard drive. Maybe I’m a rare case, but when I launch iDisk, it takes away whatever space is available away from my Mac’s “available” space. Why store things on a fragile cloud when my hard drive works just fine? I love the idea behind iDisk, but my iBook is cramped enough without taking that additional 10 GB away.

Apple’s solution? Don’t use iDisk Sync.

The launch didn’t help things. We all remember that, right? The big outage that first weekend. How it took weeks and weeks of Apple tinkering to get even basic services like e-mail up and running for all MobileMe users. For a while there, MobileMe seemed like a big embarrassing misshap for Apple – right up there with the big system outage for the iPhone 3G’s launch. That kind of thing can leave a bad taste in the mouth. I guess it’s never gone away for me.

Part of me is skeptical about this “cloud computing” stuff. I understand that Google seems to have it down, barring Gmail outages, and – lord bless them – Microsoft is working on their own cloud syncing projects. But Google apps like Gmail are hooked up to my, which runs from my desktop, and I don’t often make appointments or add contacts through a web browser. That stuff lives on my Mac. I like that I can edit a contact’s information on my iPhone and the change gets logged in Address Book in OS X. There’s no extra log-in-to-the-web-service involved.

If I had several Macs strung out over several locations, with only my iPhone in common, the idea behind MobileMe could come in handy. Backing up my data to the cloud? Sure. Do it all the time. But easy and reliable syncage still seems to be a giant Work In Progress. I’m not yet impressed.

So thanks for the couple of free months, Apple, but I’m saying “no thanks” to MobileMe. Maybe some day I’ll find a use for it – one where I can justify renewing my subscription. Right now, though, I can’t see any good reason to keep MobileMe around. It’s either been a thorn in my side or a non-starter, and life’s too short for either of those.

How To: connect a Newton eMate with OS X using Escale

December 1st, 2008

eMate and Escale - we're connected

As I hinted at Friday, I had success connecting my Newton eMate 300 with my iBook G4, running OS X 10.4, using a Keyspan serial-to-USB dongle I recently grabbed off eBay. This has been a long time coming. I first wrote about how to connect your Newton with OS X back in March, and there are tons of resources a Google search away, but here – for the first time – I got to see first-hand how the whole process works.

And it’s such a snap.

More… »

Update: MobileMe syncs with OS X 10.4 Tiger [finally]

July 26th, 2008

You see that? Finally, after two weeks of waiting, my MobileMe account syncs to that damn cloud that keeps raining on everyone.

Every day since I purchased my iPhone and signed up for the free 90-day trial of MobileMe I’ve tried syncing my iBook (running OS X 10.4.11), and every day it gives me the same message: try again, buddy. But, like a mouse hoping the electrified button will bring more cheese, I kept trying.

Finally, this morning, after a friend had sent me an e-mail asking if I liked MobileMe (and right before I sent my reply saying “don’t even think about it”) the .Mac sync screen above showed up. It parsed through my iCal and Address Book settings and sent them to MobileMe Land, which meant I could keep everything on my iBook and iPhone synced. Good news.

Things have gotten so bad that usually-secretive Apple has a MobileMe status blog of sorts from some mysterious employee who received a directive from Steve Jobs: inform the masses. Apologize. Send it via RSS. Keep them In The Know.

In the 14 days since we launched, it’s been a rocky road and we know the pain some people have been suffering. Be assured people here are working 24-7 to improve matters, and we’re going to favor getting you new info hot off the presses even if we have to post corrections or further updates later.

The “pain” part hasn’t been so bad. I use Gmail for e-mail, and my iPhone syncs with my iBook settings every time iTunes syncs it. Before, I thought you had to have MobileMe to, say, add an iCal event on the iPhone and have it appear on your Mac in some form or another. This is false. I’ve found that, just like photos, the iPhone will “push” contact info and calendar events from the phone to the Mac when you plug it in with the USB connector. Which is handy, and doesn’t make MobileMe a necessity. Thank goodness, because MobileMe hasn’t been what we would call “reliable.”

The true test comes in about an hour, when my MobileMe account is scheduled to sync. I added a Calendar (is it iCal on the phone? I get confused…) event on the iPhone, and we’ll see if it shows up in iCal on my Mac sometime in the near future. But even that little note above, where the .Mac preference pane shows the damned thing doing something, is enough to give me hope.

Any other MobileMe syncing successes out there? Let me know in the comments.

[Update to an update: MobileMe is still acting weird, with no end in site.]