Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sync Mac with BlackBerry?

Longer than usual post:

I’ve just spent an irritating 48 hours trying to figure out how to sync my Calendar and Contacts/Address Book data between my Mac and my BlackBerry. When I was on the Miami University BES server, I used Entourage to do this. But Cincinnati Bell’s advice was to use PocketMac to sync my Apple iCal and Address Book data to the BB.

I found PocketMac to be of no use on my current Mac, an older iBook G3 running 10.4.11. I installed and Uninstalled it several times, following BlackBerry’s advice to the letter, but I never got it to open right. And it seems to have corrupted my .Mac settings to boot. Judging from a Google search, I'm not alone in this frustration.

Why would Apple and RIM push such a piece of junk forward? I suppose Apple has no interest in helping a competitor to its iPhone. But why wouldn’t RIM do better helping out a non-negligible base of Mac-loving BlackBerry users?

I finally found the solution, thanks to one frustrated poster on BB’s message board: scrap the Apple programs and use Google Calendar and Contacts. Just:

  • save the data from both iCal and Address Book
  • set up the corresponding Google Calendar and Google Contacts
  • upload your data
  • add Google Sync to your BlackBerry
  • do initial syncs (takes a while)
I ran into one problem with Google Contacts. I'd forgotten that I had previously set it up long ago. It added my new uploads, most of which were duplicates of existing names. I could see their existence via the record count but they didn't appear on screen. Google Sync worked fine for my Calendar but Contacts crashed. I signed out, Quit Firefox and opened Safari. Safari showed the duplicates, so I selected and Deleted them all. Problem solved.

Another irritant: PocketMac is “free” on the PocketMac site -- but they charge a fee for downloads! It’s truly free on the RIM/Blackberry site, though. PocketMac does have a semi-cool Mac-like theme for a couple of bucks extra if you download (above).

I may forget about iCal and Address Book. I could Export the Google data and import it back to the Apple apps, but that may be more trouble than it's worth.

I have cross-posted this on Cleve Callison's blog.

7/7/09 Help Desk delayed

Help Desk users,

In our last "Live" show of 6/30/09, I said a new Help Desk podcast would be posted on 7/7/09 discussing social media. Unfortunately, leaving Miami, vacation and other delays have held that up. I hope to add it soon. That's likely to be the last one for a while.

--Cleve Callison