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Old 05-27-2010, 06:03 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Blackberry & Apple: Good in a pie, bad on your desk

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If you are using a Blackberry and OS X, read my tale of woe and beware…

I’ve got into such a mess that it has become funny, and I thought I’d share it with you all to brighten up your day. I’m trying to keep my Blackberry synchronised with my desktop computer for contacts and calendar, so far so good. Except that several months ago I moved to mac, and wanted to use Entourage for emails, contacts and calendar. I rejoiced when BB Desktop Manager for Mac came out, and had no problems for a while… Then I noticed that I was getting contacts with just the name in, no email or phone number. Also after upgrading to the latest BB software I was getting multiple duplicate appointments (I think 5 was my record for one appt.) I never got to the bottom of the duplicates thing, despite many, many hours on Google but I eventually found that the lost contact details is a known issue in the release notes, to do with populating the “work phone 2” field in Outlook. I changed all my contacts manually to use “Other” where appropriate.

Suspecting the BB desktop software of duplicating my appointments (especially recurring ones and those whose notification has passed but whose start time is still in the future at the time of sync,) I set up a Google calendar and dusted off my google email account. I Installed Google Sync on my BB, blindly followed something to do with CalDav and manged to get my Google contacts syncing with Apple Address Book, which Entourage will synchronise with (If you’re following this you may need to draw out a diagram of all the connections, I had to.) I installed the Google calendar into Apple iCal, and hit a problem. Entourage will only sync with its own calendar in iCal, and Google will only use its own calendar in iCal, so I had no way to sync Google calendar with Entourage, despite both of them appearing in iCal. Also, to cope with a lack of support for Groups in some sync methods, I had added to all the first names information to allow me to search effectively by group. I now found that only the first part of the first name was syncing with Apple Address Book and worse, as it now looked like a different name, I was getting contact duplication at each stage. I’m not sure why this wasn’t apparent with BB Desktop Manger, I did get some duplication but nothing on this scale. I used Google to merge the duplicates, and then just had some strange things in the notes field, which I can live with. It was clear though that I couldn’t use Entourage as I had been doing with multiple first names (Entourage doesn’t support middle names) and syncing with Google doesn’t support groups, so I had no way to keep any functionality of groups, which is important to me. I also didn’t much fancy manually editing all my contacts to remove the multiple first names that they now had.

Then the errors in GSync started. I kept getting “Sync failed” errors, and was advised by GSync to sign out and back in again. I backed up, as this would delete my synced items, and signed back in. Again it worked once and then never again. Considering the amount of time I had spent not working but fiddling with trying to get my contacts and calendar together, and reading in the release notes for BB Desktop Manager about the wide-ranging errors with Entourage in particular, I decided to ditch Entourage and rely on Apple’s iCal (which I don’t really like), Address Book (which I think is great) and Mail (excellent). Surely I could get Blackberry Desktop Manager to work with Apple’s own programs, knowing what I did about the limitations in the release notes?

I tried again with BB Desktop Manager, but I was appalled to find that now the sync lost all but the first part of the first name field. I guess all the multiple syncing had subtly changed the structure of the contacts, so now the problem appears here, too.

Thoroughly disillusioned, and bearing in mind the fact that one item of software in particular that I use very regularly is only available on Windows (I had been using Parallels Desktop to run it in an XP Virtual Machine) I decided to partition the hard drive using Boot Camp, buy Windows 7 and Office 2010 and start using that as my main system – in effect calling time on my experiment with Mac . I spent several more hours installing everything, transferring files, data and settings, and finally, once I had the data in place and all backed up, syncing with my Blackberry. I got an error when I tried to set the sync settings, Googled it and I couldn’t believe what I found: Blackberry Desktop Manager doesn’t support Outlook 2010. I had to laugh, switch off and open a beer.

I really don’t know what I’m going to do now, I think I’ll just have to accept that I don’t have my calendar and contacts synchronised between my computer and my phone, and remember it. I considered buying a diary, but I never could make myself use one, even in days of yore.

Perhaps I could have avoided he issue by ditching the Blackberry for an iPhone, but despite a baffling menu structure and the odd error the BB recovers well, I’m used to it and from what I gather, its much better for emails than an iPhone. I never used a Walkman or discman before iPhones or iPods, and have no need of them now, I have never thought “you know what I would really like to do now? Play a game on my phone” and I suspect that to find an app that I find useful I would have to spend hours wading through dross. So in the battle between Blackberry and Apple on my desk, Blackberry just won a hollow victory, and I’m now in the market for something to let me take my contacts and calendar with me. If I could only bring myself to write in a diary reliably, pen and paper would trump the lot of them.

Here endeth the sorry tale.
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Old 05-27-2010, 06:42 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Moved to Rants and Raves.

Sounds like a rant to me.
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Old 05-28-2010, 04:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dc/dc View Post
F.
What's that letter I can't make it out
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Old 05-29-2010, 12:10 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveO86 View Post
What's that letter I can't make it out
F

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Old 05-29-2010, 10:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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is that F as in #FAIL ?
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Old 05-30-2010, 06:26 AM   #6 (permalink)
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no, for dc it would be PH as in PHAIL.
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Last edited by mriff : 05-30-2010 at 06:27 AM.
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Old 06-02-2010, 02:04 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I feel your pain. I got sick and tired of trying to use RIM's kludge of a Mac DM. I ended up just using Google calendar and google sync. It works, so I'm going to leave it at that.
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Old 06-24-2010, 10:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Scragglygoat, I enjoyed reading your post as it reminded me of many, many support issues I've dealt with in the same circumstances that have had me banging my head against my desk in frustration.

One of my most desired function for Blackberries: The ability to export contacts, calendar, memos, etc to the SD card in popular formats like vCard, etc. Then you could at least manually import that data into other programs or automate it through scripting. To be honest, I don't know why every smartphone in the world can't do this.
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