Tuesday, January 14, 2003

iSync - Take Two

Happily, my second attempt with iSync was more successful than the first. First step was installing iCal 1.02 which was very sneakily released with no fanfare after the issues with 1.0.1 surfaced. As with these type of tools, it is always wise to proceed slowly (once bitten etc). All of my "real" data is on the Palm m505 - data on the others is expendable.

Firstly I removed all the existing devices from iSync, deleted all entries in iCal and Address Book and removed my machine from the .Mac sync list.

Next was simply a matter of adding the devices one at a time. The m505 was first to sync with the Mac (iCal and Address Book), then the T39m and finally .Mac. I synced twice with each device before adding the next.

In the end, it all worked relatively painlessly. If only someone at Apple had tested iCal with my timezone before I did, the experience would have been great (as expected). Of course there are some annoyances with the relatively limited feature set.

It is very slow - my machine is a G4/466 with 384Mb, but it takes 10 minutes, without counting .Mac.

All the Palm data goes into one calendar in iCal - I'd prefer all my categories to be created as separate calendars, so I can differentiate items.

There is a general lack of control of who wins/loses in the sync. You should be able to tell iSync that the Palm always wins and .Mac always loses etc. These features have been available on various PC sync tools for years. On my PC at work I have Outlook and the copy of Chapura PocketMirror which was free with the m505. This software is very slick (and fast) with lots of config options. My favourite is the ability to specify an action for the next sync only. It will also allow a Backup or Restore to/from Palm Desktop as a one-off action.

All in all, though, it does a good job. I like dropping the M505 in the cradle and hitting sync, knowing that the phone in my pocket will also be up to date.

Still haven't tried to get both the M505 and T39m to sync via Bluetooth at the same time. There is always one more little tweak.........

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