Utility software

That syncing feeling

Even if I can probably count on one hand the number of people I know who still use a PDA, I’m not ashamed to say that I’m a Palm user. For the longest time, I used the company’s Palm Desktop software. But about a year ago, I switched to iCal and Address Book—while jumping to Mark/Space’s Missing Sync For Palm OS as a replacement for the Palm HotSync Manager—because Palm Desktop was old and messy, and I really enjoyed the speed and integration of Apple’s calendar and contact applications. And thanks to Apple’s free iSync Palm Conduit, I could synchronize iCal and Address Book info with my Palm.

But as soon as I upgraded to Tiger, I noticed some very odd behavior. iSync would ask to delete all my Address Book contacts and replace them with the very same contacts, find conflicts between repeating events on the Palm and in iCal, and add changes to a newly-created calendar called Unfiled. So I did what I always do when I have problems syncing—ask my contact at Mark/Space. I told him what was going on, and he asked if I’d installed the new iSync Palm Conduit. “There isn’t a new iSync Palm Conduit” I replied.

Turns out I was wrong.

iSync Palm Conduit
You see, the conduit isn’t available for download as was the case previously—you get to it from within iSync 2.0, which comes with Tiger. I launched iSync, went to the Device menu, and (as you can see on the right) there it was. After enabling the new conduit, I was very happy to see that all my sync problems vanished.

Until I got home, that is. You see, I sync my Palm with two (and sometimes three) different Macs. So far I’d only tested it with my Power Mac G5 at work. But when I got home and performed a sync, iSync wanted to delete all my contacts and appointments and replace them with… well, themselves . I let it do so, thinking that might take care of the problem, but then I lost all the names I’d associated with my iChat buddies.

I have a Palm m505, which runs the Palm OS 4—rather like using OS 9 in an OS X world. But syncing worked just fine in Panther (all the way up to 10.3.9), so it’s hard to believe my PDA is just too old. After a check of the Apple Discussions board, I found I wasn’t alone when it came to problems with iSync 2.0. (I also discovered that Missing Sync users seem to be unfairly blaming Mark/Space for their newfound syncing woes).

At this point, my Palm is pretty much useless, since I can’t sync my information with it and shuttle that info between home and work. As with any major OS update, there are bound to be some problems with Tiger. But I hope Apple takes a long look at iSync and figures out how to make it play better with others.

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