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The Missing Sync for Windows Mobile 3.0

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You may have considered buying a smart phone or handheld organizer that runs Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system, but as a Mac user, you’re unable to synchronize data to your computer out of the box. Fortunately, you don’t need to wait for Microsoft to bestow compatibility upon the device.

The Missing Sync for Windows Mobile 3.0, from Mark/Space, provides all the tools you need to transfer your personal data. When you plug in a device via USB, or connect from the device using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi (if supported by the device), The Missing Sync launches and establishes an active connection.

I reviewed version 2.5.1 (   ) shortly before this latest version shipped, and although the core synchronization features worked fine, I encountered problems with the software’s handling of music in iTunes (   ). In version 3.0, Mark/Space has thrown out its old iTunes plug-in model and replaced it with an iLife-like settings pane that lets you choose which playlists you want to copy to the device. In my testing, I had no problems transferring music files (though songs purchased through the iTunes Store are not supported by the Windows Media Player software included on the Treo 700w I used for testing).

Syncing pictures with iPhoto (   ) takes a similar approach, enabling you to choose which photo albums to export to the device. It also successfully imports photos and videos captured by the phone’s built-in camera into iPhoto on your Mac. Also unlike the previous version, you don’t need to mount the device as a volume on your Desktop in order to sync music or videos, which removes an annoying step.

This version also adds synchronization with Bare Bones Software’s Yojimbo 1.3 personal data utility, and that worked well in my testing.

I ran into one glitch with version 3.0 using the Back Up My Documents command, which writes a copy of the device’s My Documents folder to your hard drive as a .tar archive. The feature sometimes failed if iTunes syncing was enabled. The developer is aware of this issue and plans to fix it in a future update. The only other downside is that The Missing Sync for Windows Mobile supports installing programs only in Windows cabinet file format (.cab), but not programs wrapped in .exe files that are also offered online.

Macworld’s buying advice

Mark/Space has ironed out the most annoying problems of the previous version of The Missing Sync for Windows Mobile, creating a utility that’s invaluable if you want to synchronize your data with a Windows Mobile device.

[ Jeff Carlson is managing editor of TidBITS and a columnist for the Seattle Times.]

Synchronizing music from iTunes is much improved in The Missing Sync for Windows Mobile 3.0.
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