One note before I plunge into today’s diary: I received several e-mails from folks who take me to task for not mentioning in each and every diary entry that you can always choose to boot “directly” into Mac OS 9.1 if you have a problem with Mac OS X itself.
That’s true, and it’s a valuable feature. However, the purpose of the Mac OS X Diary is to look at the next generation operating system on its own terms without resorting to its “escape clause” — though that clause is very handy.
Now let’s move on to the AddressBook application that comes with Mac OS X. It’s well designed and quite functional, though I have the same import concerns as I have with the Mail program (see yesterday’s Mac OS X Diary for details).
Speaking of which, I’m not sure whether to be amused or irritated by that wacky Mac OS X Help guide. Go to the AddressBook section of the system-level help system, type in “import” or “how do I import?” and you’ll get several hot links to check out. Unfortunately, none of them tell you how to import address from other applications.
That said, there’s a lot to love about AddressBook. As with its Mail cousin, you can customize it. Open the menu you want to change and choose Configure Toolbar from the View menu. You can then drag items into, out of, or to a new location in the toolbar.
I also think it’s pretty cool the way you can add pictures to your address book. If you’ve got a graphic or mug shot of someone that’s in JPEG, GIF, TIFF, PNG, or PDF format, you can put the person’s smiling face alongside their contact info. (Use a graphic that’s 64 x 64 pixels for the best results.) What’s more, if you add a picture to someone’s address card in your address book, the pic will appear in all e-mail you get from that person. Sweet. And it’s a feature that new users will love.
The AddressBook/Mail combo also makes it easy to create a group e-mail address. In the AddressBook, choose New Group from the File menu, then drag addresses from AddressBook — or type in the addresses that haven’t been entered. If all the addresses for the group are already in your AddressBook, you can just select them first and choose New Group From Selection from the File menu. Then to send e-mail to the group, enter the name of the group in an address field in a Mail Compose window.
Overall, a very nice job, Apple. Now if there were only a Mac OS X Calendar/Appointment application that I could — along with AddressBook and Mail — sync with my Palm.