For years, Palm’s HotSync Manager, an application that synchronizes content between a Palm handheld and a desktop computer, has been problematic. An alternative, Mark/Space’s Missing Sync for Palm OS 4.0, offers more features, a better user interface, and faster syncing.
HotSync Manager’s flaws are apparent: it’s slow, its interface is outdated and complicated, it has no real progress indicator, and it randomly duplicates calendar events. Also, after I used HotSync Manager to update contacts on either my Palm or my Mac, it often showed two records: the original and the new one. In comparison, Missing Sync, which works with existing Palm conduits (software plug-ins for the HotSync Manager application), didn’t produce a single instance of erroneous duplication. It works quickly, and it syncs with the Palm Desktop application (or with Address Book and iCal, using a free conduit from Apple). In addition, Missing Sync’s Conduit Profiles let users specify single conduits or sets of conduits to be activated, a time-saving option.
One feature that’s lost when you switch from Palm’s HotSync Manager to Missing Sync is the ability to sync with Palm’s Memo section. Missing Sync includes the MemoPad application for iCal and Address Book users, and MemoPad works fine for creating new memos and syncing them between software and handheld, but several problems arose when I edited existing memos: Missing Sync either added a second memo instead of updating the original, or failed to recognize changes at all.
Missing Sync also lets you share your Mac’s Internet connection with your handheld via either the USB cradle or Bluetooth, and the program integrates with iTunes and iPhoto.
Macworld’s Buying Advice
If you’re happy with the free Palm HotSync Manager, you probably don’t need to spend $40 on Missing Sync. However, PalmSource said it will not update HotSync Manager for the next generation of Palm devices, so getting used to Missing Sync’s added features and ease of use now may be a good idea.
Missing Sync lets you synchronize every conduit at once, or you can selectively update specific information at any time.