I wrote the following draft blog post in December 2008:
I’m closer than ever to never having to plug in my BlackBerry to a computer to sync it. The exception is still contacts, which I can get away with syncing once a week or so.
My calendars are synced with Google Calendar. This is handled on the BlackBerry with OTA Google Sync and on the Mac with BusySync. I’ve read about the native iCal/Google Calendar integration, but there still seem to be some quirks. For now, BusySync is the solution I’ve decided to trust.
There are a variety of contact sync options for the Mac:
- Spanning Sync (Google Contacts)
After fighting with it for a while, I finally made peace with Plaxo. It seems to work as well as anything else and I do like the “auto-update” feature from my contacts that also use Plaxo.
However, my use of Plaxo may be somewhat short lived, as Google as come out with OTA sync for contacts in their BlackBerry Sync app. I’m not ready to take the plunge on this yet – I almost always wait for the second or third release of sync products because they always seem to have problems.
However, long term it seems inevitable that I’ll be syncing my contacts to the Google cloud. For a complete solution, I need a desktop client that can sync with Google.
There is a Google sync option in the Mac’s built-in Address Book, but it only works when syncing an iPhone/iPod (a service from MobileMe I suppose). This is a poor solution for me because, as I understand it, I’d need to plug in my iPhone to any Mac I want to sync contacts on. I only plug the iPhone in to my work desktop for the most part. I don’t need updated contact or calendar data on it as I primarily use it as a portable web tablet (not a phone).
A couple of months ago, I took the plunge and moved from Plaxo to Google Sync. I had to run the sync manually from the command line, but it worked. And even better, it let me sync contacts to my BlackBerry over the air using Google Sync for BlackBerry.
Everything was good until I realized that all of the notes I had in my contact records were missing from my BlackBerry. Further poking around showed them missing from Gmail contacts and all of my computers. Not so good.
So I reverted back to a backup, and am now trying out this approach using DropBox in combination with Missing Sync via Bluetooth. Hopefully it continues to work well.
It saddens me that the only real working BlackBerry contact sync option (with OTA) out there is still to use Exchange and BES.
I also used this script to import a bunch of Gravatars into my address book – something similar with Twitter avatars, Facebook profiles, etc. would be pretty cool.
FYI, I was going to add Twitter image support to my Gravatar script but Twitter recently removed the ability to search by e-mail address. I don’t think there’s an easy way to get the images without already knowing the Twitter username.
BIS 2.8 should address the contact sync issue. No official launch date, but it should be soon.
If subscribers integrate a Google Mailâ„¢ account with their BlackBerryÂ® Internet Service account, they can synchronize contacts between the account and the contacts application on their BlackBerry device. Subscribers can add, change, and delete Google Mail contacts from their device or from their Google Mail account and the BlackBerry Internet Service synchronizes the changes.
@Doug – I was thinking it could pull from a “Twitter” custom field in the Address Book – same with Facebook profile photos from a “Facebook URL” field (or similar). What do you think about that approach?
@Corey – The problem is also that I lose data (notes) as it syncs between the Mac and Google.
You could use an URL field in Address Book to store the user’s Twitter home page URL and set the label to custom “twitter”. Then in AppleScript you can do something like:
set twitterURLs to every url of one_contact whose label is "twitter"
In my case, that would be
http://twitter.com/douglsmith. You then grab the username off the end of the URL and pop it into a Twitter API call like this:
http://twitter.com/users/show/douglsmith.xml, which returns an XML profile that includes a URL to the profile picture.
Another way to do it might be to use Twitter’s API to grab all of your friends then compare them to what’s in your contacts. That still doesn’t get you e-mail addresses but you could compare the URL in the Twitter profiles to any URLs you have in contact records.
Last I tried, it was actually possible to do a search in Facebook by e-mail if you were logged into the service. It didn’t matter if the person was your friend or not. You could get enough information to retrieve the avatar.
[…] that conflicts can and will happen with Dropbox. I tried putting my Address Book data in Dropbox a while back when I was looking for a solution to sync my contacts across multiple […]