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  1.    #1  
    Update: Most of the information contained in this post is no longer relevant. Although it is true that the shortcomings mentioned below still apply when using the standard Apple-provided iSync Conduit and the HotSync engine, the program Missing Sync 5 from Mark/Space addresses nearly every single shortcoming that this post talked about.

    Missing Sync 5 syncs addresses (both home and work) correctly, as well as birthdays, address book pictures, categories(!), and much more. Furthermore, Missing Sync 5 adds new features such as iTunes syncing. While it is not my place to advertise on Mark/Space's behalf, it should be said in concrete terms that if you have a Mac and a Treo (or any newer Palm, for that matter), Missing Sync 5 is the software product you need to really get the two devices talking the same language.

    I'm leaving the content of the message below intact for posterity's sake, but again, Missing Sync 5 from Mark/Space addresses most or all of these issues.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    There always seems to be confusion about what you can and can't do with your Treo and Mac when using iSync. I'm going to attempt to clear it up for everybody once and for all. Please point out errors or obvious omissions, and I'll correct this post as needed. This information assumes a Treo 600 or Treo 650 with Mac OS X 10.3 or 10.4 and iSync with the Palm Conduit installed.

    The following is a list of known limitations with the Palm OS and iSync:
    • Work addresses in Address Book do not transfer to the Palm
    • Home addresses in Address Book transfer to the Palm as Work addresses
    • Birthdays in an Address Book entry do not transfer to the Palm, and Birthdays in a Contacts entry on the Palm do not transfer to Address Book
    • Categories in both Address Book and iCal do not transfer to the Palm, and Categories in Contacts and Calendar on the Palm do not transfer to Address Book and iCal
    • Multi-day events in iCal transfer to the Palm as a single-day event
    • Calendar entries added on the Palm are put into an Unfiled category in iCal upon syncing

    With the exception of the multi-day event issue, these are all shortcomings in the iSync Conduit and Palm OS 5. Please read this: There are no work-arounds to any of these issues, currently. Period. Anyone who tells you otherwise is probably trying to be helpful, but is misinformed.

    Syncing your Treo to your Mac requires three components: a Palm sync engine (either HotSync or Missing Sync), iSync, and the iSync Conduit. Syncing works over both USB and (for Treo 650s) Bluetooth.


    Q: If I move a Contacts or Calendar entry on my Palm into a category, will its categorization be lost when I sync?
    A: No, iSync will not change any categorization that you perform on your Palm. However, as stated earlier, this categorization will not be reflected in the Mac PIMs (Address Book and iCal) when you sync. Substantially changing an entry in iCal or Address Book may cause an entry to lose its categorization, however.

    Q: Is there any way to sync Memos?
    A: Memos can be synced using either the Missing Sync engine from Mark/Space and their MemoPad applet for OS X, or by using the StickyBrain application from Chronos. (Thanks to imageone for pointing out StickyBrain.)

    Q: Does Missing Sync fix the shortcomings of iSync?
    A: Currently, Missing Sync does not address any of the aforementioned limitations with iSync and the Palm OS. Missing Sync is not an iSync replacement - it is a HotSync replacement. As stated above, both iSync and a Palm sync engine (either HotSync or Missing Sync) are required for the Treo and the Mac to communicate. Missing Sync does not handle data translation between the Palm and the Mac - that is handled by the iSync Conduit, which is produced by Apple.

    Missing Sync addresses some cosmetic and technical limitations in the HotSync engine, as well as adding a few supplementary features, but it does not change how data is communicated back and forth between the Treo and the Mac. (I find Missing Sync to be over-priced by about US$20, while others find it very reasonably priced. You can download a free 14-day trial by downloading one of the Missing Sync updaters and decide its merits for yourself.)

    Q: Will these shortcomings ever be addressed?
    A: It is difficult to say with certainty. It is still within the realm of possibility that Apple could update the iSync Conduit to better handle changes with newer Palm handhelds. The current iSync Conduit is almost two years old (released 8 Oct 2003 - as seen here). However, there has been very little interaction between Palm and Apple in recent years, and further progress by either company feels unlikely. Future versions of the Palm OS will no longer use HotSync technology, replacing it with SyncML - which iSync is based on. (See PalmSource comment here.) Some rumors suggest that Mark/Space, producers of Missing Sync, are working on an iSync Conduit replacement that will address these shortcomings. Mark/Space has not made any public comments suggesting or confirming this rumor, however.


    If these limitations are too much, you can always use the Palm Desktop for OS X, which does fully support all the Contacts and Calendar functions of the Treos. Syncing with other PIMs (Personal Information Managers) such as Microsoft Entourage or Now Up-To-Date/Contacts is possible, with varying degrees of success as to how much information is lost/retained.

    It should be noted in closing that many of us - myself included - use Address Book and iCal via iSync with our Treos, and we get along quite well. The limitations are certainly frustrating, but in the larger scope of problems in the world, they're not that big of a deal.
    Last edited by cshbell; 11/24/2005 at 08:31 AM.
  2. #2  
    For memos you can also use the Palm memo's as part of their desktop package. It varies from Missing Sync in that it uses and keeps the categories assigned.
    Personally I have Missing sync since Palm HotSync is buggy but I still use Palm desktop for contact/calendar.
  3. #3  
    The BEST Memo replacement I've found is StickyBrain 3
    http://www.chronosnet.com/Products/sb_product.html

    if you have a .mac account you can get at a discounted price.
    <body bgcolor="#ffffff">
    <p><font size="-2" color="#4684ff" face="Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular"><b>imageone</b></font><font size="-2" face="Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular"> &#x2022; current - <b>PowerBook G4 - Mac OS X - white iPod video 60GB - Treo 650 - 700p (Sprint)<br>
    </b></font><font size="-2" face="Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular">retired - Visor Deluxe - Visor Prism - Kyocera 6035 - Treo 300 - Treo 600 - Blackberry 7250</font></p>
    </body>
  4. #4  
    Thanks for this synopsis of the situation, cshbell. I'm about to make the 650 plunge and was wondering what issues I would face syncing with my Mac. As a Kyocera 7135 owner for years, I, too have gotten used to little things not coming across the sync chasm. In the grander scheme, it's tolerable imperfection.

    As for StickyBrain, I used the .Mac offered version until it started losing the data file and starting a new one! Has version 3 been stable for you, imageone?
  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by Afrizen
    Thanks for this synopsis of the situation, cshbell. I'm about to make the 650 plunge and was wondering what issues I would face syncing with my Mac. As a Kyocera 7135 owner for years, I, too have gotten used to little things not coming across the sync chasm. In the grander scheme, it's tolerable imperfection.

    As for StickyBrain, I used the .Mac offered version until it started losing the data file and starting a new one! Has version 3 been stable for you, imageone?
    yes ver.3 was rewritten with a ton of new features.
    <body bgcolor="#ffffff">
    <p><font size="-2" color="#4684ff" face="Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular"><b>imageone</b></font><font size="-2" face="Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular"> &#x2022; current - <b>PowerBook G4 - Mac OS X - white iPod video 60GB - Treo 650 - 700p (Sprint)<br>
    </b></font><font size="-2" face="Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular">retired - Visor Deluxe - Visor Prism - Kyocera 6035 - Treo 300 - Treo 600 - Blackberry 7250</font></p>
    </body>
  6. #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by cshbell
    • Birthdays in an Address Book entry do not transfer to the Palm, and Birthdays in a Contacts entry on the Palm do not transfer to Address Book
    • Categories in both Address Book and iCal do not transfer to the Palm, and Categories in Contacts and Calendar on the Palm do not transfer to Address Book and iCal

    ... Please read this: There are no work-arounds to any of these issues, currently. Period. Anyone who tells you otherwise is probably trying to be helpful, but is misinformed.
    Since I am the only one on this board who has posted (and posted many times at that) trying to be "helpful" in regards to these points, I feel like I should take offense to your comment that I am misinformed, but it is you who is misinformed. You have apparently not tried the multiple solutions I have given. I have and they work, so eat it.

    For those of you reading this for the first time, do a search for
    e2sync
    Sync Entourage-iCal or
    Sync Entourage-AddressBook.

    Or click here to read more.

    PS: It is helpful that you wrote up a FAQ but please correct your comments so as not to spread misinformation.
  7.    #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by archie
    For those of you reading this for the first time, do a search for e2sync, Sync Entourage-iCal or Sync Entourage-AddressBook.
    Archie, I sincerely appreciate what you've contributed to the Palm-and-Treo conversion. Please understand that I wasn't directing the misinformation comment to you at all; they're not directed at anybody, just the Mac Treo user community in general.

    The tools that you mention aren't applicable to the situation I'm describing, however. e2sync and the Sync Entourage conduits are great tools for syncing the Treo when using Microsoft Entourage; I mentioned in the FAQ that syncing with 3rd party PIMs is a separate possibility. However, for users who don't want to use any 3rd party software, and just want their Treos to talk directly with iCal and Address Book, e2sync and Sync Entourage won't help them. They're still dependant on Apple's iSync Conduit to do the data translation. And as I mentioned, if that's the only option they're using, they will find that there are no workarounds to the problems I described.
  8. #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by cshbell
    The tools that you mention aren't applicable to the situation I'm describing, however. e2sync and the Sync Entourage conduits are great tools for syncing the Treo when using Microsoft Entourage; I mentioned in the FAQ that syncing with 3rd party PIMs is a separate possibility. However, for users who don't want to use any 3rd party software, and just want their Treos to talk directly with iCal and Address Book, e2sync and Sync Entourage won't help them. They're still dependant on Apple's iSync Conduit to do the data translation. And as I mentioned, if that's the only option they're using, they will find that there are no workarounds to the problems I described.
    You know tht you can then sync this stuff to Apple's AddressBook and iCal, right?
  9.    #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by archie
    You know tht you can then sync this stuff to Apple's AddressBook and iCal, right?
    Yes, but that's beside the point. I suspect most people don't want to involve a large 3rd party application (which is also expensive) and its ensuing complications just to get better syncs.
  10. fly888's Avatar
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    #10  
    should be a sticky
  11. #11  
    Excellent summary, and I agree it should be a sticky. You should add that the "Work Fax" and "Work Email" in Mac Addressbook sync with "email" and "Fax" in Palm. "Home Fax" and "Home Email" will just drift off to space during iSync.

    Here is a quickie chart to see what syncs with what:

    -----------------------------
    Palm - Mac
    -----------------------------
    Last Name - Last Name
    First Name - First Name
    Company - Company
    Title - Job Title
    Phone Work - Phone Work
    Phone Home - Phone Home
    Phone Mobile - Phone Mobile
    Phone Pager - Phone Pager
    Phone Fax - Fax Work
    Email - Email Work
    Address Work - Address Home
    Notes - Notes

    Unsupported Palm Fields:
    Address Home
    Birthday
    Chat
    Picture
    ALL Custom fields are dead. >

    Unsupported Mac Addressbook Fields:
    Fax Home
    Email Home
    Web-page
    Department
    URL
    Birthday
    Instant Messaging
    And pretty much anything else not listed in the above chart.

    Understand that Unsupported fields will RETAIN whatever you put in them during an iSync, it just won't TRANSFER to the other device.

    - Jim
    Last edited by macr0t0r; 08/09/2005 at 02:53 PM. Reason: Added title.
  12. #12  
    archie, I appreciate your comments. cshbell, I understand your perspective, but it seems you overstate things when you write

    There are no work-arounds to any of these issues, currently. Period. Anyone who tells you otherwise is probably trying to be helpful, but is misinformed.

    It appears that the proper wording is:

    There are complicated work-arounds for some of these issues, but none can be directly fixed using only iSync and HotSync/Missing Sync.

    To properly sync work addresses, you'll need:
    * Microsoft Entourage
    * e2sync
    * Sync Entourage-iCal or
    * Sync Entourage-AddressBook.


    Personally, I already have Entourage from buying the Microsoft Office package, and more than avoiding a complex setup, I just want all of my addreses on the Treo!
  13. #13  
    Just to clarify: StickyBrain still does not truly support categories from the Palm so I don't plan to replace Palm's desktop/memo soon.
  14. #14  
    Treo has got to be the best PDA platform for synching with the Mac? Apple has just had there most successful trading period ever.

    What is the best way of exposing this shortcoming so that Apple will at last take notice and act? We all want Treo/Mac to be THE BEST COMBO out there.
  15. #15  
    Hello,

    that is a very thoroughly overview of what can be done.
    And eloquently phrased (at least to me, a non-native english speaker).

    Please allow me to add my own experience:

    I do need a full sync of my address book, with everything there is.
    That means - of course - more than one address, up to three, but also a lot of telephone and fax numbers, all correctly identified (not the work ones as private and the like), and a slew of information like name of spouse, im-names, notes etc. etc.

    Neither the Palm Desktop/HotSync Manager/iSync-Team, nor Mark/Space MissingSync synchonize this type of information correctly. That has been proven by people more experienced than I ever will be.
    Still, I did find a workaround. As with all workarounds, to some it will be a complicated one, for some it might not work and above all, an integrated solution would certainly be preferable, but then - it works. And thats all that matters to me. Plus the elegance of having, what I need...

    I am using Super Names as my address book ... um ... addition. The nice thing about Super Names is, that it works with the built in address book. So anything that's synchronized via iSync or HotSync Manager is accessible. And anything (on my palm) that relies on the internal address book still works. Thats important (in my eyes). For example, the telephone application of the treo shows only "telephone" numbers (vs. fax numbers) when it is searches the address book. If the address book were an external application, that might not be possible. But you don't neccessarily need Super Names. It has nothing to do with the synchronization. It is just a very nice way to see the additional info.

    Ok, so I do have an application that could show me more information than the internal address book, that integrates with the internal address book so I won't have to miss that one, and I have a meticulously looked after address book on my mac with lots of additional information.
    The only thing I need is a way to transfer these informations.

    For that I have written a (bash) script. It writes all the information that is not sync'ed by iSync/HotSync Manager in the notes of a contact (retaining the information already there). From then on, a "normal" sync with whatever application (iSync/HotSync Manager; MissingSync; ...) transfers this information to the palm.
    If you are not using any other address book addition, then the information is - at least - in the notes of the contact.
    If you *do* use something like Super Names, then the notes are interpreted and displayed nicely just like in the mac address book. Hey, it really looks good. After having experienced that, I've chosen to change the hard button on my Treo to start Super Names instead of the built-in address book.

    The script has grown. I am sync'ing the field names of the mac address book to the palm, converting all sorts of weird characters from the mac to the palm (like the umlaute or the french accents [...]) and in general am having a good time. I just wonder why that isn't picked up by somebody like Mark/Space and added in a professional way. (I'm just doing this for fun, and consider myself in no way a programmer.)

    As mithras has said: Here are complicated work-arounds for some of these issues, but none can be directly fixed using only iSync and HotSync/Missing Sync.


    Cheers.
  16. #16  
    I am probably going to get the Treo 650 in December (when my contract is up for renewal). I was always skeptical on how I was going to sync my mac w/ whatever type of phone I purchased. This thread has been an awesome read. I'm like maelcum...I have spent countless amts of time perfecting my Apple Address Book. It would be ashame to not have that info on my handheld device. I'd like to see more of this script that he wrote

    Thanks guys for this thread, it has really helped me as I make my decision on what smartphone to purchase.
  17. #17  
    Quote Originally Posted by pixelZION
    I'm like maelcum...I have spent countless amts of time perfecting my Apple Address Book. It would be ashame to not have that info on my handheld device. I'd like to see more of this script that he wrote
    Ah.., a fellow mind..

    I'll translate the scripts comments to english and make some thoughts of what to expect. I'll then post it here again.

    That'll have to wait until I'm back from my stay abroad (just vacation, just two weeks) tough...
  18. #18  
    If iCal and AB don't sync with the default contacts and calendar on the Treo, are there third party contact and calendar products for the Treo that *will* sync with AB and iCal? I assume that would mean they would need their own conduit that runs on OS X.
  19. #19  
    Now Contact / UptoDate by PowerOnSoftware has its own conduits, and syncs with the native Palm apps with fewer 'gaps'. Although I have a copy, I would prefer to use Apple's AB is it is more central to the 'digital hub'. There are lots of properly executed links that I would like to see improved upon including
    - LDAP (centralised database for sharing contacts)
    - Integrated messaging
    - CTI (computer telephony integration) inc VOIP
    - Filemaker syncing
  20. #20  
    Anyone received a null message using iSync? It seems to be limiting the datebook db info from getting to iCal. Notes: first sync with tiger (updated), missing sync (updated). used to use entourage version X before tiger uppgrade. I wanted to start using Apple PIM with MS Memo after Tiger upgrade. Anyone using Entourage 04 with good results?
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