Find and merge duplicate contacts on iOS
Gone are the days when you can't make any more friends whose names begin with E. Now there's no page to fill up and no reason not to just keep on adding everyone you come across. So we do. And it's a mess. Last year you added that fella your boss said you should get in touch with. This year the same guy contacted you and you cheerily added him again. Whatever you do and however fastidious you are, your address book is in a state and Cleanup Suite 5.0.3 is here to do something about it.
Secret weapon makes more than Xmas card lists easy to do
We have written previously in our Pointers column, about Smart Things in OS X -- by which we mean Smart Folders (usually found in the Finder), Smart Albums (found mostly in iPhoto or Photos, and other photo-oriented programs), and Smart Playlists (commonly seen in iTunes). We forgot to mention another one -- Smart Groups in Contacts (formerly Address Book), but then it's good to understand Groups first, so here we go.
One email, many people, job done
We've said that we think BusyContacts is the best address book software on the Mac, so here's some proof. One feature that we've found we keep coming back to is the ability to email a group of people. You can select a group in Apple's own Contacts, and you can choose that group in Mail, but we never did. It was a chore. Yet with BusyContacts, we do it a lot.
So, anyway, why haven't you bought it yet?
BusyMac, the makers of BusyContacts, have been steadily adding to this address book app with the kind of attention you get when you've gone from a beta to a shipping product and now have customers all over the world stress-testing it every day. There have been many fixes to bugs we hadn't ever encountered ourselves and there have been improvements to features that we did spot and do like. However, regard this as less of a Hands On 2 review, more a nudge that we think you should get this app.
BusyContacts' stablemate is a powerful calendar
It takes a lot to get anyone to switch away from Apple's free apps to paid-for alternatives, yet BusyCal has for years been persuading people to do just that. If you've resisted even looking at it, though, the recent release of its companion address book app BusyContacts makes the move compelling.
Ridiculously easy way to edit relationship data into Contacts
This week's Pointers tip is short and sweet, and one of those head-slapping "of course!" moments. It's a far simpler way of adding your family into Siri so that she (or he) will understand who you mean when you say "send a text to my wife" or "read me the last email from my father." You can do this manually in Contacts (or the previous version, known as Address Book), but its a bit labor-intensive that way. Using this easier method, you can eliminate the dreaded "which John did you mean?" when you know more than one, and meant the one you're related to.
Company criticized for holding data
Twitter has reportedly admitted that it currently stores smartphone contact information for 18 months after users initiate the "find friends" feature found in the company's mobile apps. The data stored on the company's servers includes address book fields such as names, e-mail addresses and phone numbers.
Resume may close unused apps
A variety of less publicized changes have been made in Mac OS X Lion, the developer preview shows. One of the most important is an overhauled Finder, sporting new buttons and a different sidebar. The file browser automatically sorts items by type, and is also described as more responsive.
Also corrects litany of lesser-known bugs
Apple has at last released Mac OS X 10.6.2, a key update to Snow Leopard. The patch addresses a variety of technical problems, most notably one which would permanently delete data when logging into a main account after having just used a guest one. The bug has been known since at least early October. Other resolved account problems include unexpected logouts, and difficulty authenticating as an administrator.
Two Now X modules ship
Now Software has released the first two modules for its newly released Now X, Now Up-To-Date X and Now Contact X. The contact and calendar clients are improvements on the calendar and contact management features originally created for Now Up-to-Date and Contact. The modules are used to manage a user's calendar and contacts and can import and sync information from iCal and Address Book. The application can additionally import data from iCalendar and vCard.
Snow Leopard UI changes
A number of minor but cumulatively important interface changes have been made in Mac OS X Snow Leopard, observes a Flickr user with access to the developer beta. Beyond some known tweaks, such as the addition of sliders for icon size, the software is also expected to warn users who have not created a password hint, and enable Quick Look within Open and Save dialogs, not just Finder. The System Preferences pane has meanwhile been rearranged, for instance splitting the Keyboard and Mouse sections, removing QuickTime, and moving Bluetooth under a new Internet & Wireless header.
WhoPaste for Address Book
Mac-Chi has announced WhoPaste, a contact-creation tool for Address Book. The software is designed to extract contact information from web pages, e-mails, text documents, and spreadsheets, and then place the data into the appropriate fields in Address Book. Each contact can be created by extracting the name, e-mail address, phone number, street address, or instant message handle. Contacts can also be added to as many as three Address Book groups.
AB server update ships
Address Book Server has updated its Address Book and Calendar Server software to offer a manual sync mode via iSync. The new version can now generate e-mail lists for each group, and web interface enhancements and bugfixes are also present. Address Book and Calendar Server allows a user to host an Address Book server on a local network, synchronizing local and remotely connected Macs and syncing other computers via a web interface. iPhone and iPod touch users can access the information via a free read-only app available on the iTunes App Store.
TV Forecast, FitPlot
JABMenu 2.1 ($15) provides quick access to Address Book data such as phone numbers, emails, and postal addresses. It can display the content in large type, copy it to the clipboard, create a new email, dial a phone number, or display an address on a map using the Google Maps service. Version 2.1 has added support for selecting multiple groups for menu inclusion and has also improved the handling of instant messaging actions. [Download - 1.2MB]
Opacity 1.3 ($90) is a graphics creation utility that combines pixel and vector editors with Photoshop-like tools such as filters, layers and transforms. Version 1.3 adds an improved Pen Tool, improved Text editing, inside and outside stroke options, a new spiral tool and reduces the size of saved image .opacity files. [Download - 11.5MB]
Googaby 1.0 introduced
Mac-Chi has released Googaby 1.0, an app meant to sync Google Contacts and Address Book. The program features a drag-and-drop workflow, and uses a layout similar to iTunes. Among other features is WhoPaste, a tool which captures bulk contact data from third-party applications and breaks it down into Address Book-friendly code. New contacts can be added to Address Book, Google Contacts or both, and subsequently routed into specified groups.
Stationary Pack, djay
Multisite 2.4 ($20) is a utility for iWeb that allows users to more easily create and manage multiple sites. Users can select which site they would like to edit and Multisite loads only that data into iWeb which can speed up iWeb as less data needs to be loaded at a time. The update has added support for iWeb ’09 so that page names are displayed correctly in the Multisite window and also includes several bug fixes. [Download - 0.91MB]
Sequoia, Earth Addresser
Hawkscope 0.4 (free) is a tool that allows users to access their hide drive contents from a dynamic menubar item. The update has added HTTP proxy authentication for update checks, features better handling of resources and smaller memory consumption, has added the possibility to use operating system icons if they are available and is now Java 5 compatible allowing it to run on Mac OS X 10.4 and up. [Download - 1.4MB]
Mac OS X 10.5.6 update
As anticipated last week, Apple has posted its latest update to Mac OS X, v10.5.6. Available through the Software Update service or direct download, the patch consists mostly of dozens of fixes and performance enhancements, for issues such as sync and graphics. Sync reliability has been improved for Address Book, portable home directories and most notably MobileMe, which should now propagate contact, calendar and bookmark changes within a minute of their being saved.
Sync 'Em 1.15 patch
Derman Enterprises has posted an update to its Sync 'Em, its Mac-based synchronization application. The program attempts to keep contact and calendar data consistent between multiple apps and user accounts; it does this by linking information from Exchange and Google with Mail, iCal and Address Book. The exact data shared varies however, as Sync 'Em does not yet, for example, support Google Calendar.
Private Contact 2.0 ships
Tension Software has released Private Contact 2.0, upgrading the secure contact data software with a new interface and bug fixes. The software stores data inside the user's Address Book, with password protection via Blowfish algorithms. Version 2.0 uses new color categories to aid its sorting and filtering options, and adds many small improvements and fixes.
Sync'Em v1.0 released
New software for syncing Exchange, Google and Apple contact and calendar information is said to have reached the end of beta testing. The completed release of Sync'Em has received support for syncing Google contacts, beyond those found in Exchange and/or Address Book. Support for syncing Google and iCal calendar events is still in development, but the developers say they hope to have this added by mid-November.
Fruux moves to public beta
A new option for syncing data across several Macs has recently moved into public beta. Fruux currently synchronizes Address Book files across each computer a user owns, but the app's developers hope that the next release will add iCal support. By the time the software finishes its beta stages, support for syncing bookmarks as well as system preferences is anticipated.
Sync'Em final beta
New software for syncing Exchange, Google and Apple contact and calendar information has moved into its final beta stages. In its current state, Sync'Em can sync Exchange contacts with Apple's Address Book, or across several Exchange accounts. A recent update added support for Mac OS X 10.4, as well as unidirectional syncing and extended status reporting. The update also added an on-demand "check for new version" feature.
Mac OS X 10.5.5 update
Apple is now distributing the latest upgrade to Mac OS X, v10.5.5, through Software Update. The patch addresses a considerable number of aspects in the operating system, such as Mail, MobileMe and Address Book, as well as some "general" concerns, according to Apple's support notes. Some of these include Spotlight indexing, the reliability of iPhone sync with both iCal and Address Book, and problems with Macs powering on involuntarily at the same time every day. The update is sized anywhere between 136 and 353MB, depending on the number of minor patches already installed.
Sync'Em public beta
A new solution for syncing Microsoft Exchange, Google and Apple contact and calendar information has surfaced, titled Sync'Em. Now available as a public beta Sync'Em, in its current state, can synchronize Exchange contacts with Apple's Address book or synchronize Exchange contacts across several Exchange accounts. The developer hopes to soon add functionality to allow users to sync Exchange calender events with iCal or across several Exchange accounts.
New Mac OS X 10.5.5 builds
Two new builds of Mac OS X 10.5.5 have been seeded to developers within the past week, accounts say. The first, 9F25, allegedly contained no significant changes, while the second has addressed only two issues, potentially signifying a wind-down to the update's production. Fixes in 9F29 include a remedy to a problem with Macs and previously-joined AirPort networks, and another described only as relating to a graphics framework. A single known bug remains, one which interferes with searching through messages in Mail.
Quick-dial for Leopard
Nova Media has released Phone Plugins, a utility that allows one-click dialing and text messaging from any application in Leopard. Users of OS X Tiger were able dial cellphones connected over Bluetooth, but Apple removed that feature in OS X 10.5. Nova claims the utility not only restores that lost functionality, but improves on it as well. The Berlin-based developer says the Phone Plugins include a Bluetooth wizard to connect cell phones in one step. Users can call or send a text message to any number within Address Book or other applications using the “services” menu.
- TimeCache 7.0.10 ($30) time and expense billing application. It offers tracking of all computer activity, can use Apple Address Book entries for client contact information, can produce charts of billable time and expenses, and can import from and export tiCal calendars. Version 7.0.10 fixes a bug that could cause a crash when printing some report formats. This is a free update to the Universal Binary Macintosh OS X application. [Download - 14.8MB]
- Web Confidential 3.8 ($20) professional password manager for Mac OS X. Web Confidential uses an intuitive, easy-to-use cardfile metaphor for passwords. The tool gives you access to your passwords from within your browser and from the Mac OS X Dock. When you need access to a user ID and password, a handy floating utility window shows all the information you might need about your password. This latest version is Leopard compatible and adds a Recent Searches popup menu to the search field. The upgrade is free for registered owners of Web Confidential. [Download - form]
- RouteBuddy 2.1 ($100) GPS mapping program for Mac OS X. Provides native Mac OS X support for Garmin and NMEA GPS devices, and allows users to manage and display their GPS data using high-precision vector-based road maps. This release adds a new caching system to greatly improve performance,provides additional route management and printing support, and can track your GPS location in real time. Several crashing bugs have also been addressed, and searching and waypoint management have also been improved. [Download - 19.8MB]
- Contactizer 3.6 ($120) personal information management application. The new release includes a dozen new features and enhancements, and now fully Leopard compliant. Contactizer 3.6 sports a Cover Flow mode (Leopard Only feature) that shows your contacts in a business card like presentation, a Task Quick Entry Panel (even works when Contactizer is not running), a new multi-calendar sync system and many user interface enhancements. Contactizer 3.6 is fully compatible with Mac OS X Tiger and Mac OS X Leopard and it is distributed as a Universal Binary and runs natively on both PowerPC and Intel Macs. [Download - 25MB]
- MMScript 1.1 ($35) a plug-in for FileMaker Pro. This plug-in allows you to create Script Events that call FileMaker Pro Scripts in your Database. The plug-in also allows you to call a script when the user has been idle for any specified amount of time. New to version 1.1 is the ability to do shell scripting as well as many underlying enhancements and bug fixes. The new release also has updated core plug-in code to include all changes/enhancements from other CNS Plug-ins. [Download - form]
Espy 1.0 released
GoGoalSoft Limited today announced the immediate release and availability of Espy, an Address Book application for Mac OS X that provides quick access to contacts' information. Espy emphasizes the ability to browse pictures of contacts, and features a unique iPhoto-like SnapFind interface. Espy is compatible with most software that makes use of Address Book data, as well as industry-standard VCards.
iSoftPhone 2.2 update
Xnet Communications today unveiled iSoftPhone 2.2 for Mac, a free update to its telephony application that allows users to place phone calls over the internet, introducing a few new features and bug fixes. The new version uses a new Dock icon that indicates when a call was missed, and also prompts users before quitting. A major crash was resolved for Mac OS X 10.4 users, which occurred when calling from the iSP address book. iSoftPhone 2.2 sells for $35 for new users.
SOHO Organizer and Notes
Chronos LC today unveiled SOHO Organizer 7 and SOHO Notes 7, updates to some of the company's business productivity applications, introducing a number of new features. SOHO Organizer 7, Chronos' alternative to iCal and Address Book, now can display recurring tasks, and allows tasks to show up directly in Day, Week, and Month views. Chronos is selling SOHO Organizer 7 starting at $50, with several different licensing options available.
GoBetween for Entourage
PocketMac has launched two new versions of its GoBetween sync software, for Microsoft's Entourage 2004 and 2008. GoBetween is used to improve on the support of Apple's iSync software, which does not always properly support all software and devices. The newest versions of GoBetween ensure that contact, calendar and task information is properly transferred from Entourage to iCal and Address Book, and from there to iSync and whatever devices may be connected.
Fruxx sync services
Fruux, a cross between social networking and .Mac's sync service, is currently in beta testing and looking for people to help test the service. Fruux synchronizes address book, bookmark, and calendar files with each computer someone owns, and also gives the user the ability to synchronize contact information with others. This allows users to stay in contact with friends, business partners, and family, even if the contact information changes.
FileMaker ships Bento
FileMaker on Tuesday announced the immediate availability of Bento, its easy-to-use personal database application. Designed exclusively for Mac OS X Leopard, Bento leverages a single-window interface and FileMaker database technology to help users organize contacts, calendars, projects, events, and more. Users can easily create databases to manage information with dynamic 'smart' collections as well as expand around Apple's own Address Book and iCal storage engines. Bento is priced at $50, or $100 for a family pack of five licenses. The personal database requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later.
iSync 5.1 adds more Nokia
Nova media has released a new update for its iSync plug-ins, bringing their version to v5.1. The software adds support for approximately 130 phones to iSync, letting users copy over their iCal and Address Book information to a phone in advance of formal support from Apple. Brands covered by the plug-ins include Motorola, Samsung and Sony Ericsson. New to v5.1 is support for several more phones from Nokia, including the E51, 7900 and 3500 Classic, as well as the N82 and 8GB N95, neither of which are as yet formally available in the US.