Friday, November 23, 2007

Have a Phone, But No Numbers

So I have this Windows Mobile phone which I need for work. It is fabulously unreliable, so I got a replacement... a new fabulously unreliable phone. Anyhow, I've got contacts... friends, family, all that. It appears that Windows Mobile doesn't know how to work with a vcard. You need to use ActiveSync on Windows to get contacts over to it. I was using MarkSpace Missing Sync for Windows Mobile - but then I upgraded to Leopard, and I'd need to upgrade to a newer beta version for god knows how much (as a short aside, I can't imagine how terrible a beta version of this software would be, since the final version 3 barely worked). I tried to get syncing working in Linux with SynCE, but that was a no-go.

So here I am, empty phone, vcard, and a computer freshly booted up into Windows XP. I open up the address book application and import my vcard with all my contacts. This just about freezes my computer, but after an hour of clicking to confirm each card I had my contacts loaded. I then fire up ActiveSync. I check the check box that I would like to sync my address book - and the icon has a little icon just like the built-in address book application. It syncs - yet I have no contacts. It turns out that you need to use Outlook to sync. ActiveSync never really said that. Ok, so I try to export the contacts from Address Book over to Outlook because I had just cleaned them up. They have a little tool to do the export. Unfortunately since my account is set up for exchange, the transfer fails. I then tried to export my newly cleaned up Address Book as a vcard. Sorry - you can only create a vcard out of one contact at a time. So then I export to the other format - WAP, which I assume is Windows Address Book. Yeah, but unfortunately Outlook can't read those. Ok, so then I try to just go back to the original vcard and import that into Outlook. Even though the Windows Address book can read the vcard and import them (albeit very slowly), Outlook ONLY reads the first contact out of the vcard.

The point is that even when you try to do everything the Microsoft way, you are screwed. This is why they suck. Not because they are evil. Not because Bill Gates is a weenie. They will fail because they are often times a poor technology company that lacks any insight into what people want to do with their computers.