The Missing Sync

Posted: April 22, 2008 in Mac OSX, software, technology
Tags: , ,

I am always looking for the better mousetrap so to speak, and as much as i like the “PocketMac for Blackberry” software, it has its limitations and also it is a bit flaky at times, so i thought i’d look into “The Missing Sync for Blackberry”. The are a lot of Missing Syncs, so make sure you get the one you need. For me, i was just looking for one, the one that would take my “Crackberry” experience to the next level, but before i get too far into reviewing, let me start from the beginning.

As usual i was checking out one of my favorite magazines – a paper one no less, not an online mag – and saw an ad for The Missing Sync and thought hmmmm that might just be worth checking out. So if went to their website to see if a demo was available. There was no mention of a trial version or time limited demo, so i sent off a quick email to the developer to ask about it. They were pretty quick to get back to me which is always nice, and typically bodes well for support if needed once you have purchased the product. Turns out the download is also a 14 day time-limited demo if you don’t register. Check out

and you’ll see that yes indeed there is a trial version for this software, its just not advertised as such.

After the standard downloading and mounting of the DMG you will go through a number of splash screens, some of which may make you reconsider, the install, but i’m jumping ahead again. click the install and you’ll see something like the first image below. Click on the “Register Later” button and you will get another screen that warns you your demo version will expire in 14 days. On the bottom of this screen is the button for “Install Demo” this is what you want to do next.

 

For me the first splash screen that almost made me stop the install was the one that said this install would disable my PocketMac app, and then after that, the fact that my particular BlackBerry was not in the list of supported devices. But throwing caution to the wind i blazed ahead, first mentally checking i had run TimeMachine last night and could always revert to a previous backup if things went horribly sour. Decide where you want it installed and then sit back and wait. It’ll want to restart when you are done, which for the windows users in the audience, you may be thinking “So?”, well for macs that is not as common nor always necessary, but there must be some serious system changes occurring that would necessitate this, so again feeling assured i had a good backup, i trudged on and restarted.

You’ll be greeted with a screen much like the one to the right. In here you can select the info you want to sync and also change the settings of each option. You should look through them carefully and decide which is right for you. Typically i sync my device to my Mac that way i can enter data on the device or the mac and get it mirrored to the other, but some people may prefer to overwrite one or the other.
If in doubt, check out the Help in the toolbar, it has some pretty good explanations that should steer you in the right direction when it comes to options and settings for the various “plugins”. Now onto the fun part – the actual syncing. i prefer to sync my calendar and my contacts between my mac and my BlackBerry, but with The Missing Sync you also get the option of syncing music and photos. Cool. Although maybe not practical for some, unless of course you select which playlist or albums to back up. For instance, my MacBook has somewhere in the neighbourhood of 2500 songs on it and about 10 gig of photos, which would be difficult to store on the 2 gig memory card of the Blackberry. But thankfully the nice folks over at Mark|Space have thought of this and allow you to decide which songs and pics you want to sync, if any. You can always just turn off the music and photos sync all together if you want, which for my first sync is exactly what i did. I knew how long it took to sync with PocketMac and i wanted to do a comparison between the two.

Once you have your settings all configured, save your profile with a name that makes sense to you. For me i used “ical and contacts” because, well, i was only syncing iCal and Contacts. Once you plug in your crackberry (or psp, or palm, or iphone i imagine it would be the same) you will see a sync button light up in the corner of the toolbar. Go for it. You should see a screen similar to this one below, and you may get a few warnings, i did. Read the log file, they may be simple errors that you can fix and then relaunch The Missing Sync and try again. My errors were simple to fix, one was a contact without a name and the other was a group with a coma in the name.

Speed was impressive and after a couple of uses i have to report no hanging or locking up so far, unlike my experiences with PocketMac, which stalls nearly every time i use it. My only complaint so far would be it would be nice to get a more specific error. Tell me which contact record has the problem instead of forcing me too look through hundreds of names to find the faulty one.
One thing that popped out at me as missing from The Missing Sync was the ability to sync up your BB email with an email app on your mac. Sure if you are running BlackBerry enterprise software, it isn’t necessary, but not everyone does, so it would be nice to have the option of syncing to an email app. PocketMac does this BTW, and i was using it to keep all my old BlackBerry emails in Entourage just in case i needed them. This may be a deal breaker for some people, i’m on the fence regarding that right now.

The next step was browsing through my itunes collection to create a new playlist that i want to sync. The trouble there being many of the tunes i want to sync are protected files so i will have to rip them to disk and then re-import to create new mp3’s and remove the protection. (There are plenty of good articles on the web about doing just that so i won’t get into details on exactly how to do it – check out MacLife for instance) Once i’ve waded through the thousands of files and got my new playlist i will check out the Music sync plugin. If it works as well as the others then i’ll be impressed.

I guess the only question now is whether i am impressed enough to pony up the $40 for this software, or continue along with the free but more limited PocketMac. Time and possibly frustration will tell.

TCG

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Comments
  1. […] for the mac. Sure you could use PocketMac for BlackBerry or The Missing Sync for BlackBerry (here’s my review of that), but they were not actual BlackBerry programs but third party […]

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