The Efficient Mac User

More Address Book Foibles, Tips, and Add-ons

- 2006.02.16 - Tip Jar

As usual, I've gotten a good bit of response to my articles, and many of the respondents offer helpful insight or good follow-up questions. I've selected those that I believe are beneficial to a larger audience to respond to here.

New Year's Hopes

Received in response to Five Things I Hope to See in 2006

Alvin writes (1/5):

I'm not sure people who have so many PC peripherals and softwares like businesses will switch even if Macintel can run them. Simplification is what every business also desires. Unless OS X Leopard is bundled and that you could transparently run Linux and Windows programs on top of OS X ala OS X Classic (which would not be an emulation) then they will switch.

I think that's precisely why they will launch the Mac mini Macintel for business first and of course I feel they will launch Leopard at the same time to demonstrate exactly this. I see Apple being No. 1 in hardware and software and media distribution. I see an Apple box with that remote that only searches for media on a new Apple Channel on cable. I think the iMac FrontRow is the most perfect all-in-one, but it's too much to be a boxtop. People will need it to be simpler and cheaper: an Apple box, a remote, choose what you like at their channel, press play.

My response:

I agree that a machine that can run any/all OSes will be popular and may even succeed at the business level. However, Apple has made it clear that, while they won't cripple their machines from a dual- or multi-boot setup, they will not supply anything beyond the Mac OS.

As far as the Apple media machine, I think you have some innovative ideas. I agree that FrontRow offers a lot of promise, and I think future generations of it will probably include more full-functioned options like you've described. An Apple Channel? Who knows? But one thing is for certain: Apple is far from finished with its foray into the media world.

Keeping in Touch with Address Book

Responses to Replacing Entourage: Apple's Address Book More Powerful Than You Might Think:

RR Aranda writes (1/19):

One suggestion on third party software - the freeware Address Book tab-delimited exporter works quite well, and may be useful your readers.

Steve writes (1/19):

Although you may have run across this program, I'd like to give you a heads up on it. It's called "Contacts". Its an open source item I grabbed with Fink. For those who are productive in the command line, this program opens up options with Apple's Address Book.

Tim Gaden writes (1/22):

Many people speak highly of a Swiss website that offers great conversions from [Address Book] to Thunderbird and Gmail.

My response:

Thanks, everyone, for the recommendations! These are great additions to the growing list of helpful add-ons and plugins. (By the way, check out Tim Gaden's blog, Hawk Wings, which highlights many excellent additions to Address Book, Mail, and iCal.)

Burt McCormick writes (1/20):

I just read your very informative article about Address Book. Thank you for bringing all those powerful features to my attention. I still have some questions however. At one point you mention that "Address Book's print dialog is sufficient for many people's needs: Printing envelopes, mailing labels, and basic address lists is very easy. An option for printing pocket address books is also included". I couldn't figure out how to do any of these.

I also noticed that I have no Smart Group button in the upper left corner as is pictured in your article. I'm using OS X 10.3.9 and Address Book 3.1.2 (v321). Are these Tiger only features, or is there a way to get this functionality with my set up? Thanks again for a very helpful article.

My response:

Burt, you're right - you won't find these options available in versions of Address Book prior to version 4.x. These were added with v.4.x, which accompanies Tiger (OS X 10.4.x). However, the utility Address Book Reports, which I mentioned in my article, will bring these and other printer formatting options to your pre-Tiger Address Book (OS X 10.3 or later).

Unfortunately, Smart Groups are too closely tied to Tiger's Spotlight search technology and cannot be easily mimicked by third-party applications. There are some programs that will perform specialized searches, however, such as the utility Birthday Reminder that I mentioned in my article.

Scott Kaiser writes (1/23):

What I am looking for are plugins that would allow me to sync it with Yahoo! and/or Plaxo. If you know of any, and could include them in your next article, that would be great.

My response:

Scott, I mentioned Plaxo in the follow-up article, but at that time there were no OS X plugins for it - unless you use Thunderbird (which obviously doesn't fit in an article about Address Book!). However, a new beta version of a Plaxo Address Book plug-in has just been released! (Thanks to Tim Gaden at Hawk Wings for pointing this out.) I've installed it, and it works great. And, it's compatible with OS X 10.3 and later, so users of some older versions of Address Book will find it useful, too. You can find a link to this plug-in at Tim's Hawk Wings blog.

Editor's note: The plug-in works nicely. Quit Address Book, run the installer, and the next time you launch Address Book it will ask for your Plaxo ID and password. Then it synchs things. You'll want to run through your Address Book for duplicate entries, but this works quite smoothly. dk

Address Book Round Two

Reflections on Replacing Entourage: Mac Address Book Integrates Nicely with Non-Apple Apps and Services:

Dan Knight writes (1/26):

Hmmmm, Plaxo overwrites my notes - not cool. Otherwise it looks promising.

My response:

Dan, I've found that Plaxo will overwrite notes that are after the "tag" that it inserts into the Notes section, but not those before the tag. So, if you simply place your notes before the "PLAXO-VERSION 1.0" tag, they will remain. (This doesn't help you recover the notes that are already overwritten! But hopefully will prevent future mishaps.) Or install the new plug-in; my guess is that it will prevent such problems.

Dennis Brockman writes (1/27):

I am not sure if you noticed, but GroupCal does not work with Tiger. We have been waiting for a long time for this, and Snerdware is terrible in communicating what they are doing. Still they are the only game in town, and so we wait.

My response:

Dennis, thanks very much for bringing this to my attention. I was not aware of this holdup, but I'm sure the readers will appreciate the warning.

Klaus Buchheim writes (1/29):

I also started to use Address Book very recently but discovered a major issue/bug/oversight or potential user error with it (using Mac OS X 10.4.4): When I have a card with a name, a private address, and work address, and I want to print the work address label, Address Book does not print the company name on the label. It prints the name and address but not the company name. So I was wondering if you have observed the same and if you have any idea and/or solution to this? This could very well be a user error.

My response:

Good catch, Klaus. This is a problem, and it shows up when printing envelopes, too. Similarly, when you have a card listed as a business (but with a particular contact under the business's name), it will not print the contact at that business, only the name of the business.

I have two suggestions for working around this: First, the previously mentioned Address Book Reports will, in fact, handle the information as you prefer. Secondly, you might take advantage of Pages 2.0's ability to perform merge functions and set up your printing needs in a Pages document. Unfortunately, neither of these solutions fixes what should be there - the otherwise very easy-to-use and nicely implemented envelope and label printing functions in Address Book.

Willis B. Smith writes (2/1):

I appreciate your pieces about the merits of Address Book. I am having difficulty exporting Entourage contacts into Address Book. Could you help?

My response:

My memory is that I simply chose "Select All" from my contacts list in Entourage and dragged them to Address Book. If that doesn't work, however, you should be able to export contacts from Entourage as a Tab-Delimited Values file or as a Comma-Separated Values file. Either of these should be able to import into Address Book through the "Import" command in the File menu. Select "File - >Import - >Text File..." and choose the export file you created with Entourage.

Yojimbo Review

Responses to Yojimbo: A Powerful, Easy to Use Information Management Tool:

Dennis Smith writes (2/9):

I have had Macs for years and have done a terrible job of keeping my data organized. On my current G4 hard drive I have folders of data copied from multiple hard drives, but almost every folder has some unique data. Is there a program/utility for OS X 10.3 that will search my hard drive for documents and identify duplicates so I can eliminate them and consolidate my data? Then I can have a reliable backup strategy and know I am backing up everything from the single source folder.

My response:

Dennis, what you're looking for is available in several forms. One that I have used is Ambriel Software's Duplicate Catcher. [Editor's note: Ambriel Software seems to have vanished.] I've also heard good things about Modesitt Software's DupeFinder. Both of these are shareware. You might find them similarly helpful.

Bare Bones software writes (2/12):

The single-user license allows installation for one person on multiple machines, not on a single computer. The family license provides for use by up to five people living at the same residential address, each with multiple machines. The educational license, as discussed [in your article], was designed with students in mind, or I suppose faculty and staff, who are operating on a single machine.

My response:

Thanks for the correction, and thanks for a great program. I think many Efficient Mac Users will benefit from your efforts!

Two More Things

Readers who have been following this column since around Thanksgiving/Christmas will remember my articles on Consumer Reports' lousy comparison of Macs to Windows PCs, Consumer Reports Just Doesn't Get Macs and How Consumer Reports Could Compare Macs Fairly. Well - the latest version of CR is out, and I'm pleased to report that they did a slightly better job in several areas. The service comparisons compared Macs directly to PCs. And, there was a very respectable article highlighting, among other things, the new Macs and what they offer. They still have a ways to go, but any improvement is welcome.

Also, other correspondence with Bare Bones software makes clear that, by far, the predominant focus on their part has been creating an "effortless experience" in Yojimbo. This explains some of the things that I pointed out as "missing pieces" in my review: lack of AppleScript support, some of the leaner elements of metadata, and the limits on things like labels and Smart Collections. Thanks for clearing that up, Bare Bones.

That's all for this edition of the Efficient Mac User Mailbag. Check in with us in the next few weeks when I resume my "Replacing Entourage" series, this time looking at iCal, time and task management, and project planning and management. LEM

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