05/09/2009

Blackberry Desktop Manager for Mac

It doesn't seem to be officially released by RIM yet, but it's in the wild and it works. It knows about different calendars and contact groups and it makes sensible decisions about what to do ye default and if it gets it wrong, no big deal as you just change it.

It will sync Calendars with iCal and Contacts with Address book, Notes can come from Apple Mail Note or Entourage (if it's installed) and Tasks from iCal. It will also sync music from iTunes (via playlists or all of it).

The software can be set-up for fast syncing (i.e. it will only be used with that computer) or multiple sync (where the Blackberry will be sync'ed with multiple Macs - which is slower). It also uses Apple's sync services which means it should play well with other sync programs (like Mobile Me).

Google Sync (on the Blackberry) confused things, but removing it and leaving syncing to Blackberry Desktop Manager cured that.

The Music Sync section even shows how much memory is available and what can be used for music/video etc. It's all very well put together.

Of course there's the obligatory Backup and Restore so the device memory can be saved on the Mac (well the application data anyway).

There's also a software update (for the Blackberry Desktop Manager itself) and for the software on the Blackberry including the system software. Applications can also be installed and removed via the app.

It might be a good idea to wait for RIM to officially release Blackberry Desktop Manager for Mac (the Blackberry site states September) but the one out in the wild seems to be the official thing.

03/09/2009

Vonage iPhone app approved by Apple

Vonage runs a VoIP service and their aim is to replace the home's phone service and move it over to themselves.

They provide an ATA (or DECT systems) which plug into the IP connection and allows users to make calls. In the UK Vonage would really like to get hold of 'naked DSL' whereby BT (or other phone operator, but mainly BT) provide a 'wires only' service so a broadband provider can provide DSL, but there's no voice on the line. Currently this isn't possible. If it was, Vonage could bundle a DSL service with its phone offerings. Maybe when the UK has some kind of fiber offering they'll get a naked IP service.

Vonage have always offered a softphone so users can make and receive calls when away from home, an iPhone app would do the same. Though Vonage have quite a few users, they're not up there with Google and Google's Voice app still has not been approved.

It did take a while for Vonage to get approval, but Apple's reasoning was that Vonage needed to fix a few software issues. Apple have previous approved various other VoIP services (as long as they only work over WiFi and NOT 3G).

One reason Apple may not like Google Voice is that it allegedly hooks into the dialer, so when a call is made Google will try and route it over Google's network if possible.

Snow Leopard isn't the perfect upgrade

Snow Leopard is Apple's latest incarnation of their MacOS X. Though MacOS X has been 64bit for a while, now is the first time that it's really 64bit and most of Apple's applications are also 64bit.

In their wisdom Apple have disabled certain functionality in the 64bit versions of some applications, including running plug-ins in Mail and Address Book. This is annoying since things like Plaxo no longer work properly. Sync'ing does work, but the plug-ins for Mail allowing the user to see if the email comes from a Plaxo user and the ability to add to the Address book don't (Mail starts and warns about the plug-in and moves it to a "disabled" folder).

It is possible to restore the functionality by going in to finder and getting the "info" for Mail.app and making it run in 32bit and then it turns into the old Mail with the plug-in functionality.

Apple say the disabling of plug-ins is to maintain system integrity as plug-in can alter the Mail/etc behaviour. Surely it's up to the user whether they want to run a plug-in or not, and badly behaved plug-ins will quickly be reported to various Internet forums and users can then disable them themselves.

Running 32bit Mail is an annoyance, as it runs slower than its 64bit version. Please Apple find a supported solution.

01/09/2009

Apple 'iPod relaunch' event

On Sept 9th 2009 Apple will be holding a "special" event in San Francisco (maybe with a video link to London).

The invite shows a silhouette with an iPod in their hand and "It's only rock and roll, but we like it," which could be an homage to the Rolling Stones classic tune.

Rumours abound, it could be a new version of iTunes (expected anyway) a new iPod Touch (64GB also expected at some point). It may even be the new Apple Tablet (which is widely anticipated- but probably more than an iPod relaunch).

Apple are notorious for not pre-announcing anything, though recently have been sneaking some info out.