Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Sync sucks, especially GooSync.

GooSync is supposed to sync between a smartphone and gmail, both for calendar and contacts.  After wasting a full day on this it failed completely.

GooSync required that I get another program, Softick, which provides PPP connectivity from my smartphone (Palm Treo 700P) to the Internet through its cradle through my PC.  After a lot of junk that appears to work.

Not so GooSync.  Based on the messages on its help site, I was not alone.  GooSync makes sending a message to it almost impossible.  We can only write to each other.  GooSync NEVER synced for me.

Finally I decided to just export my contacts and import them into gmail.  You would think that by now the e-mail services would be able to inhale data from a competitor.  No.  They make you create a CSV (comma delimited) file on your PC and then import.  Bad enough but they still do a lousy job of it.  Here is what I tried and how well they did it:

1. Yahoo - sucks
2. MS Outlook - sucks
3. Palm Desktop - REALLY sucks!

At this point I cannot recall which company insisted on it but either GooSync or Softick had me upgrade my version of Palm Desktop software.  That sounded like a good thing no matter what else happened.  Unfortunately, the new version wiped out the Outlook conduits, which I have been unable to find.  The Palm Hotsync went between the Palm device and Palm Desktop.  OK, I figured I could live with that.  After all, when I tried to export from Outlook 2000 it made me hunt for the original MS Office CD and install a utility to dump the contacts into a CSV file.

Yahoo also dumps its contacts into a CSV file.  I imported then into gmail but did not like the results.  None of these export/import functions maintains the categories as both Yahoo and Palm refer to them.  Gmail has fancier terms, of course.  I deleted the Yahoo feed that had been imported into gmail.  I should have left well enough alone.  Maybe not.  For entries with only a first name: the first name disappears and results in the phone number being displayed as the identifying data.

All the while I kept expecting GooSync to ride to the the rescue.  Yeah, right!

Next I tried Outlook.  This took 3-4 attempts because I could not get all the illogical parameters right: all/selected records, file format, etc.  The result in gmail was comparably unacceptable to the data from Yahoo.  They created mutiple records for no apparent reason.    When you export to a Windows comma delimited file it is not apparent that it will be a CSV file, not to be confused with a CSV Excel file.  Plus, no matter what data you export to a Windows comma delimited file, Outlook names it calendar.csv.  And like Yahoo,  for entries with only a first name: the first name disappears and results in the phone number being displayed as the identifying data.Argh!

The data from Palm Desktop was truly astonishing.  It could not get first or last name into the same fields in gmail.  Not one of my 480 contacts had a name.  Oh, the data was there once you selected a record but how did you know which record to select?  Wow!  Palm, Inc. is sinking to new depths.  Palm was a great company not that many years ago.

Does MobileMe from Apple deserve the $99 per year that Apple has the nerve to charge?  I do not need all its flexibility.  I merely want to sync ONE smartphone to ONE web server.  At this point I do not care which web server: Yahoo, gmail, whatever.

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