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Summary:

Upgrading to Tiger introduced a few “interesting” iSync-related “features” …

Upgrading to Tiger introduced a few “interesting” iSync-related “features”.

  1. /Applications/iSync.app no-longer will sync items to your .Mac account. Controlling .Mac Sync features is now handled in System Preferences –> .Mac –> Sync Tab. You’ll notice there is a “[x] Show status in menu bar” checkbox at the bottom. Checking this will indeed show an iSync icon in the menu bar. But this icon only gives you access to .Mac Sync, not /Applications/iSync.app, which brings us to the next “feature” Tiger introduced:
  2. /Applications/iSync.app can no-longer be accessed from the menu bar. Sync Now 1.0, a 3rd-party application, attempts to address this travesty.
  3. /Applications/iSync.app will no-longer sync Contacts and Calendar to your iPod. This is now solely handled via iTunes. It would appear it also no-longer allows us to schedule automated syncs to our devices.

What we used to be able to achieve with a single click or entirely automate in the background before Tiger is no-longer possible.

In Tiger, synchronizing non-iPod devices requires us to explicitly dig out from the Finder and open /Applications/iSync.app. Synchronizing contacts and calendar info to iPods requires us to open iTunes. Synchronizing anything to .Mac requires us to open System Preferences –> .Mac –> Sync Tab, or use its menu item.

Where’s Apple headed with this? I fail to understand how this new reorganization of synchronizing tasks is beneficial to end-users? Were people corrupting their Address Books by having too many data sources in the mix?

The fact that the menu bar .Mac sync icon looks exactly the same as what used to be /Applications/iSync.app’s menu bar icon was insanely confusing to me. Right after the upgrade, I kept triggering .Mac syncs wondering why the t610 wasn’t also being synchronized, wondering what went wrong with my system.

  1. I don’t use .Mac so that stuff doesn’t bother me, but I do prefer having all iPod-related syncing done with iTunes. It used to really bug me that every time I plugged in my iPod, iSync would launch and I’d have to quit it manually. But now that iTunes does it all, since I always have iTunes open it’s a cinch.

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  2. You know, the other day this site asserted without argument that PNG is the wrong format for screen shots. Now this site asserts that a simple and minor change to the user interface is a “travesty.”

    Senseless negative hyperbole is not endearing. I’m unsubscribing from this site’s feed.

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  3. Hi Jeff, “this site” has 12+ authors. So there are quite a few opinions expressed by different people, all of which exist to spark thought and discussion. If you disagree with a statement that is made you are encouraged to post stating your own view.

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  4. It’s really reports like these that prevents me from switching to the 10.4 tiger goodness. I love 10.3.9, it’s running perfectly for me in almost every single little detail, and I’m really afraid for it to be broken by the upgrade.

    I’ve never loved an OS so much that I’m afraid of changes, even if they’re possibly for the better.

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  5. Ben wrote “It’s really reports like these that prevents me from switching to the 10.4 tiger goodness.”

    Spotlight is the main reason I upgraded. Also smart folders are a fantastic time saver/organisational tool.

    I agree with Kevin that the iTunes synching to my iPod is more user friendly.

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  6. It’s not just a minor change in the UI. What used to be a one-stop shop for syncing needs, is now split into three different places: the .mac syncing pane in the System Prefrences, iPod syncing in iTunes, and iSync for everything else. This is one of my pet peeves with Tiger, as this is a change that really doesn’t make much sense.

    When you make an UI change, you would want to change it for the better – now, you have a more complicated situation than before (unless, of course, you just used iSync to sync your contacts with your iPod).

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  7. Synch has been a mess for me for some time. Every month I travel thru multiple time zones, and have found myself “synchronizing” more than 10,000 events as my PDA, iCal, iPod, etc., got confused. Takes hours and I risk losing info from hangs, “memory full” errors on my phone, etc.

    Looks to me as if Apple is moving towards making synchronization a utility feature of the OS instead of a standalone app. That could mean better ability to coordinate actions on multiple devices, to update different types of data that an app (think, a shared project manager) requires, etc. For now, however, it still suffers from disturbingly not-quite-there-ness. For a firm that thinks its products are “digital hubs,” Apple offers shockingly jumbled synch.

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  8. Jason Terhorst Monday, August 29, 2005

    I would agree with Kevin. This isn’t a big deal if you only have an iPod and only sync that. Having it all in one spot is nice. However, if Apple is crippling iSync in the process, and killing features that people liked before, without offering something better and more obvious, then I would be worried.

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  9. Tiger also introduced a new problem: correctly remembering a .Mac password when connecting via System Preferences. Every time it is corrupted. If you try to connect to your iDisk via the Finder, the mouse cursor turns into a perpetual spinning ballon and you must restart the Finder. The only solution is to type in your correct .Mac password via System Prefs and then immediately click the iDisk tab, then connect to your iDisk via the Finder. However, next time it will not work! Well done Apple! Has anyone discovered this and found a better solution???

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  10. As a new Mac user who purchased their Mac at 10.3.9 and has since upgraded to 10.4 (OK maybe I’m not _that_ new anymore, but I was using PCs for a long time before), I find the Tiger Sync features no worse than Windows.

    I don’t see anywhere in the market place a good solution that meets all needs (iPods, PDAs, Phones, Memory Sticks). For me, the MP3 player (iPod) integration and sync is fantastic, my file and settings sync is done by scripts and although not easy for every user it is certainly easier than it was on Windows.

    Address book and Calendar…. I’m also in a lot of different time zones, and every solution has screwed something up at some point. OS X doesn’t do anything to improve that, but I didn’t see it get worse at 10.4.

    Any how, I’d still upgrade in a heart-beat, and although it’s no defense for Apple, _I_ still feel pretty silly moaning about smaller features when using a computer suddenly became pleasurable for me again last April.

    And PNG is clearly the right format for screen-shots you fools ;-)

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