Address Book: Picked Last for Kickball

In today’s world of Google Maps, Skype, and iChat, it seems as though AddressBook.app is being used less and less. I suppose it seems silly to keep your friends’ emails written down when all you have to do is shoot them a quick IM or give them a quick call on your cell phone. And don’t get me started on addresses… who keeps track of those antiquated things anyway?

I do.

That’s right. My name is Jason… and I’m an Address Book user. I love the way that Address Book holds all of my precious information in a way that only OS X can. I love how it integrates so well with many of my other favorite applications such as Delicious Library and Quicksilver.

The reason for this post is simple – to convince you to start using Address Book too. My plan for accomplishing this includes highlighting a few plug-in, scripts, and add-ons that I’ve found over the past few months that have made Address Book more than just a place to store email addresses. Instead, Address Book is a powerful addition to my arsenal of productivity tools.

Google Maps Plug-in
For those of you who keep actual addresses inside Address Book you will find this plug-in to be extremely helpful – and may even convince the rest of you to start keeping track of those addresses. Once installed, the plug-in does just as its name implies – it allows you to instantly pull up a Google Map of that location. But even better is the plug-ins ability to instantly pull up directions to that location using the address stored under your own name.

Plaxo
Plaxo provides a free service that securely updates and maintains the information in your address book. Although you can use their website to view your contacts, the beauty of this service is it’s ability to sync with Address Book. Many of my friends and colleagues are also signed up with the service so that every time they update their contact information it is automatically updated in my address book. And since your data is stored online it is available just in case your weekly backup didn’t run.

Quicksilver
As I mentioned earlier, with the Quicksilver Address Book plug-in your contacts are only a few keystrokes away. For example, I can type in my dad’s name and be presented with all of his contact information – all without ever opening Address Book. I can then automatically compose an email or just choose one of his phone numbers that then displays across my entire screen for me to see. (Don’t worry, I changed the number)

Skype
With a little help from AppleScript and a plug-in found on MacOSXHints.com, you can call your contacts from within your Address Book application. The only trick is that your phone numbers (at least for the US) need to be formatted like this: +1-555-555-5555.

JABMenu
If Quicksilver isn’t for you, then JABMenu might be another worthy option. JABMenu lives in the menu and triggers an action such as displaying the content in large type, copying it to the clipboard, creating a new email, dialing the phone (accomplished by running a customizable AppleScript), or showing an address on a map using an online map service. This one has a 30-minute trial and runs you a cool $10 for the full version.

Well, if these plug-ins and add-ons weren’t enough to convince you of the awesome functionality and integrative power of Address Book then I don’t know what will. This list is not meant to be comprehensive in any way but hopefully it gives you a taste of what’s out there and what has worked for me. And who knows, with your email address and birth date I might even send you an automated birthday message… courtesy of Address Book and Automator.

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