As I’ve related previously, I continue to find myself in a situation where I need to sync my calendar and contacts across three different platforms: My Outlook account on MS Exchange / Windows XP, my Yahoo online account, and my MacBook (now running OS 10.5.) By getting my Yahoo contacts synced as well as iCal via Plaxo, my iPhone connected to my Macbook gets synced properly. On the Mac side I’m using the provided address book and iCal, rather than MS Entourage. (I used Entourage for five years, but gave it up for Yahoo webmail.. as well as the built-in Mac address book.)

There are several reasons for these complex sync needs. For the foreseeable future, I don’t think I’m going to be able to change them, so I’m continuing to search for a process and tools that will allow all my calendar items and contacts to sync across all three platforms. Although I wrote in July that my process of using Yahoo’s Intellisync, Plaxo, and the iTunes / Yahoo address book sync option was “working,” I’ve had some problems and until tonight haven’t revisited the issue in depth. In a couple of cases, I’ve had calendar events deleted which caused me some problems, and generally my address book clean-up attempts have failed because other instances of entries on another platform have caused the “cleaned up” addresses to reappear.

The latest version of Plaxo for Mac OS X seems to be working great. I did have to delete both my Yahoo and Mac sync points on my Plaxo account, but after recreating them I’m able (for the first time) to make changes to my Mac address book, and then have those synced automatically to Plaxo. I then manually use the Plaxo online interface to sync my Yahoo account. Previously I was able to make changes online to Yahoo or Plaxo and have those synced changes reflected in my OS X address book, but I couldn’t make changes in the address book application and have those changes sync UP to the online platforms.

I’ve been able to trim my contacts list from over 1100 to just under 800 tonight, which is GREAT. There were quite a few duplicates, along with entries I needed to delete. The final test will come tomorrow when I work on my WinXP computer. Rather than use the Yahoo Intellisync program, which has given me sync errors lately, I’m going to try to use Plaxo on that computer as well. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that a sync-up there will NOT result in a re-population of my deleted address book entries, or any calendar entry losses. Tonight I’ve just been working with contact items, not calendar entries. Hopefully I’ll be able to add entries on any platform and then have the changes show up on the others. I’m thinking the key to this will be ensuring a sync takes place right away after making the change– or as soon as is feasible.

Since I got an iPhone, having complete and up to date phone contact information for people on my computer has become increasingly important to me. I am very pleased to see that Plaxo has improved its sync functionality on Mac OS X. Hopefully I’ll get my Outlook calendar and contacts syncing to Plaxo tomorrow– and therefore also to Yahoo and my Mac address book and iCal program. If so, I’ll be a very happy camper starting off a new work week! 🙂

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