go ahead, mac my day

a Macintosh girl in a Microsoft world

February, 2009

  • go ahead, mac my day

    Q&A: moving from Outlook to Entourage


    I got the following question via email:

    How do I copy my Outlook 2003 contacts, calendar, email and tasks from my old PC to my new Macbook?

    At this time, we don't provide a direct import from Windows Outlook PST to Entourage 2008.

    There are some workarounds for it. I've never tried them myself because I've never used Outlook, so I can't provide any specific feedback here. These are listed in no particular order.

    If you use an Exchange server, you probably don't need to do anything at all. Put everything on Exchange, and voila: Entourage will download your mail and contacts. If you're using the Entourage for Exchange Web Services beta against Exchange 2007 or later, then you also get your notes and tasks,

    Outlook2Mac is a third-party application that claims to transfer PST files. I've heard that this process is extremely lengthy if you have a very large PST.

    If you have access to an older PowerPC-based Mac, you can try the instructions from the Entourage MVPs for importing from Windows Outlook. It requires you to go through Outlook for Mac, which is a very old Classic application.

    I also understand that it's possible to use Mozilla Thunderbird on your Windows computer. I found some instructions for this on an Australian website. However, this only works for your mail; I'm not sure how you would use Thunderbird to get your contacts and tasks.
  • go ahead, mac my day

    Q&A: How do I sync from Entourage to my iPhone?


    I got a question via email about syncing from Entourage to your iPhone. Specifically, the question I was asked was:

    Is there a way for me to sync my Entourage Notes & Tasks with my iPhone?
    For the sake of completeness, I'll talk about syncing more than just tasks and notes, though. (This is the first non-Exchange Entourage post that I've written in quite awhile!)

    Starting with Entourage 2004 SP2 (11.2 or later), Entourage uses OS X Sync Services to synchronise data with your devices (including, but definitely not limited to, the iPhone: here's the current list of devices supported by Sync Services). To enable this, go into the Entourage menu, choose the Preferences, and then Sync Services. From there, you can choose what data to synchronise: calendar events, contacts, and notes (only with MobileMe). Then, when you synchronise your device with your Mac, all of that data will be automatically copied over to your device. If you already sync your iPod with your Mac, it's the same thing: you can change your playlists and podcasts at any time, and any changes show up on your iPod the next time you sync.

    But that doesn't get everything onto your iPhone. That only takes care of calendar events and contacts. Right now, Apple doesn't provide a method through Sync Services to synchronise notes or tasks with other devices (iPhone or otherwise). There are third-party applications that will do it. I've heard some Entourage users talk about Missing Sync or e2sync, but I have no experience with them myself.

    I've also heard of some workarounds for getting your notes and tasks onto your iPhone. For example, if you use an IMAP or Exchange account, you could create a new mail folder there called "notes" or "tasks", and then create mail messages in those folders with the contents that you would have put in your note or task. It's obviously not perfect and is missing a lot of the flexibility inherent in real tasks and notes, but it might get you closer to what you're looking for if you're not interested in using a third-party solution.

  • go ahead, mac my day

    my favourite feature of Exchange 14


    My favourite feature of Exchange 14 has just been announced: full support of Safari in Outlook Web Access.

    Right now, in Exchange 2007 and earlier, Safari doesn't support the full OWA experience. You get the light version of OWA, which is admittedly pretty good for Exchange 2007. But if you're a heavy Exchange user like I am, the lack of goodies like tasks or categories really hurts. (Remember, I've been able to sync these with Exchange since I began using internal builds of Entourage for Exchange Web Services several months ago.)

    I'm sure that as I get an opportunity to use it more, I'll find more to love about it. It means that I don't have to drag my laptop everywhere with me to have great access to my Exchange account, I can use one of my Macs at home and get it all. Right now, though, getting my tasks and categories is what I want the most.

    This makes my iPhone the odd one out. I do love my iPhone, but I hate that my calendar isn't properly colour-coded there with my categories. I hate the inability to get my tasks and notes on it.

  • go ahead, mac my day

    Messenger:Mac 7.0.2 available now


    I forgot to mention this last week! Messenger:Mac 7.0.2 is now available, so go forth and download!

    This update brings improvements to our support for Office Communicator Server 2007. For those of you who aren't on that server (you're just using Messenger for personal use, not in a business environment with that server; if you're on OCS 2005, you should be using Messenger 6), you probably won't notice anything earth-shattering.

    Before anyone asks: I don't have anything to share yet about the public beta of Messenger which will include audio/video support for personal use. Really, the second I've got more details, I'll share them, I promise. :)

  • go ahead, mac my day

    Entourage EWS questions


    I've been getting a bunch of questions, so let's get them answered.

    How do I get into the Entourage EWS beta? Go to Mactopia to apply to be a part of the beta.

    How long does it take for beta applications to be reviewed? We're doing it manually, so it takes a business day or two.

    It's been two days, and I haven't received a response to my beta application. What do I do? Check your spam folder. You can also login to Microsoft Connect and see if the Entourage EWS beta shows up on your dashboard.

    What are the system requirements for the beta? For your Mac, you need to be on OS X 10.5.4 or later. For your server, you need to be on Exchange 2007 SP1 RU4 or later. Do not download the beta if you're not on the right version of Exchange — it won't work!

    How do I tell what version of Exchange I'm on? Ask your Exchange admin.
    At the highest of levels, you can mostly tell if you're on Exchange 2007 by looking at the Out of Office assistant. Go to Tools -> Out of Office. If the screen looks like the one here, then you're on Exchange 2007. However, that doesn’t tell you anything about SP1 or RU4, so you really need to ask your Exchange admin to confirm.

    Why doesn't this beta work with Exchange 2003? This beta has a completely new back-end which exclusively uses Exchange Web Services. EWS was introduced in Exchange 2007.

    If I find a bug, what do I do? Go to your dashboard on Microsoft Connect and follow the directions there. Please don't submit bugs any other way — Microsoft Connect is directly tied to our internal tools for tracking bugs. Submitting bugs through there means that it's faster for us to respond to them, which ultimately results in a better product for you.

    If I want to make a suggestion, what do I do? Go to your dashboard on Microsoft Connect, just as you would for a bug. Please don't submit your suggestions in any other way. You want to get things directly into our system, which makes it more likely for us to be able to fully consider your suggestion and figure out how it fits into our plans.

    When will the final version of Entourage EWS be available? We don't have a final date yet, it depends on how the beta goes. Look for more details later this year.

    Edited on 17 August 2009: The final version of Entourage for Web Services is now available, so you should update!

  • go ahead, mac my day

    Adobe Illustrator to Silverlight


    If you've wanted to take your Adobe Illustrator files and create Silverlight XAML, now there's hope. Mike Swanson, one of our technology evangelists, created a plug-in that only worked on Illustrator for Windows. He's taken the time to learn Xcode and create a test version of the Illustrator-to-XAML plug-in for Mac.

    Mike has tested it with CS4, but not earlier versions. If you're interested in testing it, his blog post has plenty of details about how to get it. If you test it, leave him some feedback about what's working for you and what's not!

    It's pretty cool to see a plug-in like this come about. I haven't had the chance to check it out myself yet, but figured you guys might be just as interested as I am.

  • go ahead, mac my day

    OOPSLA submission ideas for Mac people


    I had intended to kind of take a break from OOPSLA this year. I've been on the committee for the past few years, and I wanted to have a year where I didn't focus so much on it. But it's winter, and my mind automatically turns to thoughts of OOPSLA because the first submission deadline is coming up in March.

    OOPSLA was the original conference devoted to all things related to object-oriented programming. The scope has increased to include programming, patterns, and paradigms. It's about looking at the big problems that is facing software, ranging from reliability to ultra-large scale systems.

    I'd love to see a greater Mac presence there. There's plenty of Mac users who attend, but not a lot of people who are really doing Mac development. To that end, here are some ideas for ways that Mac developers could become a part of the conference and thus have another venue for getting together in addition to WWDC.

    Tutorials: Oh goodness, where to start with tutorials. There's so much knowledge here that could be shared: Objective-C, UI development with Cocoa, and Xcode are all great candidates for half-day tutorials. This is one of the areas where I think there could be some fantastic work done. There's a lot of Mac users who come to OOPSLA, so I would think that some Mac tutorials would go over quite well.

    Practitioner reports: The lessons learned in cross-platform development, adding garbage collection to your Cocoa app (what you learned, what improvements you expected, what improvement were actually made, ... ), converting your app from Carbon to Cocoa.

    Panels: Development environment shoot-out (Visual Studio vs eclipse vs Xcode vs ... ), choosing your development platform of choice, why indie development for Mac is so strong.

    Workshops: How about a Mac developer workshop?

    Don't get me wrong, I love WWDC. But WWDC is about a different goal. WWDC is about us as Mac developers learning from Apple. Is is less expressly about learning from each other.

    If you're interested in submitting something for OOPSLA and want someone to bounce ideas off of, feel free to ping me. I'd love to see more Mac content here, so if you have an idea but aren't sure how to best fit it into OOPSLA, I'm sure we can come up with something.

  • go ahead, mac my day

    considering the Mac development space


    The state of Mac development surprises me. There aren't a lot of big Mac dev shops. There's us, with our 200+ Mac developers. There's Adobe and IBM, although I'm not sure if either of them have a lot of Mac-only folks. So, other than us or Apple, I'm not sure if there really are a lot of really big Mac-only development shops.

    Then there's scores of indies, making great apps. Most of these indies are just a couple of people, working out of their home or a coffee shop.

    There doesn't seem to be a middle ground. You've got us with our 200-some people, and then you've got the indies. Maybe I'm just missing it, but I'm not seeing a lot of companies between those two points. Omni? Maybe the Intuit teams working on Quicken and TurboTax? The Aspyr guys, who provide me with my Sims? Who else?

    With a spectrum of development that's so heavily bifurcated, I wonder what that says about the state of Mac development. Does it matter that there's not a lot of middle ground between the indies and the big shops? For that matter, does it matter that MacBU is the definition of "big shop", whereas 200 people (remember, that's not 200 developers, that's 200 people) wouldn't be considered to be a lot of people in a Windows shop?

    Don't get me wrong, this isn't a complaint about having a robust indie development community. There's plenty of indie apps that I use and love. I don't want indie development to dry up 'cause I don't want to lose those apps. I'm simply wondering whether there should be a step or two between indie and big corporation.

  • go ahead, mac my day

    how have you customised OS X?


    The folks over at Macworld magazine are asking how have you customised OS X?

    I've got two Macs that I use on a daily basis. One is my primary work Mac, a MacBook Pro. The other is my primary personal Mac, a MacBook. I've got other Macs, both at work and home, but they're not used nearly as extensively as these. Each of them are set up in different ways.

    When I'm in my office, my MBP is hooked up to a 24-inch widescreen LCD. The LCD is my primary monitor, sitting directly in front of me, with my MBP open and sitting on a stand to the left of the big LCD so that the tops of the two monitors are aligned.

    I use Spaces, four of them. Space 1 is given over to Entourage. Space 2 is reserved for whatever I'm working on, so the app open there is most likely to be Word or PowerPoint, or maybe RDC when it's time to submit my travel expenses. Space 3 is Safari, and Space 4 is iTunes and other media apps.

    For my two-monitor set-up, I use my laptop monitor as my status monitor. That's reserved for the apps which are visible in all of my Spaces, which are my Twitter client, IM, and My Day.

    My dock is almost entirely empty. The only thing I keep in my dock is a folder, which opens the current build of Office that I'm using. For any other application that I use, I either let it launch on startup, or get launched on an action (say, clicking on a link that I receive in email). For the rest, I simply use Spotlight as my application launcher.

    (An aside: It's a Microsoft thing to do a "daily build" -- that is, we compile our code every day. One of our goals is to have a usable version of Office created every single day. I use one of these daily builds for my work, and submit whatever bugs I happen to find in my regular usage.)

    Document-wise, everything lives in the Documents folder. I've got an extensive folder structure. Since I use the Project Centre in Entourage to manage my larger projects, many of my folders are in my Office Projects folder (which I have added to the list of Places in my Finder). Most of my folders contain my own work, but I have a few folders which contain other things that I need to reference frequently.

    As with my dock, my desktop is almost totally empty. I only use it for the things that I'm working on at this very instant which don't end up in a folder elsewhere -- usually documents that I've been sent via email asking for me to review them. It's my goal to have no files, other than my hard drives, visible on my desktop at the end of the day.

    I always partition my laptop hard drive into two partitions: system and data. My user folder lives on my data drive, so that if (by some horrid chance) my system drive gets borked, I'm less likely to lose everything. I also keep the majority of my applications on my data drive as well.

    I have an external hard drive, which I use in conjunction with Time Machine. However, I don't keep this drive hooked up to my MBP all the time. It's partitioned and shared with my Mac Mini. The Mini has primary custody of the drive, but I manually move the cable over to connect to my MBP once per week so that I've got a backup.

    Hmmm, this got long, so I'll post about my set-up for my MacBook separately, and maybe add in some details about what my other Macs are doing too. And it's probably another post about how I manage my email, since that's a whole thing onto itself.

  • go ahead, mac my day

    Mac Mojo: "waving the red flag"


    Over at Mac Mojo, I posted an article called waving the red flag, which is about flagging in Entourage. I was inspired to write it by a post at Macworld about finding email easily with flags, which reminded me that I hadn't talked about everything you can do with flags in Entourage. So there you are, and now you even know that Wednesday was my mother's (58th) birthday.

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