It has been a little over two weeks since Apple released Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, the latest major release to the Unix-based Macintosh operating system. In that time I have been able to do some testing of Leopard with my Palm TX handheld.
Prior to upgrading to Mac OS X 10.5 I was running Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger (v. 10.4.10) and Palm Desktop 4.2.1 Rev D. My Mac OS X user account is also an administrator level account. The Leopard upgrade installer ran smoothly and I was done upgrading my Intel MacBook in about 45 minutes.
Running Palm Desktop Post Upgrade
My day-to-day PIM is Palm Desktop because I use Mac OS X and Windows XP daily. After upgrading to Leopard I was able to launch and use Palm Desktop 4.2.1 without any trouble. When I attempted my first HotSync however, I was greeted by the all too familiar Conduit Manager error, “Volume is locked.” To get past this error, I used Apple’s Disk Utility, which can be found in the Utilities folder in any Mac OS X installation. Using Disk Utilities Repair Disk Permissions command will reset the file and folder permissions on the conduits and unlock the files. While not required, I always like to reboot the Mac after running the permission repair. Once that task was finished, I was able to HotSync my Palm TX to my MacBook using the provided Palm HotSync cable.
Using Apple iCal and Address Book
Apple provides the iSync conduit for transferring your data between the Mac’s iCal and Address Book applications to your PDA handhelds and Treo smartphones. In previous versions of iSync, Palm has built in a connector for Palm’s HotSync Manager allowing you to share data between Apple’s applications and your Palm OS device. According to the latest information from Apple, the iSync application that comes bundled with Leopard is still compatible with the older Palm Tungsten and Zire handhelds. Owners of newer devices, like the Treo 680, will need to use Mark/Space The Missing Sync for Palm OS rather than iSync.
I know that Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and earlier iSync customers aren’t going to be too excited about having to purchase another software package when they upgrade. It is just one more hidden cost that needs to be paid when upgrading computer operating systems. (Microsoft Windows customers have this problem also.) I have used The Missing Sync for Palm OS and can tell you that I think it is a good application and it is worth the money. (You can also use The Missing Sync to completely replace the Palm Desktop application if you really don’t like it.) Customers who use Microsoft Office: Mac Edition will also be able to use The Missing Sync to exchange PIM information with Entourage v.X and 2004.
While we are talking about The Missing Sync for Palm OS, I should note that Mark/Space has posted a notice on their website that the current version of the software, version 6.0.1, does have some compatibility issues with Mac OS X Leopard. Mark/Space expects to have an update in place to add Leopard support with-in 90 days of the October 26 launch by Apple. Mark/Space has already begun working on the updates according to their website. Mark/Space is also planning on making the update free to customers running the current version of The Missing Sync. (Customers still running older versions will need to purchase an upgrade.)
Palm Desktop and the HotSync Manger for Mac OS X has always been a love/hate relationship with Mac owners. The software has been required to work with their Palm OS devices, yet the actual desktop application is in need of a complete rewrite. Further complicating the matter is that Palm is completely tied up with rewiring the next version of Palm OS to effectively deal with a desktop application rewrite. Apple appears to be content with focusing iSync on moving data between the Mac and their iPhone and iPod entertainment devices. It looks like Mark/Space is going to swooping in with The Missing Sync to provide the middleware to keep all of our devices and data in sync.