Sunday, December 09, 2007

Review: The Missing Sync for Palm OS 6.0.1

Missing Sync for Palm OS review

Palm’s treatment of the Mac reminds me of that girl in high school who suddenly showed interest in me the time choosing lab partners came around...and then dumped me at the end of science class. Palm’s market share grew because of loyal Mac users. We were dedicated to the Palm and shunned it’s pale imitation: Windows CE and then Windows Mobile. However, Palm later joined the dark side, began making Windows Mobile devices and left us in the dust. Development of Palm software for the Mac stalled out and Palm left it to Apple to pick up the slack. Just like I was left stood up the week after science class was over. Whatever.

Fortunately, iSync works OK to do basic syncing of Palms with the Mac, so Palm can choose it’s own lab partner---the Mac is fine on its own. It fact, we created a better Palm: the iPhone. Of course that girl in grade school we dated..the Newton. I hope she doesn’t show up at the 20 year class reunion. She never did understand what I said anyways, so she’ll probably get the date wrong. iSync gets the job done, but some of us want more.

While iSync will move contacts and dates, MissingSync does so much more. iSync is your best friend's sister that will be your date to the prom so you don’t go alone, while MissingSync is the supermodel of Palm synchronization. While it does move contacts and dates, it retains more of that information from address book and iCal such as work addresses and calendar groups. Not only that, but for Treo users it will backup your call log and SMS messages, and then synchronize the information with your address book. In my line of work, it's great because I can easily determine every call and message to a particular client. The killer feature for me is it's ability to synchronize with Yojimbo by Barebones.

Just like that supermodel, MissingSync is high maintenance, flaky and unreliable. Maybe I was stood up because my lab partner was using Missing Sync and didn't realize the date? MissingSync randomly won't sync some of my contacts and randomly changes the notes synchronization. I was given excuse after excuse by tech support. Eventually I bought a new Mac and got a new phone--and it still didn't work reliably. Best (or worst) of all, if you want to speak to a human it will cost you $60. Oh, it gets better. That $60 gives you the right to a "call-back"--you specify a time window and they call you. Funny, that supermodel also required me to buy her something before she would give me the time of day. I'm sorry, but spending for $60 for support of a $40 program just seems wrong. If the program were reliable, that would be one thing, but it isn't!

In general, MissingSync's ability to synchronize so much more data than iSync or Palm's hotsync manager make it a compromise that still leaves you ahead in the end--even when you combine the support costs. Yeah, all being said and done, it's better dating a supermodel than your best friends's sister, but not by as much as you think. Markspace will need to improve the quality of its product and tech support policies to persuade casual Palm users to use their product rather than iSync.

Pros: Transfers much more data to your Palm than iSync or Palm's software
Cons: Flaky, temperamental, and poor tech support policies.

Two out of Five DogCows

Article was republished by the Lawrence Apple User's Group 2.0 here as well as other groups listed on the right