Tag Archives: OSX

Syncing Mac contacts and calendars with Google and iPhone

On the weekend, I decided to rework all my sync’ing options.  Here’s what I ended up with:

Google, iPhone and Mac OSX Calendar and Contact Sync'ing 


Google contacts -> Mac OSX Address Book

I ended up following these instructions here:  http://googlemac.blogspot.com/2008/05/mac-os-x-1053-sync-google-contacts.html

Another set of info here:  http://lifehacker.com/393810/mac-os-xs-address-book-can-now-sync-google-contacts-update-for-iphone-owners-only-ugh

However, I found that although I had it configured, it wasn’t sync’ing at all.   The configuration was all there but there were no contacts in my Address Book.   The instructions for manually sync’ing suggested to click the “Sync Now” option in iSync (the circular arrows at the top of the screen) but that option was disabled for me.  

If you have that problem, then follow Marko’s steps in his blog post here (http://blog.markojung.net/2009/02/sync-everything-with-google/).   Sync’ing started up and now the option appears in iSync!

Google contacts -> Mac OSX iCal

I did try Spanning Sync for a while but ran into some problems with missing calendar events.   I then tried the standard CalDAV configuration and it worked fine!  No third party software required:


Google contacts and calendar -> iPhone wirelessly!

There are a few options to sync up your iPhone contacts and calendar with Google:

  • Wired – use the USB cable between the iPhone and your laptop.   The big disadvantage of this is that you need to be at your computer to sync.
  • Wirelessly – MobileMe.   Apple has an online storage and sync’ing solution called MobileMe.  This should let you sync your calendar, email and contacts between all your devices.   Unfortunately you need to pay a subscription to use it 😦
  • Wirelessly – Other.   Thanks to internet connectivity on your iPhone, you can wirelessly sync contacts and calendars with something like your Gmail account.  

In a previous blog post, I described how I used NuevaSync as an Exchange tunnel to get the iPhone to sync up wirelessly with Google Mail and Contacts.   However, recently Google updated their service to include their own Exchange server end.  I took the jump and reconfigured my iPhone sync’ing to use this instead and all works!   No more 3rd party required to host my private details or transfer my contacts and calendar.


I also found that calendar updates were much quicker than through NuevaSync. 


Next frontier

OK, so now I have my iPhone contacts, mail and calendar sync’d up with Google and my MacBook Pro.

The next problem is that I’m using Thunderbird instead of Mac Mail.  Unfortunately Thunderbird 2.x does not use the OSX Address Book, but I read that Thunderbird 3.x beta does.   Time to try that out!  Then I’ll be truely integrated!


Running Portal on a Mac

On the weekend, I decided to get a game going on the Mac. One game that my old laptop couldn’t play properly was Portal. The on board laptop video card was just not up to it. Now that I have a MacBook Pro with an Nvidia chipset, I was all ready!

But how do you get games to run on a Mac? The games that I own and want to play are all Windows based.

Mac users basically have 4 options:

  1. Wait until the game you want is released natively on the Mac platform
  2. Install Windows inside a virtual machine using a program like Parallels or Virtual PC, then run the game inside this
  3. Run the game using a Windows emulator like CrossOver Games or Wine or some equivalent
  4. Install BootCamp which basically lets you boot up into Windows instead of OSX

I really wanted to try not to install Windows.  And Portal hasn’t been ported to the Mac yet.  So, that left me option 3.

CrossOver Games is a program for the Mac that pretends to be the Windows operating system so that Windows games can try to run.  Obviously, it is immense task to pretend to be an entire Operating System with all its quirks, so it happens that only some games have been qualified to run properly on CrossOver Games.

Luckily, some of the Steam engine games like Portal are on the list!

Installation was pretty straightforward.  I decided to install the Steam engine and grab the demo version of Portal.  After mounting the CrossOver Games application, I proceeded to install the Steam engine using the wizard.

Installing Steam engine in a bottle
Installing Steam engine in a bottle

It was really weird to see Windows components like MSXML install, seemingly on the Mac, but they were really being installed on a cut down version of Windows in something called a “bottle”.

Unfortunately I did run into a problem during the Steam installation process with the error, “Unable to load library: Steam.dll”.

Steam installation error
Steam installation error

A bit of Googling later and I found someone recommend that you check that the Windows emulation mode is set to Windows XP.

Set Windows XP as the Windows version
Set Windows XP as the Windows version

I restarted the Steam engine installation, asked the Windows installation to “Repair”, and then it all worked.   After choosing to install Portal, it all started up magically and worked fine!

The framerate was fine, but the screen looked like the vertical sync was not on because there was tearing.  I’m sure this can be fixed somehow.

Portal running on a MacBook Pro using CrossOver Games
Portal running on a MacBook Pro using CrossOver Games

In the end I was very happy with the experience and will hand over some dosh to buy CrossOver Games and Portal!  Now to install Guild Wars and see how that runs.

More info here:  http://www.codeweavers.com/products/cxgames/