Lost Contacts

No, not LinkedIn or FaceBook, I’m talking about contacts with phone numbers and addresses and so on, not the pseudo-friends that the current crop of social web apps favour.

You see, thanks to my Samsung mobile phone or, more specifically, the crap software that came with it, I’ve lost a lot of contact details. Not only have a lost entire contacts, but every remaining contact has been royally screwed up and now has only two fields, one a truncated name (think ‘GordonMcLe’) the other a phone number, with a mix of home, mobile and work, seemingly at random. For some people in my contacts that’s not a problem as I only have one number for them, for others it now means that I have an old work number rather than a mobile.

To say I’m slightly pissed off at this is an understatement.

I do have most of them backed up but, as I’ll need to do some manual work on these anyway, I thought I’d take the chance to investigate some alternative ‘contact management’ applications. As I’m pretty much web-centric with the rest of my personal information (email, calendar, to do lists) it’s a no-brainer that I’d like to do the same with my contacts. Highrise is an obvious choice but I’m not bothered about recording ‘interactions’, a simple address book style application is all I’m looking for, but so far I’ve struggled to find something that meets my needs.

A key requirement is that, somehow, I need to be able to sync my contacts with my mobile phone. I’m not that fussed if I need to use a couple of different applications for that step, but it must, must, must be transportable. I don’t want to be stuck with a bespoke application. I also want something that is either web-based or has a web interface, being able to add or edit my contacts when I’m not at home is a must. Syncing with my mobile helps with this too but I do prefer to be able to mass edit if required.

So, any suggestions? Preferably web-based, but will take Mac or PC if a web interface is available.


  1. Adrian said:

    I use iSync to Sync my phone contacts with my mac address book. I then manage and edit all my phone contacts with the mac.

    This will only improve when I get an iPhone and is one of the reasons I want an iPhone.

    If you want to sycn it further then you can sync iSync with .mac.

    I suspect with leopard and iPhone this will only improve.

    But all my contact management is done via address book and iSycn just keeps a copy on my phone.

    August 19, 2007
  2. Peggy said:

    OOH! That sucks! This is why I still have a good old fashioned address book in the desk drawer. I would just brick it if I lost everything like that.

    August 19, 2007
  3. Ian D said:

    Also using iSync between phone and mac address book, and then sync to online address book using .mac. The .mac bit is a yearly subscription.

    Plaxo (http://www.plaxo.com/) looks to be an alternative and claims to sync with mobiles but is a premium service, and American carriers only by the looks of it. Not used it myself.

    August 20, 2007
  4. Gordon said:

    I have toyed with using Address Book on my Mac for this but it’s the inability to edit it anywhere else than on my Mac that is stopping me.

    I don’t mind having to sync Address Book with a website, then sync my mobile from there but that doesn’t seem to be possible.

    And Peggy, it’s all backed up and there is a printed copy lying around (somewhere) so I’ve not lost them all permanently, just lost the ability to manage them.

    August 20, 2007
  5. Lyle said:

    I must admit, I use MS Outlook for Contact Management, and so far it hasn’t let me down. Also, it syncs nicely with mobiles (it’s worked on my iMate, and both Sony-Ericssons, as well as Herself’s Samsung Piece-o’-shit .

    Other than that, does Thunderbird not have an at least vaguely decent contact management? I use it on t’laptop, but I’m not sure how good it is with syncing…

    August 20, 2007
  6. Lyle said:

    Finally, Funmambol may be able to help…

    August 20, 2007
  7. Gordon said:

    Yeah I used to use Outlook when I was in Windows Mobile land, but it didn’t play nice with MY Samsung D900 for whatever reason… that was the start of the borking of the contact details.

    Thunderbird isn’t too hot on that front and will check out that link. Cheers.

    Anymore for anymore?

    August 20, 2007
  8. Adrian said:

    If you sync your address book with .mac you can access it online.

    August 20, 2007
  9. Adrian said:

    Or you could set up your own LDAP server.

    August 20, 2007
  10. Adrian said:

    I’d be pretty amazed if .mac doesn’t get all the features from Leopard server though come Q4 …

    August 20, 2007
  11. Gordon said:

    Yeah but I need to PAY for .Mac right?

    Lemme add to the list of requirements: FREE.

    I’ve never had to pay for this kind of thing before, I ain’t starting now.

    August 20, 2007
  12. Adrian said:

    Sometimes I find you get good stuff when you pay for it.

    Although right now I wouldn’t put .mac in that cat. In the future I might.

    August 20, 2007
  13. Lyle said:

    Hmmm, just noticed that my Sony Ericsson also does a “back up contacts to memory stick” – that’s a nice feature.

    Now why couldn’t Samsung do something like that? 🙂

    August 20, 2007
  14. Gordon said:

    I don’t mind pay for stuff Adrian, but I ain’t paying for .Mac JUST to have sync’d contacts. I don’t have any need for anything else .Mac has to offer.

    For now I think that storing them in the Address Book on my Mac, syncing that with my mobile phone and using HighRise as on online ‘temporary’ go-between is the best option. Highrise has an API and there is already mention in the forums of someone working on a ‘sync’ utility.

    Of course, if I go back to Windows Mobile in the future.. well.. what then?!! Feck feckity feck.

    August 21, 2007
  15. Murph said:

    Talking of lost contacts, I’ve had to cancel gym membership so desperately in need of motivation to get outside and do ordinary running.
    Are you still running? Do yo fancy another Nano Challenge?

    August 23, 2007
  16. Adrian said:

    That Greatascent works like a charm BTW, I set it up today.

    August 23, 2007
  17. Gordon said:

    Yeah it seems pretty good, having a bit of a fiddle getting it to sync back to my Address Book, the install instructions need updating but yeah, it’s not far away and the dev guy is working his socks off, blasting bugs left, right and middle.

    August 23, 2007

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