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Both Yahoo and Google provide a method for importing and exporting email addresses to and from OS X AddressBook but I wanted an easier way to keep things synchronized. Fortunately, if you are running OS X 10.5 (Leopard), the AddressBook application provides a straight forward way to do so.

Google is special

Like most people I use a web based email service like Yahoo! Mail or Gmail. And like most people I have been using one of these services for quite a long time and I have quite a large number of email addresses that I have saved in the contact list of each of those services, especially Gmail.

Setup

Setup

Gmail account info
Setup is quick and easy. Go into the Preferences for AddressBook. On the General tab you will see three check boxes for each of the following services: MobileMe, Exchange, Yahoo and Google. You can select all (or none) of these check boxes to enable syncing with each of those services. Google is my preferred service for email so tha's the service I setup. Once you select the checkbox, AddressBook will prompt you for your Gmail username and password. Enter that information and click OK to complete setup. If you have a large AddressBook it could take a while for the sync to complete.

Finish Up

Remote duplicatesYou may already have some contacts in AddressBook that are also in Yahoo or Google and you may find duplicates in your AddressBook once the sync is complete. These are easy to remove. From the AddressBook menu select Card->Look for duplicates. AddressBook will find and merge duplicates entries into just one entry. Any changes or additions to your AddressBook contacts will update your online Google or Yahoo contacts and vice versa.

Google Calaboration Tool.pngSome time last year Google updated their online Calendar service to support the CalDAV protocol. CalDAV is a standard protocol that allows access to web-based calendars from desktop clients like iCal. Now from within iCal I can schedule create calendar entries that appear in my Google web calendar and vice versa. Google provides instructions on how to set up iCal to access Google Calendar but ... a screen shot is worth a thousand lines of text.

Update: Google no longer provides nor recommend this method. Please see official Google documentation.
Setup is fairly easy. Google provides a set-up tool to make the process quick and painless. Download the setup tool here. After downloading, unzip the file, and run the Calaboration application. Be sure to exit iCal before running the Calaboration tool.

Sign in to Google Calendar
Enter your Google email address and password and click the Sign In button.

Choose calendars to add to iCalAfter a few seconds the application will display your Google Calendars. Select the calendars you want to add to iCal and click the "Add to iCal" button. If your email address is not in your Leopard Address Book you will be prompted to do so.
View of Google Apps calendar in iCalYour Google Calendar will now appear in the list of calendars in iCal. Any changes you make to your Google Calendar in iCal will show up in your Google web Calendar.

itunes-logo.jpgThe discussion over on the MacWorld forums have me thinking more about the Apple TV, Apple Time Capsule, Time Machine, and iTunes movie rentals and purchases. I think iTunes music and video rentals and purchases will become the way I get all of my media content.

appletv-large-01102007.jpgI think I can replace the cable company HD PVR, my TiVo, and my DVD player with Apple branded products and totally be without any physical media. Although the Apple TV is a great option for watching prepackage movie and video from the iTunes store it does have limitations. Apple TV is limited to 1080i for HD content. To be a true replacement and compliment to a nice large HD TV ( see 40" BRAVIA® XBR® series LCD Flat Panel HDTV ) Apple would have to offer 1080P on the Apple TV and iTunes. The Apple TV also lacks a tuner. Now I know that the Apple TV is not meant to be a PVR but it would be nice if I could server all my media from one device. If I could import my broadcast HD into iTunes for playback on any iTunes enabled device ( Mac or PCs ) or iPod that would be very cool.

885906776_b538ffea3e.jpgThat's where the alternative, and I think better, solution comes in. The AppleTV is really just a Mac mini with a simple interface. I could presumably get similar and expanded results with an Elgatio HD HomeRun attached to a Mac mini. The HD HomeRun integrates well with iTunes recording and pulling in HD broadcast content. Assuming Apple provides similar features in the Leopard version of iTunes as they have for the Apple TV ... imagine. Toss in the afored mentioned 40" BRAVIA® XBR® series LCD Flat Panel HDTV and a Bose Lifestyle V3 Home Theater System and ... wow!

I know some will say, "I already have one billion movies on DVD. What about that?". Download Handbrake or Visual Hub, rip and import to iTunes.

Some movies are rental only and some are purchase only. I guess it depends on the contract terms Apple agreed to. It would be nice if I could rent the movie and if I decide later to purchase do so at some reduced rate. The hardware NEEDS to be 1080p (720p just doesn't compete with Bluray's 1080p).

One issue with going complete digital for media is the issue of permanence. When I buy a DVD or CD I have a physical asset that is presumably at less risk of loss. With digital media one failed hard drive is all it take to wipe hundreds of dollars worth of precious content. Apple should build in some version of Time Machine into Apple TV for backup to external disk or to a Time Capsule enabled Airport Base Station. With the Mac mini, Time Machine, and Aiport Time Capsule I would have a complete solution and feel comfortable that my media was safe. To top off the whole package,just add an iPod Touch.

So who wants to help me pay for this?