We usually have a beta test period for our client software before releasing it to the general public, and while we know that many of you download the beta versions, we don't actually end up hearing from most testers. With v3.0.2 we're going to try something new. If you download the v3.0.2 beta, try it out, and send us at least one "beta report", then we'll give you a complimentary Spanning Tools for Mac license. It's not a lot of work, you get the newest version with the latest fixes, you help other users by (potentially) finding bugs, and you get free stuff. Slam dunk! At least we hope so.
So what's a "beta report"? Simple: If something goes wrong, tell us what happened (in most cases along with a troubleshooting report from the Advanced tab of the pref pane). If all went swimmingly, tell us what you tried. Beta reports should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Known issues are covered in the User's Guide. We don't need to know about those :-)
Thanks to the hundreds of people participating in the Spanning Sync v3.0 beta, we've found and fixed a number of bugs and are making steady progress toward releasing the final product early next month.
A last-minute server-side bug sneaked in that allowed duplicate contacts to be created in Google. It's now been fixed.
If you have duplicate contacts in Google but none in Address Book, you can clean them up by replacing contact data on Google (Advanced > Replace Data on Google > Contacts), but remember that doing so will wipe out your Gtalk chat lists and group information in Google Contacts.
If you need to clean up duplicates in Address Book first, you can use its built-in feature (Address Book > Card > Look for duplicates) or the more powerful Contacts Cleaner in Spanning Tools for Mac.
After months of development and testing, we're happy to announce the first beta release of Spanning Sync 3, available for download now at spanningsync.com/beta-download.
If you're like me you won't read the ReadMe, so here are the five things you absolutely must know:
This is a beta. That means there are bugs. Back up your data before you use it.
You must quit System Preferences before installing the beta. Then just double-click the Spanning Sync.prefPane included in the download. (If you forget to quit System Preferences first, it will hang when you first launch Spanning Sync—just quit and reopen System Preferences, then reopen Spanning Sync.)
Some defaults have changed, so make sure you're happy with them before your first sync.
Your first sync will be a refresh sync, so it will take longer than usual. Be patient.
There's lots of cool new stuff. Keep reading.
What's New in Spanning Sync 3 Beta 1
Event alarm syncing
Customizable alarm types
Syncs more contact properties, including birthday and nickname
One-way syncing option for both contacts and calendars
Option not to sync older calendar events
One-way syncing for CalDAV calendars
Much faster sync times
Reduced memory usage
Easier installation process
Uses Sparkle for software updates
Makes full use of Google's Contact Data API v3.0
To those of you willing to help us beta test—that is, to find the bugs we assume are there but which we haven't been able to find yet—thanks! We look forward to getting your feedback, either via email at email@example.com or through our new ZenDesk-powered customer support system.
If you're not comfortable running beta software on your most important data (I know, who wouldn't be, right?) just hang tight for now and we'll let you know when it's safe to jump in the pool. Until then here's a sneak peek at some of the new features in the UI:
Hi all, Larry here. It's hard to believe, but here at Spanning Sync we've been working on sync software for nearly three years! During that time, we've learned some lessons about the nature of the data that our customers sync like contacts and calendar events, and the problems that they sometimes run into.
First, most people just aren't very good at keeping their contacts and calendars organized. Open up your Address Book, or perhaps that of a friend or family member, and you're very likely to find duplicated entries, contacts with names in the wrong fields, mislabeled contacts…the list goes on. And who can blame us? Our lives are busy and complicated.
Second, sync software is generally not very good at dealing with bad data. We're proud to say that Spanning Sync is currently (as far as we know) the only sync product on the market with active duplicate prevention on both ends. If you find a duplicated calendar event or contact on your Mac or on Google, chances are slim that Spanning Sync put it there (barring Google Calendar time zone bugs; sorry New Zealand!). That said, once duplicates find their way into your calendars and contacts, all sync software has the potential to act like a virus and propagate these inconsistencies to every device and app that you sync with.
Clearly, these two facts can lead to a "perfect storm" of sync destruction which we sometimes find when helping our customers resolve various issues. When we find such issues, we refer our customers to useful utilities such as iCal Dupe Deleter and/or recommend a data cleanup that entails hours of tedious preening inside iCal and Address Book.
That is, until now. Today we're announcing Spanning Tools for Mac, a suite of utilities that analyzes, reports, and fixes dozens of problems with iCal, Address Book, and Apple Sync Services — problems ranging from the obvious, such as duplicated calendar events, to the subtle, such as invalid calendar dates and poorly formatted contact names.
We're going to kick things off with a public beta, which you can download right now from this download link. We'd appreciate hearing about any problems you run into or any enhancements you'd like to see. Just drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now that Spanning Sync v2.0 is out of beta, we'd like to thank you for your tremendous help. This has been our most extensive beta program ever, with thousands of people participating and giving invaluable feedback. With your help, we believe this is our best release ever.
Last night we pushed a few more small server-side changes that affect Contact sync. Now we're just waiting on some localizations before we issue a release candidate (RC1) client. If no new issues show up with RC1, it will become the official 2.0.
Once RC1 is released, I'll be asking all of our beta participants to use it and look carefully for any bugs. Look for another post here shortly.
Since Google Contacts disallows multiple contacts with the same email address, duplicates usually aren't an issue. But contacts without an email address can become duplicated under some circumstances, so we've just enabled a server-side feature that should help prevent that from happening.
If you have duplicate contacts in Google but not in Address Book, and if Address Book has all of your contacts, you can perform a server reset (Advanced > Replace Data on Google > Contacts) to get rid of the dupes. Note that this will remove any group information or other "extra" information from your Google contacts that isn't stored in Address Book.
Our marketing skills don't quite match those of Cupertino, so we called the feature by its technical name—"trickle sync"—but the idea is the same. Whenever you make changes to your calendars and/or contacts on your Mac, Spanning Sync v2.0 will immediately push those changes to Google (unless you have your sync interval set to "Manual").
Please note that Google doesn't currently provide the notifications necessary to enable "push" functionality from Google back to your Mac, so Spanning Sync will still poll for changes at the interval you set in the pref pane. We're lobbying Google to add notifications so we could add true two-way push to a future version of Spanning Sync. Stay tuned.
The last build introduced a problem that prevented some users from completing a sync. The fix for that problem along with several other improvements is included in Spanning Sync v2.0b Build 342, which is now available for download. All beta users are encouraged to upgrade as soon as possible.
What's New in Build 342
Fixes some causes of the "you referenced a relationship without pushing it" error
Fixes the "inconsistent data" alert that Apple Sync Services would display in some cases
Prevents all contacts from being deleted from Google when syncing with contact syncing turned off and choosing to replace contact data