Synchronization for consultants – how I got it to work

Posted by Marcus Hammarberg on September 22, 2009
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OK – this has been quite a journey and I am not completely satisfied with the solution yet – but I works. During the journey I have also deleted all my contacts and calendar items on my phone about five times… Brrr – equally scary each time.

The problem is as follows; as a consultant I am working for customers that have their own Exchange Server (or similar). When I start there I am given an account for example marcus.hammarberg@anycustomer.se. So my coworkers at AnyCustomer will start sending me emails and making appointments in my AnyCustomer-calendar.

Also I work for Avega – that of course supplies me with an email address and accompanying calendar.

Finally I have a private Gmail account for private stuff.

So I have three synchronization problems; mail, contacts and calendar items. Here is how I am synching them right now. I hope that a better solution will present itself later.

Contacts

I have all my contacts in Google Contact. Then I synchronize them with Mac Address Book and with my phone using Google Mobile Sync

Mail

The excellent Apple Mail can handle several inboxes, from several Exchange servers, if you use IMAP Exchange. I do that and get all my mail into one tool. Since the top level inbox in Apple Mail shows all inboxes I works like a charm.

Calendar

This is where it gets done to business, because you need to synchronize calendar items in both directions. So I first decided where my “master” will be; Google Calendar is “in the cloud” and hence is a very good candidate.

I also found a tool that synchronize (watch closely now) Outlook to Google Calendar. So I configure my Outlook for each customer (and Avega) and then install the synchronization tool and of we go.

Yeah that means that I still need an Outlook for each exchange account (Avega and AnyCustomer in my example) in order to get the synchronization to work. In reality that is not a biggie since my customers supplies me with Outlook. But it would have been much nicer with a Exchange to Google sync…

Mobile

OK – the final step is to synchronize the mobile (a HTC Touch Dual) with the Google Stuff… This is described here but seems to have some things left before it’s working like a charm…

Might not go mobile yet…

[UPDATED]

I got it to work after a while. But right now I am only synching the calendar with my mobile. The emails will only stress me. And the contacts is alright that they live separate lives for now.

Epilogue

If Avega or AnyCustomer decides to upgrade to Exchange 2007, then Snow Leopard have built in support to synchronize email, calendar and contacts. Which will make me go through this again and have my Mac Book Pro as master…



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