So after a weekend of playing around with Entourage 2004, I’ve now settled on a setup.
Mail wise I’m sticking with Apple Mail. I did try out mail in Entourage but firstly it really annoyed me that unless I used HTML mail – which I tend to avoid in favour of plan text – the mail editor forcibly limited me to 76 characters, and then when I did an import of my pretty large amount of data from Apple Mail, it messed up.
It wasn’t a mess up on quite the scale that Missing Sync managed on Friday – what was imported came in fine, it just managed to miss the majority of my inbox – and double up on some of the rest. Although the ability to link elements together, for instance linking a meeting in the calendar to the attendees, the word documents of the minutes and agenda, and the e-mails was attractive, the interface proved to be a bit tedious, and to be honest I thought I probably wouldn’t use it much anyway. The problems with the import and the editor sort of set the seal on it.
Instead I turned on the new Sync Services support, to sync my Apple Address Book with Entourage, and also show the calendar in iCal. I expected to get a few problems with the Address Book sync, which I did – with various records ending up with duplicates. However Address Book is pretty easy to sort out, particularly with a nice feature to combine records. All those changes were quickly propagated back into Entourage. The iCal support is a bit of a pain, as it side-steps the problems that applications such as Missing Sync tend to have by putting everything from Entourage into a single calendar. Since my categories are not picked up by the Exchange support in Entourage it’s not too much of a problem.
At the end of the line is my phone, which syncs quite happily with the Mac. Ultimately through the purchase of Entourage 2004 I have got to a point where my calendar and contacts are able to all sync together. At the moment it all seems to be working fine, although the final element will be to see quite what happens when I plug the PDA into it’s cradle at work tomorrow morning!