How iPhone Got Her Outlook Back

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After working fine for years, suddenly iPhone and Outlook stopped syncing contacts and calendars. Outlook started throwing off messages a la, “Outlook had a serious problem with the iCloud Add-In, do you want to disable it?,” and the iCloud tab and Refresh button disappeared from Outlook. None of what I’ll politely call the ‘easy fixes based on standard instructions’ you so often see about things like this all over the Web did a thing to change the situation. Here’s how I solved it:

[1] In Outlook 2010: File > Options > Add-ins. That brought me here:

This is actually the ‘after’ view–after I fixed this. The view when I attacked this problem was identical except that iCloud Outlook Addin was appearing under Disabled Application Add-ins. No, I am not disabling it and going through the process all over again for the sake of this piece. There is journalistic integrity–and there is “Why in God’s name did you touch it again after you rescued it the first time?!” But I digress…

Anyway, noticing the file location paths, I typed in a separate note the file location for the iCloud Add-in shown above: C: > Program Files (x86) > Common Files > Apple > Internet Services > APLZOD32.dll. You’ll see why in a minute.

The page is preset to Manage COM Add-ins, and I pressed [Go].

[2] That brought me here:

In this view I selected the Cloud Outlook Addin* to highlight it, as shown above, and pressed [Remove].

[3] Next, in this same view I next pressed [Add…], and navigated to the file location I had found above, which brought me here:

I selected the file, saw it was now listed in Active Application Add-ins, and noticed that, miracle of miracles, the [iCloud] tab at the top of the Outlook window, and the [Refresh] button, had returned. Yes, syncing iPhone to Outlook could actually be a refreshing experience again.
So far so good, but any dev and probably many readers know what comes next: TESTING.

I held my breath as I tested it: added and deleted Calendar and Contact items, and modified existing items, on iPhone and in Outlook, and they are now updating both ways—iPhone-to-Outlook and Outlook-to-iPhone—either immediately in front of my eyes, or when I hit Refresh.

“Victory is mine”…and, if you’ve been seeking a solution to this problem: YOURS. We’re all in this together.

*Whoever was in charge of placing dashes in filenames missed on the iCloud and VBA (Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications) “addins,” or as they’re widely known: Add-ins.
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Battery case user, battery case user, pants on fire

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…and other adventures from the iPhone 5 energy frontier

When it comes to mobile battery life, I’ve been hurt before. For two years I owned an HTC Droid Incredible, which was a great phone but also had what I’m guessing (hoping, actually) was the worst battery life in the history of smartphones. After getting a supersized battery for it, I was often, but still not always, able to make it through the day without recharging. One of the reasons I was excited about finally getting an iPhone was anecdotal evidence of family and friends who owned iPhones and rarely if ever had to recharge their phones during the day. So I pre-ordered the iPhone 5 and made the transition from Droid rage to Apple of my ear.

Yet, apparently I’m such a power user that even the iPhone’s improved battery life is not enough to satisfy my mobile appetite. That, and having had the HTC’s battery constantly run dry, led to what I am calling Phone Trek 2012-13: The Search For More Pow’r.*

[UPDATE: see reference to this post on Mashable]

Lenmar Meridian: can’t quite put my finger on it

Our voyage begins with my new iPhone 5 in November 2012. I found multiple companies offering battery cases for it and placed my order with one on Amazon.com…then another…and another. All three had to cancel for what they stated in their cancellation emails were delays in Apple’s Made For iPhone (MFI) certification process. In April 2013 I received an email from Lenmar, which sells its Meridian cases for smartphones, that the Meridian for iPhone 5 was now available, and those of us who had ordered in the Fall had first dibs. That is, the Meridian, Henry Ford/Model T-style, was available as long as you wanted it in black. I had ordered it in white to match my phone, and Lenmar said red and white cases would be coming along soon. Finally, after some dialogue with those who run Lenmar’s Twitter page, in May 2013 an email hit my inbox that the red and white cases were available, and I snapped mine up.

iPhone 5 Meridian_red-white-black

The Meridian is a good case at a good price: the highest additional charging capacity of the battery cases I’ve found in the market, 2,300 milliampere-hour, or millamp hour (mAh),**  $89.99 at press time. Yet after about a week I found it was, literally, a pain to use. The Meridian has cutouts. All of these battery cases have some thickness to them–that’s where the added battery life, well, lives–and with the Meridian and some others, you have to “reach through” the case to use the iPhone’s own power button, sound on/off switch, and volume controls. Casually turning the screen on and off or adjusting the volume became a two-hand operation, which I didn’t like. More to the (pain) point, after jamming my fingers a number of times turning the power button on and off, I decided it was simply time to stop getting jammed up.

The Meridian came with an accessory that appears to come as standard issue with most of these cases: a headphone extension connector. That is required equipment because all of these cases add extra length at the bottom of the iPhone, such that headphones with a right-angle connector, and even some with straight connectors, cannot reach the iPhone’s headphone jack when it is inside the battery case.

Mophie Juicepack: getting a WiFi-syncing feeling

After the Meridian, I ordered the battery case widely regarded as the leader of the pack, the Mophie Juicepack Plus, $119.95 at press time. Mophie, which like Lenmar makes cases for the iPhone and other smartphones, appears to have “heard the market”: Mophie Continue reading

When you add it all up, this is one hot browser

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This blog entry is also syndicated here

Email clients and web browsers are now essentials of business and personal life for most of us. Your choices of browser and email client impact pretty much every move you make online including your active participation in new media. As such, while my quest for the perfect browser is hardly a life and death matter, I hope it makes for a decent read and gets you to try some new options, including some I guarantee many of you have never heard of before. Continue reading

A Tale of Two Companies

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We’ve been talking about why it’s important to think of search engine optimization /search engine marketing (SEO/M) and Web 2.0 not as the be-all and end-all of your communications universe but as key ingredients in a complete, balanced diet. Of course what we mean when we say “Web 2.0” breaks out into three areas:

  • Rich Internet applications (RIA) including AJAX and Flash
  • Broadcast media such as streaming, RSS and mobile SMS
  • Consumer-generated media (CGM) like consumer reviews, wiikis, blogs and participation in forums
All of us who post on just about any business-focused blog want to talk about best practices, but today is show-and-tell: I’m going to show you how two companies approached this in different ways and how that has led to divergent results. Continue reading