Posts Tagged ‘critique’

Syncing OS X’s Address Book With GMail Contacts

I’ve been on a quest to update all of everyone’s contact information in my address book so that I can sync it with my new iPhone. During the process I found an option to sync OS X’s address book with Gmail. Sounded like something that could be useful – right?

Don’t do it to yourself. Just don’t. Unless each person you have only has 1 email address. As I was sorting through more and more contacts each day, I started noticing duplicates and triplicates of some people’s address cards. I assumed that it had something to do with the Gmail syncing, but I wasn’t exactly why. Until now.

Gmail only allows 1 email address per contact. The OS X address book app will allow multiple. For some people I have 5 email addresses. Address book syncs with Gmail – and Gmail splits each address to its own contact. Then syncs back. Oops.

I’ve stopped syncing Gmail and the address book. It just seems simpler that way. If I’m ever in need of an address that’s not in my Gmail contact list, I can just look it up quickly in my iPhone.

Social Compass Apps: Part 2

I went through the Whrrl website and spent a good 2+ hours finding and reviewing local restaurants. I realized later that I apparently hadn’t paid any attention to where I was putting my reviews – and was actually updating the wiki description of the restaurants! Oops! Someone who works there found my “oops” comment on Twitter and sent me a message to help!! That’s pretty cool of them. 🙂

Unfortunately I didn’t notice that message until later and had already fixed everything. Meanwhile, KC found another app called Beacon Buddy (or “Where” ?). They’ve got a lot of great potential and ideas, but it still needs a bit of work.

If you could merge the added ideas of Beacon Buddy with Whrrl, I think you’d have the perfect social compass app…

Are There No Good “Social Compass” Apps?

Loopt appears to be good, but has proved to be a bit frustrating. Their website needs some major help.

  • Login on their website and you’re brought to “My Home”. Click on the Loopt logo to go back their home page and the “login” link still appears on the top right corner as if you’re logged out (but you’re not). You need to scroll down the page to where the front page’s login for was, and it will give you a link to go back to “My Home”. A minor annoyance, but usability-wise, that’s just sloppy.
  • On their website, every “search” link brings you to either a search for people, or search through “friends’ places”. So… you can’t search for places to add your own reviews without zooming into a map of the area and manually clicking on each pin until you find the right one?
  • I swore that when I checked the “My Home” page on their website yesterday there was a nice Microsoft map that you can zoom in/out using your scrollwheel, etc. (but everywhere else there was a “Tele Atlas” that doesn’t appear to be as user-friendly). I don’t see it now – I only see the Tele Atlas maps everywhere.
  • When I click on my “Journal” page, or try to do anything that brings me there, I’m given a pop-up error that the page couldn’t be loaded properly. Perhaps this is because I haven’t posted any journal entries?
  • If you make a mistake or typo something, you can’t edit your comments on your places?
  • The whole navigation needs to be revamped because menu items and links don’t bring you where you expect, and there’s what appears to be redundant / useless pages and links.

I only have one real complaint about the iPhone app:

  • The restaurants that show up on the map have ratings. You can add comments, but you can’t rate it yourself because the ratings aren’t from your friends within Loopt – they come from Yelp. I see the benefit of having the Yelp ratings, but I would really like to be able to rate it and not just add a comment.

I tried Whrrl yesterday too. I actually tried that one first, and then moved on to Loopt (which seemed like a better alternative at the time). It’s still in beta, so maybe the wrinkles will get ironed out soon. It has a lot of potential.

What can it do that Loopt can’t?

  • You can give locations a rating (yay!) as well as a review/comment.
  • You can mark each location as a status of “I want to go”, “I’ve been there”, etc.
  • You can go back and edit your reviews/comments!
  • The maps interface on their website is a lot nicer.

What about the negatives? Why did I leave Whrrl for Loopt? Honestly, at this point I forget. I think the iPhone app felt clunky and frustrated me so I decided to give Loopt a try? You can’t zoom in or out from your location – that’s annoying.

A lot of the bad reviews stated that it crashed a lot and the locations were inaccurate. At this point I think I might switch back. Neither of the apps appear to be incredibly accurate on your current location. It looks like they’ve even updated it since I last tried it just yesterday.