One of the neater utilities I use to keep my life on track is a program called “Missing Sync” that replaces the free utility that comes with Palm based devices for syncing data between a PDA and a PC. Missing Sync contains additional conduits that are Macintosh OS X specific and does a pretty good job of getting my info from one device to another.
But it uses a couple of hacks too. One such hack is that it will rename the email field in the Apple address book from “work” or “home” to “Email”. It does this because the Palm email program looks for “Email” and not the other labels when searching the Palm version of the address book for data.
Sometimes the sync program gets confused in trying to keep 4 devices (2 computers, one PDA and an online data-set) all in sync with each other. In my case this took the form of randomly duplicating my email data so that many of my address book contacts had two duplicate fields.
This morning I decided to go through and do a clean-up of the data and figured I’d just do it by hand. By oh wow! was that tedious. So after getting through the “A” and “B” records and having another 700 or so to go, I figured I do a little googling. The second site I came to had a pretty clear instructions on how to manage this – and even links to a couple of scripts to automate the process.
But more importantly it had screen shots of an apple menu item labeled “Look for duplicate entries”. I quickly checked under the “Card” menu in the address book utility, and there it was. After hurriedly backing up my data, I clicked on it, was told that I had 448 duplicate data entries and 83 duplicated cards. And then was asked if I’d like to merge all the duplicates. “YES!” I said. And boom. Finished.
Yay Apple. I should have probably figured that a company that prides itself in making the users data easy to manage would have included something like this…
So in case you find yourself in a similar position with lots of duplicate info – and are using a Mac – check the menus or do a little googling before you start doing things the old fashioned tedious way.