Working with iPhone, iPod Touch, and iTunes

Just a quick pointer to those of you using the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iTunes. And for those of you who know and / or care, I ordered my iPhone today from AT&T! The rep at the store, who was very friendly and helpful, said that they are told to tell people 14 to 21 days to come in, but that he expects it to be more like 5 to 10 days. Total price with tax and such was just over $213. And now I wait…

But anyway, for those of you who store your music and videos in iTunes and want to know how to back it all up, Apple has posted an article on just how to do so. iTunes 7 offers a new way to back up your iTunes library, playlists, and iTunes Store purchases (including Applications purchased from the App Store) for safekeeping. The Back Up to Disc feature saves your media to a blank disc (CD or DVD) and once backed up, iTunes can use your backup disc(s) to automatically restore your iTunes library. If you have iTunes 5 or 6, click here. Note that this is for both Windows and Mac computers.

I don’t need to tell you that you should be backing up your entire computer and all of your documents, but if you want to know just how to backup iTunes, this is a great article. But please, backup everything. External hard drives are quite inexpensive these days and make backing up quick, easy, and painless. For a few examples of them, look here or here.

The other article for you Apple users out there is one on how to synchronize Microsoft Entourage, Mac Office’s Outlook counterpart, with your iPhone or iPod Touch. I have posted that full article on my site at MacDeveloper website. So, if you are using Entourage and want to sync up, be sure to check that one out.

Microsoft Office for the Mac – Take Two

Microsoft Office 2008Since I first started using Microsoft Office 2008 for the Mac and wrote about it, I have noticed two things. First, one or more of the programs locks up and crashes at least once a day. That means Excel, Word, or Entourage goes toes up and dies. This doesn’t happen to me with Office 2004. I should note here that I am using Office 2008 on a Mac Book with Leopard. At home, I am still using Office 2004 on a G4 iBook with Tiger. But back to the lock-ups. I cannot find any correlation between the occurrences. I have had them when I am just typing along, but also when I go to insert an attachment or save a document. Truly random.

The second thing I have discovered, and this is really evident because I switch back and forth, there is nothing in the new version that I miss when using the older version. The single thing that is really missing is the better group calendaring in the new Entourage, but since I don’t use that at home it means nothing. At the office, being able to check other people’s Exchange based calendars has been great. It is also nice to be able to directly open and save to the new Office format, but I think I have done that exactly once in the past few weeks. Not something worth paying for a new upgrade for. And certainly not something worth putting up with the program crashes for. And I have actually need the Excel macros that now won’t run twice. So feature deletion beats feature addition 2-1.

So, all-in-all after almost a month’s use I would say that unless you need that Entourage calendaring, then the new upgrade is more of a “proceed cautiously” than a “must have.” In fact, the thing I am most excited about is the supposed new version of OpenOffice.org that will be native Mac Aqua application instead of having to run through the X11 system. When and if that hits the wires, I may just switch entirely.