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Run Now servers as background services Apps
I read with interest a NYTimes article about families sharing their schedules and contacts on the Web and between their Palms. Though the article didn't mention the fact, the featured software is Mac-only: Now Up-to-Date and Contact.

I've often wished to share info easily among our menagerie of Palms and computers and scraps of paper. We use Entourage now, which means we've been without Palm sync, and have no way to share our contacts or events. I've tried Cronos' Group Organizer, but found the interface jumbled and confusing. Palm Inc's WeSync software is PC-only.

But the article introduced me to PowerOn Software's Now Up-to-Date and Contact, which I've found to be fast, very Mac-ish, and powerful. The package can sync your Palms, share contacts and calendar items among your family, and even publish your shared items to a web site for easy access.

Read more for a tip on running the Shared Contacts and Events servers as a service in Mac OS X...

I love the capabilities and speed of the Now package. Looking up a contact always took ages in Entourage, between the slow GUI and multiple clicks required; Now has an OS X 'menubar item' for an instant phone check. We all know we're still waiting for an Entourage conduit (at least 'till Monday), but Now synced great. And the shared contacts and datebook, plus web-publishing, put it over the top.

However, the OS X version is clearly a first-draft port from Classic. The Contact and Events servers are standard Carbon GUI applications, which means they quit if you log out. This is not the way an OS X server should be! I tried the usual trick of adding "NSUIElement=1" to their plist; this ran them in the background, but they still quit at logout. They quit even if I launched them at root.

Instead, they need to be launched by a process *before* the user's GUI loads, i.e. at startup. To make this easier for the novice, I wrote a quick Applescript that will enable background mode, and set the servers to launch at system boot. The server windows will remain onscreen (unless you close them), which is annoying, but they remain password-protected.

You can download the Applescript here. Enjoy!

P.S. Incidentally, I often see people suggesting a hair-raising TextEditing of an application's plist, or the installation of DevTools to use PlistEditor. The way I prefer to access an apps' plist is this:
  1. Find the app in the Finder. Do the usual command-click, Show Package Contents, and open the Contents folder.
  2. Go to Terminal. Type defaults read, then drop the Info.plist file on the terminal
  3. hit delete 6 times to remove the '.plist' extension, and hit return
There's the plist, nicely formatted! And if you want to change the plist (say, make an application run without a Dock icon), just change the command to defaults write (drop the Info.plist file on the window, and erase the .plist extension), then add NSUIElement 1 and you're done.
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Entourage X Palm Sync
Authored by: saint.duo on Jul 16, '02 09:19:56AM
... has been released, and is available here.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Entourage does web pages too...
Authored by: thefinite on Jul 16, '02 09:39:07AM

While you are in the calendar, just choose File->Save as Web Page... It works pretty dang well for a one time shot, but not at all dynamic if you are changing you calendar info often. Still pretty cool feature to throw in and the page it builds works really well.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Can I do this with Filemaker Pro?
Authored by: cbh0089 on Jul 16, '02 10:43:15AM

Does anyone know how I can serve my filemaker pro databases like this?


[ Reply to This | # ]
Can I do this with Filemaker Pro? Yes
Authored by: MtnBiker on Jul 17, '02 02:07:55AM

If I understand you are asking if you can serve FM databases Yes, at least from v5 and I would assume earlier. I can't remember exactly how. But I think File->Sharing->Web Access will do it. You have to be running some kind of web serving, which of course you can do in OS X, but I think OS 9 works also. You would need a full time connection or a web server that supported FM. You may have to load the Web Serving plug in or something similar.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Now UTD now does Windows
Authored by: mikerose on May 15, '03 09:47:45AM

Now Up-to-Date has been out for Windows for a few months now. Contact coming shortly. Servers are Mac-only for the nonce. This is probably the best way to Palm-coordinate a cross-platform family.

Of course, now Palm has a two-cal solution:

[ Reply to This | # ]