I downloaded a nifty open-source tool the other day. It’s called FMA or Float’s Mobile Agent. It’s a lovely little tool which connects to your mobile phone through a bluetooth COM port and sucks all the data from your phone onto your computer. It’s great, I especially like the fact that it can tell the temperature of your phone!
Anyway, so it grabs all your meetings, contacts etc and then you want to synchronise with Outlook. I tried it, and it failed. Damnit! Damn stupid open source software I cursed fluidly. Then I did a double-take: I’m a software developer for crying out loud, this is open source software, I should be able to fix it myself.
Turns out, FMA is written in Delphi. I have Delphi 7. A few hours of downloading source code and installing components and I have the code up & running. Turns out there’s nothing wrong with the code, for some reason Outlook 2003 is throwing crazy “module not found” exceptions. Grr! “Repairing” the Outlook installation doesn’t solve the problem and to be quite honest I have enough trouble with Outlook integration at work.
So, I eventually give up on Outlook and integrate it with the Windows Address Book using another (shareware) component. Just a few hours of coding later and I have contacts whizzing from my phone to my computer, to Windows Address Book and back again.
Now, here’s the final slap in the face: Outlook 2003 uses Microsoft’s Contact list, not Windows Address Book (details here). So to get the data finally into Outlook 2003, I need to export from Microsoft’s own product Windows Address Book, into CSV and then back into Outlook 2003. Interoperability, it seems, is a dirty word at Redmond. So, I am switching to Outlook Express at home 🙂