Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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iPod Contacts Improvement

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Franz Ferdinand's You Could Have it so much better  cover art Only yesterday I did my little bit of complaining about shortcomings of the iPod. And today – well, yesterday as well technically as I prefer posting here shortly after midnight, Franz Ferdinand’s new album was released. First impressions suggest that it’s highly enjoyable. But more importantly, its title is You Could Have It So Much Better.

Going by this positive motto, I looked at yesterday’s problems again and decided that I can have it so much better and I’ll just improve the situation for me and my iPod. While all the music management on the iPod is done by iTunes which determines everything you see there all the way to the sorting order, the situation is quite different for contacts on the iPod.

All iTunes (and formerly iSync) does there is to generate a ‘VCF’ file from the data it finds in your address book and copy it to the iPod’s Contacts folder (at least that’s what happens on my iPod… I don’t know whether the current photo-savvy models do some more trickery to include the photos from your address book). And in fact, possibly to make cross-platform compatibility easier, you any drop any ‘VCF’ file – which is nothing but a bunch of concatenated VCARD records – into the iPod’s contacts folder and the iPod will attempt to display the contact information therein.

Thus all I needed to do to solve some of the problems I described yesterday was to generate my own ‘VCF’ file with all the extra data I want and without the problem that certain addresses aren’t displayed. To do that I decided to write a little AppleScript, that goes through my address book and

It works pretty well for me. As we’re dealing with AppleScript here it means writing this small file will take quite some time. And it means we’re enjoying AppleScript’s typical quirks – somehow I needed to make a call to UnicodeChecker to ensure the file is properly encoded as UTF-16, thus using for good what I consider a quirk in AppleScript’s handling of encodings. But in total it does work and I can now enjoy a Contacts list with names, all addresses and birth dates on my iPod.

Grab yourself a copy of the script. And make sure to look at its readme and to adjust the file location at the very top of the script to whatever is appropriate for your iPod before running the script.

Update: The first version of the script was still flawed in that it didn’t transfer all addresses in a way that the iPod would display them. In the current revision, addresses are now inserted into the contact’s comments and everything seems to be present.

Well, I’m just a voice in your earpiece
Telling you no, it’s not all right.
You know, you could have it so much better.
You could have it so much better.
If you tried…

Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better

October 1, 2005, 1:31

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Received data seems to be invalid. The wanted file does probably not exist or the guys at last.fm changed something.

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