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Groups app for iPhone

I’ve had issues managing my contacts for many years now and, finally, I have a solution. The Address Book software provided as part of OSX is somewhat basic and, oddly, a little clunky to use and my recent debacle with Google Sync only heightened my frustration. Surely things should be better than this?

Enter Groups for the iPhone, by Guided Ways.

From their website, with Groups you can:

  1. Create, rename, delete and navigate contact groups – all in a single view!
  2. Drag & Drop contacts into groups. Tap and hold on a Contact to start dragging.
  3. Send Mass Email to any Group. Tap and hold on a Group name to see available options.
  4. Dial, SMS, Email and visit URL/Map Locations of individual contacts by tapping on their name for quick dialing (i.e. use it as a mini-dialer)
  5. Use 5 built-in ready to use and helpful ‘Smart Groups’ to help categorize and manage your contacts the way you wish. These automatically filter on contacts that 1) aren’t part of any group, 2) have No Name set, 3) have No Email, 4) have No Phone or 5) have No Image.
  6. Trash (and preserve) contacts by dragging them to the ‘Trash’ Group. This would delete the contact permanently from the iPhone/iPod touch and then from your Computer when Synced or Pushed but will allow you to drag these back to normal groups, and thus restore them at a later point, unless you empty the Trash.

Your address book, too, deserves respect.

Similarly to the App Store application that runs on the iPhone, which I prefer using to iTunes when browsing the App Store, Groups makes managing contacts much easier and adds a rich layer of functionality as well, all hidden behind a very smart and slick interface.

Of all the applications I’ve downloaded it’s probably the one that makes the best use of the touch interface, dragging and dropping contacts into group tabs, press and hold on a contact for options, press and hold on a group for options, drag up and down to scroll, it’s got it all but none of it seems superfluous.

Not bad for £1.19!

Groups is the application that Apple could’ve developed, that’s for sure, and for me it indicates another good reason why the App Store (despite the number of dross applications in there) is such a good idea. The Apple iPhone platform is now being extended by 3rd party developers in exciting ways and, hopefully

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iPhone Contacts

These days, with so many different ways to keep track of people, managing your list of contacts can be a bit of a chore. Doubly so if, like me, you’ve tried various ways of synchronising your contact list between your phone and a PIM (Personal Information Manager), or even just between any mobile device and any of the myriad of online ‘contact manager’ web-based applications.

When I first switched from a standard mobile phone to a ‘smartphone‘ (about 7 years ago), one of the advantages for someone with as poor a memory as mine, was the fact that I no longer had to remember all the details for someone. I could store them in one single contact and include useful notes to make sure I didn’t get their kids names wrong, not that I’ve EVER done that. Seriously, I haven’t. I may have gotten the sex of their kids wrong but that’s completely different…

A couple of years back I switched back to a standard mobile phone, ditching internet access and other frivolous items, presuming that, by then, management of contact details would be much easier. Ohh how wrong I was. Trying to synchronise Outlook Contacts with my Samsung mobile phone was a world of painful duplicate and triplicate entries, lost information and generally left my contacts FUBAR‘d.

As I neared the end of my contract I looked, again, towards smartphones and as luck would have it, the 2nd generation iPhone was due out mere weeks after my contract finished. I’d already bought a MacBook, was loving it and thought it would solve my problems.

And it did! After a lot of tidying up I managed to get my Address Book (on my MacBook) nicely organised and synchronised with my iPhone. Finally. All sorted.

Then (to cut a long story short) along came Google’s latest ‘Sync’ offering which would let me synchronise my calendars between work and my personal Google calendar (useful when planning physio and dentist appointments!). I was thrilled as this was the last of my PIM issues finally being sorted.

So my calendar is now synchronised and my contacts… yeah they are back to being FUBAR’d as, for some reaason, you can’t get around the first time SYNC ALL option. Google presume that you use their contact management functionality, offered as part of Google Mail. Except I don’t, cos it sucks.

So for the past couple of nights I’ve been deleting duplicate entries, renaming email only entries as Google Mail creates a ‘contact’ everytime you send to a new email address, meaning I have (after a purge) 38 ‘email only’ contacts in my Address Book.

This has pissed me off no end. I like order, I like things to be neat and ‘just so’ and the one area of my personal information, information that *I* should be able to control and manage how *I* want for fecksake, has been nothing but a source of irritation.

Until last night that is, when I downloaded a new app for my iPhone which has helped soothe and calm me and get my contacts sorted out, for once and for all.

And, tomorrow, I’ll tell you all about it.

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Slowly Moving On

In at the deep end. Best foot forward. No time like the present. Life goes on. Such are the cliched thoughts that have been running through my head recently, obviously.

But, before I continue, I would like to thank everyone who as commented here, sent me a DM on Twitter, or emailed me direct. Your thoughts and kindness do help. I’ve been on the other side of such events and whilst it may seem like a small, even trivial, matter to send a quick note of condolence they DO help. Thank you.

Not quite reading to move on yet mind you, the funeral on Monday will bring that around I’m sure, until then I’m pottering away keeping myself busy, but not too busy. All in all, whilst it is hard to think my Gran is no longer with us, it had been expected for a couple of weeks so I’ve had some time to prepare myself.

Writing posts for this blog has always helped me in the past and that’s one reason why I’m posting this today, to keep in the habit, to keep myself from hiding away. My Gran certainly wouldn’t have approved of that!

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