Note: Updated on December 14, 2012 to reflect that GMail will not be working with Exchange anymore.
One of the most miserable parts of owning multiple gadgets and using multiple technologies is getting them to all play nicely together. Today Apple released iOS 6 and with it deep facebook and twitter integration that can confuse even the best of us. I have been spending the afternoon experimentally attempting to determine how all these different systems work together. This system assumes you are using an iPhone or iPad with iOS 6 and the latest version of Mac OS X. It also assumes you want all your contacts in GMail.
Important: Before starting this process you may want to backup your contact lists using the procedures appropriate to each account. You probably won’t lose anything provided you follow these instructions exactly and do not choose options to delete all your contacts, but it is better safe than sorry. More info: Export GMail Contacts, How to backup iPhone Contacts, Backup Apple Address Book.
The first step is to setup your iOS devices so you are only using iCloud for your contacts. It will make your life simpler. To see if you are using iCloud for your contacts you go into “Settings” and then “iCloud” and make sure it is setup. The switch to contacts should be set to on like the picture below:
Then you should set your Mail, Calendars, and Contacts section so that you are syncing only your mail to your Google account. After Google depreciated the use of Exchange I setup my e-mail with the official GMail App using instructions from The Verge. As a bonus using the official GMail app seems to use less battery than Exchange.
Next you’ll need to make sure OS X is setup for your accounts properly. Again you will run everything but e-mail through iCloud. You can also choose to setup Messages and Notes with Google. If iCloud is not yet setup on your computer you can follow the instructions from Apple. If you need to setup your Google mail on your desktop you can follow these instructions. I recommend using IMAP. If you already added your Facebook and Twitter accounts then your mail settings screen in OS X will look something like this:
This is what the settings will look like in Mail, Contacts, and Calendars after you have set things up properly.[/caption]
Also you should make sure your Contacts app is setup to default to iCloud for contacts. You can do so by opening the Mac OS X Contacts app and clicking the “Contacts” menu in the upper left hand corner of the screen and choosing preferences. The first screen should look like:
This is what the preferences in the contacts app should look like.
Once you have confirmed that setting then you are ready to move on.
The next step is to install Cobook. Cobook seems to do the best job of synchronizing Google’s contacts with iCloud and OS X. You should install it from the Mac App Store and then set it up to sync to your google account. Instructions on doing that are here. After you set it up with some luck you will start getting a sync going between your Google and Mac contacts. Changes made on your Mac or your phone will be sent to and from Google using this app. After it finishes syncing you may have to spend some time cleaning your contact information. A helpful tip is to open the Mac OS X Contacts app and go to the “Card” menu and choose “Look for duplicates” and it will merge them together. Additional cleaning to contact information is mostly a manual endeavor.
At this point you can feel free to go into the settings of your iOS device and Mac OS X and add your Facebook and twitter accounts. The OS will attempt to match your contacts. The twitter, facebook, and iCloud contacts will all be kept in separate “buckets” on the computer. However your contacts in Google and iCloud will have a link inserted into them so the computers know they go with certain facebook and twitter contacts. In other words, the information from facebook and twitter will not permanently alter your contacts. It will just be accessible to you in an easy manner.
This is how I have chosen to setup my devices. You have other options as well depending on your needs. Cobook can use its own facebook and twitter sync options to add info to the iCloud contacts that will sync with Google. However I am not sure if it will cause problems with duplicate data. If you have questions or suggestions feel free to leave them in the comments.
I think the biggest improvements are the aluminum back and sapphire lens for the camera. No more scratched up backs means that people with case free iPhones can sleep a little easier. The bigger screen, improved battery life, and LTE (faster mobile Internet) were expected improvements. The new earpods earbuds seem neat and I will probably buy a pair to review them. The new lightning connector was also expected but means that you will have to buy all new accessories or a bunch of those little dock adapters. Many of the rest of the improvements are in iOS 6 so iPhone 4S users will be able to enjoy important things like enhanced Siri functionality. My recommendation is if you have a phone upgrade to buy the iPhone 5. Power users should obviously get the 32GB or 64GB models. If you already got the 4S and do not have an upgrade this year, then you will not miss a whole lot while waiting for the iPhone 5S/6 to arrive next year.
The new iPod nano is nifty. I’m not sure if I like the new form factor better than the old one. I think that I would take this as a good opportunity to snap up the last generation iPod nano at reduced prices if you are considering it.
The new iPod touch is also neat. Apple seems to be aggressively courting the point and shoot camera market and also the game console market. As an iPhone user I have little interest in carrying another device for my iPod. However if you have an Android or dumbphone and want to be able to use iOS apps then the new iPod touch is worth the buy.
Eleven years later they do not call us that. In some countries they erect one monument to tragedy; in America we erected monuments in every airport. Scanners and x-ray machines that stand as a constant reminder of the attack. Our remembrance ritual involves removing our shoes and emptying our luggage. We gave-up rights, toppled a regime, and chased Osama Bin Laden to the far corners of the Earth to exact revenge. Yet they still don’t call us the 9-11 generation. It’s not because we are free, but because we are not scared anymore.
Despite this we have grown-up in the shadow of this tragedy without growing out of it. Eleven years later the liberties we gave-up to allow the government to fight terror are still gone. Our warriors still roam Afghanistan. We still speak of fighting the war on terror without any sense of when we might win it. We achieved important victories without much reflection on whether it might be time to move on from security theater in airports or strengthening due process protections. To our credit we got out of Iraq and will soon be out of Afghanistan but we still have to think about how we want to live. Do we need the security blanket of getting everything x-rayed and body scanned before we go on an airplane?
The fear does not linger, but these monuments do. In eleven years our world has changed. We have changed. Soon we will be out of Afghanistan. It seems our intelligence and military services are so effective that the operations of the terrorist organizations across the world have been severely hampered if not eliminated. We have not suffered an attack on the homeland in many years. Justified or not, I feel safer; I feel ready to move on.
I have been knocking doors for political candidates since high school. Most people are probably familiar with this method of campaigning by now. You go to a door, introduce yourself, and talk with the person who answers about your candidacy (or the candidacy of the person you are supporting) and ask them to support you. Maybe you give them a sheet of paper with literature about the candidate or offer them an absentee ballot. Other than that, you probably will not talk to or hear from this person until Election Day. Campaigns use this model because it works, but I also think it is broken.
Door knocking is a high engagement activity with low long-term returns or follow-up. People that are marked as supporters are typically just put into the voter file to be contacted to remind them to vote at the end of the election. However the political parties, from what I have seen, are not leveraging this data to engage in party building activity. If I was in charge of a political party or managing a campaign then the people who are marked as 1s would get invitations to attend a Democratic Town Committee meeting or a small-dollar fundraiser associated with the candidate. I would also attempt to match them up with a person in the party from a similar background to check-in with them and help them understand other ways they can get involved.
Also I think it is important to note that the segmentation and coordination among campaigns and canvassing is terrible. In theory the entire party has a database it shares from NGP VAN but in practice each campaign and party apparatus uses only its own data and does not cross-reference its data with other campaigns. This means that for each race each voter might potentially be contacted by every single candidate running for office from President to dog-catcher. This can be irritating to the voter but also involves a large amount of work replication by the individual campaign organizations. In recent years I have seen some effort to coordinate knocking and IDs but nothing sophisticated. I think the new website to allow voters to ID themselves as supporters by the Obama campaign is also a neat shortcut to help them avoid doing unnecessary calling. If the Connecticut Democratic Party implemented a comprehensive data sharing and analysis program it could probably get a lot more mileage out of its current data and maybe irritate the voters less.
How would you improve political outreach and door-knocking? Would you like it if campaigns let you identify yourself as a supporter (or non-supporter) on a website so that you are not called by them?
Sometimes it is easier to unearth a hidden gem from an obscure website than to write a full post. As a fan of Bruce Springsteen I found this keynote address to be a fun listen.