Dreamforce 2008 post-mortem – back to the cheap seats

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I had never been to a large, high-priced business conference like Dreamforce before, much less spoken at one.

Oh, the details! From the sturdy high-quality conference bag, to the folks standing outside the Moscone Center dressed in white carrying cloud balloons, to the video walls and careful lighting…and the Foo Fighters! No expense was spared, and lots of open bars. Frankly, it was almost ostentatious in this economy.

Or maybe I’m just used to the low-key efficiency of the oncology conferences C3 tends to go to.

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Apple FAIL whale?

I’m here at Terminal C at the Philadelphia Airport, waiting for my flight to San Francisco.

The airport normally has nice bright displays showing all the departing/arriving flights. Not today.

Folks are usually quick to point out a random BSOD on displays as an example of Windows FAIL, so it’s only fair to show that it happens to the best of ’em.

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Truth be told, I don’t know what part of the display is Apple software or hardware.

iPhone owners: Anyone solved the multi-Mac dilemma?

When I’m home, I sync my iPhone with my iMac, and life is good.

But when I’m traveling, I only have my MacBook Pro with me. I use Spanning Sync to keep iCal and Address Book on the laptop in sync with iCal and Address Book on the Mac (and in sync with Google Calendar and Gmail). I use DropBox to make sure I have important files with me (and to hold my 1Password keychain file so my login passwords are automatically synced). LogMeIn (free) if I really do need to “call home.” Foxmarks to sync bookmarks, and now ReadItLater to sync my reading list. Not to mention all the Google, Salesforce and Box I can eat in the cloud.

The one problem I haven’t been able to solve in my dual-Mac life is my iPhone. When I travel, I can’t sync. Sure, I can charge my phone, but I have to be careful not to let iTunes sync, because it insists on only syncing to one iTunes Library at a time. I’m not looking to sync the whole Library. I want to sync address book/calendar from the MBP when I’m traveling, and then go back to the iMac when I’m home. Maybe update podcasts for the flight home if it’s not too much trouble? The parts I choose not to sync from the road (Music, Movies, Photos, etc.) should be left alone.

I see 3 possible solutions here:

  1. Wait for Apple to come up with a new version of iPhone/iTunes that allows for multi-iTunes syncing. I don’t really see this happening, although rumor has it that there will be some over-the-air syncing of podcasts which will solve some of the problem.
  2. Use one of those hacks that let you sync to multiple Macs. Maybe, but not ideal. There’s nothing I want to exclusively sync to the MBP as Jason Snell describes, because I’m not on the MBP every day.
  3. Find over-the-air solutions for syncing address book and calendar. This is something I still miss about the BlackBerry. Google provided an OTA solution for calendar syncing that I’m dying for them to provide for iPhone. On the other hand, I really like Spanning Sync and don’t want to give it up simply because it’s not ideal when I travel, which isn’t all that often.

So for now, I’m heading out this morning for 4 days in San Francisco and this last sync has to hold me for a while. On November 17, I leave for 3 days in Austin, TX followed by 2 days in DC. While I’m gone, no new podcasts. I’ll meet folks on my trip, enter their contact info into my phone and have no way of transferring that info to my laptop until I get home. I’ll read email on my laptop, enter appointments in Google Calendar and have no way of transferring that info to my phone until I get home. Annoying.