Entourage and iCal utils, plus airport grapher

At the school I’m working, we just finished a migration to Exchange. Almost all the computers at the school are Macs (predictably), so we’ve had to standardize on Entourage 2004. In the process, I’ve discovered a little conversion app that enabled me to import all of my iCal information into Entourage. It’s called Sync Entourage-iCal – there’s a Panther (OS X 10.3) and a Tiger (OS X 10.4) version available. The app is shareware, but a fully-functional demo version is available for 14 days – which is great for us because we only need to convert the data once.

While I’m at it, I might as well point out the Mac Address Book Exporter (ABE). It’s fairly old now, but still works. It allows you to export the Address Book into a tab-delimited text file, as opposed to the vcard format. This has been very helpful in getting key contacts from a personal laptop address book into a standardized development database (for example).

And finally, I was in one of the school rooms trying to set up a laptop with Entourage, and kept getting server connection errors. Luckily, my laptop was sitting right there, with AP Grapher running – an application that puts a tiny, scrolling graphic of your current airport signal strength in your dock. I noticed that the airport connection kept dropping then going back to full – and when I checked the full color graph I saw the drops corresponded to a massive “noise” interruption.

(I didn’t figure out the problem until I busted out my best tool – Mr Russ King: a nearby wireless phone handset is set at the same frequency….)

The last time either ABE or AP Grapher were updated was over 2 years ago – so I can’t vouch for their operation under Tiger (OS X 10.4). That’s either a testimony to the standardization for Mac software, or my inability to get out much. If you’ve got better tool recommendations, lemme know.

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